Thoughts

on poetry in blog world…

Poetry is rampant in the blog world, we are inundated by poems of every hue, every shade and color, not to mention the plenitude of esoteric aspects like metaphors and imagery. Even if you subscribe to a few blogs, you won’t escape the multitude of verse emanating from the prolific minds of each of these budding poets. This excess though comes at a price, as you absorb the deluge there is a steady increase in the thresholds of your sensory stimulus, a saturation of sensuousness essential for the enjoyment of this form of creative writing.

The art that gets manifested in poetry is not of the figurative type, fluid in its essence it seeps into the space of abstract thought unlike a piece of prose where the writer is more descriptive, or like non-fictional posts where the intent and the tone is overtly prescriptive. Reading a poem is like looking at a modern painting where the painter has used methods like colors, canvas and possibly structures easily identifiable by the masses, but is not emblematic of the underlying idea. She doesn’t show her intent, the crux of the piece of work or its interpretation lies within the one who is reading. Ownership of the idea that led to the piece of art is relinquished deliberately to enable it take fruition in the thoughts of the readers.

Blog readers on the other hand, are uncertain in the matters of patience and purpose, and most of them are writers of poetry themselves. So, even if the thoughts reigning the minds are similar, even though the content resonates with each other, the way to express them has to embrace the concept of form or style. Form, unlike content is a definitive organic aspect of a poet and once in the groove it’s very difficult to abandon it and embrace another. This is the basic requirement while reading another poet, because the thought that goes into a poem and the choice of words, images and the rhythm are inseparable. The alienness of another’s diction and portrayal, subverts the latent joy in rediscovering the theme and the progression of the central idea as a poem proceeds from its inception to its conclusion.

Readers who are not proficient in writing, lack these constraints but bring in a new set of limitations. They tend to interpret the content winnowing out art from the poem. This is not done as a disrespect to the poem but as a genuine interest to understand what the poet might have meant. The acceptance of ownership, that art is not universal but a very personal experience is an overwhelming concept to many. The usual refuge sought by such readers is in interpretations made by critics, thereby making one distant from the poem, the poet and even ones own volition making the whole process of reading academic, missing out on the beauty that one intended to enjoy by reading poetry.

More often than not, the poet rereading his work sees a novel beauty, a revelation that confounds even himself. It is indeed exasperating to tend to comments from these two types of readers, not to mention the irrelevant and at times frustrating comments posted for unfathomable purposes. On the other hand, it is a satisfying experience to see so many followers, likes and encouraging comments on posts you yourself are critical about. That by itself, makes writing poetry in blog world worthy of the effort and the time spent.

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Fiction, Thoughts

Reflections in the dark

There is a sense of foreboding rife in the night air. Tonight there is no moon or stars, not even the distant lights that shine in his dark eyes when he searches for her. The absence of the celestial lights is not due to clouds either. The clouds from south are yet to arrive, there must be another explanation. He might be going blind. This inability to rationalize is always disconcerting, it makes him ask questions. Indulging the unknown by asking questions makes it tolerable. What is it then that holds the night together in the absence of the moon and the stars? It is not the dark sky that seems too big to care, no the sky never cared. Maybe what keeps the night alive is its arrogant defiance of light. It is only in the blatant disregard to doubts that the absolute is ever achieved.

He must learn more from the night. He must learn to swallow the light even though it burns within, leaving the taste of charred regrets. He knows he must go on till he devours the last of the wavering wisps of pride. The enemy, she had told him, lies within. He had then spent ages trying to fight it, fight them, looking for her approval. Each victory felt a load off, expunged, they became shadows. Even in the dark of this night, he can see their silhouettes. Memories don’t have a shape, structure or silver linings, they just have these haunting silhouettes. Her eyes move rapidly as if excited in his forays, but he can see from within. Beyond the eyelids, beyond the eyes, the vision she finds difficult to fathom, a vision that betrays the disappointment in him.

She was never afraid of the shadows, it’s the reflections that disturbed her. She defied them, but not with conviction. Since a young age she would stare deep into the mirror, trying to look for a movement, and often trying to gauge the depths of her soul. Is the reflection exactly as she appeared to others, or do they see more? We don’t always need mirrors to see ourselves, he had said, sometimes our reflections show us graver truths. All we need is a calm mind, and a calm mind is like a black mirror. It absorbs all the light, all your essence, rendering you void. The only proof of your existence is in the reflection, but to see the reflection emanating from the black mirror requires an assimilation into the void. She must go further to look for him, before he wakes up and she becomes one of his reflections.

He feels his mouth dried up, the tongue feeling the back of his parched throat. She must be probing again, he could feel himself drained out of life. The dryness progressing further, reaching his now withered heart. He is convinced it would spread further leaving him with a shriveled soul. The prospect is comforting. But he must exist, not because he loves her. He must exist so that she has a purpose as she sleeps keeping his night alive. He takes a last longing look at her and retreats back into the depths of the night, before she can find him and destroy them both.

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Thoughts

on the lure of dark literature…

Why are we attracted to dark literature?
The art of living, as the wise gurus tell us is to be thankful, to enjoy every moment of it. To the practical mind this translates to finding happiness, and the mind concedes the futility of this search, in every moment of life. However, it sees the logic in the search for a less ephemeral and less insignificant happiness that transcends concepts like moments and breathing. This practical and therefore average mind, average because of the number of beings it rides on is far more than the other types of minds. Most people therefore live in the search of happiness.

With the platitude elegantly established, we will attempt to address the question in the first line which must feel misplaced in the paragraph. We might modify the question, now that it feels happy to be back in focus and therefore amenable to changes, and ask what is the happiness that people derive from reading dark literature. For, if reading the material is not making them feel good then they wont belong to the club of averages. If that was true, there would only be a few lovers of the dark writings. Tragedies over the ages have held a greater veneration than any comedy or writing of the type that justifies why we should be thankful for the gods, for mankind, for our existence. Contemporary literature is mostly dystopian, it reeks of suffering of the individual, a pain that one must live with in every moment and breath. A darkness pervades every word that comes out of the melancholic souls of these writers. It is overdone to such an extent that to a discerning reader, discerning being a euphemism for the cynic, this blatant display of darkness starts to seem pretentious.

However, discerning or not, we all enjoy the books we read which takes us back to where we started this ramble. The question remains unanswered. Instead of jumping into the arena and proffering an answer let us remain in the sidelines for a while as we examine the nature of the contradicting states of happiness and sorrow.

Happiness compels us to seek company. It makes us look outwards mostly because everything looks good when we are feeling so, we get this urge to spread it around. Happiness demands dissipation of the inadvertent answers it conjures up.

Suffering and pain on the other hand makes us look within. It makes us introspect as we are flooded with questions. Everything we believed in, we loved, we thought of ourself lies shattered to pieces rendering us incapable of expressing the gruesome reality that lies within, to others. Suffering is inherently implosive, it leaves us stranded on the island with a heavy backpack of these debilitating questions.

Given these definitions, and being forced to accept the definitions as they are offered, we might re-establish the platitude that no sane person would like to indulge in anything that leads to the island. At this juncture, one might feel like giving up on the answer out of frustration with this author or one might persevere and delve further as one does while reading dark literature. The reader and connoisseur of the dark must understand that though the author has been striving to apply the question in the purview of grand schemes and ubiquitous definitions, the question is not pertinent to darkness in life, it is about dark literature.

Reading is an exclusively private activity. Even though some might cite book clubs and public reading, those same members of the clubs and the audience would understand the frustration of expounding the inexplicable more than the outsiders. Reading as we all know, which we in our personal spaces are doing right now with this post, is a private affair, but so is suffering. The subject matter resonates with the verb when we take up writings of the darker shades. It also seems promising because it relates and joins us in the search for the answers to our suffering. As a result, we tend to immerse ourselves in the work instead of the detached, flippant attitude we bear while reading something comical or something uplifting.

The reason we love dark literature is also because of the fact that we all suffer, unless we are smiling gurus making others aware of their suffering and then providing vacuous solutions. Dark literature provides us with perspective that might equip us not only in answering the questions that fester, but also prepare us in coping with life as it would unfold, both on the introspective and the emphatic grounds. The art of living is not about finding or acquiring the state of happiness in every moment, but in accepting the nature of the contradicting constructs that life is and reading till you drop dead.

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Thoughts

on loss, and moving on..

Losing something you hold dear is not destiny, or bad luck, or something to do with a God, something that is beyond your control.

The loss being discussed here is not about losing because of something you did, but for no apparent reason, for no fault on your part. Such loss makes us question the futility of life, the existence of a just God, questions that are more rhetoric than introspective. These questions, like all rhetorics sound good when it doesnt concern us, when it does they end up in making us wallow in self-pity. We are told that loss is arbitrary, just like life is and we must look at the bright side – be thankful of what we still have, be thankful for being alive and the infinite choices we still have. Being rationalists, that we are or raised to be so, we take such advice with the same hopelessness with which we were dealing with our loss.

The natural tendency of rationalists is to look for a theory of cause and effect, a search that inexorably leads to distress. Rationalists lack the facilities for subscribing to faith, they continue to seek answers no matter what they are told to imbibe by the wise. This enquiry either leads to frustration or to the one answer which offers no solace. The feeling of sense of loss, we realize, is conceived in our feeling of the sense of possession. Possessions are never involuntary, you need to be very much in control to claim something to be yours, attachment is always a conscious choice. The problem arises due to the anachronism of these two events, making us question if there is a free will after all. If it exists then it must play a part when we are distraught. One might argue that it does, manifested in the way we deal with loss, the way we stretch the mourning only so far. The inertia of life makes us move on towards further acquisitions and the imminent losses.

Having said that, one would question why we must indulge in the doomed affair in the first place. Can we not live without a sense of possession, thereby eliminating the concept of loss. Alternatively, if we do indulge why do we get sympathy on our losses, an act that looks humane on the surface but inevitably acts to aggravate the problem at hand. The most relevant question however is still the one we started with – is there something like destiny, bad luck or God that we can continue to rely on, to put the blame so we can keep on making sense of our lives. The only solicitous thought I have on this topic is that life may not seem to offer the answers to these questions, but it is because at the moments we are close to the answers, we are prodded to move on.

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Thoughts

on titles and pictures (not to and not mentioned, the infamous tags)…

Writers have always struggled with titles.

Giving a title to your post is adding a finality to it, as soon as you do that you would find yourself treading the line between making a point and being preachy. No writer ever in the history of mankind wanted to be classified as preachy, they have always looked down upon the seers and godmen who claim to know the secrets to life, universe and everything. The closest any writer has come to answering was Douglas Adams, and it seems that he found the concept so odd that he chose an even number.

Writers, unlike what the readers would want to believe, are equally clueless about the topic at hand, but they are aware of this cluelessness, which makes them ask the relevant questions, research the plausible answers and toil hard with reasoning. Thus, this very awareness makes them sound insightful and intelligent. The fact that you couldn’t express your content; be it ideas, stories, perspectives, in few words is evident from your verbose post you have ended up with in the first place. You definitely cannot summarise it in fewer words without compromising on the essence of the post. So coming up with a title, which in a way is a compressed summary must be a daunting task, and yet every writer has to do it. For without a title, a post is no different than the abandoned children of a promiscuous knight, except here; the writer knight gave birth and left the words to fight their own war.

When it comes to tagging a picture with a post, it must be even more confusing. Not only are you trying to summarise your post, but you are choosing a medium that is beyond your abilities, and not just the genre. A picture is also one step towards guiding the reader’s imagination as they consume your words. Take it to the extreme and you have a movie with each scene pre-imagined for the audience, it’s only when you think of the movie in retrospective that you tend to get involved, in the characters, in the emotions, or say in the story.

The sole purpose of a title or a tagged picture is to make the post more accessible to the wandering audience, one which expects some kind of stimulus to get involved. There are millions of posts that one comes across everyday making it imperative that there is a way to screen out the unwanted and unworthy, except both the writers and the readers suffer from the ineptitude of these tags to describe or summarise a post.

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Thoughts

on the travails of writing…

Disclaimer: Unlike other posts about my thoughts on various subjects, this has a personal tone, so if you are interested in the not so curious case of ESP you may proceed to read further.

Writing is said to be therapeutic and nowhere is it as often asserted as by the blog writers, a good number of which seem to be suffering in the mind. I had never came across so many people claiming to be depressed, to be struggling with anxiety, to be struggling with unsolvable health problems, to be suspended in the permanent state of quitting the blog if not other things in their lives. So we may safely conclude; as a snobbish statistician might do, that the assertion holds true. Writing must be indeed therapeutic, or at least writing blogs must be. But is it because of its therapeutic takeaways that people write, or they are driven by creativity and the therapy is a side effect.

If we delve into the nature of therapy, it’s never a voluntary exercise; in the sense that one indulges in therapy out of compulsion or with the intention that if done it might have some constructive benefits, unlike activities like entertainment, sports, alcohol, drugs, or better reading, the non-prescriptive enterprises taken up for fun.

Structure and routine are integral part of therapy, there is always a formal or austere intonation. One could cite examples like morning runs, medically supervised therapy, yoga, diet all of which adhere to a formal definition, they demand perseverance and faith. Writing, even if not therapy does have similar traits. It requires one to be disciplined, to be diligent, to organize one’s thoughts, to toil hard so as to present the thoughts in a manner that will be understood by a person who most likely won’t agree with you.

It must be evident to you, the reader who was interested in ESP’s personal front that I have been rambling again; about other people, hoping it includes you. It’s not that I am introvert, rather I go about telling my friends that I might be a famous poet that they are spending time with. The humorous effect of such coming out of the closet talks on my friends doesn’t deter me either. From all I read and gather on the subject, I might actually be a stupid extrovert. On the other hand, even the most extroverted guys appear quite the opposite when seen from the feminine perspective, we tend to hold back. Guys need some form of insanity, intoxication to really talk, and in cases like mine a few rounds of beer does the trick. That’s one reason why we consider women to be possessing an intrinsic insanity, things like intuition is crazy talk and if it comes out right makes it more so.

Coming back to the subject at hand, what I intended to write in this forever digressing post was that my life is not well suited to the asks of writing. I am usually (pardon this post) very particular about giving shape and structure to anything I write. This characteristic is derived from the field of work that pays my bills, it requires me to be precise, to make sense, to make people understand the problems and the proposed solutions. It is also motivated by my idea of doing something good, for not wasting time of my readers on random nonsense that I came up with in my glorious excursions to the chaotic world of thoughts thriving in my not so humble brain.

This field of work requires much use of the same brain cells, add to that other distractions that come with a socially acceptable life, aspects like love, commitments, and the non therapeutic fun activities. In this setup, I get time to write in pauses, and what I write appears(at least to me) to be undertakings in interpreting these pauses. But I wonder, most of my writing time for that matter is invested in these wonderings. I wonder if I had a life devoid of these distractions would I have become a great writer, or would I be blank because all this intrusion that life is, that my work is, in a way provides the material, the thoughts that the plausible writer in me pens down in the pauses. Do I denounce and blame or should I be thankful for the distractions, for the obstacles, for the pauses. Life itself might be a pause for the soul, and the purpose of living(for most of us) might be to write something beautiful.

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Thoughts

on guilt and persecution…

There is water everywhere, imparting a sense of panic within. It is not that I am scared of water; on the contrary, I have always liked the sight, sound and even the feel of water on my body. Swimming in my opinion is the most exhilarating thing one can do when alone and want to be alone, erasing everything else around. The presence of a water body enhances the beauty of any place, I can spend hours watching the ocean play with the winds, lakes undulating under the morning breeze, even the muddy pools, those leftovers from a recent bout of rain makes me long for paper boats, splashing it on an unsuspecting passerby and such insipid, innocent fun.

But the water that surrounds me now is different, it’s unbearably blue almost as if I am looking at a summer sky, or maybe it is the sky. There is only so much that delineates the ocean and the sky at the horizon, here though I feel like I am standing in the middle of the world on a rock projecting from the tranquil pristine water pervading all tangible dimensions as if I am finally able to see eternity. This vision though calming when juxtaposed with my presence makes me feel like a blemish and the asphalt rock my darkened soul that is holding me steady. I turn my head to find the unchanging waters stare back at me from every direction and with such serenity that it blinds my eyes. I squint and peer at it for some deviation, some distraction in this aquatic perfection, only to discover that it is shallow. The limpid water even lets me see the bed of sand so clearly that I can make out it’s not sand, the surface is polished and possesses the same color as the vitrified tiles in my room. This realization strikes me hard, I could just get off the rock and start walking, these are not dangerous waters and there is no reason why I must get this feeling of extreme unrest, why must I accept I am some deformation in the perfect creation and scheme of things. But try as I may my legs won’t budge. Any movement or change from the state I am seems fraught with an ineffable danger, a danger of crossing the thin line that separates uncertainty and futility.

Thus I am left with no choice but to ruminate, not just on this particular situation and the internal dilemma but about everything that my mind with its limited abilities would allow me to ponder about. As soon as you do that, giving your mind a free rein to analyze a disagreeable situation the first thing it brings up is guilt. If guilt had a face it won’t be able to wipe out the smirk, or at least mine wouldn’t be able to. Is this some kind of retribution, guilt suggests, the smirk getting a chuckle for company. I have never committed any crime in the purview of the laws that qualify crime and decide the fate of criminals. But my guilt feeds on the many moral and ethical transgressions, I have; for instance, been cruel to the point of harming people who loved and cared for me. There were and always will be reasons and justifications for my actions, not of the usual namesake or the superficial kind either. I truly believe in them. This is what my guilt smirks at maybe, but do I care or do I act snobbish with my educated reasoning for the most disconcerting actions. I say disconcerting because it affected others in a way I cannot really understand, behavior of people who get close to you invariably end up baffling you.

Once you handle guilt with such high-handed dismissal, the next thing your mind throws at you is the feeling of helplessness, an enquiry into what is fair and what is not. Why am I being persecuted I start thinking. Why should I be in this absurd place, who decides the course of my life, is there any logic that drives our existence, is there a free will. If I was selfish and in the process hurt people, or to be more specific two people and probably a few more, and a dog, then somewhere in the grand vision of this arbitrary arbiter they would be found equally responsible. I don’t so much remember the details of why I broke up with the girls but I vividly remember the dog and the incident in the dark of the night. It barked for no apparent reason, I did what it takes to get it silenced. Also, I am not even sure if it was much hurt because it ran back to his compatriots, who looked at me in synchronized vision making me take flight. As for the people, they were much better off without me as I was without them in my life, so in a way in the bigger picture I did the right thing and for everyone’s good. So why am I stuck here; why do I still feel guilt; why am I helpless; unable to move.

The answers dawned upon me with a shock; an alarming shock to be precise, originating from the inconsiderate phone lying hidden among the folds of the bed sheet, or probably lying on the floor next to the bed kicked out during one of my usual subconscious acts that dramatically end in my waking up with a bad hangover. Dramatic I say because more often than not, after the nights when I ingest more poison that I know I am capable of digesting, I find myself waking up diagonally opposite and in complete disarray that it takes a few seconds to register I was sleeping, and the world is still sane.

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