Skip to main content

The Unbearable Agony of Unwritten Words



The weather has changed. Skies are clear once again, fog lifted. Azure, cloudless skies; trees bare. The dawn descends with the shy, blush of a fair, newly-wed woman. The days are not yet jaundiced with the pale, bright yellowness of the summers. There is a distinct hint of red in the yellow. 

Writing is sporadic, very less. A few intermittent blog post. Unwritten words sit heavily on the soul of a writer. To accept oneself as a writer is to embark on a dangerous path. It is a solitary profession and a hard one at that. 

I read to prepare to write. I tell myself. Be at some point, even reading has to make way for writing. Writing is not a quick job. It takes time, time and sitting all agitated inside and all peaceful outside, the incongruous internal and external world pulling one apart, in diverse directions. Writing takes time. One needs to tie that heavy stone to the neck of a reckless, wandering mind and allow it to sink to the depths. Bubbles of air escaping to the surface, a brief struggle, gasping for breath and eventual settling down to the bottom of the ocean. Then and only then the world is vivid and the pen is unencumbered. 

Writing won't happen in a hurry. There has to be a pattern to precede it- Reading, pondering, understanding the subject, empathy with the subject, shared suffering -all of it- before the first true sentence breathes on the paper. My novel sits at page number 280, which would mean 140 to 200 pages post editorial massacre. It is sitting there for long. Page 281, blank and barren, sits waiting like an obedient, trusting child in a crowded marketplace, left behind by a father who has wandered off to get a muffin. It sits silent and will not talk to strangers, and it awaits my return. 

Another attempt to get off Social media. Step one- deleted the two applications, Twitter and Facebook from the phone. It is so easy to get on it that it become addictive. Social Media nibbles from the corners on both time and the mental space. Some good friends discovered on Twitter and some old friends re-discovered on Facebook. That said, being on social media is as important as being off it, for anyone as a writer (even as a serious reader, as some studies suggest). 

The agony is unwritten word is unbearable. Reading Stendhal's "The Red and the Black". A brilliant novel. My first Stendhal reading. He is closer to the great Russians than any other European writer I have read. The story largely unfolds into the minds of the main character. A very long book, much like Middlemarch (George Eliot), unhurried in treatment. Halfway through, need to finish (note to self)

Read "The Journals of Sylvia Plath" on the flight. She writes- "Virginia Woolf helps. Her novels make mine possible." I do agree. I know she helps, so does Conrad, Fitzgerald and Homer. Reading for writing, essential. But then writing has to follow. Ms Plath writes at another place- "If I am not writing, I haven't been last half year, my imagination stops, blocks up, chokes me, until all reading mocks me (others wrote it, I didn't). So common, plagues writers great and small similarly. That feeling, that unbearable, indescribable agony of unwritten words, which left unaddressed, will soon rise up and fade away like wisps of smoke rising from dying embers. Write, I must. Keeping a distance from technology. Write by pen on paper. SM only for sharing what I write. Write with discipline. 

(Wrote this by hand (not on desktop). I find it is quicker and to reproduce it on Computer is an opportunity for descent edit. Pleasant discovery, to quote David Ogilvy, that my fingers have not lost their cunning. )


Comments

Great article. I found you through Google+ in the Support-a-Writer community.

I absolutely agree that social media becomes a distraction and I'm trying to find a way of keeping it going *and* ignoring it enough to write.

I particularly like the line in your article: "Writing takes time. One needs to tie that heavy stone to the neck of a reckless, wandering mind and allow it to sink to the depths. Bubbles of air escaping to the surface, a brief struggle, gasping for breath and eventual settling down to the bottom of the ocean. Then and only then the world is vivid and the pen is unencumbered." It describes the meditative state we need to enter to allow our imaginations and words to flow without interruption. Writing doesn't just fall off the pen. It takes hard work.

Thank you for a thoughtful article.

Popular posts from this blog

बुद्धिजीवियों की बारात

बुद्धिजीवियों की बारात
शरद जी रिटायर हो चुके थे। आधार का भय आधारहीन मान कर आधार बनवा चुके थे, और पेंशन प्राप्त कर के भोपाल मे जीवनयापन कर रहे थे। एक बार बिहार जा कर शरद जी नरभसा चुके थे, पुन: नरभसाने का कोई इरादा था नहीं, सो मामाजी के राज में स्वयं को सीमित कर के रखे हुए थे। इस्लाम आज कल ख़तरे मे नही आता था, संभवत: इमर्जेंसी के बाद से, इस्लाम सबल हो चुका था, और कल निपचती जींस और लोकतंत्र के ख़तरे मे रहने का दौर चल रहा था। न्यू मार्केट के कॉफ़ी हाऊस मे चंद बुद्धिजीवी लोकतंत्र पर आए संकट पर चर्चा कर लेते थे, जोशी जी वहाँ भी नहीं जाते थे। एक दफे वहाँ के मलियाली वेटर्स को जोशी जी के हिंदी लेखक होने का पता चल गया और उन्होंने जोशीजी को यिंदी यिम्पोजीशन के विरोध मे कॉफ़ी देने से मना कर दिया था। कहाँ शरदजी सरस्वती से ब्रह्मप्रदेश तक लिखना चाहते थे और कहाँ उन्हे बड़े तालाब के उत्तर भाग का लेखक घोषित कर दिया गया था। इस से क्षुब्ध जोशी जी अपने बग़ीचे मे टमाटर उगा रहे थे। जानने वाले कहते हैं कि इसके पीछे उनकी मँशा महान किसान नेता बन कर उभरने की थी, किंतु उन्हे पता चला कि आधुनिक किसान नेता किसानों को …

Know the Naxals- A brief look at the History

There have been many debates of late on the television, in the wake of the arrests of those who are now increasingly mentioned as the Urban Naxals. I am both shocked and amused at the same time to look at the audacity of the sympathizers of Naxal terrorism, in all their starched Saris and handloom Kurtas, when they hide behind the same constitution, that the want to overthrow. They are shrill, sophisticated, eloquent and deriding. They hate the common folks, and their disdain for those who work, create and make a living, peeps through their elitist smiles. They are mostly ideologues (yes, that is some work for sustenance in the modern scheme of things), academics and well, ostensibly, writers and poets. The fact remains that when communism is the scheme of things, Naxal notices mentioning Jan Adaalats in the villages of Chattisgarh too become work of art, and corpses hanging from the electricity poles, become equivalent of art work on the roof of Sistine chapel.
The other day, Ms. Arun…

A Husband's Views On Karvachauth

Today is the day of Indian, or should I say, Hindu festival of Karvachauth, much popularized by Bollywood. Initially a festival of Northern India, now it is widely celebrated. The festival is primarily of a day of fasting, observed by married women, praying for the long life of their husbands. As is the practice, the festival is marked by severe criticism every year by over-jealous atheists, fanatic feminists and bigoted secularist, who claim that the festival is patriarchal, regressive and anti-woman. If one considers those rants to be true, one would believe that there is huge amount of physical and emotional trauma that womenfolk are subjected to, in order to get them around to fast on the day.  However, if one were to visit any of the markets in Delhi, the scenario is quite contrary. You will find happy, joyous women on the streets of Delhi, excitedly visiting beauty parlors, with their husbands dragged themselves behind them, holding the kids as wife gets Mehandi to her hands- do…