Saturday, 15 October 2016

Writers are self-obsessed. And its not bad.

They say you could find yourself, the true meaning of your existence, the reason of your being alive with art. By understanding art like no one else does. By performing the art. For yourself. In closed spaces. Rooms. At nights. In lonely times. All of that. By being someone else. For that moment. For a lifetime. Absolutely not full of oneself. Selfless. For others. And yet, have complete peace of mind.

Except for being a writer.

A writer can never be at peace. There will always be a storm brewing in an author's mind. People, coming and going. People being observed. People observing other people. Gangsters. High rollers. Whales. Sea lions. Tigers. Sanctuaries. Refugees. All of it. Sometimes in a mesh, all tangled together. Each being a part of the story. Now, do not get me wrong. One needs observational powers to become a good writer. Agreed. It is not, however, a superpower. Anyone can do that. Become a writer? Sure. You don't need the damnedest thing to become a writer. Like i said, a pen and few words. Anyone can be a writer. Everyone can be a writer. Everyone is a writer. All you need is a pen and a few words. The ability to weave a good story. And when the time is such, i am sure everyone can.

Writers are strange characters, if you ask me. Sort of outlandish. Is that supposed to sound noble, dignified almost? No. As far as i know, most writers are a bunch of immoral bastards. They create and kill characters at will. Lazy as a sloth. They invent stories, ideas to keep their love alive. Selfish pricks. That is the fact, the absolute truth. I know i am one. A writer and an immoral bastard. I accept it. Sort of. There is nothing i can do about it. So i accept it. I can write that and get away with it. And i certainly do not regret that. Writers are a weird bunch of artists. Being immoral surely helps the cause. Selfish people can become really good writers. History knows it. They are different from the lot. How, you ask?

All the other forms of art around the town can be costly, sometimes complex affairs to carry around. You need to understand colors, hues and what have you to be a painter.Painters can paint and paint, improve their game, their art until they are ready. It is a tough job, to convey and narrate to people what you see, how you see, minus any words. It is.

You need to have a good set of genes, smoothly chiseled vocal chords, understanding of beats, the high, the lows and tunes to become a good singer. Singers. They have it easy. Who does not like a good voice crooning after all. It calms you down, soothes you. A good song evokes pain, and memories attached with that pang. Memories that you like, and let go. Because they hurt, but are in the past.

Dancers, they can swing around and not care about what is happening in the world. All you need is to feel the music, deep down. In your heart. And you are a dancer. The right steps and the right beats and the stage is for the dancer to own. And for actors. You need to emote and express what the other person is unable to. It is not that they do not have those emotions. They are not able to live and, fake it and make it seem real. I know i make it sound easy. It is not.

Most artists, other than writers, do not need an audience immediately. Hold on. I did not mean an empty amphitheatre. We all need people to listen to us, to encourage us, to say we are doing good. And those are our immediate, inner circle of people. They see us everyday, point out flaws and strengths, the vices and the good every moment they are with us. However, painters, actors, dancers and all such other artists practice and practice, keep improving, until they are ready, with their absolute masterpiece. Every single time has to be their best foot forward. When in front of the audience, they must be ready. And up until then? They shy away from the crowd until they are ready with their best. It is advisable to leave them to themselves. Because they won't really come out. And speak. They do not need a gathering to pay attention to them immediately.

A writer on the other hand is a different story. Writers need audiences the moment they start writing. The first letter, the basic word, the lead sentence. The opening paragraph. They need people to talk to.  Even if they have just created it. And most of the times they do. Writers become the male and female, the kid and the adult. They are agonisingly selfish while they are at it. Most writers won't share their characters. They can not even if they tried to. That sort of exchange across tables just does not happen.

Of all vices,  however, the most hauntingly true for most writers is that they are self-obsessed. They are so full of themselves. They can not stand other talent. Or being ignored. Not being the centre of attraction every damn moment. Sure, for the spirit of sportsmanship, we will shake hands, smile, be nice and all that. Deep down inside, all writers are control freaks. They have to be in charge of all things, related and unrelated. Name me one writer who does not have the God syndrome. Of being able to create and destroy at will. On paper. They do. We all do. Who would not like to play the Almighty. And writers? Are you kidding me. At the drop of their hat. Yes.

Writers are so full of themselves and their characters that most of the times they are not listening to you. They are paying attention, but not really there. They are lost. Most writers are. And mind you, a writer never pens down a word, the smallest prose to find self. Nope. For the better part, a writer is just pouring her or his heart out, all the fire, the ice, the hatred and the indifference within. They do not care if someone gets hurt, or cries if they read those words. Yeah. Writers are that self-indulgent. Obsessed with the idea of self. And that is all. Narcissistic. On the edge of being vainglorious. Nothing else matters. A writer always has to be the smartest person in the room. The only problem with that is all of us are writers. We all write, don't we?

And its not all that bad.

Aha moment? Do i have your attention now. That is the trick. The trick a con artist pulls and and no one can call their bluff. The trick that i just pulled. See, how full i am of myself. How confident i am that you will read the next sentence, just to see what i say now. You hate me. I accept that. You love me now. No? Give it a moment. You will. Ah, that smile. I have known it for quite some time now. Hear me out then.

A self obsessed writer is not all that bad. No self obsessed writer is bad. I have read a few books. I have been writing, or at least attempting to, for some time now. About a decade. Nearly. And i write the best when i am full, of myself, my characters, my ideas and me. Writers need to understand themselves so well, fall in love with their own self so purely and vividly that they can create characters at will. Writers need to understand that nothing is more important than they themselves are. And then use that confidence to kill characters. Their creation. Destroy it without the slightest remorse. On my mark. One Two Three. Gone. Poof! Its air. Writers not full of themselves, not selfish are doing injustice to their characters. They are not invested fully, in their writing. That is unfair to the reader. To the words, the pen, the paper and most of all, to themselves. The fire must pour itself without waiting to know for consequences. The water must rage and break barriers without caring for death. These are words. These are writers.

Its dark, complex and yet uplifting. It haunts. And hurts. And only when it hurts do the words flow, ceaselessly. Aimlessly at times. But they ooze out. Like blood. And then the pain subsides. Slowly but surely. The writer, however, is not hooked. To the pain, the comfort after the agony subsides. The calm after the suffering rests on paper. Without caring what will happen to them, the readers. The others. all that matters is that the emotions must come out. And stare at you from a distance.

And thus, i say...all writers are self-obsessed. And it is not that bad.

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