Thursday, 29 September, 2022

A Writer’s Journey


Prashanna Mali

You have a piece of paper on your wooden table. You have a pen (hopefully it’s smooth enough). You aren’t hungry; you are feeling fine enough to sit on your chair for an hour or more. Your phone is on silent mode, if it isn’t, at least you know you’re not going to be disturbed in your ‘sacred’ act. You are certain you have to put your every thought, your current situation, and the world’s condition on one place and be in a state of mind to completely give in for the next hour or so.
You have your room cleaned so that there is nothing that will divert your attention in any way when you’ll be pushing to go into a state of continuous release. You don’t know what release it is. But you’re satisfied if or when it happens.  You may have a cup of coffee right there depending on your preference. You just want to be in an uninterrupted state where the release happens as smoothly as possible. You want to fill that paper, you have that in your mind but you are honest enough to know that you wouldn’t want to force it in anyway.
It just has to flow. It has to be personal or something that’s interesting to you. Remember you’re your first reader. You take your sip. You start thinking. You have mental battles. The last thing you want to do is think of things that affect your process but you end up going that pathway. You end up thinking about people you don’t want to think about. But if you do and it troubles you, then you slowly shift your focus and try to go deeper and deeper into an ocean of your consciousness. Slowly you find ideas that have been staying there from specific periods of time.
The idea is to introduce them to you one by one. They want themselves to be picked by you. But for some reason you want to explore more and more. Every idea has its own interesting merits and their own silliness to them. You are in a real dilemma, you quickly run out of ideas and you have to settle for the least faulty one. You try to fall in love with the idea you have chosen. You start putting pen to paper. You write a few lines. Oh god, it’s not working! When you view the written words the coolness if there was any when it was presented to you in your mind isn’t there anymore. You are disappointed. Depending on your bent, you cross it, turn the page or tear the paper.
 You need new inspiration. You stand up and walk; you take another sip or meditate depending on your preference. You wait for something to come in. You end up once again thinking of the same unwanted thoughts. You get reminded of a past romantic encounter which you hadn’t thought of for months, you think of that embarrassing moment from school years back. Your mood gets interrupted again. But you keep exploring.
Little by little, association by association there is something exciting that comes up. You follow it intuitively.  You realize it was always there but it never revealed quiet just like it is doing now. Sometimes it is two bad ideas mixing to make a good one. Sometimes it is two good ideas making a great one. You start writing. You enjoy yourself.
You finally feel like you are in that zone. You just keep on going. Time flies like nothing. You think its 2 but its 2.40. You enjoy yourself. It’s like you are vomiting but you enjoy taking things out of your system one by one and putting them on a piece of paper. You are in a blessed state. At one point you forget there is a writer writing this. In that moment you know you have reached the peak. You don’t realise completing pages.
It’s just happening. And then some thought or something disconnects you. You try to recalibrate quickly and write but soon you realise it’s not spilling like it was a minute ago. The words aren’t speaking to you like they did. You're trying to get that magic back. But it’s slipping away like sand in your hand. You take another sip.  It’s not happening.
A sudden exhaustion is felt. You can’t associate things. Now you know that you have to either wait for it or force writing the remaining pages. You don’t want to go that route. You want the romance back. But it’s gone. You try but the words feel like they have nothing in them. From being a wizard who could create forever you are back to being a limited human being. You feel your wings have gone away. You start feeling hungry but first you want to feed your soul.
Again, you are helplessly searching for that inspiration again. You read your favorite writer. You listen to your favourite artist. You look at your favorite paintings. Something clicks. You aren’t there yet but you have some creative thoughts. You keep thinking and going deeper and deeper.
There are different layers that open up, one by one, and you find yourself in a different state where things start flowing again. You hope it stays longer as you start writing. It’s a struggle but it's rewarding and you keep going. Once again, your time perception changes.  You keep going until you feel there’s nothing more to be done. But that never happens. Still, at a certain point you feel you can’t push more. To somehow come to an end feels like a big relief.  You hope everything you thought about is there and more cause you discovered lot of new things while doing. You feel lighter emotionally.
 You feel you have done everything you could have in the process. On one hand you want to know what people would feel of it but on the other hand you are fine with it as you have done your part. You know you could have done better but with all your constraints, you did fine. You’ve said what you wanted to say. Hopefully in the way you wanted to say it too. You are satisfied. You feel complete. You think to yourself, "I wish it always worked like this!

(Mali is currently studying for a Masters in Anthropology & Film Studies Graduate)