There are times when a writer does not have much to write but must not stop the process of writing because when he does that the creative juices might stop flowing and any possible writing might just dry up in the pipeline itself. Of course, writing seems to be an easy process of stringing the words together in a manner universally comprehensible to the users of the language used. To many of those who know how to put across a point in a fairly accurate manner, good writing is ‘impressive writing’. Differently put, to them it’s just the art of putting together high-sounding words in good order. To better writers, it’s about a good idea put in words that fit in together in rhythmic harmony and make word-music together.
But I guess a writer is continuously struggling with the language and there is always a certain amount of tussle involved. If you are too comfortable with the language and do not share a tense relationship with your words, chances are you are not exactly a great writer. Being too comfortable with one words does not mean superior command of the language but indicates a very trite use of language. In such cases, often there is no novelty of idea or expression or both. Good writing is something of a reinvention of the world, or the creation of an altogether new world. This world could be a parallel literary universe and could also be just another planet of unique ideas or unique amalgam of commonplace ideas.
Any writer would tell you that sometimes it’s not about what you write but about continuing to write. And at times the simple process of writing gets a little too difficult. If you have never come across such a phase, you are yet to fully ripen as a writer because experiencing the block – call it Writer’s Block, if you like – is an important stage in the development of a writer. Not that all those who have experienced it are ‘complete writers’ in any sense because there are many such writers who are more often ‘blocked’ than writing.
Most of the time we want to write something that’s of some importance but the fact is that a writer evolves more through writing things that are of far lesser significance or consequence than he would like. And then without his realizing he produces a work of sheer genius. The genius, therefore, is often born out of the mundane and the mediocre. One walks into brilliance instead of the brilliance striking one like lightening.
Expecting all bloggers to come up with staggering prose is actually expecting a little too much. And if you think that those who cannot really write all that well should not start a blog at all, you are wrong again. Basically, blog is not meant for the writers because writers write books and articles. Blogging is like a personal space in public view, an open diary. Blogging is an engagement far more personal than any other kind of writing. It is essentially meant to showcase the outsides of the writer together with the insides of his private being. No novel or autobiography can achieve that feat for a simple reason that in a novel the reader knows that much of it is imagination with the sprinkling of truth a little here and a little there. And there is no way to sieve the truth out of the fiction. An autobiography, on the other hand, is a condensed account of the writer’s life as he sees it. It is loaded with perception of the writer and it is he who chooses as to what he feels is more significant. Naturally, an autobiography of a 60 year old legendary figure simply cannot be a day to day account of all those years. But a blog can be.
Every single day is important in itself and a blog records it all allowing the readers to make their own choices about what to take from the life of the author. The readers become the judges instead of the author. The author becomes more of an author and less of a pre-writing editor of his own writing.
However, a blog that’s excessively self-absorbed interests nobody except for a circle of close friends and acquaintances. The best approach to blogging would be to see and express the person in the backdrop of the larger reality of one’s times.
I am still not sure how to look at Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan’s The Compulsive Confessor because though it is intensely personal, it takes its colour from the fact that the writer is a young girl from urban India with her ‘liberated’ lifestyle on generous display. Therefore, a social background is automatically provided to Meenakshi’s very personal and rather irrelevant life, which is why The Compulsive Confessor clicks with the readers. Meenakshi’s blog simply draws vivid sketches and the reader fill in their own colours. Therefore, some see her as the bold new face of Indian youth, while others consider her the symbol of a decaying civilization; an indication of our misplaced values and withering cultural foundations.
Different people have different ideas about blogging, and equally diverse are the bloggers’ reasons to blog. Some want to simply write and place their writing before all unedited. They simply hate being edited. Others want to share with everyone the gems they find in the vast ocean of the Internet. Yet others write simply because everyone else is doing that. A few bloggers take offence of blogs that do not provide links to other sites.
So far as I understand a blog is an open diary for people to have an insight into the life and ideas of the blogger. Of course, if there are things that are of interest of others that a blogger comes across on the Internet, he or she may provide link and thereby share them, but that cannot be the indispensible prerequisite for a blog.
The most important aspect of blogging is regularity, which is what I primarily lack.
Most of the times, I write only when I have something significant to say (in my opinion, that is), and this is a habit that I need to break free from. Blogging is more about writing regularly more than anything else. And Amitabh Bachchan’s blog can indeed be quite an inspiration in that regard. The megastar has never missed writing his blog even for a day ever since he began blogging. And, of course, I am not as busy as the superstar.
It has been a very long time since I last wrote. I have never used this blog to push a point or even make one. It is simply a comfortable place for me where I mostly talk to myself, where I drive word after word just for the pleasure of stringing together sentence after sentence.
For doing that one needs time and leisure and something – or even nothing – to talk about. For a couple of months I have not found enough time to write this blog. This blog is also a comfortable place because I have no pressure to write or talk because I have so far read absolutely no comment on it. So, I can safely conclude that nearly nobody is reading what I write and even if I have a few of the passerby glance at it, they simply pass by without paying a serious attention. And this is freedom! Real freedom!!
Freedom to think without having to justify your thoughts, freedom to write without anyone to judge your words, freedom to speak without having to say, freedom to throw words without being accountable for them. If there could be any absolute freedom, this is what it would feel like to have it. What more could I ask of a blog. A blog unread gave me more than a well read blog could because when people read, they expect. And there is no burden heavier than the burden of expectation.
Words are magical. Perhaps, part of the magic lies within us. Words evoke images and fill them with colour like a seasoned painter. And these images are inextricably connected with our emotions and experiences. We are rarely conscious of the way the words affect our thought process and we are hardly ever aware that sound of our own words on our ears affects our thought process. And if observed carefully, you would find the experience nothing short of amazing.
Recently, I visited a company engaged in an innovative business exercise and during my visit I was asked to summarize the summarized descriptions. These descriptions were around 20 to 30 words long and were crisply written. They were to be further shrunk to 5 to 7 words without losing the essence. I found the exercise very interesting and thought provoking, especially when I started summarizing.
And it was then that I was suddenly aware of how human brain works and how ‘magical’ words actually are. It is actually possible to communicate with as few words as 5 or 6 and the rest of the words despite being relevant and indispensable in the longer arrangement would suddenly appear redundant. And the reverse is also possible. One could actually expand the 20 words sentence into a longer sentence or stretch the sentence into four or five sentences. And if this is done skillfully enough the expanded form would not have a needless word or sentence. Amazingly, this ‘magic’ is more magical than the magical shows because there is no trick or misdirection working here. The original provided does not have any unnecessary words that you cut down to shrink the expression. Similarly, while expanding you do not load it with unnecessary words. So, how does it happen? Wondering?
Actually, in both expanding and shrinking we are subconsciously changing the mode of thought process itself. It is not about words themselves but their effect on our minds. We simply take the thought process of the reader to different levels by using different sets of words in different arrangements. It is like sketching a horse and then shading it a little and then filling it with some colour and then brightening the colours a bit. The sketch remains the same, the image does not change in its essentials but its effect gets stronger with every colour and with every stroke of the brush. There is no redundancy at any stage.
But then, redundancy is closely connected with the ‘use’ and ‘usefulness’. If a horse was to be simply suggested, colouring is redundant and if its presence had to be hammered home to the viewer, nothing short of vivid colours would do. So, it is the purpose that determines the extent of detail in all art forms. The same goes for writing. In the world of shrinking attention spans, we need to say more in fewer words.
It was a wonderful experience, I must say. After all, it made me realize a few things about words and their effect. Perhaps, I would talk some more about it in my next post or in some other.
Confession first, I am writing not because I have something to say to my reader (are there any?) but simply because it has been quite a while since I wrote last. Before December 11, 2007, I had written on November 28, 2007, which makes it a gaping gap of over 12 days. So, I thought of putting in a few words to inform my readers (imaginary) that I am still here and would be writing every now and then. Writing for writing’s sake is not exactly an appreciable exercise because I don’t think anyone reads for ‘reading’s sake’. I’ll be back when I have something to say. At this point of time what is uppermost in my mind is the recent Supreme Court (Indian) ruling pertaining to the Public Interest Litigation. The Court has cautioned against ‘judicial adventurism’ and has asked the Supreme Court and the High Courts to exercise ‘restraint’. Does it mean that courtrooms will no longer be available as a platform to seek redressal? Does it imply that elections are the only way to have one’s voice heard? If it is so, it must also be remembered that lone voices, no matter how just, are always drowned in the deafening clamour of ‘noisy’ voices.
Sometimes — no, actually very often — I think about who is reading the words I am putting here. I am feeding into my computer and burdening the inexhaustible internet. Is there really anyone reading all this? Or am I just shouting aloud in the eternal blackhole, in which everything is absorbed and nothing returns? Truly, I don’t know whether a single person has ever ready my blog here. I don’t anyone has so far. But I am still writing because I want to communicate. Not communicate something important but just communicate. Shooting arrows in the darkness is fun enough and any seasoned archer would tell you that.
I am neither an acher, nor ‘seasoned’ in the least. However, I still write. I still shoot in the darkness perhaps I love the way these words appear here, springing from nowhere like little cute things. They are small creatures at my command. They perpetuate what I am thinking at the moment in a way that even my mind cannot. They would retain my passing thoughts, preserve them forever. These little things are my archive of thought, the archive of my being. Even if nobody reads these words ever they would still stand bravely like solitary warriors at the end of the battle.
I feel indebted to my words in a way. They are mine and they are yours but when they are put in a string like this as I am doing now, as I do almost everyday, they represent me in particular. Words belong to everyone but they are also unique in their construction. They are the living shrine of my thought process. What more could I ask for from a creation of man?