Sunday, January 29, 2012

On True Freedom of Writing

I have been following a blog for quite a while and the writer never ceases to fascinate me – mostly because her words are so similar to my thoughts, which can only translate to me believing “Hell, this woman thinks just the way I do!”

Yet, it has always been a love-hate relationship with this blog. I followed it – then unfollowed it – added it again only to delete it a few weeks later. The reason being, despite the similarities in the outlook, she was so different – stark, vain, rude at times, self-indulgent, egoistic and extremely blunt - not to me; I have never interacted with her; but in her writing.

 Now, whether these are ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ virtues, I am no authority to judge but it irritated me, to say the least. Why the irritation?

I was probably angry that she took the liberty to be who she was without taking the effort to ‘correct’ her attitudes. While I, on the other hand, painstakingly put up with the weeding out of what is unacceptable every time I wrote something, which in turn took the joy out of writing. It is not that I altered my writing fearing the readers or wanting to please them – I did so because my manner and content was not acceptable to my own principles.

For instance, many times I would pen down something and then wonder why I was writing a mini-autobiography. Was I seeking attention? Am I too full of myself? Then I would conclude that these are not appropriate healthy tendencies and ought to be discouraged. While this self-censorship might be noble in the long run for the sake of my own character, they radically pulled down the quality of the content. Yet, here was a woman who seemed free of the clutches of a superego nanny. I was perhaps just envious of the freedom that it let her have.

Every time I read her blog, I am marveled at the sincerity her words carry since they were let out in an unabridged pure manner, straight from within. And then, I miss all the beauty that has gone down the drain so far from my similarly depthful thoughts.

Was my plight akin to that of the noble virtuous housewife who openly prided herself for her chastity and condemned the whore while secretly teeming with admiration and jealousy for the latter? 

So I have decided it doesn’t have to be that way anymore. Character correction should not be happening once the thoughts start flowing – they should have happened before the thoughts originated in the first place. The very fact that I wrote something auto-biographical means that I am still the person who is thinking a lot of herself. Changing it in my words won’t change it in the mind. The roots ought to have been and be altered; not the fruits.

As a writer, your words will inevitably give away your personality because words are nothing but thoughts. And it takes its toll on the writing when you try to modify your thoughts.  So, don’t bother about moralizing your personality. Work on it at other times – introspect, slowly change the attitudes - trim the envy, cut the anger, mould the generosity, prune the ego, root out the vanity - but not WHILE writing! Once you start typing, it is show time and you just have to let yourself be - in one complete uninhibited free flow.

It is like the show stage – you can rehearse all you want for days before - correct the flaws, adjust the steps, modify the style and perfect the technique. Yet on D-Day, you simply dance.  There is no time to think and consciously remember all that you learnt – you just have to let go and dance. You probably did soak in the fruits of your toil, you probably didn’t but what can you do on THE day but dance?

So, there – that was an important lesson from her. The importance of being who we are – unabashedly so, while writing. So, I have decided I am not going to think how I might come across to my readers – Will I sound conceited? – Am I being judgmental? – Am I being ridiculous? – No! The thoughts that came were what were meant to come and they shall take their own righteous place on the while space. After all, my best pieces have been the one that were least edited and restricted.

You are who you are – especially when you take the pen.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure that for the most part you are yourself, except when you 'change' for the sake of observing social niceties. I've found this blog to be as honest as it comes.

Keep writing.


A link - Chase your dreams.

Anonymous said...

The link - Chase your dreams.

Arumugam said...

I am curious now:D.Can u share the link?

Anonymous blogs are the answer.The need to maintain any online persona is a potent force and sometimes your readers may be people who know you in real life it becomes all the more tough to be frank.

I agree with the above comment,your blog is honest,I mean u did a post questioning motherhood right:D

Sinduja said...

@V: Thnks for the link V. Your subliminal blog isn't it? :) I really loved the post. Very profound.

"I've found this blog to be as honest as it comes." - Thanks V. That was the nicest thing that has happened to me today.

@Arumugam: Don't worry. You already read that blog. Anonymous blogs? I don't know if I can blog that way - perhaps I am far too attached to my ego to relinquish any appreciation that might be actually tagged with my name.

Anonymous said...

@Arumugam - I agree that being anonymous helps a lot in voicing one's true opinions without fear of being judged.

@Sindu - I too wanted to ask have I visited that blog?


Sinduja said...

@V: Ah, you and your anonymity club. Sigh! And that blog? You too V? Succumbing to curiosity? Very bad. Very bad. No, I have not seen you there...yet.

Priya Gopinath said...

Sindhu..u r urself always! may be sometime very rarely try hard to change the real to reel...sure u can't and u judge /discuss and finally get back to ur own track which is accepted by everyone who admires you.
Keep inspiring ..keep writing the the way it is ..

sumitra said...

No matter how much you try to polish it, at the end of the day, your true personality will be reflected through it somehow.

The question is, what do you want to achieve out of writing? Do you want to make your opinions known? Do you want people to appreciate you skill of writing? Do you just want to practice and improve your skill of writing? Or do you want just to have a medium to vent?

Whatever be your reason for writing, some people are going to like what you do and some are going to hate it. No matter what you do, how much you try, there are always going to be people who don't see it the way you do. There are people who hate J K Rowling's work too.

So yes, write about what you know and the reason you do it should be true to your heart. Agree with you about the roots and not the fruits that need to be altered.

I have a similar relationship with a particular blog, although I see it more like a cavity - something unpleasant, but I can't help sucking air through it from time to time :)

Sinduja said...

@Priya: Thank you so much! :) I am so glad you have that confidence in me. I wish I could keep it up.

@Sumitra: "although I see it more like a cavity - something unpleasant, but I can't help sucking air through it from time to time :)" - Wow! That was brilliant writing Sumitra! :)
Hmmm... what do I want to achieve out of writing? I think it is a combination of everything you have said.
Thanks for the great comment!

Astha said...

Even I have faced that dilemma many times. Sometimes I just want to open my heart and soul and write without inhibitions. But then you've to stick to your principles as well.
A lot of times, I used a lot of swear words in my post and then I just replaced them with mild ones, because that just seemed, well, not correct.

I guess that's the difference between writing privately and publicly. Maybe it would have been different if we were writing anonymously.

I do want the posts to be abut what I want to write, more than what my readers want to read. I don't know, I guess it just depends on what you feel comfortable with at the end :)

Sinduja said...

@Astha: Hi Astha! Thank you so much for being here! :)

I think even writing anonymously would have brought in this share of problems. After a while, it is not about the importance we attach to our names but that we attach to our inner pride and reputation - to the blog - to the feedback of readers who visit.

I agree with you that at the end, it is about being comfortable. Everything boils down to that in life I guess! :)

Between life's doings said...

I was reading today's newspaper and the news abt taslimas book cancellation took me straight to this post. I read it thru the lens of what is happening today and iam so glad for your post. I truly believe that writing reflects ones inner life and regardless of how it sounds to others, there it is, a piece of life expressed so we can learn, understand and grow from it if we'd like.

Sinduja said...

@Aarathi: You prove your goodness time and again. Or should I say yours words do it?

"a piece of life expressed so we can learn, understand and grow from it if we'd like."

For many, a piece of life expressed is an opportunity to be nosy or to ridicule or simply to compare their own lives with it. Yet, you chose to learn and grow from it. What can I say - learning and growth is all you are going to have ald also facilitate Aarathi! :)

Indumathy Sukanya said...

"A word is not the same with one writer as with another. One tears it from his guts. The other pulls it out of his overcoat pocket"

Heard of this quote?

Your writing smells of flesh and blood to me...every word of it does!

Very inspiring :)

Sinduja said...

@Indu: No, not heard of it but glad you brought it forward. Thank you so much. "Your writing smells of flesh and blood to me" - wonderful way of penning it...grateful! :)

PeeVee™ said...

Some one I know? :P Sounds familiar.

Yes, I'm letting curiosity get the better of me :D

As for writing, I truly believe that unless it's for a professional audience, restricting a writer is on par with suffocation. Apart from a few basic ground rules for sake of decency, of course.

Sinduja said...

@PeeVEe: Oh yesss..someone you know well :D

Damn, now this feels like a kitty party gossip thread. So sshhh. :P