Poetry envelops me. It is unplanned, often feels like a twitch. Short stories, mostly sitting in the head, some written out, are cropped pictures. I know they are beautiful, but what if that beauty can be extended? Are novels long short stories? What makes them novels – the length, the manner of story-telling? If I collate some of my non-fiction, the features about everyday life, everyday people, they do appear like characters, they have tales to tell, and I slake my thirst near their pores waiting for the humidity from my breath to make them sweat.
I rarely talk about the writing process, because I do not have a process. I have written in crowded local trains in Mumbai, on buses, in cars, in planes, in bed, under the bed, in travel coaches. Where I should be watching the curve of the road, I have arched my pen over a diary and created a bylane. I am not a writer because I have been published but because I write ‘unthinkingly’. Thought interferes with art. I should assume you understand that it does not mean lack of reasoning, or lack of knowledge or understanding. It partly means the premeditated ruminating over a turn of phrase, the careful punctuation, the idea watered so much that it becomes a soggy mess.
If I wrote on walls, it would not be graffiti. I would make deep gashes in the concrete to be able to see the bricks just enough to taste the smoke from the kiln. I used to hesitate often if I was asked what I did. “Hmm…er…I wr..i…te.”
And it would make me think: when did that happen? Did I write or was it written?
In “Borges and I”, the masterful writer says about the process:
- “The other one, the one called Borges, is the one things happen to…It would be an exaggeration to say that ours is a hostile relationship; I live, let myself go on living, so that Borges may contrive his literature, and this literature justifies me…but I recognize myself less in his books than in many others…I do not know which of us has written this page.”
Is it possible to be hostile to what we create? Not if the creation is a chunk of our raw flesh with blood still on it. However, there can be anger. I am not discussing ideology here or politics. This is purely creative writing or art or music. I get angry with my poetry and personal musings. It is the ire towards one who has forced me to expose myself, each word a wart, each pause a dissection. This is when I wish I could use a surgical knife and slit its throat.
Just the thought of it makes me feel the sharp blade on my neck.
(c) Farzana Versey