As much as I don’t care what people think of what I write here in terms of opinions and subject matter, I care very much about what my readers may think. I know that sounds contradictory but believe me, it is possible to exist quite comfortably between these two spaces. Even in all my writing outside Of Opinions, where I am much more opinionated and polarising ( yes, that happens. And you thought blogging was the domain for all rebellious writers ), I always keep in mind that no matter how uncomfortable the views represented may be, it will ultimately be of use to the reader, in a non-ironic manner. I am without any doubt when it comes to this sort of responsibility as a writer. Whatever writing I will do in my life, it will always be utilitarian, even if it isn’t so in an obvious way. I can’t do art for art’s sake. Like life, it has to have purpose and meaning, otherwise it is no good to me at all . Even writers who were part of that literary movement turned out to be of use, the most famous example being Oscar Wilde. You just have to see what use it is to you and if you like Wilde, you know it’s fairly obvious.
So, why should I be questioning how I carry out my responsibility towards my readers here when I write in a fairly innocuous manner? I try to keep this blog a positive place. That doesn’t mean I ask my reader to go for a walk or meditate every five minutes. There is cheek here, irreverence but NO cynicism. I try to make a space here for vulnerabilities to exist. Things you wouldn’t be able to talk about even to the most understanding of people in your life, not in such detail anyway. I can only write from personal opinions and experiences but, this is not a diary. This is a place where views both objective and personal can co-exist, without either being discernible. This is my place to be, and, hopefully, for my readers as well when they join me in my thoughts for a few minutes in a day. Not to be is not a question here, because we are very much in favour of the first, very much working towards turning you in that direction.
But, I’ve been talking a lot about death recently. Some of it is coincidental but, they all stem from the overall arc of the existential crisis I’ve been having for the past month and will continue to have perhaps till the end of May. It is not the best time to be running a blog that has built itself on all the noble things described in the paragraphs above. It is great source for a novel ( I’ve even resorted to thinking about the “To be or not to be” speech in the shower. Yes, I am that weird. ) but not for a place which often has readers who themselves feel vulnerable. I mean, I posted a poem on suicide, perhaps because I let artistic vanity take precedence over the compassion I try to inculcate here. I have no interest in being a saint. I’d like to make it as a human being. But, shouldn’t that include humanity in all its emotional capacity? Or do I put out only the best in me here and save the rest, to protect myself and my readers?
I sometimes think about what sort of impression I’ve created among my long-term readers. What may spring to mind when they think of that ‘Of’ girl. I sometimes imagine my future published book getting bad reviews. And I think, I shouldn’t be reading them because I am more than likely to agree with them. Being in this sort of a vulnerable place as a writer makes the writing more honest and relatable but, it also makes you stand on the edge and risk giving up at any point. Not that I would want to give up on life. There is too much in it that makes me happy all too easily. But that is just observing, experiencing. When it comes to making something, or even wanting to make something, there are such myriad cautionary forces. How do you reconcile them with your urge to write something truthful as well as pro/anti life, depending how you look at it?
It would be of tremendous help if the writer did not have to be a critic of his/her own work. If there was no need to see what it means and conveys. If there was no curiosity to know what it had managed to convey. That it was simply done, whatever was needed to be expressed was simply expressed, with no further thought. But, I don’t think there has ever been a writer who could get away with that sort of freedom. Ultimately, you remember, writing is life, not recording life. The same rules apply.