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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.

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