Friday, February 17, 2006

What’s Writing Got To Do With It?

Writing is about spending time with myself. I discovered this only recently. When I sit back to do some creative writing, I actually tend to ponder and take time off to think about the subject. Somehow, I realised that I had the lost the knack of doing so, since I joined the papers. Reporting or even feature writing is about putting down facts. The way you place these facts, the priority in which you position them reveals your style, which then becomes comparable to other ‘writers.’ But personally they aren’t writers; they are just the compilers of facts who have a flair for the English language.

The other day when a friend told me to contribute to a review page, I was quite enthusiastic about doing the book review. So I sat back and spent some time wondering which book I should review - whether it would be the Atlas Shrugged that had left a profound impact on me, or Shantaram which unfolded a brilliant story or then should it be a novel of Ruskin Bond, whose narration always leaves me envious of his ‘style’, where he manages to say so much in such simple language. But I realised that though I had read all these books in the recent past and remembered their storylines and characters, I couldn’t find an angle to review.

Each book brought alive the time that would have otherwise remained a stagnant part of my life. It gave me a thought to browse upon, the validity of actions to question and a new style of writing to learn from. But in spite of all these facts, I couldn’t review the book, because I had never looked back upon any of these books as a complete whole - the story, the style, the meaning and the message - all as one single package. I allowed my mind to wander, sometimes inspecting the moral and sometimes the literature and that too at different times during the reading. This is exactly what I realised when I sat down to review the Kite Runner, a book that I had praised and recommended highly, unfortunately without being truly capable of comprehending the book, except in the light of the narration of the story.

Today I decided to start writing again. It was a good habit, sometimes it helped me vent my frustration, sometimes it allowed me a liberal platform to opine and there were even those times when I would introspect my relationships, my surroundings and my self. In the flow of writing for the newspapers, I thought I was doing my creativity a good deal of justice, but actually I wasn’t… in fact it wasn’t even being used. An efficient combination of good vocabulary, sensible punctuations and politically correct thought isn’t called ‘creativity’; it is merely termed as ‘good reporting skills.’ And that I must remind myself isn’t the best compliment for a writer.

I happened to read another friend’s blog the other day - mind you he is a software engineer by profession - and I found myself appreciating his articles, not for the subjects he chose, but for the fluent flow of his thoughts. He still remains a computer geek who spends all his waking hours before the screen typing a bizarre combinations of mere characters on the keyboard, probably they make no sense to anybody but him and those of a like profession; but when he gets down to writing, his ideas, imagination, language, all seem to be in their right place. Well, logically speaking I should be better at the latter than him…but it hits me that I am ‘not’.

Of course, it doesn’t bother me - as regards competition or an inferiority complex - it just reminds me that I need to take some time off and write. Write, not to meet a deadline or ensure the limitation of words and thought; but write to feel good about myself, to remind myself that I am a writer first and a journalist later…’cause writers aren’t born everyday, but journalists might be.