Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Dusk, in the shadows

The scene is set in the mid-late evening, in a shadowed room. As one enters, a large teak wardrobe dominates the left corner and ancient, faded posters of movies and holidays spray the white-washed walls with a nostalgia that doesn't quite fit. That's all, though. No other signs of residence - except on the far right.

An almost childish bed stakes its claim under the large, bay windows. On the white sheets is a lap desk - the kind that the family accountant used while calculating the clan's checks and balances for fifty years. Undulating movements on the bed produce feet from under the desk while a book is laid above, accompanied by the gentle rasp of a fountain pen.

I don't write as much - or as well - as I'd like to and I don't know why. Nor do I have one defensible reason. I find myself willing words to come, and continue staring at the page. Like now. Staring... blank... empty...

The commute from experience to expression is like a jet plane on some days and a toy train on others. But the thrill of pushing and pulling a sentence into shape never changes. The thrill of writing something something I think is terribly witty. And does it really matter if anyone else thinks so... or not?

There is a special pleasure in articulating something out loud. And on paper, it has such a tangible, physical shape. But the words are disquieted... wandering... hesitant. I long to speak the words closest to me... until the swell overwhelms all things... until they cease to be and a new time-space unfolds.

It won't happen. Failing to speak of that which is raw is my greatest shortcoming. To expose and examine the sores behind wet bandages. How long will I apologize? Be someone I'm not? I run... to hide behind different words that fall just short of meaning. Sometimes, they escape in a fugitive flash, only to remain unsaid.

Someday, I'll know the words. That's when I'll write. To speak. To listen. To share. To seek. To meet new-ness. To understand yesterday. To savour today. To anticipate tomorrow. To meet myself. To be the one I wa....

"Are you coming then?"

"Where are you going?"

"I don't know yet... the coffee shop or the pub. Depends. Are you coming?"

The pen sighs, sliding back into darkness, its journey now ended. The book is tucked under a wayward pillow as feet are withdrawn from under the lap desk and put into sandals on the floor. A click sounds in the isolation of the room. In five minutes, you wouldn't have known anyone had been there.

15 comments:

Casablanca said...

Beautifully written. As always :)

transience said...

how i've missed this!

Blue Athena said...

Nice ambiance!

gd said...

Beautifully written. Good to have you back.

Nocturne said...

a very fine example of How to Say Nothing in 800 Words. You do the old alma mater proud, hehheh. How I've missed you!

Anil said...

oh..this hit home so much...so very much, can't tell you how much I love the little ode in italics, each word a beautiful pean to that which gives an itch to our fingers...i wish i could write with such confidence and finesse...this was worth waiting for.

Parth said...

Well articulated :-) Good illustration of the struggle that our minds and hands and pen and paper wage all the time. Nice to have you back after a hiatus.

Extempore said...

@Casa: Thank you, my dear!

@Trans: You are too kind but thank you so very much!

@Blue Athena: Thanks!

@GD: I'm glad to be back, sweetness. Won't take this long the next time. :)

@Nocturne: Thanks! I do think I've said a little more than nothing in this, no? Unless I've misunderstood you, of course. :)

@Anil: Coming from you - oh wow! :) Thank you! Tell you what - let's trade skills. Your poetry for my prose. :)

@Parth: Thank you sir! I am glad you could identify with this. :)

@All of you: Thanks much more than I can say for being so wonderful about this haitus. I am so glad you guys did. Really.

finnegan said...

Funny how in speaking of our inability to speak we end up speaking this eloquently.

Loved this especially: "The commute from experience to expression is like a jet plane on some days and a toy train on others."

Nocturne said...

@extempore: when you don't post for a bit, then i assume that life is far more interesting and does not leave time for leisure and introspection that (perhaps) a blog requires.
so i thought that your busy hand forgot the pen - or the keyboard, as it were - while life carries you in its swirls and eddies... and instead of telling us what was it that kept you preoccupied, we were getting an excuse of umm, writer's block?

in retrospect, i have to agree with finnegan above - yes, in speaking about your inability to speak, you have spoken eloquently. but then, you always do. if only you'd post more frequently!

Stormy Zephyr said...

Your words are very beautiful, you know. It has been a long time since I visited you here. I hope all is well and you continue writing as beautifully as ever :).

Viewer said...

Awesome piece

Prat said...

beautifully written, as ever. linked you up, BTW. hope that is ok.

n.g. said...

do you read manto? it reminded me of something that manto would've written.

Hemani said...

i don't know if it helps but i feel you are there. Just about to shed inhibitions and rituals and cliches to give the meat from your heart and mind. The technique, of course, creates another wall to scale!