Sunday, November 25, 2018

For the joy of writing...

Over the last few years, I have struggled to write, and to keep up my blog. I kept blaming how life took over and that I find no time for myself. And then I had a few weeks to myself and I most certainly had a lot of time on my hands and yet I chose to do origami than write. That is when I realised, it was because I had forgotten the joy of writing.

I saw a snapshot of a publication of someone I know, who like me fancied oneself as a writer. That snapshot seemed to be snippet of terrible writing, in my opinion, and it felt like it was a reflection of my own view of myself where I am probably propped up by a select few creating an echo-bubble that praised my writing, but in reality, I am probably a terrible writer.
(Update: I feel I should explain a little here. That piece of writing from someone I know isn't objectively terrible. It's obviously good enough to be published. But the style is very different from what that writer projected it to be, which has been endorsed by a group of people, where I draw a parallel to my own echo chamber.)

I have had similar questions about my writing skills before and reading my first ever article I had published in The Hindu would always fill me with joy, pushing aside any doubts that I had. But not this time. This time I read it and considered a number of sentences that I could rewrite into what I now feel is better English. This revelation was very unsettling since my life had gravitated towards some form of writing, whether creative or not. So if I am really bad at writing, I started to question my ability to express my views and opinions. You might think I am my worst critic but I know I am not. Someone I trust has praised my writing for years and someone I trust has literally (pun intended) cut through my writing with criticism.

However, I had a wonderful discussion with a couple who supported my writing without ever reading anything I have written and that really evoked my joy of writing. It is true that I write without a need for validation. And what gave me the joy of writing had originally been the art of story telling and with the view of striving to get better every time. Somehow, I lost that over time.
Armed with all the arguments my friends had presented to me in terms of why I should continue writing, I went back in time to read the post I had written in July 2006 - "why do I blog...". When I started reading the post, my first reaction was that of annoyance at myself for being so stupid and childish. But it was 12 years ago and I am indeed a different person now. As I continued reading and I read the poem that followed, I loved it. Yes, I used "wat" instead of "what", but art is art and it is the flow of words that counts. My form of expression may have been different because I used a very different language back then, but the poem is still very valid today and it reminded me of who I am and rekindled in me the joy of writing.

My feelings, my own
My principles, mine alone
Never did I expect
An audience or an applause
I dreamed of it, yes of course
But didn't steer my path or plan my course
Validation is too big a word
For a world so small and a heart too bold
To follow it, wasn't to equal
The world's greatest who inspire us all
To write, and to write alone
Is to enjoy the flow of words ebbing in us all
To string together with words
People, places, emotions and worlds
Is to find the joy of writing
By opening up my heart and expressing
But no one needs to know
And no one needs to reflect my own
Write to only write, for it's true
to myself, my past and present, my hopes and dreams
My feelings, my own
My principles, mine alone