The Rich Vegetarian

An Examined Life

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Tag: writing (page 1 of 2)

On Writerly Ambition (Or Lack Thereof)

I often get suggestions from many friends and well-wishers who ask me why I don’t submit writing pieces to magazines, websites, blogs, etc.

I think of a good response, then another… and because I am a good writer, I can give a nice-sounding explanation. I think they walk away convinced, believing that that I have a solid reason why I don’t submit my writing to other outlets.

Actually, here is how I think about this.

I am a lazy writer. I believe in inspiration. I believe in writing hard and fast, as rapidly as I can…. before the genius sprite flits away. I will do all that I can, give it my top best shot, write and edit, write and edit, be a willing servant to the creative spirit, put my fingers and words and typing to good use.

But something within me rebels at the idea of getting feedback. No, I am not terribly enthusiastic about placing my writing before an audience and getting their comments, and “improving my writing,” so to speak.

Does that make me an arrogant writer? Perhaps.

It’s just that I write for myself; I have always written for myself. I am positive that there are fabulous mentors out there who can help me, and who can guide my writing to a truer, clearer, more beautiful place.

But I have to find that one mentor. Or rather they have to find me. Because I am not looking, really.

For me, writing is life. In life, I have pretended to take guidance from others. Actually, I have taken guidance from others. But now, it has all come back to me. The inner voice is often timid and shaky, sometimes unclear… But it is there. She is there.

Similarly, I have always looked within to gain insights about my writing. Perhaps this makes it seem like I write in a vacuum of sorts, my own little cocoon or bubble.

Are all writers like me? (I am sure the answer is No.) Am I the only arrogant, so-called writer with an attitude problem?

I don’t know.

Do I need to “grow up,” mature as a writer… seriously think about improving my craft?

It is so darned difficult!

As I said, I am such a lazy writer. I answer to no one’s call except my own. I heed no other’s suggestion except mine. Does that make me arrogant? Or utterly and totally self-validated?

I don’t know!

Last year I attended a writers workshop, thinking that I could (or should) learn from fellow writers who, like me, traverse the path of part-time writing and a full-time job/other responsibilities, etc.

I came back uninspired.

(Really, what IS wrong with me?)

It feels like I am a solo player when it comes to writing. I will happily cheer for others but I am not particularly interested in playing with them.

I think it is simple. Writing is immensely soulful for me. I am not the least bit interested in anyone else’s critical feedback. For me, what comes naturally is referring back to my own voice, my unique creative process. This process is still a great mystery to me. So my endeavor has always been to seek and find my own voice, write it, then again, and again.

Write like an American

A few days ago, I was feeling rather sorry for myself.

Sorry that I never learned writing formally. That I didn’t ever learn composition. That I simply began writing one cold December (or January?) day — sad, lonely, homesick. That I, despite having written diligently in English all my life, still fumble for words, phrases. That I get tons of “likes” from my Indian friends but very few from my American ones.

Perhaps my writing only appeals to Indians? Because I write in a typically Indian-born-American-resident-writing-in-English manner?

(Does any kind of writing have universal appeal? Why am I bothered?)

But then it occurred to me that this is the perhaps the best time for a “hybrid” writer like me. My writing cannot be divorced from who I am. It can be read and appreciated only on its own terms. I cannot write like an American. Because all my writing is personal, it is inextricably tied to my life, my personal narrative, and all the little-big stories I carry within me. And that is perhaps its biggest strength.

Jan 1, 2017

Because there is so much to be said, and my heart is eager to express, but I feel held back, nervous, pessimistic. It is a funny-scary-joyful-sad experience.

I often think that the process of writing is far more important than its results.

So I am posting this lovely gem of a poem.

Hoping that I will draw courage from these words, come back to this space, and write bravely.

 

“Young Poets”

Write as you will
In whatever style you like
Too much blood has run under the bridge
To go on believing
That only one road is right.

In poetry everything is permitted.

With only this condition of course,
You have to improve the blank page.

Nicanor Parra

(trans. by Miller Williams)