My Paris rooftop

The Seine and Notre Dame on a crisp, foggy Winters morning in Paris, 2010.

The Seine and Notre Dame on a crisp, foggy Winters morning in Paris, 2010.

“I would stand and look out over the roofs of Paris and think, “Do not worry. You have always written before and you will write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” – Ernest Hemingway

The search for self-belief and faith in their talent is a struggle many writers face. It’s an incessant niggle of doubt in the back of their heads making them wonder if they’ll ever produce something worthwhile again.

Hemingway’s reassurance of his ability came from looking out over the rooftops of Paris. The only things visible from my window are the mottled, brown roof slats on the house next door. So my reassurance comes from somewhere else.

It comes late at night when my fingers are cramped from typing and retyping a piece of writing to no avail. Hanging from the noticeboard above my desk is a pin my parents gave to me before my final matric exams. It’s a small angel of encouragement pinned to a piece of card that simply states, “You are not alone.” My tired eyes glance up at the small angel twinkling gold in the yellow light of my desk lamp. The tense muscles between my eyebrows relax a little. The angel is a symbol of my parents love and belief in me. That belief is my reassurance. That angel is my Paris rooftop. Its whispers of comfort counter the doubt and it reminds me of my love for writing. Its glinting wings hold the promise of travel and adventure. I’ll carry the angel with me on the voyages across the world that my writing will hopefully take me on in the next few years.

“You have written before and you will write now,” it tells me. I start writing again.

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