He’s like a hawk, waiting for me to impulsively write a bad blog post, or a trite love poem, lacking depth. And the moment I do, he’ll come swooping down with those fierce talons and say, “Well done! This is one of your best posts!” while he chuckles behind my back. He doesn’t realize that I see through all his deceptive schemes, and that I have no time for games.
There was a time when my writing was obscure and shaded what I really wanted to convey like the smog hides the locomotive. There was a time when I imitated the poets I admired, and my uttering probably made them writhe in their graves. There was a time when I forced writing out like a bulimic induces vomiting. I did it because I walked on some dreamy shore then, basking in the sunrise as waves of romanticism washed my feet. But I’m both my biggest admirer and biggest critic. And so, I deleted my work myriad times, and came back after having suffered and having gained more experience. And experience produces perspective that replaces a bird’s-eye-view of reality with unique vantage points that reflect a writer’s idiosyncrasies, pain and love. It helps a writer imbue his work with a wealth of emotion that was previously missing. It helps a writer express his deepest longings and his wildest angst.
Some call me a ‘misfit,’ but if I didn’t walk lonely, weather-worn streets, I’d never know a harrowing reality where the church-bells don’t chime, and the hearse is the only vehicle seen. Others call me a ‘madman,’ but without madness, I’d never understand the minds of those who conform, and those other hypocrites who pretend to. Madness helps me understand the terrifying false light that illuminates so many paths; eventually leading people to a pit with worms and snakes. Madness helps me see through facades of optimism with their garish colors and helps me understand just how petty we all are. It helps me strive to be more honest.
At least I’m open about my faults and misgivings. I am often proud and malicious, and I elevate my grief and self-loathing to astronomical proportions by doing foolish things. But all said and done, I’m not some 45-year-old, married, cyber-stalking chickenshit posting under a false name and trying to seduce women half his age with stories about dead lovers. An initiator of online feuds who uses self-pity and an imagined penis size to try and start relationships with people he’s never met, before blackmailing them when they reject him. Have some self-respect!
Today, I’m far from a perfect writer, and I’m not a perfect person, but I try and try some more, and I don’t give up. Call me a tragic optimist, or a foolish idealist but if I didn’t try, my life would be deprived of even ephemeral meaning.
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)