My parents are not particularly readers. My father reads an occasional book once in a while. My mother seldom reads. Neither does my brother. I’m the odd one out in the family, who spends time reading poems and stories before bedtime. Neither do I have many friends (like at all, except one at this point of time) who read and write, consuming themselves in the process. Consuming so much that they are no longer attached to the impressions that come from the world, only to the ones that come out of the story — meaning that, they are not able to focus on anything else. It’s like they lose their minds while reading. We. This is why reading is called an escape. You can’t do anything else but read when you do. Otherwise you can’t read.
I mostly write to show to myself, with occasional generous people who find time to read stories and give their feedback. But that is rare, because most of my poems and stories are kept to myself. Why? Because I want to constantly improve them and publish them. Sharing them up with online acquaintances and people on social media is a dead end, at least for me. For starters, my Facebook activity is so dead, that every time I’m tempted to open Facebook out of habit of doing it every 2 minutes, I’m reminded that there is not going to be anything there anyway. So why even do it?
And also because if I post anything online, I stop working on it, because social media gives me this false proof of validation that people read it, liked it, and that that should be it, the work is done. This happens even when I’m aware of it. That is what addiction is. So nowadays, I don’t publish on social platforms, I write everything in my notebooks. I’ve tons of them. First I was crazy about notebooks which had hand made recycled paper. Then I started feeling impractical, because it was very difficult to find good pens to write in them with. Nowadays, I’m crazy about the composition notebooks like the one that is an amazon product. Really pretty, hard bound, and cheap. Of course there are downsides of writing things on paper – you can’t redo undo with a couple of keyboard keystrokes, and there is always the risk of losing it, or it getting damaged. But just like the taste of food differs when you eat with a spoon as compared to when you eat with your hands, my writing does too. I write rough drafts in the notebooks, take notes in them, but ultimately I improve them online on google docs.
When writing has to be done for the sake of it, it’s hard to do, especially when you have this constant nag of the world moving on, while you are still stuck with yourself. But there is always that innate want to share your work with others. I don’t know why sharing has always come as a given. Most writers write for readers. It’s hard to not to. When you write for the sake of it, the temptation to make other people read it is always, always active. So what do I do with that temptation? I’ve started submitting to online journals and lit magazines. They are a dead end in a way. You submit now, and wait for 8 months, most probably only to find that you’ve been rejected, again. The only smart thing that you can do is to keep submitting the same story(ies) or poem(s) to multiple places. Of course, it’s a lonely path without people. But that is how the things are, what can be done? Submitting to publications is tradeoff made, that keeps the hopes high only if in delusion.
Sometimes I get frustrated because I can’t make myself stand up to give all my time to writing and reading. It’s too risky. And I’m not confident enough to take that risk. I’ve never taken risks. I’ve always cowered. I don’t write well. It’s a long shot anyway, so why do it?
Still I keep writing, it’s like one of those unexplained things that get explained through the most pathetic imaginations possible — like miracles were sourced to Gods. But I’m okay with not able to find any reason. Writing too, takes away all botheration and thoughts and impressions. It’s an escape route. And I kinda traipse on it, because I don’t have a good imagination. All that I’ve ever written has been felt and experienced. I’ve not done a good job (yet) to imagine worlds independent of ours. I’ve tried though. I’ll continue to keep trying. Why? Probably because I’m stupid. Or perhaps because I’m stubborn enough to dream constantly. It’s hard not to, so stubbornness comes easily, but its consequences are tough on the shoulders. Once in a while you slouch and shriek, but then you get back, probably because you are stupid. But stupid is fine, I guess.
When writing has to done for the sake of it, you do not have a lot of options. You can either do it, or not do it. Either way you are going to regret something like all other tradeoffs in the world. Point is, if the suffering is going to be optional and independent of those regrets. If it is going to be, then suffering is going to be a choice rather than consequence. It’s the basis of Buddhism and Sanatan Dharma — you feel things, but your mind can have the power to choose to not be effected by them. I’m up for it. Always have been. What I’ve not ever expected is not having many friends. I guess I’ll just have to be stubborn enough to accept that as well.
It’s okay if no one calls in years, and by no one, I mean many people. Because I know there is going to be one reading this blogpost, and I don’t want to be called for this omission of the fact.