12/30/2013

A day in the life of an ex-writer


 (For Harry, 28/12/13)

Two, three, four…actually five story ideas race through his mind as his day starts.

Today is actually a good day, he says to himself.

And the sky agrees with him: the sun is shy, the clouds not so pursuing and they are as if they are some October clouds – the modern October, not the old one which vomited out rains en masse.

Today is the day for writing, he assures himself.

Out of the five stories he had, one remains in his mind. The others, in some miraculous way, have taken out a graceful exit. The story flows with a rare and admirable vividness. Who can stop it?

He is happy, for the first time in weeks. Finally, he will get back to his trade. Once again, he will sit behind his laptop and not just watch it but write. It is writing he previously enjoyed, it is writing that held his sanity, it is writing he stopped, it is writing he is getting back to. And now, he is confident, he will write with maturity and expertise. Time has altered him, it then as well must have altered his writings – in a positive way.

But, a good writer does not just get a story idea and then bang! Work on it. No! He takes time. He gets an idea, wait on it for days – even weeks, and then let it flow out of him slowly. Even Hemingway, in A moveable feast, said the same thing. And, does an aspiring good writer dare contradict Hemingway, for what benefit?

So, he gets the advice of Hemingway: he will not rush his story. But, he will not wait for days, not even weeks, just hours are enough. He has not written for days, pardon! Months, and to write just after hours of that story in his head is not necessarily a bad idea. After all, he will be getting back to it for some days before publishing it anywhere. What more? He will have a second eye, a third, a fourth, on it before publishing.

And, for a moment he gets thinking on how best to start the story. The entrance, the beginning, into a story matters. It can throw away a reader. It can capture a reader. Now, he has to get it right. After months, his writing should be powerful – not just any common writing.

The thought weighs heavily on him. It troubles him almost. How will he make his entry into the story?

He thinks a walk will do him good. Yes, writing is that laborious. It makes people embark on journeys they thought they would never embark on. It is a demon, especially when one has a story to pour out but the conditions are restrictive. One has to act.

So, he calls a friend. They agree to meet. In 30 minutes.

Well, to cut a long story short, they meet in 30 minutes. Two strange friends whose paths diverged and reconciled in a manner only fate can explain.

They laugh, share moments, stories, experiences and everything but they talk not writing. This friend is not a writer. This friend is just a plain human being. This friend does not know that this meeting was a way for the ex-writer to get back to himself. This friend does not know that the ex-writer set up this meeting after being haunted. This friend is just concerned with the things of this world – laughter and its sorrows, the experiences.

And, merry is made. It is often interrupted by moments of a deep seated sadness, a repressed and depressed depression. But life, and time, go on – smoothly and slowly until it comes to the point for the two friends to part. And, parting they do.

Then, the haunting again.

The entrance into the story has not yet been found. What is worse? The story appears to be blinking in and out of the mind of the ex-writer. It is no longer clear. At times, the writer remembers that he wanted to write about erm erm a man in erm erm…he has forgotten what it was about actually.

Now, he does not even have the story. The laughter, the chat, have drained the story away. He is back to stage one. His mind, an empty slate of nothing, is as good as that of the friend he was with.

As he sits in the minibus home, he curses – inaudible yes, but bad enough for the religious person he is recently claiming to be. He wishes he had, at the least, jotted down some ideas of the story. He could have rushed back to them. But now, right now, it is impossible.

He just has to wait for another day like today and then hope that he will find an entry point – a single sentence perhaps, even a single word – into the story.

For today, like most other days, the chapter is closed. He has failed to write.

He just curses. Yawns. Feels the rosary around his neck.

Maybe he should write a story about the rosary, how he got it, and why he finds a comfort in putting it around his neck and holding on to it when the anxiety and panic attacks hit him or when the violent tremors of the hands hit him in a public place.