Friday, August 17, 2007

From where one stands?

A couple of nights past, over the din of an aimless conversation, the ex-boss asked me,

"Where is E Vestigio going now? As in, it just seems to be meandering... no particular focus, no direction. What are you doing with it?"

Funny thing how even once I got over the discomforting disquiet of that unexpected incisiveness, these long procrastinated questions were still staring straight at me. Sigh. An answer would just have to be found now.

I started E Vestigio with this in mind:

"A writer -- and, I believe, generally all persons -- must think that whatever happens to him or her is a resource. All things have been given to us for a purpose, and an artist must feel this more intensely. All that happens to us, including our humiliations, our misfortunes, our embarrassments, all is given to us as raw material, as clay, so that we may shape our art."

--Jorge Luis Borges
From "Twenty Conversations with Borges, Including a Selection of Poems: Interviews by Roberto Alifano.

By that maxim, I should have been writing each day of the past year! But entirely unbidden, the weirder the year became, the more closely E Vestigio mirrored the change in me... the longer it took to find the right words to write.

Erratic is a quiet way to describe this past year and yet, it's not that I haven't written. An entire notebook stands testament to the things I saw, read, thought, etc. But somehow, the commute from experience to expression became so much more arduous. Posts languished, like a lover hurriedly and disinterestedly pushed away. Perhaps this'd be one of those blogs that lie huddled... like in an elephant graveyard, decomposing slowly and painfully. Quite honestly, if wasn't for Geets, Nocturne, Parth, and the ex-reviewer, the stench would have risen from these black pages much faster and possibly, a long time ago too.

Now though, events are not quite as erratic and certainly of my choice. You see, I am currently gainfully unemployed. There are no more crazy clients, brainsick bosses, and horrendous hours. Instead, there has been one month of sleeping and eating well. One month of loads of films, of books, of biryani, of random surfing, of exploring a Wikipedia article to it's fullest... of letting life ebb and wash over everything.

And yet, I've hardly managed to get anywhere with posting. I wonder sometimes if I have anything interesting to say - especially to myself.... If there is anything left in my writing... if I have not forgotten how. If the reactions to a "recent" post, both on and off the blog, were anything to go by, I just might have! :-)

There are a number of possibilities, of course. Perhaps like the elder sibling suggests, I may not currently have anything to say. Alternatively, it could just a question of practice... of trying harder. Or even perhaps, I could allow the stillness to meander and follow its own course.

A little while ago, I wrote to someone who's known me since I was 16. I don't know if I could call him a friend but he's seen me go through more than one bit of madness. He's also read some my earliest god-awful attempts at piecing words together and oddly enough, encouraged the effort.

I described the entire situation to him. I explained the ennui, the restlessness, the lack of confidence. I speculated about causes, about possible ways to get my groove back, about stopping altogether. He sent back a one liner in response to my belaboured tome:

Wandering is not always a bad thing.

Suddenly a long forgotten e-mail from a long broken friendship dipped in and out of my mind:

"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost."

--J.R.R Tolkein, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book I.

Perhaps there is hope yet.


Parth said...

If you need to worry about not having anything to say, just go back and read this post. I see no hesistation in the words coming through, nor in the ideas piecing together. Granted your regular flow of topics may have dried up, but your talent certainly hasn't gone away. Perhaps you need to step up and brandish it better, search your heart and intellect for things that excite, take it up as a challenge. Your blog posting need not have a direction. Indeed it can meander, but it should meander with quality and persistence. And that, my friend, you are capable of.

Plain Jane said...

Such drama I tell you - rubbish! Ofcourse there is hope...and you still write bloody well let me tell you that! If you stop blogging, then I should just bury myself 10000 leagues below the sea!;-)

Extempore said...

@Parth: Sometimes I worry like a woman crazed - it's bloody unhealthy, I tell you. I think the reason that the regularity of posting went for a toss was that there seemed too much to give my attention to through most of the last year. I'm working on all those drafts now. But it's really down to you four - otherwise, I would well have given up by now. :-) Many thanks, my friend.

@Geets: That's me, love - always the drama queen! And not like you have a right to talk about my drama with your 10000 leagues wala number! Thanks for shutting me up everytime I started about stopping. *hug*

Anonymous said...

tosh and bosh - let's go buy a drink. you sound more lucid when you're sodden and full of liquor than i sound when am sober.

and try stopping. i'll publish all your rants and emails here!

Extempore said...

@Nocturne: :-D Right after you, my dear. And whatever else you'd threatened, the email publishing threat would have worked best!

Anil said...

There is hope indeed and I'm happy you ended the post on an optimistic note. As always (and contrary to your dramabazi :)) your amazing ability to find just the right words to put across clearly and concisely whatever it is you want to convey leaves me in a state of equal parts wonder and envy. How do you do that?

Anonymous said...

Hi.. this is d 1st tim m reading ur blog. While going thru the 1st para was thinking of writing the same thing that you frnd told you in a one-liner but m sure i wudn't have bin able to do it so well as he did,though i havnt read ur previous posts.. I'm sure wandering does give u lots of experiences.. :) Pardon me if m speaking irrelevant..

iz said...

What amazes me about your blog. which I have spent the entire day going through, is that in two or more years of existence and posts about your soul sisters, colleagues and trips to bangalore, there isn't even one mention of a group of women who have been loyal to you since college. Not even on your blogroll. Love takes many forms I suppose.

Extempore said...

@Anil: But my dramabazi is why you like me so, no? :-) I'm glad you liked the post - one of the few I didn't belabour!

@PS: Hello! I agree wandering gives you a lot of new experiences. It's just that I tend to be a little paranoid about things... all under control now! :)

@Iz: Apologies about the blog roll, I forgot to republish my once I'd added you after we spoke. :-( And I may not have dedicated a whole post to it but a lot of the post after my first trip (when I came with Naomi to your place first) is about us. The entire series of posts that I half-wrote about our trip to Kerala never got posted... I'll remedy that soon enough... there's loads and loads of love, Iz only!