The fragrant aroma of the hibiscus, cinnamon, and clove tea moves about the apartment in its placid stupor, and I think of nothing but how all of my words are stolen from others. All my writing is a collaboration. Even this thought, I seem to have blatantly yanked out of one. I plagiarise moments. There is no punishment for this crime. If anything, there is an infinite amount of what they call inspiration. But this makes me terribly dependent on others.
What is a thought but a response to something someone said or did? All we think is a response to the world and, if we look closely, to other people. Most art is but a collection of things you could not say, or maybe said enough times for them to turn into a bad case of the boy who cried wolf. You can never say something in the right amount. You always fall short or overshoot. The only time people are precise in their speech is when they are characters in a novel or a film.
Ordinary people who live their lives do not have the luxury of a redo or a retake. They say things: sometimes too much, often too little. Then, they live with it all. Then, people like me come along to steal those words they spared lavishly. The sentences write themselves. All I have to do is listen, and if I catch a word too difficult or a thought too heavy, to jot them down.
Even the beginning of this piece, the particular blend of tea is in my memory because a friend drinks it more often than I do. I drink chamomile. Today, even this cup of tea is stolen.
This night, the tea on one side of the window and the October air on the other seem torn out of some masterpiece I could never write. Every moment I can capture is an unfaithful representation of the life I live. All the parts I omit are things I could never come up with, even if I sat staring at the white page for days or even decades.
This disappoints me, but then, even my disappointment is foreign, quite like a word you pick up on a trip long enough to pilfer a word, but short enough that you never learn to say it quite right.