Tag Archives: experience

Writing description

Strange mist earlier this week obscuring the Manhattan skyline. How can I describe it?
Strange mist earlier this week obscuring the Manhattan skyline. How can I describe it?

You close your eyes and try to remember the first snow this season as it fell softly on your way to work. You relive the memory of your train ride from Calcutta to Kharagpur where you met the woman who shared aloo parathas with you. You feel the taste of the exotic Ghost Pepper at Chelsea Market in Manhattan on your tongue, after you’re home, when the burning sensation is no longer real.

Then you simply describe it in words.

Description. Of all the strategies of writing, description should be the easiest of all.

I mean, after all, what’s there to description? The original is already in existence, or must have been in existence, or can be very much like something that is or was in existence. Just go forth and make a copy. Describe it.

Can that be so hard?  Continue reading Writing description

Writing and online experience

Imagine a moment in a story in which the protagonist finds his ex-girlfriend on Facebook. Imagine a story in which a woman falls in love with a guy through chats and comments and pictures and fantasizes about the rest of her lover in her mind. Imagine a story involving an online stalker who is everywhere and nowhere. Imagine a story of artistic melancholy where life feels fragmented and fake like a Facebook wall.

Would these stories be comprehensible to a reader without any online experience? As Lloyd Alexander has said, “Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.” While our fantasies stretch beyond our imaginations, their raw materials have to have their foundation in experience. The sensibilities that the above stories depend on can only exist because our online worlds exist and we have some experience of it. These experiences can hardly be separated from the form and content of these stories.
Continue reading Writing and online experience

Writing and experience

It was as if I was right there.

I felt like I was there with you.

Can’t wait to visit the spots you’ve written about.

Perhaps it was a post about the city in the hot Summer. Perhaps it was about the quiet night. Perhaps it was about a park I had spent the afternoon in.

I’ve been posting about many things every few days but often, when I write about a place or a time of day or a moment, people respond with such lovely words. Then I know exactly what readers were thinking as they read my piece. Such words feel refreshing like balm to my writerly senses.

But why? Why do I love these reactions where readers talk about visualizing a scene or feeling a place along with me (other than the fact that they are positive comments, of course)? Continue reading Writing and experience

The lost art of being alone

I was thinking of a painting I imagined myself this morning.

A water colour of a woman in a white bonnet on a hilltop with her back to the viewer. There are rolling hills all around dotted by white and yellow grass flowers as far as the eye can see. It’s springtime. There is no noise except that of the passing breeze. She is drinking in the surroundings alone, at peace.

Then I imagined another painting. A man in a dark room at a solid, brown, wooden table sitting by candlelight at work. Everything beyond that circle of light is dark, undefinable, unfathomable. Quiet. Night. Perhaps someone else is reading or writing a letter in another corner beyond the scope of the painting. Only his heavy breathing is audible. This man is secluded completely.

I see a third painting. Two people sitting in a sparsely furnished room engaged in deep discussion. They are looking intently at each other. You are aware that that is how they have been in conversation for the last half hour even though this painting has only captured a moment in their interaction. A tiny fraction of their concentration.

As a viewer, I feel like an intruder. I mustn’t be here watching them.

Then I think of a real-life scenario. What would it have been like if they were real people in my own place and time? Continue reading The lost art of being alone

Should you write about everything?

There is a time to write and there is a time to stay silent. To not write. And there are times when writing does not come.

No, I am not talking about writer’s block. I am talking about events in a person’s life that leave a deep impact. Pain that lies too deep for tears and emotion that lies too deep for words.

Know what I am talking about?

Certainly there are blogs out there that chronicle pain and love and other emotions as they come everyday. The blog is a form especially suited for such an outlet.

But at the same time, good writing is “emotion recollected in tranquility” for many of us. Noting experience down in the heat of the moment often distorts the shape of what lies deep in our hearts on the mirror of our page,  desecrates what seems to be pure, exposes to interpretation and reception and distorts what must not be interfered with. Continue reading Should you write about everything?

How to fail better at writing (Part 1)

A few scenarios of failure

English: Algernon Charles Swinburne. A true po...Rupa is sixteen years old. Rupa has a lot of passion for life. Rupa thinks she is a writer. Rupa keeps a pocket book handy at all times in case her inspirations escape from the leaky recesses of her brain and she fails to catch them in flight.

So Rupa has been scribbling for a while, mostly about love, passion, roses. At social gatherings, her parents often urge her to read out her poetry. It’s probably her imagination but she’s been noticing a lot of people heading towards the food or feeling suddenly thirsty the moment her parents mention her most recent inspired moments. Continue reading How to fail better at writing (Part 1)

Ten Secrets: Writers, Books, Good and Bad

Points to ponder

♠1. Good girls and good boys rarely grow up to become good writers.

♠2. The good in good person and the good in good book is almost never the same thing.

Evil Eeyore
(Photo credit: ybnormalman)

Continue reading Ten Secrets: Writers, Books, Good and Bad