Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The need to write

NB: This is a very self-indulgent entry. I generally try to stay away from too much self-analysis, but well, this one just came out that way.

Why do I write ?

It is not a question I delve into lightly - it is such a finely balanced thing that I'm afraid of touching it even for inspection, lest I upset the equilibrium and cause permanent damage. And yet I cannot resist it.

Its certainly not for fame or fortune - if it were that I'd have stopped long ago as the readership of this blog has stayed small and is certainly not likely to launch me into anything bigger. But nearly four years later, I'm still here, still blogging, and still enjoying it immensely. And of course, I've enjoyed writing even before blogs came along - I find nothing more satisfying than a blank sheet of paper, a well sharpened pencil, some light music, and a steaming cup of tea.

I do know that it is immensely satisfying to put my thoughts onto paper (or silicon). It helps me crystallize whatever it is I'm thinking about and look at it later to clear up my own mind about what I want to say and believe - it helps me unravel my own convoluted arguments and think clearer.

But apart from this functional benefit, it also has a sort of delicious energy release associated with it. It seems to invite me to forget all distractions and clear my mind to focus, to start fresh with a clean slate, with a new idea - it is almost a mini-chance to start over and create something better.

In the final analysis, I guess it is also a form of escapism - it is possible to lose yourself so completely in the writing process that you forget where you are and be transported to a parallel universe. In that sense, it is entertainment. Just like a TV show, or a cruise, or a picnic helps suspend reality and zone-out, writing has the power to lift your spirits and make you feel better. And like other recreational activities, it lends itself nicely to memories - you can re-visit something you wrote in the past and relive a pleasant afternoon. Of course, the analogy breaks here, for it is a selfish activity - it is something you cannot enjoy with others, and it certainly does not get you any physical exercise or fresh air. But it can certainly bring you to the surface, and give you wings when you feel like you are drowning in the details of life.

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