Writer’s block. Misnomer, because it seems to strike non-writers as well. Over the last month, I must have written, in all, maybe 5,000 words. That’s really not much. That’s abysmal. In fact, I’m stopping right now to go and find a job that involves repetitive physical work; the sort said to dull the brain and make one an automaton. Since I’m already at that mental state, I might as well work my work around it.
The biggest disillusionment in life is finding out that creativity is not your birthright. That words do not fount forth at your command, and often, delightfully, when you least expect it. What I wouldn’t give to feel the mounting pressure of a thought growing, growing inside my mind, getting louder by the minute, demanding to be expressed with utmost reverence, not giving a damn about what I’m doing. What I wouldn’t give to be able to ruffle my hair, sparse though it may be, with exasperation and moan volubly about how demanding my creative process it, that it tears me away from the most essential tasks of everyday life. What I wouldn’t give to scramble for a scrap of paper, feeling that thought beginning to sprout limbs, expand, overflow, grow wings, stretch them and threaten to fly away. What I wouldn’t give for that excruciating pleasure of dithering, feeling the weight of the words even as they teeter on the edge of my mind.
All I have is fantasy. Wind. Imaginary, at that. I’d imagine all of the above and pull up a chair and rail at the computer and in the few seconds that it goes from ‘hibernate’ to ‘ctrl+alt+del’, contemplate on the limitations of technology. Then I’d create a new word document and give it a cryptic name and hit ‘enter’ once. And hit ‘enter’ again. A blank, white screen spreads itself open. My fingers hover over the keyboard, a coiled spring behind each knuckle. I stare at the screen, breathing hard. I stare at it as I would a lover caught in terrible betrayal, I demand a revelation, an outpouring, a tragic confession that would destroy us both. There’s this buzzing in my head. It grows louder. And then there’s just white noise.
The Newyorker, Guardian, a selection of incredible bloggers beckon to me from above. “You belong with us,” they say. “There’s nothing to it, really,” they say. “If you understand and enjoy us, surely you can write like us,” they reason. I believe them, nod furiously and begin typing. I hit ‘W’, remember to press down the ‘shift’ key even when I know Word will change the case of the first word of the sentence. One can’t be lax about these things. What if tomorrow, I needed to key in the first, brilliant chapter of my book and all I had to write on was notepad? I patted myself on the back for pressing down the ‘shift’ key. My right hand trembled. There’s still only white noise.
“It’s no big deal,” I told myself. “You’ll get it back tomorrow. It’s buried in there somewhere. You switched on the PC and nearly typed it out. It’s just a matter of time.” It’s just a matter of time, really. There’s nothing much to writing. The only difference between us and the writers we admire is that they sat and wrote things down and we didn’t. We can write anytime we want. There’s just not enough time. We’ll get around to it one of these days. It’s silly really, how people get worked up about not being able to write. A few lines ones in a while is more than enough to get by, keep the creative juices flowing.
What is important is that you understand what you hear and read. Say something appropriately smart, survive two rounds of repartee and you’re set. I mean, isn’t that what this is all about? To make conversation? What good’s a book otherwise? You read it, you talk about it a few times and then, well, you don’t really forget it, but you don’t remember as much of it anymore. Remembering that you’ve read it and being able to recollect a vague outline of the plot or point of the book will do, no? In fact, you don’t even have to read the whole book to do that.
Get on the internet, man! It’s all there. Look up a book, check out the plot, browse (love that word) some reviews, pick up some excerpts on the run and Bob’s your uncle. Yeah, Bob’s your uncle. I’m sure I read that somewhere. Who? Terry Pratchett? Oh yeah, that must have been who. He’s a satirist, isn’t he? Terribly funny guy. I haven’t read too much of his work, but the little I read, hilarious. Oh, yes, definitely, deep in parts too. I mean, a book can’t really touch you if there’s no depth to it, now, can it? That’s why I didn’t mention it was deep. See you around. I’ve got some reading to do.
Bastard. Insufferable know-it-all. Hmm, insufferable know-it-all. I’m sure I read that somewhere. I’l look it up. Must have read a thousand books so far. I don’t really see the point of reading anymore. I mean, the new ones are mostly like the older ones, maybe not even that good. I’ve got a vocabulary. I know what they’re about, where an author’s coming from. It’s like Shakespeare said. You just need to be a person to write about people. I’m sure characters can’t be all that different. I’ve seen a few in my life. I know the world. I know people. I wouldn’t say I know everything, that would be silly. I just know what I need to know. Important things. Things that’ll help me get by.
It’s wonderful, really. You don’t need much to get by on. A regular education, a few books over a few decades, travel a little bit, eat well, be confident, God-fearing and most importantly, just don’t overthink anything. Overthinking spoils everything. Go with the flow, you know. This business about being different, gay rights, LGBT, why go through all that trouble? Why not just be normal? There’s this funny Japanese proverb – the nail that sticks out gets hammered. LOL! So try to be normal and if you cant, don’t stick out. If you’ve got Chinese features in India, work in a beauty parlour. If you’re black, move to Africa. If you’re Tamil, stay in Tamil Nadu, why go and search for work elsewhere and be insulted? Stay with your family. Family values must be adhered to. Woman is the pillar of the household. If she goes out, the household falls. Nobody is persecuting them. But what would you do if your society depends on their contributions at home? No one else can keep the house homey and welcoming like women. You must treat them with utmost respect and care. Take them out whenever they want, being them back home before nightfall. Streets are not safe.
At home, TV on, browsing the internet for news, the women safely indoors, LGBT out of sight, everyone else in their respective State and country. That’s life as it should be. Who needs books? Who needs all those words? Why bother to write anything on top of all this? Enough, I think.