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

The Great Shake in Governance- New Modi Cabinet- My Take

This week, the Narendra Modi government was expanded. However, as it turned out, it was not merely an expansion, rather complete rehash of the cabinet, with many faces, widely believed as non-performers eased out of their positions.  The expansion came with the dropping of some key names, much famed and widely seen on TV Channels, perceived to me closest to the leftist media houses. Prakash Javadekar was shunted, Ravishankar Prasad was dropped, so was Ramesh Pokhariyan Nishank. Apart from the worthies of Ministries of Information & Broadcasting, Law and IT and HRD, Dr. Harshvardhan was also dropped from health.  Before we look at the addition, it is pertinent to look at the deletions from the earlier Cabinet. Prakash Javadekar, as I&B Minister was expected to take strong stand, make statements, blast the inane propaganda in key policy initiatives that the Modi Government was taking. From Land Acquisition Bill to Demonetization to GST to Triple Talaq to CAA to Farmer's Bill-

दो जोड़ी नन्ही आँखें

अनदेखे ख़्वाबों की दो जोड़ी नन्हीआँखें, जिन्होंने स्वप्न देखने की आयु से पूर्व दु:स्वप्न देख आँखें मूँद लीं। जो क़दम अभी चलना ही सीखे थे, लड़खड़ा कर थम गए। बचपन के घुटने पर लगी हर खरोंच, व्यस्कों के गाल पर एक तमाचा है। धर्म के आडंबरों से अछूता बाल मन जो मंदिरों और मस्जिदों को अपनी आत्मा में रखता था, धर्म की दरारों पर अपना नन्हा शव छोड़ निकल पड़ा। कहीं दूर,दग्ध शरीर के ताप से दूर, जब यह अकलुषित हृदय पहुँचा तो एक और निष्पाप दूधिया आत्मा दिखी, जिसकी पलकों के कोरों में उसकी आँखों के जैसे ही अविश्वास से सहमा हुआ अश्रु रूका था। एक दूसरे के गले लग कर दोनों बाल मन दरिया के टूटे बाँध की तरह बह निकले। घाव बाँटे, एक दूसरे के हृदय में चुभी धरती की किरचें निकाली और न देखे हुए स्वप्नों का श्राद्ध रचा। उसने थमती हिचकियों में अपना नाम बताया - ‘आसिफा’। और दुख के साथी की ठोड़ी थाम कर कहा - ‘मत रो, न्याय होगा।’ धरती की तरफ़ नन्ही गुलाबी उँगली दिखा कर कहा- “देख, भले लोग लड़ रहे है मेरे लिए, न्याय होगा। तेरे लिये भी लड़ रहे होंगे। तू मत रो” फिर बोली, “मैं पश्चिम से हूँ, तू पूरब से, पर हैं

Truth and Narrative- New York Times fresh Salvo and interest in Love Jihad

For last week or so, New York Times has been desperately seeking first hand account of those who were in Inter-faith relations in India. A news medium is usually supposed to pursue the news, not create them. In this case, NYT first made up its mind that it needs to write on Inter-faith marriages in India and somehow create a narrative how poor and innocent Muslim men are falling prey to the belligerent, bigoted Hindus who are not allowing their women live with those they love. Having decided the line of argument, they set about creating the articles and two initial Essays have come up- Are You in an Interfaith Relationship in India? and another How New Laws Across India are Seeking to Ban All Interfaith Marriages ,  both published on the same day, linked to one another.  As they had put the cart before the horses, it is no wonder that the carriage tumbled the moment it started moving. Incidentally, it seems those who run things at New York Times that a spate of articles, suddenly comi