This is a picture of two funny faces. To me it depicts hypocrisy which is a central theme in my essay.

If you’re a miserable, depressed bastard who spends his time hating himself, the last thing you need is a blank page and a pen. Trust me, writing is the most exhausting and humiliating profession a person can take up. It drains you and drills in you an insatiable need for validation. You want people to hear you, to cry your name out in the streets, to sing praises, and if you get it, you’re only left wanting more.

Writing devours you, bit by bit. It eats you slowly like cancer. It robs you of your identity, your sense of self, and your fucking life. You wait for inspiration and then wring it dry when it comes; cutting yourself open in the process and pouring your entrails on a page. And then, you hastily stitch your wounds, before repeating the process. You become a serpent biting its tail. You go nowhere and only delude yourself into thinking that it’ll all come to a fruitful end one day.

Writers are liars. They contradict themselves all the time and then justify their viewpoints by saying things like: “My ideas were still evolving then.” Writers are thieves because they only redesign what their predecessors have said for centuries. Putting it figuratively, they capture a mansion that has stood for decades using a Polaroid and then paint all over the picture and say, “Here! Look at my surreal image! It’s unique, and I designed everything!” Writers are madmen who live out their twisted fetishes in their art. From incest to coulrophilia, you’ll find everything. You only need to look for it. Writers are moody fuckers who can get extremely jealous, bitter, proud, or angry. Writers are perverts. The blogosphere is full of hardcore sex poems that are deemed ‘sensual.’ Writers are paranoid. Somebody writes something on an obscure blog, and some other lunatic thinks it’s about him and starts a war. Writers are lazy. A lot of them don’t have jobs, and since it’s difficult to break into the publishing industry, they sit and write for morsels of gratitude in the form of likes or comments. Writers are narcissists. They’re either arrogant pricks or sorrowed narcissists who’re bitter, self-righteous preachers posing as mendicant monks of depression.

And when I say writers, don’t get me wrong, I’m as guilty as my peers. I’m guilty of creating a house of horrors, complete with stage, lighting, and actors with red and blue paint. Now, my father physically abused me when I was young, and today, I’m unemployed, bipolar, and on medication. That’s the hard truth the looks me in the eye and asks me to move on with my damn life. But that’s not how I portray it. If asked to write about it again, I’ll probably start by saying: “What do you know? Have you seen your mother almost dying at the hands of a feral man you still can’t call your father? You sit at home with your picture-perfect family, and you’re given everything on a platter. You don’t even have to dance for John’s head. Just ask, and it’ll be brought, neatly arranged with a cup of jus, and slices of the holy garlic bread, and old wine in a goblet from daddy’s cellar. And still, you whine and complain.” And I’ll then say: “I wept in classroom corners, and begged the bullies to leave me alone. I felt my spirit castrated each time I brought home my marks card because one rank short of Papa’s standard meant he’d beat me black and blue. I had my phone conversations monitored, and he’d feel free to abuse any friend with the filthiest words. I went to an all-boys school where each day was a palimpsest of the last – an unending, unyielding scrape of the mind, the grate leading to a now fattened, balding, medicated shell of a man who hopes that the voices in his head will stop echoing, and the episodes of grandeur, making him one of the two witnesses, turning water into blood, and standing transfigured like an archetypal Elijah will leave. I hope for hope because that’s the ashen ground with rasping withered grass I stand on. I numb the pain, stringing pills like the pentameter: the small blue sertraline, the white big Amisulpride, the small white valium, the big blue Valproate…and drink it down with hard Indian Rum, never caring about fame, fortune, prestige, or even life or death.”

So, you get it. Every writer is guilty. And here are a few more hypocritical lines from me in case you didn’t get it: “In this postmodern digital, millennial age filled with 16-year-olds going through drastic, dramatic identity crises, and writhing in angst like a person who’s smoked too much bad weed that hits the lungs hard, you have these adolescents blogging about catastrophic relationship failures – the size of a 8.0 scale earthquake – and making the entire universe revolve around them. It’s such a despicable quest for identity and validation from strangers across the globe. The smiley (with its numerous devious forms) has replaced the hug, the like has replaced the warmth of a handshake, and browsing through blog after blog, hunting down followers is now a walk in Eden. Even the paperback or hardcover finds annihilation, because of the e-reader or iPad, which only makes you skip lines, and not even visualize properly. And don’t get me wrong, it’s not just the young; it’s also time-traveling oldies which this post-apocalyptic wasteland called the ‘internet for acceptance’ has ensnared. And I’ve been there myself, trapped, crying for solace, watching the like button on Facebook or WordPress light up with the attention of a guard at the gate on duty during war, and fuck, I wasted time – years honestly, because if you put the hours together, you’ll get a clusterfuck of ages, which will stab you right in the stomach because you’re fucking responsible. But suffering shapes you, and it made me stop caring about likes or followers. I think too much time on the internet leads to disassociation and a completely fragmented identity that can’t root itself on solid ground anymore. Soon, we’ll find ourselves talking using ‘lols’ in the real world. We’ll become bat shit crazy and not in a good way. These days writing is about marketing too. Your content doesn’t have to be great, or hell, even good, if you know how to promote yourself. I find blogs about how to blog better, and I wonder if these people are writers or marketing professionals – zero imagery, zero analogy usage, zero storytelling, and just points like moles on parched skin: Do this, do this and do this. And then there are posts on blogging etiquette. Oh, for fucks sake! We aren’t at dinner at a Three Michelin Star restaurant.” Now, that’s me ranting about blogging in general, and making myself a flawed hero. But hypocrisy taints every sentence because I still love attention and get envious of popular blogs, and also because I love my Kindle!

Finally, I’ll end this by saying that I need a break. I need to go to the mountains, and breathe in the petrichor and feel the chill in my bones. Yes, I know I’ve said this so many times, but I’m considering giving all this up. What’s the point of it anyway? We write for praise, but we disdain it when it’s offered. We love being flattered, even though we know how superficial it is. We scratch each other’s backs like monkeys. We writers are a lousy, miserable, twisted, fucked up bunch.

© Nitin Lalit Murali (2019)

25 Replies to “Writers”

    1. Haha. Can’t wait to read the rest. I’m sure someone will meet with a helicopter accident in the book even though it’s a biography!

    1. Thanks for the words of encouragement G. Yeah I often get frustrated and wonder what I’m doing with my life, but then decide to write because I need to. It’s the only thing that keeps me going.

  1. “What’s the point of it anyway? We write for praise, but we disdain it when it’s offered. We love being flattered, even though we know how superficial it is. We scratch each other’s backs like monkeys. We writers are a lousy, miserable, twisted, fucked up bunch.”

    But you shouldn’t fucking leave! Because in spite of all of the negative shit, it’s still what keeps your heart beating, isn’t it?

    As a follower, I’m no catch, not one of the ‘populars’, but I realised that wasn’t important to me ages ago. Don’t get sucked into that shit, man! Write because you MUST!

    1. You’re right. I will continue writing because I must. It’s hard sometimes because of all the emotion involved. And trust me, I’d rather have you on my follower list than some popular blogger. In the end, writing is what keeps my heart beating.

  2. ohmygod Nitin. You’ve written my own very thoughts out. And yet, I too am guilty of what you say. I say, fuck it and just keep writing. Or not. Who the fuck even cares, right?? I’ve often said I bet if quit writing, maybe six people would notice. And maybe two might email and ask what was going on. So why do it? Because I write whether it’s posted or not. Might as well share it and perhaps touch the lives of those six people.

    1. Yeah Tara you’re right. It’s difficult sometimes, but if even one person likes what you do, keep at it is probably the right motto. Thank you. Your words helped me see things differently.

      1. Thank you so much Tara. Of late I’m finding it difficult to write on WP for certain reasons. But comments like that make the journey worthwhile ❤️

      2. I don’t plan on quitting Tara. I might take a break soon though. Of late I’m not inspired to write too. Perhaps that will change once I’ve taken a vacation.

  3. I always like the tremendous honesty and often irreverent tones of your writing, Nitin. Glad to have come back to a writer like you who, even though at times a bit too self-destructive and also destructive of others,
    releases torrents of truths and fights the greatest hypocrisies of our current world. Well done and well written! There is everything except shallowness in your writing and that is why I always like it that much. Your personal story is deeply poignant; it makes you automatically interesting as a person and writer. I was also bullied in school and am naturally sensitive to antiheroes, abused people and losers of the capitalist system because I want a less worse world with less human injustice. People like you are the thinkers and questioners of our current 21st century, a new dark age with reborn fascisms worldwide. They grow in our magic gardens and need to be removed every time they reappear throughout history (see Umberto Eco and his 14 common characteristics to detect fascism).

    Going back to your brilliant and heartfelt writing, I agree with you we can linger in the wondrous realms of wordpress for hours and hours… Yes, it is absolutely necessary for us to take breaks and breathe the air in the mountains, give and receive hugs and kisses outside of the digital world… I try to seek balance between the real world and cyber space, the latter is too addictive like dark chocolate. True, too much of it leads to Narcisism.

    I am not a great writer like you and a few other talented people I have met on this platform. I simply enjoy the karma effect of give and take wordpress offers us all. My humble writing attempts are sheer pleasure and therapy to me. I do not have any further aspirations. I do not judge myself that hard.

    As for your criticism in this post and, as I said before, I do like it but I also think you are way too hard on yourself sometimes and on the others. That sense of guilt is too strong. Without abandoning your well-reasoned critique on hypocrisy I would advise you to learn to forgive yourself and others. I am sure you will still be a very talented writer, Nitin.

    1. Thanks Marta. Yeah spending time on the Internet can become an obsession. It’s better to be balanced like you put it. I don’t consider myself a great writer. I hardly get any support from the people in my country and I’ve been published once in a minor literary magazine. A lot of people have told me not to be too hard on myself. I try but I often fail, and I guess all that frustration makes me be hard on others too. The last thing I really want to do is preach. I’d rather entertain. My country too is moving towards hardcore right wing nationalistic fascism and so, I get what you’re saying. Thank you again for the thought provoking comment.

  4. I forgot to say that I believe a well-read person with sensibility, observant of life, of empathic nature and inner passion for writing can write as well as another one who comes from a highly traumatised life.

    Objectively speaking the second person may come from a better family environment, may not have been abused by a parent or close relative, but how she or he perceives and experiences her or his life and the life of the others is always very personal. If that person has an unstoppable inner passion for writing I strongly believe she or he will necessarily be good at it, with or without winning a Pulitzer Price. (Sorry if I often make mistakes. English is my third language). Greetings from Catalonia and much Love – Marta 💞

    1. Yeah I don’t doubt that. That’s very good criticism actually. I wrote this post with me in mind, but if you were to take someone else who comes from a beautiful family, this post won’t apply to them. To be honest, I prefer reading descriptive lyrical prose than something angst ridden and vengeful. I try hard to soften my writing too. I’d pick Mary Oliver any day over Sylvia Plath even though both are terrific writers and Pulitzer Prize winners.

      1. Oh I so love Sylvia Plath! I have just looked her up on wikipedia and read a few poems. Yes, she seems to very interesting to keep reading with more detail. Will get to more of her work some day. I think Oliver expresses very profound things about our world and existence with an apparent simplicity and great transparency of language. This is totally different from Plath who stays on the dark side, very much like our Catalan poet Maria Mercè Marçal. Hope one day someone will translate her brilliant poems to English. Back to Oliver I like this combination of accessibility and depth of reflective thinking. I guess this is a great author to read even for those people who are not used to reading poetry. This is the link I found: https://bookriot.com/2019/01/16/mary-oliver-poems/

  5. Sorry, I wrote the beginning of this comment badly. I meant I already knew about Sylvia Plath, actually one of my favorite American poets. The only I did not know of is Mary Oliver, whom I have just found on the Internet (link provided above).

  6. Hey, Nitin, I nominated you for a Sunshine Blogger Award. I know, the irony. I’m assuming by the name it’s supposed to be for uplifting blogs, but I don’t care; I’m fucking subverting it and nominating blogs I like to read. Feel free to participate or not depending on your comfort level with it. The nomination is on my site. ;)

    1. Thanks Sean. I’m laughing. The irony indeed! I normally don’t accept awards, but I’m going to this time. I’ll take a look at your questions and answer them soon.

      1. I thought you might get a chuckle. If it doesn’t fit in with the feel of your site, don’t sweat it. You can even just answer the questions without nominating others. I just wanted acknowledge sites I like and maybe get others to visit them.

    1. Thank you so much Sean. That’s true, we’re a collection of frauds. But the least we can do is try to touch truth like you put it.

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