Recently, Kate M. Colby interviewed me for her Writers’ Tour. If you want to read my responses on different questions concerning writing, you may do so here. This was the first time I felt properly interviewed for something. I mean, I am no celebrity. Neither have I done anything in life that is in anyway a remarkable achievement. Well, maybe for myself, because it may run contrary to my disposition but, nothing for general humanity. However, seeing my name and face on someone else’s blog, showcasing a series of opinions not in my usual cheeky style here but, quite conventional and confessional, threw up two questions of my own to me. What had I done for someone to be interested in my responses? What did my responses say about me?
When I say being “properly” interviewed, I am talking about having proper, intelligent questions to answers which can be based on my own experiences. We’ve all had to leg it in job interviews or college/uni interviews where, at least for me, it has often been a case of trying to convince people of what I myself am not convinced of. It’s taken me a while to realise, not everybody likes a sense of humour in these scenarios. Certainly not a self-deprecating one. However, it is such a handicap for me, if I had to give stern responses, my face would burn, my lips would stitch themselves up, and I’ll inevitably start crying. Or, conversely, if I am resolute about my opinions, I will start an argument, and you don’t wanna see me when I’m angry. It doesn’t often happen, but I even scare myself. Here, I was in a safe environment, given a very precise questionnaire and was totally relieved because the person at the other end is someone I respect and trust. Therefore, I duly wrote my responses without thinking about it as such, forgot about having to send it back to her, and then eventually did before it was too late. I didn’t really think about it until it was published. And then, I felt a mixture of feeling exposed, achievement, belonging and surprise. It felt mostly good, but there were a couple of things that puzzled me.
First of all, I didn’t build my WordPress corner on feelings initially. I only wanted to concern myself with the intellect, even if I write about human mind and behaviour. It has been a gradual, arrhythmic peeling of the writer behind it. I don’t discuss details of my life, and I never will. That is why, I even wanted to keep my name, my visage, my background and anything else private. I just wanted this to be a place for ideas, discussions. But, gradually, I’ve built a trust with my readership who, though they are people I’ve never met, I still feel are accepting of me in some way. But, there can still be more to it. With work, I find, it is not with whom you do it, or how much success or failure you achieve while you do it, that hits home what it is really about to you. What shows you its significance is what the people in your life have to say about it. I am, for better or for worse, a complete people person. If I am not sharing most of my life with a partner, family member or a friend, I cannot see the significance of it. For example, even while buying groceries, if I cannot chit-chat about some aspect of that with the sales assistant/cashier, I don’t feel the experience is complete. And, you may be surprised to know, that feeling of completion is easier to find than for what is most important to me in life, writing.
In the interview, I went a little sappy. In reply to a question about what supports me in my writing, I simply wrote, my love for writing itself. Which is true, but it isn’t enough. I’ve always felt this, without realising it until the last couple of years or so. It is not like the people in my life have been unkind. But, uninvested. I’ve been lucky enough to generally have decent people, and I’ve also been lucky enough to be self-assured in my writing ability. It comes as no surprise to any person I’ve ever met. But, it never goes any further than that. Even if I discuss writers or books, I never get to talk about my work to anybody. Maybe it isn’t luck at all. Maybe I don’t have the ability to trust in that respect, unlike for everything else.
In the past few months, I’ve started to write more and more about subjects I am uncomfortable with. Why? Well, I justify it by thinking it might be relatable and usable to my readers, because it will take some insecure experience we both have felt, and show how to deal with it. A mode of writing therapy, if you like, though I personally hate the term. But, just because I write them, doesn’t mean I’ve written them away. They are still there, and despite being in a safe environment, they can still be trampled upon. And, that is not my purpose as a writer. Through writing, I only want to explore human behaviour, not try to make better my own or anyone else’s. I don’t want to write confessionally, because I know I do not have the capacity to make right any wrong in my life. All the unpleasant experiences will always be there, whether I am at my best or at my worst. I cannot wish them away or make them better. There is just a set of things I want to do in life, that should sustain me for as long as a human lifespan can be. And, if mortality comes knocking at any point, starting from today to the rest of my life, I would have died trying, living. I don’t want to make any peace with the past or present. I just want to go on.
It isn’t a false sense of security. It is the sad truth of humanity that we are kinder, more compassionate and understanding of people whom we’ve never met than towards the people in our lives. More on this in the upcoming 1000 Voices for Compassion post on the 20th , but the point is, I cannot let the genuine kindness of strangers here make me feel like I can work out the emotional labyrinth of my life. In a blog, or a novel, or a screenplay for a future blockbuster film or whatever. I don’t have the strength, courage and will to do it.