Saturday, November 07, 2009
Personal Note: Returning to Writing
I could not write for last ten days.
Considering my obsession with this blog, that's a long time of not writing. And, though I was busy, the reason for not being able to write was not my schedule, but the fact that I have started writing seriously.
Suddenly, I realized writing a blog is a very public show. While it is as exciting to be invisible and nude in the public at the same time, it starts getting serious when I am upgrading my writing as a serious hobby. Something I wish to pursue, that is, with a little more effort.
Besides, I am told that my writing is too verbose. By more than one person. And, that it put them off. Suddenly, I have this load on my head - thoughts on how I can make my writing more interesting. Pretending can be a lot of burden, and my pretensions have at last caught up with me.
So, the world comes full circle. I started writing this blog as a sort of 'morning pages', attempting to practise writing and sending off writers' block forever. Those days, I wrote almost anything. But then, I realized that writing a blog can turn into a public freak show and became more cautious. Staff like not to name names, etc. But, my style remained free format, stream of thought. The truth is that I was often writing at the middle of the night [as now] and could not bother with reading and editing.
However, I acknowledge that a piece of writing needs to be created for use by the readers. Somewhere, the act of writing must cross that line of being enacted for the pure pleasure of writing - the sensual feeling on the fingertip and the joy of watching the words born - and become readable. That surely isn't pretension, but the essential purpose of a public exercise. Indeed, taking writing seriously is no sin: a self-imposed limit on noise-making will only make the world a better place.
I am back here at my usual place - the Emirates Lounge in Dubai - with a long wait and a long flight ahead of me. Somehow, I found this to be a perfect setting for resuming my writing. I am possibly at that inflection point in life when I change course again. Remigrate? Possibly. Restart? Definitely. Reposition? It is already happening. So, there is so much to write about. I realized that getting more serious about how I write is indeed essential at this juncture.
I must also say how serious I got. I was almost taking up a course on creative writing, before being reminded, rightly, about my unfinished study commitments. But, I have started reading good writing - I think this indeed is a starting point of any effort - and allowing myself being under the influence of great writers. Yes, if that means attempting to copy the style, so be it. I think it will evolve a bit, but I think trying to copy the styles of great writers with my own thoughts may give me a signature style some day. Not the verbose one, though.
There is also the question of deadline. Because I wrote for pleasure, it was difficult to discipline myself and commit to deadlines. But, if I understood one ground reality about creative work in the last few years, it is that no meaningful creative exercise is done these days without a deadline. A soft one, perhaps. But still, one always has, and possibly needs, some kind of deadline hanging on the head to be pushed, to tease out, the necessary efforts to create something for public consumption. Being serious means getting to the habit of respecting deadlines and keeping commitments, which I intend to do now.
And, finally, to get all of these together and to make it meaningful, I have decided to take up a book project. I have made up my mind about the subject - India - and will do this as a some kind of private research project. With deadlines, indeed. And, I intend to use this blog more meaningfully to post ideas and engage in discussions as I go along.
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How To Live
"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the grey twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat."
- Theodore Roosevelt
- Theodore Roosevelt
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
- T S Eliot
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