The great started small too

15 Apr

I would like to tell you a story.

Well.. it isn’t really a story per se… it’s more like a miniature epiphany inspired by the words by one who was (and still is!) one of the greatest storytellers that ever lived – Roald Dahl. You know… the guy who wrote Mathilda, Witches, BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory amongst others? 🙂

I just finished reading The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar & Six More. In this short story collection was a little tale called “Lucky Break”. In it, Roald Dahl shared his “tips” for aspiring writers (like me, in my dreams), told me how he himself got started and even showed me the very first story he ever wrote.  While I laid on my bed, he whispered in my ear and told me how he grew up in a strict school and that his teachers constantly berated his inability to write coherently.  Impossible, I thought to myself.  Roald Dahl’s teachers graded him an incompetent child who could not write?  The audacity!

Well, I can’t tell the story as brilliantly as he does so I do suggest that you call on the great man directly instead. 🙂  It’s well worth it. Satisfaction guaranteed!  (Aside: Be sure to check out his other more adult-oriented tales like “My Uncle Oswald” which I found to be absolutely HILARIOUS fun to read.  He doesn’t just write children books you know!)

I was inspired by dear old Roald and his life story.  Great man he was…. literary legend dare I say.  Most importantly, he got me thinking…. yes, my mini-epiphany!  Boy do I digress like a politician trying to skirt around a pertinent issue (election fever has hit Singapore!)


Roald Dahl grew up thinking he couldn’t write.  It was only through a chance post-war encounter with fellow British writer C.S. Forester in the United States that he was “discovered”. He thought he couldn’t write??? How could that be?

Now, if you think about it, if doubt can hit even giants like Roald Dahl,  what more to say a small fry like me?  Can we not hope to flower through layers of mud slung upon by others as he did? Or worse, do we scoop mud upon ourselves – giving constant excuses to explain our failure and salve our broken spirits?

Well, I dare not place myself level with such literary greatness. His talent was immense to begin with.  But when I realise how even Roald Dahl had also faced doubts in his life, I find much inspiration.

How often have we said to ourselves – “Nah… I can’t _____.”?  So many dark days have I found myself countlessly thinking that “I can’t draw” or “I can’t act” or “I can’t write”… constantly! And seriously, how counter-productive is this?

For example, my whole sojourn into painting.  I used to be intimidated by this thing called “Art”. Because in my head, I “knew” I was bad it in.  This fact was so confirmed by my dismal Art grades in school.  I was simply unable to render the images I saw in my head onto the paper in front of me. In theory it sounds simple enough right? If you got eyes to see and hands to draw. Yet, when I stare at the object, the object just stares right back at me! Defiant like a haughty aristocrat with a thick indiscernible foreign accent that I am unable to translate.  As a result, even today, when people come to me to say that my paintings looked nice etc etc,  I cannot help feeling doubtful.  I spend so much time in my life doubting I can be good in “Art” that I may have just booby trapped and sabotaged myself!

Realistically, I know I am waaaaaaaaay far off but it’s not that I *cannot* draw.  I simply have not reached that level of proficiency, yet. And it is a journey. A journey we all need to make and choose to make. And of course, remember Roald Dahl and his story.

Some people have a career in mud-slinging.  You don’t have to scoop mud on yourself.

Believe. Be inspired and love what you do. For the love will carry you on.

For the love of Art… onwards! 😀

but first, a lovely picture…

Mud Flower by ~A-Simple-Me© 2010-2011

2 Responses to “The great started small too”

  1. XiuJia`` April 17, 2011 at 4:09 pm #

    Don’t doubt yourself my dear friend. You know who are the sincere ones. When they say you’re good and your paintings are nice, they’re not patronising you. 🙂

    Not everyone is born to know how to sing and dance and draw. God created just a few prodigies ya. Even prodigies need training am I right? IMO, Art is to be learned and appreciated. And when you put your passion and heart into it, you’ll see results.

  2. XiuJia`` April 17, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    I forgot to add this.. ‘Han..I know that you’ll succeed.’

    So before you become really famous, please may I request a painting from you? 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: