Monday, January 15, 2018

Writer's block

I kept hearing of this thing called 'Writer's block', which keeps writers from writing, and wondered exactly what it could be. Possibly laziness, possibly boredom and given a nice fancy name so they could feel important about it, I supposed.

I mean, come on, ever heard of an 'Accountant's Block'? Where the figures suddenly danced in front of your eyes and you started wondering about exactly what addition meant and how to do it? Or, perhaps, a 'Plumber's Block'? Now, now, I did not mean blocked plumbing. That can happen all too often and pretty messy it can get, too, when it does happen.

And then I started writing...and now I find myself with this strange beast and understand its nature. The problem is not in being able to write but in a selection of what to write. The Accountant gets his figures and knows what the report he is expected to produce. If he forgets how to get from Point A to Point B, it is a temporary or permanent memory loss or dementia, not a block. Ditto the plumber. The writer, though, has to select point A and point B himself and also decide whether he travels in a straight line or meanders all over the place as he gets there. So, yes, a 'blocked writer' can still write a spanking good piece as a content writer - where point A, point B and the route are all laid out. But when he gets to try original writing, he thinks up a subject, and the thoughts fritter away, jumps to another and find ideas vanishing like the mist...

In my case, I rather think it is more to do with what I could call 'existential angst' if I were to be writing literary fiction. I could say I am in a crisis of  the soul - 'What is the purpose of writing?'; 'What does a blog post (or book or poem) mean in the larger scheme of things?' and so on. But, being who I am, it is more of 'What is the purpose of MY writing? Is anyone reading it at all?' I never really have known whether it is that I am being too honest for my own good and could have acquired a lot more 'literary credit' if I dressed up my feelings in the appropriate language or...

The problem, you see, is in the nature of what I write - Humor. Now humor is something people get forwarded on WhatsApp. The idea of actually BUYING a book of humor, or even reading it for free on Kindle Unlimited, must appear riotously...err...humorous to them, I suppose. (THAT pic at the side with a dog and cat? Yes, that one! THAT was a humor book I wrote before I realized this) You know, somewhat like someone expecting you to pay for a couple of breaths (although THAT I am assured is in the offing...and even in practice in some country or the other.) Forget BUYING, the idea of even having to read more than 140 characters for humor...or, God Forbid, open a link...

Anyway, you get the picture. Me, I am like a plant...I need praise like that thing needs water. Otherwise I droop, pine and generally give up the ghost. (Ah! No! I like life very much, thank you. If no-one reads my writing, I am not going to slash my wrists or any such thing. There is always vodka, music, movies and reading, instead of writing) And when I, as I am drooping, think of writing my next blog post or book, and consider what to write about...

Maybe I should try writing Romance? But, then, a bachelor writing Romance...I never even had a girlfriend. If I had had one, I'd not be alive today to wonder about what to write, she would have shot me long ago. As for a love affair with my mirror...I hate the damn thing, it never shows me looking as handsome as I know I look.

Perhaps mythology? After all, I know how Maricha is the uncle of Ravan. He was the son of Thataka, who was the mother also of Kekasi, the father being Somali, and Kekasi, if you did not know, was the mother of Ravan. Why would anyone be interested when they do not even care to know their grandfather's name? What do I know...I know they are...I know these things but I do not know that I'd be jumping with joy if someone told me anything of this sort today.

So, yes, maybe I should write myth. And, apparently, one should write from a fresh point of view. Ramayan is a bit too dicey what with Ram being deified and people all too willing to burn you at the stake if you set a foot wrong.

So, yeah, the Mahabharat it has to be. Remember that chap Sanjaya? Yeah, the same guy who watched the live telecast of the Kurukshetra war (YES! We got there eons before CNN) and relayed it to the blind Dhritarashtra. I think I should write the Mahabharat from the point of view of Sanjaya's wife's uncle's pet dog.

Any takers for an epic that goes like this?



  1. In my case it's not writers block but it's usually the clash of available time and ideas in my head ....when I am literally typing out a post in my minds eye I would probably be shopping for vegetables and when I am back home they are already gone like a puff of smoke

  2. Spellbinding, this. So many nuggets of wisdom. One really caught my attention--Vodka is to a writer what water is to a plant.

    Kidding aside, one of your very best posts, Suresh and that is saying something. You have the uncanny ability to make your readers think as they smile, and yeah here is one taker for that mythological.

  3. I'd consider if it were Sanjay's cat. Cats, you may have noticed from when I tried to write cat-related humour, have a more interesting perspective on things.

    1. Hahaha! Let us consider a duet between Sanjaya's wife's uncle's dog and Sanjaya's wife's cousin's cat :)

    2. I think I am in for this one :D

    3. I'm game for writing the Cat if Suresh writes the dog.

    4. "bowwowwhoooooooooooooogrrrbowwow" - Rinse and repeat. There, my part done :)

    5. Hehe.That wd be a different perspective indeed.How Would You name it ? Bowvowbharata

  4. Really love how you weave a post with philosophy and humour and great language. I really loved your first book (I wrote a huge review if you remember) and hope you keep impressing with your trademark satire.

    The writers block you have described about not knowing point A and point B because you are aware of lot of things and topics.This may not be a common justification for the entire lot of authors I'm sure.

    Only you can bring in the existential angst in a post like this..the effortless thinking and spontaneous writing will always remain your strength I guess.

    I particularly loved the last line .I think I should write the Mahabharat from the point of view of Sanjaya's wife's uncle's pet dog// Rofl phrase what a reader likes me think with trademark humour

    Keep blogging and keep writing know I'm going to buy the next book for sure :)

    1. Thanks Janani. Hope that love extends to genres other than satire written by next couple of projects are neither humorous nor satirical :)