Five months ago, I completed my first novel and decided to bring it out in the world. The process of writing had been difficult enough but what followed was more so. I had to establish myself as a writer which meant I had to be poised and kind towards one of my least favourite acquaintance, “the social media” and also people in real life for whom I had exhibited my vulnerability by bringing out a piece of my ‘world’ into theirs.
For one thing, I find it absolutely frightening to leave my shabby little cave with its creaky doors and rusty hinges (metaphorically speaking) and walk into a room full of potential acquaintances. The effort I have to put to appear at ease with my surrounding generally withers away the energy I might have otherwise channelized towards my writing.
Internet influences you a lot. During my teen years my writing was deep and exerting. Now, overwhelmed by the success of ‘don’t tax the reader’s minds’ kind of literature, I find my writing slowly turning into glib superficiality. So I decided to take a chance and tell the truth about my writing. Yes, I am being honest with myself here. Something that I had to condone in order to please my readers. But this trick hardly succeeds if you cannot please yourself with what you write.
If I don’t put myself into what I write and yet try to portray something deep and transcending, it will simply be trashed as progressive devolution.
My writing had been at its best whenever I was “down and out”. Unhappiness and stress caused a sudden influx of new ideas and raw emotions that made it quite easy to transfer thoughts and feelings to paper. For that you don’t need anybody’s company just yours. You can be your own world. A world which you create and master. A world which you would not let anyone encroach upon during its creation. A world which you might slowly bring outside for the public’s eye. If they take kindly to it, you are happy and elated. Emotions sometimes vapourise and you might even become a puppet to those who accepted your world. And instead of venturing into newer worlds and experimenting with them, you might now feel safe, harboured in your little cocoon and churn out stuff to keep the reader pleased. You do not want to suffer their displeasure now.
But if on the other hand, the world does not take kindly to it, you return to your ‘previous comfortable setting’ and begin to explore new stuff and play with absolutely new ideas believing in the meantime the world out there is not ready to accept your ‘world’. This goes on. Its really a love-hate relationship that you share with the outside world. You might be at a constant war with them and they with you.
I decided to revisit my wonderful teen years. I call it wonderful since I succeeded in creating real worlds and wrote about real emotions and didn’t give a damn if it taxed the reader’s mind. In fact, I took a secret pleasure in it, seeing the reader thinking hard and sometimes being awed by the raw truthfulness or even putting it down and never returning to it again. But it did have a kind of impact on them. A positive or a negative one. And years later they will still remember what they felt at having read my assimilation of words when another piece of my writing comes their way. They’ll either love it or hate it but most probably they won’t be indifferent to it. It might get deeply buried somewhere in the stratosphere of their minds but it will never pass into oblivion.