I write to make a record of history. I write to defy forgetfulness. I write because writing is act of defiance.
A few months ago I found The Writer’s Voice by one Al Alvarez at my old book supplier’s. Alvarez wonderfully captures in just a few sentences the goal of his project: “(how) a writer develops his voice of his own and a presence on the page; then (how) the reader learns to hear that voice and respond; and finally, (how) the true voice and the public personality sometimes clash, confuse, and contradict each other.”
I want to emphasize these words here: voice, presence, clash, confuse, and contradict. Although I have borrowed too many words by now, I am afraid these words justly represent the goal I have been striving for in the last few months. I have never experienced anything so refreshing or so possessing as the act of writing. Well, of course, with the exception of a human being – living or dead – caught in the web of times. So can we use a human being as an analogy for writing? I should perhaps retort “Absolutely!” I have seen this being enacted right before my eyes – observing myself in the reflection of my writing. There goes a series of mirrors – of letters, of words, of sentences, of paragraphs, of phrases, of observations, of twists and turns in the syntaxes. Where does it not follow you? Writing enhances and exaggerates the known strategies of men and women at war and peace with odd and even forces that gives shape to our consciousness. The act of writing often whispers to me “Be wise.” Writing has been a successful tool bringing out the fine qualities in man, in me.
Writing helps me vacillate between my most feared and worthiest experience. My feared experience would be time when for the first time writing left me completely exposed and naked. Once I decided to write everything about myself and what I wanted. When I went back to the writing to look in retrospection, it threatened me with all its truths and lies. But with that came a self-discovery. It may sound clichéd but I shook hands with the likes of Augustine, Rousseau and Rimbaud, haven’t I? This worthiest are yet to come my way – but come it must. Writing pulls me out of my den of solace and at the same time can quickly engulf me into it. I see how independently and lonely it forms a bridge connecting mind to mind. It taught me how to remain silent and be loud simultaneously. It instigates my hunger and even sedates it. It makes me sensitive and tough, exposed and covered, accompanied and lonesome, mediocre and distinguished, calm and rebellious. It plays tricks, keeps me entertained, makes me envisage, makes me pragmatic, and in the end keeps me human.
During our creative writing classes in school I used to observe how all of us kept quiet, immersed in thought and we all prayed with paper and pen. I still have my long hours of prayers – to wait through one’s toil is the most sublime attendance.
I put an end to my note accosting “Writing has become my coin for exchange.”