Read, Write, Live

Reading has been something as essential as breathing. Always. It started from comics at a young age. Comics were frowned upon in those times. They did not have the acceptance they have today; now, they are crucibles of creativity and it can be imagined that the kids reading them today would graduate to reading and perhaps writing the graphic novels so popular in this age.

Well, we were told not to read them too much. Pocket money was limited and there were only a small number that we could buy on a regular basis. But we were enterprising. We children believed in pooling our resources (a rather sought after skill these days). We read our comics and then exchanged them. When we had read all from our immediate friends, we tried getting introduced to friends of friends. Then, we transcended age groups. I remember clambering over the brick wall of my best friend to get to her neighbour’s house because she told me that he had a huge pile of comics that we had never read.

Well, my imagination was fertile. And soon I graduated to magazines for children. ‘Champak’ was my favourite. I was crazy about the ‘Amar Chitra Katha’ series. There were ‘Tinkle’ and Chandamama’. In Hindi. ‘Chacha Choudhary’, ‘Pinki’ were my friends in the comics. ‘Panchtantra’ tales fed my musings.

Then came the abridged classics. I read so many of them. My teacher in the fifth grade presented me with ‘Oliver Twist’ as a reward for a completed assignment. I am so grateful to Mrs. Virdi for introducing to the great works. I am still hooked.

Yin is balanced by Yang. Anybody who reads has to write some day. They are simply two sides of the same coin. So, my life has been governed by these two passions. This led to me choosing the title of ‘Read, Write, Live’ on my blog. As for the tagline, there is nothing as satisfying as expressing oneself be it through colours, camera, clay or words. I salute every single person who is engaged in self expression, whatever it may be.


Writer’s Block

“Writing about a writer’s block is better than not writing at all”
Charles Bukowski

I am a writer, though not the highly revered published author, but one that writes nevertheless. I like writing because I love to, because it is a form of self expression and because I feel that every person has a right to express himself/herself. The days I go with whatever life brings me, reacting and defending, are the days I feel I have lost touch with myself.

I used to read about writer’s block and laugh secretly, thinking a lot of fuss was being made about short periods of unproductivity. What was the big deal-I thought, after all, people in all professions burn out. Take a break and rejuvenate, simple, is it not? And writers being writers, custodians of words, twisters of sentences, inventors of ideas; we are the ones who defined writer’s block, glorified it and made a monster out of it.

Till I started my blog, I was a prolific writer-in my journal. I would write as and when I felt like and would feel pleased after a finished piece of work. When I started my blog, I was pretty confident about being a productive blogger. Just a matter of sitting down and writing. I was cruising along fairly well and then it struck me! I was down with Writer’s Block!

Calvin's take on the Writer's Block

Hmm..I was important, after all. The most talked about malaise in the writer’s fraternity had hit me. I walked about with a smile on my face for a couple of days. The third day I sat down to write something. The words wouldn’t come. I was not worried. After all, I had just ended a very productive period when I wrote at all times of the day. Another day passed. I sat down to write. That day I managed to scrunch up a few sheets of paper and throw them around. The floor looked pretty. I must have a home office soon, for I am a bona fide writer now-I made a mental note to myself.

The real worry started a few days later or was it a few hours? If I do not produce something soon, my followers are going to desert me. My blog would wrap up. I would be back to zilch-cooking and cleaning and taking care of kids. I would not be able to look down upon people mentally and repeat the magic word ‘blogger’ when I made the introductions. Anxiety came in waves. And the waves got bigger each passing hour.

I did some research on the dreaded block. It said that writers must know how to generate ideas and explore their own thoughts so as to retain creativity and stay inspired. Okay, I filled up pages with prompts. I examined my thought processes. Zilch! I was scared of writing something that would not be good. I was afraid I would put out something not worthy of me. I knew people were reading me and that frightened the wits out of me. My nerveless fingers dropped the pencil…umm..OK..I can avoid the dramatisation.

I tried to relax. To nurture myself, mind, body and soul. I did not drown myself in decadent activities like TV or parties. I walked, I spent time with myself, I ate good food, I listened to good music, I read my favourite authors and I made myself feel loved.

And magic happened…

Relax. Put pen to paper. Smile. You are now going to produce a masterpiece. Or a terrible first draft that might have to be published as it is. In any case, I love free writing exercises. Either way, I am writing and I am a writer again.