For once, I am early to a party. NaNoWriMo will soon be upon us and, wonder of wonders, I am aware of the fact.
Only someone like me would call writing under pressure of some time-and-word limit, and failing at it, a party. To save face, I can confidently say that oh, I can bust some moves. Even Madonna would be impressed. Though not right now, not so soon after having surgery. Maybe convalescing has reminded me of this annual gathering of fictionally-driven minds in the first place, though I am suitably bitter towards it, having unsuccessfully attempted it, on and off, for nearly ten years.
There are less than 90 days left to this s***-of-a-year 2016. In November or not, will this be the year in which I write a novel?
I don’t know about writing anything. Anything at all. I don’t know what to write. This has never happened before. Maybe there hasn’t always been an audience, or opportunities. But, there was always the habit. The will. It’s like forgetting to brush your teeth a couple of times, and then stopping altogether because no one notices anyway. Except, I’d much rather let my teeth decay than my brain.
I want to write. But, I don’t know what to write. This time last year, I was writing a lot of poetry. Some of you are habitual poets, but it comes once in a violet moon for me, so it was surprising that said moon stuck around for two months or so. It was like love – stormed, overwhelmed, swept away. And then cast ashore to this dull side of 2016.
Writing essays is like flogging an absentee horse. Sometimes its ghost comes by to look at me pityingly. It’s corpse has long been subsumed into the earth. In order to write essays, you need to have to two things: an interesting life and a curious, even mercurial, mind. It’s tough business, mind you. It’s looked at with some derision by ‘real’ writers, it is often the chosen form for celebrity bestsellers, and especially in this day and age, when ‘reality’ is the main creative commodity, it is a dangerous path to tread if you desire credibility. There are plenty of don’ts that no how-to-write books tell you about; you can only learn by doing. And since I cannot trump the dullness of my life, nor furnish opinions that are interesting, I am, for the first time, lacking in essay material.
Last, is fiction. I include all fictive forms in this, not just the novel. I published a short story here called The Rakhi Maker a month ago, to which the reception was scarce but positive. I guess the subject matter was remote for some, though maybe others liked it for the very same reason. I rarely publish fiction here, because my fiction tends to tread boundaries I keep myself within in this social platform. Fiction must include everything, but with essays you can choose where you don’t want to go.
I suppose I could give fiction a try. Maybe take a notebook and a pen, or a blank Word document and see what happens. But, I doubt if anything will. Online writing communities say otherwise, but sometimes the muse has to come to you. You can’t conjure her up. She placed that bag of rakhis in the train I was travelling in, which inspired The Rakhi Maker. She made YouTube suggest Ted Talks videos to me, which resulted in me blogging here, instead of leaving long, troll-worthy comments on that platform.
I’ve never been a big believer in destiny, but sometimes you have to recognise how so many things happen to you by chance. That maybe, you’re not as much a product of your personality as you think you are. That, most of your life has been based on being in the right or wrong place, irrespective of your desires and decisions. That you just bumble along, like a leaf against a wind, leading you to a performance theatre or an operation theatre. Maybe it misread your desires. Maybe you didn’t desire long enough. Loud enough.
If I give up altogether (and that doesn’t seem impossible at this point), I don’t know how, or if I’ll get back. I’ve seen it, heard too many stories of people just giving up on their creative pursuits, because it wasn’t going anywhere, or life demanded something else. I felt invincible before; that this would never happen to me. But, I am on the verge of it, on the verge of some change at least, and if this has to come along, it has to change too.
And maybe NaNoWriMo could spark that change. I don’t know. I hope so. It would be nice.
Would you like to read more fiction on Of Opinions? What do you feel like writing these days?