Of late I have started taking pride in the fact that I possess a skill. A skill that is precious and needs to be honed every moment whether I am physically or mentally at it. You may be wondering which is the skill that I am raving about? You see, I write. That sounds so mundane. Now what’s so special about writing? You may ask. Well, there is something extraordinary about it because of the very fact that it does not come naturally to all and sundry. It also means that I have a medium under my command which is a part of me, an extension of my persona and an expression of my inner self. It’s a strange definition of skill, isn’t it? May be. But it’s something that I have been dwelling upon for long and I believe it defines the verb very well. Don’t you think so?
Now, coming to the activity of writing. Be it blog, review, story, commentary, poem or essay, the underlying nuance is expression of thoughts and feelings. Expression again has deeper connotation. It is indicative of a talent to word thoughts and feelings the way one wishes. It’s something very, very personal or rather individual.
My writings are strewn all over the electronic page and some in print, though, a few look down upon online writing disparagingly, but the matter of fact remains that these are being read if not extensively then at least by a cluster of sincere readers with whom I have grown a deep virtual bond (that may sound oxymoronic yet it’s true). And then there are my well-wishers who keep on telling me how proudly they announce to others that they have a writer in their list of acquaintances/intimates.
So it all adds up to my interest in a hobby which originated in leisure but is gradually acquiring the urgency of a compulsion. However, it’s one of my co-bloggers, Maliny Mohan’s evocative post, which if not prompted then definitely inspired me to write today on a ticklish nag which has been bothering me for quite some time:
- Why write?
- Or more specifically why do I write?
- Is it the thirst for recognition?
- Is recognition a valid impetus to write?
- Is it cathartic?
- Is it therapeutic?
- Is it the urge for creativity?
- Is it a stand-alone outlet for ventilating displaced frustration and disappointments?
- Is it a substitutive mechanism to cover up the lesser degree of attainments in other walks of life?
- Is blogging equivalent to writing or more debatably can bloggers be called writers?
I shall try to attack each bulleted point/query ad seriatim.
It should not be very difficult to expand on the first one, i.e. why write. But, to be very honest, at times it is hard to justify one’s area of interest or inclination or make others understand the incessant call from within to vocalize in black and white what you feel about your surrounding and society, about yourself and others and sometimes about nothing in particular but just those impalpable, intangible niggles and nibbles in your mind which when rolled out on a page in front of your eyes make so much sense and satiates to no extent the fevered immediacy within. Whenever anyone has put up this question to me with a certain amount of awe tinging the intonation, “Oh! You write ? Is it?” I have felt only one definite emotion overpowering rest of my concern – embarrassment! Generally, people (here I refer to society as a whole) is very apt in making one feel either misplaced (rather displaced – as though you belong to some other planet) or stupid (as though it’s of no consequence that you have the ability to do something better than others, more so, if that activity is not directly yielding or meant for any commercial/mercenary gain). So the next best quest of why write does never get the opportunity to be ventured upon. So again why? Perhaps because it fulfills a need, a search, a vacuum within? Perhaps because it provides a space where you are just yourself without the fear of being trespassed or intimidated or intervened. Perhaps because it helps you to delve deep within and find answers to questions which at times you are yourself fearful to face or ask. Perhaps it is merely because you are swift and sure and adept at it. Perhaps it is where you find an unknown, unnamed, unseen friend who knows you too well without judging your inabilities and incompetency – where you find yourself, your true self, unalloyed by misgivings and apprehensions!
I think it is the commercial considerations attached to any skill that take precedence than the art itself in contemporary consumer market driven social milieu. Whether you are able to earn from the act is of consequence. Whether you are a best seller is what invokes curiosity and appreciation. What and why you write are secondary factors best forgotten or rather forgiven?
Now, coming to the more specific one – why do I write. Again, the answer lies in all of the above explanations and explorations. At the same time, there is more to it…Writing happened suddenly to me. Yes, it happened in my voyage of ventilation to find that perfect medium which is I, me and myself without a trace of doubt. where I am not fumbling for a foothold by hit and trial method but which is the anchor, the harbour, the gangplank for my uncertain footfalls. I have always been good at it from my school days, I am still rather individualistic in my style in my older age with the only difference being that earlier no one used to believe that I could express myself so well (they thought I lifted paras and passages from somewhere – from my teachers to my fellow mates) which kind of irked me and stopped me from indulging in the art. Why, I wonder? Perhaps, because at that point of time, it was more important for me that people believed me or had faith in my potentials. Having said that, I now conclude that any foray whatsoever indisputably originates from man’s inner and most primordial quest for finding oneself, isn’t it? I, therefore, found myself in the spill of words…tumbling out of a closet well hidden in some un-locatable attic…but that happened much later, much, much later when I never cared for what others thought of me or my, shall I say, passion (it’s a strong word!). But yes there was always that thirst to be read and understood… tinged with that heady yet unrealized bit of wish to influence and inspire a circle of minds thereby enlarging the periphery of a reach which was physically not so attainable or attractive a proposition but virtually definitely so!!
I think I have partially tackled the third bulleted point…Is it recognition that propels one to write? Even if it is so, then why not? Why do we write? To be read…Had there been no readers would the writings be of any worth other than to one’s own self? There is no shame in confronting a desire and accepting it without an iota of guilt. There is again a vast difference between recognition and ambition. To be recognized is an impetus. It satiates a part of one’s self which is craving to be known for doing something worthwhile, something good for one’s own self as well as others, not absolutely altruistic but something which is a just amalgam of self-love and philanthropy. Ambition is rather an outcome of greed, ruthless competitiveness and narcissism. It has a very definite trace of negativism which is not totally bereft of prejudice, partiality and to a great extent a devouring gluttony for conquest. Recognition is healthy and the desire for it healthier because it facilitates excellence in one’s area of interest and inclination – it satisfies one’s core hunger for self- actualization.
I shall now jump the next bullet as I have already addressed it and attend to the next three altogether. Writing can be cathartic. Yes, very much so. You can fizz out your bottled up emotions, anxieties, agitations in a flood of well threaded verbosity and let out a big, noisy sigh of relief aaaaaahhh! Done it! I think those who maintain a regular diary is more disciplined to this exercise. It is in that sense therapeutic as well because the act does something which no medicines can ever accomplish so quickly and so pithily – it helps you destress and unclog and unclutter. It makes you bounce back from the quagmire of disturbing and disrupting miasma of poisonous vibes. It disengages you from the irrational you to the smart intelligent and focused you…..it does the unquestionable balancing act! The lever is set and the fulcrum is right at the spot upholding equilibrium, poise, composure and grace. You are you….the fine, infallible, flawless spirit. The one which is not you – the mired, the maimed, the molested one left locked in a drawer inside the pages of a cheap notebook or more fashionable daily reckoner!!
However, whatever said and done, I would say the creative part of the whole exercise is irrefutably the prime grosser. Whether we are whistling like a pressure cooker or doing a tough trapeze of verbal acrobatics, on the body of an innocuous notepad, we are in the final analysis, creating a newer self-rising like a phoenix from the ashes of debilitation. Our stories immortalize man’s indomitable spirit to survive the test of time – it is immaterial if the chronicles tell tales of our personal travails and turbulence – the undeniable truth is that, whichever way and form be it, the devastating tsunami within is corked and curbed into something which is beautiful, strengthening and life giving. It is then that one senses the satisfaction of an infinitesimal infinity divinely calligraphed in print.
It is a fact that our survival instincts make us find ways and means of sustenance. Many a times we find replacement channels where we can best ease out and be happy forgetting the remorse and dissatisfaction of lack of accomplishment in mainstream fields of activities. One of my subordinates did himself proud as a formidable union leader to get over the slight of being a non-performer. However, he withdrew himself considerably from the former forum when his work got him a standing and helped him hog a substantial slice of limelight. It would be wrong to generalize that all good writers have done poorly in other walks of life. They may or may not have but then there are many who have found in creative outlets means of greater satisfaction and joy when tormented by life or rather lack of ‘life’. What I am trying to say here is that there is nothing wrong if writing is taken up not just a leisurely act but a substantive effort to quash the overpowering and frustrating feeling of ‘lagging behind’ in other more socially prominent walks and established exercises which define the normed concept of ‘doing well in life’.
Lastly, I touch upon the most crucial and controversial subject – blogging as against writing. The debate probably is unending. Can bloggers be called writers? Bloggers have graduated to being writers. But then again being a writer is supposed to be an elevation in stature. A blogger is just a blogger, a dabbler of sorts, who is just trying to hop on the first step of the ladder hoping that someday he/she will be heard, known, acknowledged, applauded, and last but not the least, published. Are there bloggers who are only dedicated to blogging because they sincerely believe that they are doing a world of good or making a huge difference by simply commentating on myriad grudges or at best chronologically assembling the day to day mundane flow of life – in short just being bloggers? When I hear of gory happenings of blogs being silenced for good for being true to the owner’s opinions, I tout for the clan. I think it is again that deep-routed attachment to misnomers that prod us to deprecate our own selves. Anyone who has the gumption to put forth their contentions for others to comment upon is doing a service to mankind because ultimately the act is facilitating a clout of opinion to be built in favour or disfavor of a particular issue! Left to me I would rather subscribe to my personal space than to tag on to the ism of a publishing house or a well circulating tabloid. At the expense of being not so vastly read, I’d bask in the glory of being honest to my pen and scrupulous to what my heart says which is much more important to me than being famed and followed.
In brief, any act to be true and meaningful requires to be attempted with enormous courage and undaunted faith. Any act, which is unequivocally honest, carries the danger of being rudely criticized and severely opposed. History has been witness to innumerable rebel-instigating outbursts incurring the wrath of the power be. Writing is not a backseat job. It is not an armchair idler’s languid ideation for useless recreation. It is not a lazy leisurely indulgence in unbridled fancies. It is a mode which has shifted orbits, broken age-old moulds, rubbished obsoleteness and spirited change. Be it blogging, authoring or journaling, writing is an industry in itself, which has revolutionized growth of mankind. Discriminating one form from the other, is childish and futile, as content in this context is of uppermost significance. So, uncap your knibs and let the earnestness of thoughts and ideas sweep away the cobwebs of inutile biases, dogmas and doctrines. Write to your heart’s content, mind’s rest and soul’s satiation. The dilemma is all over as it never was. It is you and your innermost feelings which are perennial and potent.