It’s about time that I tackle the question many people that have given this blog some kind of appreciation and attention have been wondering. It’s been a year of big changes and one thing that has stood out to me is that I am no longer writing. No longer writing the way I used to. Things are not being broken down and understood by means of me sitting down and writing them out. Something has changed and I want to explain myself – as best as I can – through writing.
I am no longer writing because I am unable to do so. The act of taking that voice in my head and writing it out is not something I am feeling inclined to do any more. Can it be that this is where it ends for me? When I’m older and browsing through a library and chance upon a novel that I could’ve written – will it make me feel like it was beyond my ability? Like I was only a lost cause when it came to the written word. I don’t know.
All I know is that writing is not capable of paying my rent. That writing is not a means to the end. That I chose to be where I am and I chose what I wanted to do with my day and I knowingly left writing out of it. But all that being said, I cannot stress enough that I am happy. As happy as I’ve ever known myself to be. I’m accepting now – I am no longer deeply unsatisfied with my surroundings, my circumstances, my shortcomings. I am accepting. I know love like I’ve never known before. I have the feeling of belonging to a group of people that don’t care about how trying I was when I was a child. I am alive in this moment and I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else.
This also brings me to something that I’ve recently been struggling with. Something that I may change my mind about later but for now feels stubbornly true – I am not meant to be a writer. I thought I knew it in the bones of my being that writing was what kept me going and that writing would save me and maybe someday give me a pretty roof on my head, a fireplace and maybe even a decent amount of money. What I didn’t see coming was that writing would become a labour of love to a point where I just couldn’t even bring myself to think of it any more.
The part about this change that is still tough on me is that the writing voice in my head is now extremely faint, a terribly quiet whisper and this is simply not cathartic.
This blog still has a steady number of views and visitors flowing in daily and that astounds me. Why is anyone reading something I wrote years ago that doesn’t even come close to how I feel now or who I am now? I read some of the posts on this blog and I wonder if I’ll ever be able to write like that again. Have I betrayed myself by choosing to let go of something I was so passionate about back when I had nothing else in my life?
The changes to my lifestyle are for the better, I tell myself. The short hair, the polished heels and the potential to grow my savings are everything I need to feel fulfilled. Writing never eased the nightmares about where the money would come from.
I have hundred posts on this blog now (not including this one I’m writing – because it may just end up in my drafts like the rest.) That is something, right? A reminder that I grounded myself on Sloppy Etymology for a considerable period of time.
Even now, I believe I have failed to explain what I set out to. My thoughts are scattered and the exercise of reaching out and grabbing them and forcing them down onto paper is too tiresome. If it’s any consolation, everyday I’m doing the second best thing I can do when I can’t write. I’m reading.
What a splendid book. The perfect blend of photography and the obscure meaning behind words and pictures. This passage particularly stood out for me.
On this day, you read something that moved you and made you realise there were no more fears to fear. No tears to cry. No head to hang in shame. That every time you thought you’d offended someone, it was all just in your head and really, they love you with all their heart and nothing will ever change that. That everyone and everything lives on inside you. That that doesn’t make any of it any less real.
That soft touches will change you and stay with you longer than hard ones.
That being alone means you’re free. That old lovers miss you and new lovers want you and the one you’re with is the one you’re meant to be with. That the tingles running down your arms are angel feathers and they whisper in your ear, constantly, if you choose to hear them. That everything you want to happen, will happen, if you decide you want it enough. That every time you think a sad thought, you can think a happy one instead.
That you control that completely.
That the people who make you laugh are more beautiful than beautiful people. That you laugh more than you cry. That crying is good for you. That the people you hate wish you would stop and you do too.
That your friends are reflections of the best parts of you. That you are more than the sum total of the things you know and how you react to them. That dancing is sometimes more important than listening to the music.
That the most embarrassing, awkward moments of your life are only remembered by you and no one else. That no one judges you when you walk into a room and all they really want to know, is if you’re judging them. That what you make and what you do with your time is more important than you’ll ever fathom and should be treated as such. That the difference between a job and art is passion. That neither defines who you are. That talking to strangers is how you make friends.
That bad days end but a smile can go around the world. That life contradicts itself, constantly. That that’s why it’s worth living.
That the difference between pain and love is time. That love is only as real as you want it to be. That if you feel good, you look good but it doesn’t always work the other way around.
That the sun will rise each day and it’s up to you each day if you match it. That nothing matters up until this point. That what you decide now, in this moment, will change the future. Forever. That rain is beautiful.
And so are you.
– I Wrote This For You by Iain S. Thomas (The Day You Read This, Page 486)
“I NEED YOU TO UNDERSTAND SOMETHING. I WROTE THIS FOR YOU. I WROTE THIS FOR YOU AND ONLY YOU. EVERYONE ELSE WHO READS IT, DOESN’T GET IT. THEY MAY THINK THEY GET IT, BUT THEY DON’T. THIS IS THE SIGN YOU’VE BEEN LOOKING FOR. YOU WERE MEANT TO READ THESE WORDS.”
This is the first time someone asked me to watch a movie and to write a review on it. It’s quite overwhelming and I took my time with this. I hope I’ve got it right.
First and foremost, this movie is everything that you are NOT expecting it to be. The Tree of Life is a Terrance Malick movie. Period. Anyone who is familiar with his style of direction will not be so taken aback, but I belonged to the not-so-familiar category. I was sent reeling 30 minutes into the movie. I’m hyperventilating now. I need to take a deep breath and try to prepare you what you’re in for.
Here it goes.
For persons who thought that this movie starring Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Hunter McCracken is a routine indie or worse an action-packed drama film. It is not. Do not expect to understand this movie in its entirety, moreso in just one watch. Do not expect to find answers here in this blog, either. I cannot provide them.
The movie starts with a narrative, “There are two ways through life, the way of nature and the way of grace.” Little do you realize how much those words are going to resonate in all the scenes that are to follow. Malick uses intense nature happenings, titillating celestial occurrences combined with the evolution of life, even dinosaurs (right!). The 20 minute music montage at the start, it is pure brilliance. There are no dialogues or commentary just the representation of life through nature and Mother Earth. The imagery is all too powerful to encompass in one watch. My friend and I, both, admitted to have paused the movie several times just to get a grasp of the intensity of the cinematography. There is one scene that keeps repeating over and over in between clips and it could seem like a divine light manifesting as we move further into the movie. It would be fair to say that the music montage chosen is very, very haunting. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so eerie while watching waterfalls and organic molecules, the sun and volcanic eruptions.
If you get past the first 30 minutes of the movie, you’re in for something very beautiful. The movie transcends beyond nature into finer details of an American family and their lives in 1956. The lack of conversation and dialogues is not felt at all. This, the director has made sure with very emotive performances from every actor, especially from the child artists. The film moves back and forth from the eldest son’s point of view. The eldest of three sons who is now caged in a corporate world and battling with the issues from his past. There is also the mention of a tragedy at the very start of the movie. The worst of them all. Death.
The characters of the parents are portrayed as complete opposites. I daresay, I think the opening statement signifies that. The mother, gentle, naïve, always looking out for her kids, beautiful and calm and not over-bearing in the least. That, is the way of ‘grace’. Whereas, the father, played brilliantly by Brad Pitt, epitomizes the way of nature. Lauding, overbearing, he provides but never fails to collect his dues. He wants returned what he has provided, on his very terms.
What I liked most about this out-of-the-way movie, was the way they depicted the three boys growing up. There are some very powerful scenes, one of which I had to re-watch again just now because it felt like deja-vu.
The Tree of Life will only leave you with a myriad of questions. Some of which, you’ll need a very deep analysis to even grasp at all. We are all continuously evolving. Life, is all about evolving. From birth, to adolescence, to adulthood and death. It is amazing and so refreshing that all of human evolution can be roughly narrated in a matter of 2 hours. Watch this movie without any kind of expectations. Feel yourself take to a higher order, maybe. Question everything. Don’t criticize. It’s of no use. Every person who tries to breakdown what this movie is about will have a wildly different interpretation. This, is mine.
A late night conversation in bed with your best friend makes you realize a thing or two. You know that you both have crossed a line. A line has been crossed. The territory of your thoughts you don’t let anyone ever see. Stories have been shared. Repressed emotions, released. Maybe you’re a sap, or you’re like me; a sap about selective things.
You figure out that there are Stories you’ve been telling yourself since you could remember faces and read the time. These are Stories that inhabit your very existence. You’re going to be dead a century later and with you the realm of your Stories shall end too. Neatly-wrapped Stories. Neatly wrapped Stories of passion and promise.
We’re all storytellers. Some of us simply possess a better imagination. Stories that we tell ourselves when we’re in the car, sitting idly in the middle of a traffic jam. Stories that we tell ourselves in the shower and at the dentist’s while staring at the fish tank. Stories that we’ve brewed along with our coffee. Stories we always knew and never fully understood.
Stories are interesting narratives. Have you ever wondered what it is about a particular Story that charms you? I would believe it to be the familiarity. It’s the stories that we’ve known all our lives. The safety, the caution, the sorrow and the hope that an unfamiliar story cannot, would not achieve.
What do you tell someone who asks you to write a Story that never happened? Or a Story you wish had never happened. You can be a smart mouth and tell them that they’re both overlapping most of the time. Remember back when you were always trying so hard. There was a face and you needed for Words, to distort that face. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Recall the moment under your eye’s magnifying lens when you told a Story just because you didn’t want to concentrate on that face. Which Story was it? Was it the most honest and heartfelt one you’ve never shared with anyone? Was it murky and had unrealistic edges, a tapestry with holes through which selective details kept slipping through.
We like to betray the Stories that support us. We betray ourselves, too and it gets tiring but we never stop. I wonder why people hold back so much. I wonder why we hold back at all and then complain that life’s never going to satisfy our innermost Stories. I’ll tell you what. We’re afraid that the Stories in our heads won’t coincide with The Story Of Our Life. The ones we sewed up in the velvet of the night. The ones that were invariably tarnished by dawn.
“If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.”
Hello to the few souls who actually care and come here time and again to read what I’ve been cataloging. So it may come as a surprise when I say I’ve been experiencing a little bit of the writer’s block lately. I didn’t know if it’s possible to be completely blank when you tried to write but guess what, it is. From what I’ve understood, it doesn’t necessarily have to do with lack of ideas. It’s never the lack of it actually. You can’t not think. It’s an ongoing process and even when you aren’t entirely aware of your thoughts, you are thinking. Like you are right now, even though you believe you are only concentrating on reading this. You are invariably thinking about a hundred different things but your mind is trying to blur them and focus on one.
That moment when you decide that you want to write and the words are all there in your mind in well-framed sentences but you just can’t write. This usually stems from something you’re just not ready to accept. I wasn’t too sure why I was feeling that way until it all came rushing out in a conversation with my person. I vented it all out to him and he just patiently listened, like he always does.
He and I have always been on the same page about most things but he did go ahead to say that unlike him I don’t sell my soul for views. Breaking it down, I don’t have any desire to garner views for which I need go to inexorable heights and write about the pop-culture scene. Don’t get me wrong I love pop-culture. Oh I thrive on it! I think anyone who says that they haven’t ever been thrilled to read about pop-culture on the blogs that they follow is lying through their teeth.
But there comes a point where you start to wonder is that really what writing comes down to? Do you only sit in front of your computer and type because you want random souls to stumble on your blog? Not to mention, a blog that is popular only because of pop-culture and not because of your stupendous wit. Oh that should hurt. Views v/s content. Do they really have any kind of significant mathematical relationship? I would say inversely proportional but that would mean stigmatizing every blog that likes to delve into pop-culture once in a while. That would mean bashing up my all-time favourite blog, Thought Catalog.
There are many writers who write because they feel it’s some kind of obligation to the blogging world. They look at their blog and decide, oh it’s been ten days and it’s time for me to churn out a new post. Then there are those who make sure that they keep their audience hooked and produce post after post with such fervour, you are tempted to unfollow them. They clog up your news feed and also make you feel ridiculous about how rarely you post anything. There are some bloggers who only blog when something bothers the hell out of them. Of course, grief, anger, disappointment and any kind of displeasure is rarely ever felt as deeply as wait, what do you call it, love? So yes, they feel they must add to the misery of this world and blog only when they’re sad. Sorry fellas, my heart goes out to you and everything but I honestly am in a very happy place right now to care about your pain. I understand bloggers who search for inspiration and like reviewing things (all the time? Umm…), deep down we all know we do that for views. Hell, I would be a hypocrite if I said that the movie reviews I had written were just for my eyes alone. But then again fight on me on this, I wrote them for the few respectable followers that I have, hoping they’d read it and watch the movies that I hold close to my heart. Can’t argue with me on that, can you?
I have nothing against people who publicize things. I think it forms a major part of why you write. But it shouldn’t be the only motivation. When you measure your blog by the number of views it has received in the last 48 hours, I wonder what kind of mentality you live by. If that’s the case, I should be ecstatic because just the other day a random blogger liked all of my articles in a time span of less than two minutes. What’s amusing here is, he didn’t read a single one of them. How do I know that, you ask? That’s because my blog gets views that I can count on my hands. I hadn’t got a single view on any of the posts he bothered to like. Good going Sir! I’m not going to be flattered and curious and visit your blog so your blog hits counter goes up. Seriously, the joke’s on you, dear Sir. With publicity like that, well I do have a problem. Quick tip: Don’t insult another blogger by liking something you haven’t bothered to read but liked based on the face-value.
A few months ago, I was chatting with an American freelance writer (works for Thought Catalog, OH MY GOD!) on a social networking site. I must admit he was quite chatty for someone who should apparently be really busy. He spoke to me at length about what he thought about his writing and what it has become now. The only part of that conversation that struck out was when he told me that what I write right now, at the age of 19 is ‘shit’. He said that I’m supposed to be going out and experiencing things and experiencing people, living the life. I shouldn’t be holed up in my room, typing away at a blank screen. He also went on to say that when he was 19, he couldn’t write well and did a miserable job every time he tried. I found that hard to believe and when I go back and read the stuff he’s written I still can’t imagine a world where he didn’t write well. Then again, aren’t we our own worst critic nightmare.
When it comes to taking advice of someone you look up to, I don’t know how much of it I should consider. Hell, when I’m old and shrivelled, I would love to go back and read things I had written when I was 19. No matter how terrible and stupid they might seem to me then. I know for a fact that writing has lead me to a life I could never have imagined.
I have not known a life where I didn’t feel the need to write and keep a record of things I felt. I am not okay with the ephemeral nature of time. I can’t let moments that matter slip away and have only my memory to fall back on to, to recall them. If I ever plan on living my life backwards, I’ll know how to go about it. I’ll be able to go back to every high point in my life through my writings. I’m being selfish here because I’m writing for the future me. So tell me now, is it really that important to get ‘views’ for something that only I care about?
Spoiler: Do not read this if you’re an inherent pessimist, extremely hard on yourself, just lost your job or had a cataclysmic event destroy your self-esteem. I am warning you, it’s only going to make you feel worse.
I’m not here to please you or rub my hands all over your face, trying to wipe away the unfair trials of this world we live in. Sorry. Unfortunately, that’s not how things work. I’ve been told that I have a way of making people feel like ‘shit’ about themselves. People don’t understand that I can apply the same thing to myself too.
Do you remember the time when you decided to do something and someone marked you beforehand and told you that you just couldn’t? No? Okay, let me dig in and give you a real life example.
I was on vacation with my cousins at a hill station. It’s fair to mention I was in my smart-mouth, rebellious, adolescent phase. It was a mild afternoon and as the adults chose to settle for an afternoon reverie, youngsters decided to play under the sun instead.
I remember going up to my three cousin brothers and asking them if I could join in while they set the stumps to play a game of cricket. I remember them exchanging glances and staring at me funny. I remember not being amused at all. Finally, one of them spoke up and here’s what he told me, “You can’t play cricket with us. You’re a girl.”
I guess I stomped away from there. My reaction’s not the point to be studied here. Analyzing what I should or shouldn’t have done doesn’t make much sense. Besides, I would’ve been wrestling with someone far too little (in terms of intelligence) if I decided to start a fight. Even then I knew his logic was faulty and quite skewed. He wasn’t stating a fact, nor was he giving an ultimatum of sorts. He was just telling me without any kind of perfect knowledge about my capabilities that I couldn’t play cricket. That’s what hurt.
How often do you pin up your hopes on something and find yourself grappling at absolutely Nothing? Not even a few straws to play around with. Do you actively make Plans and follow The Steps To Sure-shot Returns but end up with a stark, glaring….Nothing. Just a void of absolute nothingness. Does it happen to you over and over, and over? Are you someone who does a test and ends up scoring something which says “above average” and when you convince yourself that that probably isn’t so bad but then you look around and see another hundred people at the same spot? Above average, my foot.
Maybe none of those things sound too bad to you. Maybe, you’re someone who doesn’t mind blending in. But what if you were someone who wasn’t cut out to just fade into darkness after the end of a play. What if you wanted to be the play-writer and wanted to be called back on stage for a round of applause, while everyone else scurried backstage, packing their things, ready to leave. Roles merely rehearsed and performed, no absolute originality in that, I suppose.
What if you knew deep down you were meant for greatness? But greatness seemed to find some kind of aversion towards you. Wouldn’t that suck?
Life isn’t fair. Everyone says that at the onset of Monday morning and ends up cursing it by the end of Saturday evening. Then enter the Optimists, “Hello! Everyone gets Sundays! Life may be unfair, but it’s unfair like that for everyone.” Picture this, you’re having a horrible time on Saturday evening and someone brutally took away your Sunday too. Is life still equally unfair? I’m afraid not.
Give and take a few rejections and we can all end up feeling pretty worthless. Come what may, there’s no shortcut to avoid it. You can’t be “excellent”, until you aren’t “above average”. And I’m not going to end this post on a happy note telling you to be hopeful and diligent, like that’s going to help you. I’m going to tell you that for the most part of your life you’ll feel worthless. Deal with it. If you deny that, I wonder who you’re trying to woo with your lies. Definitely not me, cause I’m taken.