You feel light after writing. You feel relieved after ranting about something that’s been hogging on your grey cells the entire day or more. Hence, writing is like pooping. Waste within you goes out. If you don’t write then you feel intellectually constipated. And much like bowel constipation, intellectual constipation is chronic and painful. Please forgive the gross but fitting comparison. Now if you would care to read further, this piece is a very contemplative, non-joking affair.
If you made it this far then go check out Florida Writers’ tips for avoiding intellectual constipation. It’s something we all face sooner or later. Writer’s block, inability to write, mental block, intellectual constipation or whatever you want to call it – it is a nagging problem. Think back to your earliest attempts at writing anything at all. Back when holding a pencil was a hurdle but ideas flowed like the Niagara falls. Eventually you mastered the hand-eye coordination borne out of millions of years of evolution and finally scribbled an unintelligible ‘A’. What a joyous moment for your mentors but little did your toddler brain understand that your troubles had just begun. You would soon find yourself growing into adulthood and handling the myriad responsibilities which come with it. And somewhere along the way your creative candle almost dimmed out to zero.
"But I still doodle though." "My diary is full of tragic poems about life." "I once wrote a novel on my computer. But then the hard disk crashed."
But why do you write?! It doesn’t matter if you are Salman Rushdie or Rajesh Kumar. You have the ability to pen your imagination and you do but why do you do it? Can you imagine how comical you would look to an animal of the wild gazing at you? Scribbling away, back bent, fingers blurred, head facing down. What was the catalyst that drove your artistic Stone Age brain to go from man-cow stick figures to something like Arabian Nights? One could say the earliest motivation to write was to record, to mark territory, to pass on knowledge about life, agriculture, hunting and to ask better questions. What caused these primitive urges to bloom into a rainbow of thoughts? How did writing become the very reflection of our subconscious? I would argue that the scribbling we call writing today is still dictated by the same instincts which drove our neolithic ancestors. But then again, my thoughts are dictated by the confines of my intellectual experiences. Perhaps Tolstoy experienced further and deeper? Perhaps his scrutiny of his own thought processes was more holistic.
Says Ruskin Bond in Book Of Nature:
As I walked home last night, I saw a lone fox dancing In the bright moonlight. I stood and watched; then Took the low road, knowing The night was his by right. Sometimes, when words ring true, I’m like a lone fox dancing In the morning dew.
So few words yet such a descriptive message is conveyed. Ah the beauty of writing! It is an important but definitely not the only sign of intelligence. A MIT graduate may be able to wield words yet unknown to the general populace and explain phenomena in a manner you or me would not comprehend. Pull up one of the more experienced teaching staff, however, and at least one of them would use simple, filtered language to explain it all and in doing so they would probably make us feel like Einsteins. Wouldn’t you agree that the teacher in this instance is more intelligent to possess the ability to explain complex matters in a simple manner? Why then do we tilt the balance of attraction in favour of well worded phrases? What ever happened to the good old Stone Age when snarling and threatening were more efficient ways of asserting points of view?
I was reading a few short stories by Guy De Maupassant the other the day and it became clear to me that I was asking the wrong question. Maupassant’s stories are dreadfully horrific. Some paint a picture of normality and then brutally shatter the illusion as the plot spins into chaos. To any reader endowed with a graphic imagination (that would be everyone) his stories are so utterly spine-chilling in their narrative power that clenched fingers and moistened eyes would be the smallest manifestations. He went insane toward the end of his life. Some of these tales were written when he was at the brink of madness. Who knows why he wrote what he did? Maybe he was trying to reaching out to his former self in an attempt to preserve what little sanity he had left.
I have seen mad people, and I have known some who were quite intelligent, lucid, even clear-sighted in every concern of life, except on one point. They could speak clearly, readily, profoundly on everything; till their thoughts were caught in the breakers of their delusions and went to pieces there, were dispersed and swamped in that furious and terrible sea of fogs and squalls which is called MADNESS.
And, in a sense, aren’t we all mad? The obsessive habits, rat races, wars, famine, hunger. We have the blood of other Earthlings on our hands. And these blood stained hands scrawl our deepest desires. Our greed is the reason we write. We see and we perceive. But perception is not reality. Perception is our reality. This perception is what we seek to impose on reality itself thereby fulfilling our libido. Conquering is in our instincts and we live by violence. That a majority of individuals strive for peace does not matter. History is witness to the fact that as a race we seek to grow, whatever the cost. The question is not ‘why’ but ‘where’. Where will we impose our thoughts? When will we rewrite history? Who will be absorbed by our written records as you are now absorbed by this mental poop.