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)