Saturday, January 30, 2016

Dear Solitude

Funny how I read this article exactly at the moment when I’ve been puzzling over my inability to write for days, even if I never used to believe in “writer’s block” as far as journalism writing is concerned.  Long ago, my editor and I had agreed, as a matter of principle, that we, journalists could not afford a block, an ailment commonly afflicting creative writers; because for us, it’s either we have the story or we do not have it, and that it’s only the absence or incompleteness of facts that could prevent us from writing it.  That’s what I used to think before but life is not really that simple. Something has been preventing me from writing these days and I realized it’s not just the absence of facts. I could not bring myself to write because a huge part of me was on strike; and I call this part of me, my writing djinn. It was on strike because I failed to listen to its demand for a long, long time; and for such a long time, I have deprived it of its most basic need: the full and blossoming reading life and delightful solitude. I’ve been jumping from one place to another, soaking myself with the problems of the world, that the djinn is going mad at not being able to read at least four or five books continuously for hours, in total uninterrupted silence. For the djinn, I must say, is an artist, with a well-developed inner life and a will of its own. The djinn it is who fuels my writing. The sooner I recognize this, the better for both of us. I could no longer bring myself to write even if the materials I was supposed to write were already right before me.  The djinn had the anger of Ceres, the anger that prevented the grass from growing, the anger that killed all creativity, it was the anger that practically stopped all life on earth.  Ceres is the harvest goddess whose daughter Proserpine was abducted by Pluto. Her anger had caused the plants to wilt. The anger came that part of me that had supplied the spirit that fueled my journalism throughout these years. I have neglected that part of me. And now, it is demanding attention.  It is demanding solitude. It is going on strike.  It is my only lifeforce, the springboard from which all my writings come from. 

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