POV: The Right Words.

POV ("point of view") is a new series that addresses many of the same themes covered in my Equals Record column: growing up, saying yes to adventure, learning to embrace a quarter-life crisis. Each POV entry will include a photograph and a short reflection based on what’s pictured. While my previous column focused largely on ideas, POV will focus on moments - glimpses, glances, tiny stories.

I heard the writer Maggie Nelson speak at a bookshop a few weeks ago. When asked how her life as a writer had changed since having a baby, she described watching the clock as her baby napped, feeling the pressure to produce. My dad – a writer himself – often tells me about sitting in front of his typewriter in his twenties, a blank page in front of him, tears streaming down his face.
One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple, said Jack Kerouac.
Saturday night, I walked home from dinner in Manhattan, crossing the Williamsburg Bridge on my way. The air was still, the water calm. The moon was full, or almost. This is the sort of thing people write about, I thought. I looked around. Scanned faces. Watched the moon, awaiting revelations. 

None came. I walked on.

Last night, I tried in vain for hours – many hours - to write something I liked for today’s post. I racked my brain for memories from the past week that would make good stories – conversations, facial expressions, chance meetings on the street, almost-full moons. 

I wrote a paragraph about staring into the sun. Another about searching for tigers in a Cambodian jungle. Yet another about standing in the crowd at a concert for an Australian art-rock band, a giant paper rose in my hand, watching a friend play tambourine onstage next to a supermodel who wore a blazer with shoulder pads, and a bindi. 

 Nothing stuck. I deleted it all. 


Thank you so much, as always, for reading. You can find my previous POV entries, here, and the archive for my personal essay column on the Equals Record, here. More next week!

Photo via my Instagram. Follow me at @my_shokoko.


  1. Ohhh, I can relate to this so, so well. This was me just last week. :) The good news is, it comes back. I've been trying to allow myself to write the crap without judging myself and (usually) I feel better for having done so.

  2. yes, and i still cry over the keyboard.

  3. I can totally relate. This happened to me last week.

    I love that line about your dad. It's so sad, but it is so easy to picture.

  4. Beautifully said, as usual. Turns out you found the perfect thing to write about.


  5. Definitely know the feeling--sometimes you're overflowing with inspiration and lacking time to get all the words out. Other times, there's just nothing there. It would be nice if there was more balance, but I suppose that's what makes being a writer so interesting!

  6. I don't know how you do it! I find writing so hard, you handle it so beautifully!

  7. Ohh I know the feeling. I didn't realise you ever felt like that though, you always write so beautifully.

    My problem is that I'll start an idea, start to ramble, realise I've written 8 paragraphs but none of them actually have a point. Urrggghhhhh. Words! Why must you make me crazy!

  8. There will always be good days and bad days and your POV depicts that struggle very well. Yet, those who persevere will find out that the final result of that battle is what it is called «wisdom». Keep up the good work!

  9. Your honesty is lovely. One of my favorite books is Julia Cameron's, The Right to Write. It helped me get comfortable calling myself an artist

  10. The right words are sometimes the hardest to find.

  11. Thanks so much, everyone!

    Alex, aw, thanks for saying that - unexpectedly, I didn't hate the end result :)

    Bea and Angela, thanks so much - that's so so very sweet of you.

    Jana, I'm writing that down right now - I'd love to check it out!

  12. The way you write inspires me! Thank you!!
    ps. I want to hear about the concert!

  13. Lovely post.

    The bit about your father reminds me of one of my favorite Hemingway quotes: “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Feels like that sometimes...

  14. I love that Paw reads your blog. :)

  15. Ah yes, The Block. I feel like there's a lot of this going around lately, at least in my little blogging world.

    I just read this wonderful piece from the NY Times, and I want to share it all over the world, because it's full of a lot of talk about what's been getting me down lately, writing-wise:

    Keep on keepin' on, sista =]

  16. Thank you again!

    Joy, one day I'll write about it :)

    ABAD, I LOVE that quote!

    Rose, I do, too - he's the best.

    Rachel, thank you so much for sharing - can't wait to check that out!

  17. These POV posts are my faves. I love your writing voice and the flow of your words.



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