She loved it. She truly did.
Weaving those flimsy, clumsy trails of thoughts into cohesive blobs, and the ensuing muted glory in the form of a minute blue thumbs up – the instant gratification that followed was like candy to a child. Amused, she sometimes found herself wondering if this truly did have a saturation point.
Just like so many other things, however, she ought to have known better.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when, but at some point, the aura of it all – the sugar rush – started receding. While the “Likes” followed every status, every note, profusely, unease began to descend upon the once so coveted euphoria as she began to realise most of them didn’t actually care and understand, or worse, didn’t bother to do so. She could almost see them staring with glossy eyes, hitting this and that and scrolling on to the next with minimal comprehension. The turmoil inside her has barely reached out to them. The superficiality of it all quite successfully spurred on the gradual corrosion of self gratification online.
And so, it was then that she put a stopper on it.
“I have stopped writing,” she sighed…
2. An Infiltration
Her mind kept letting out such inaudible screams exasperatedly. It seemed like ages since she has had a good conversation.
As rain splashed across the café windows, she sat there listening to her friend, dispensing the occasional nods and grunts to feign her presence of mind as required.
The group hangouts were the worst.
Is this how being a wallflower felt then? Was she too meek for all these? In retrospect, she realised it had always been thus subconsciously; she had never truly been cut out for this, but it’s only now that she grasped it.
One didn’t need to be an Einstein to figure out what was going on – while she enjoyed playing the role of the listener to the other person in any given context, it was her writing which listened to her.
Paper is more patient than man, she recalled reading somewhere. Anne Frank, wasn’t it?
Geared with this novel piece of self enlightenment, she decided maybe it time was to go old school: she would start carrying a diary or notebook of the sorts; all the great ones used to do that, right?
It was only when after wasting copious amounts of ink it dawned on her that this wasn’t working – even leaving aside her illegible handwriting, scribbling down devoid her of the much cherished part of her creative ritual: embellishing her work with a word there, and a sentence here, or shifting an entire paragraph – in short, causing an upheaval head to toe to arrive at her final destination.
Vigorously cursing technology, she was quick to note that the ubiquitous hipster notion of associating writers with typewriters may soon cease to hold.
She could almost sense the elders of her clan looking down at her disapprovingly from the heavens!
The very thought made her shiver.
“I have stopped writing,” she whined.
3. Bereft of Sanctuary
As a matter of fact, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed – or so she had hoped in vain.
In effect, she could always find a different medium to churn out those rants – a blog under an alias ought to have served just fine.
The thing is, one of the pitfalls to being a writer is to be constantly aware of the resonance of being to the full brim, the profundity of which seldom plagued the commons. One constantly finds herself absorbing the eccentrics and atrocities of those around her, not even sparing herself, and dissecting and over-analysing the anomalies and analogies with equal enthusiasm.
Then all these invariably leave her with this stinging urge to pen it all down and release that burden, however ungracious that may be. Why, she could have written down an entire series titled Encounters by now had she properly put her mind to it!
What prevented her from doing so then? Well for starters, real emotions deal with real people, and she was unsure if there was perchance any ethical conflict involved in voicing them out. To be sure, there was some sort of wicked delight in seeing a few people take offence and squirm in wrath, but she sought to be the better person in this stance at least. Much to her displeasure, she discovered, not hurting others was causing her to hurt herself – the need to dispose of those unadulterated meditations drove her insane.
Be that as it may, even after setting aside these rhapsodic episodes, there was more to the tale. Literature, she has found, is actually very personal at the end of the day – no matter how hard one strives, one does leave traces of herself behind, leaving bare her thought process and perspectives for anyone and everyone to see and manipulate.
Admittedly, fiction is undoubtedly an intricate mischief after all, lacing up truths with falsities, the end results either too raw or too magical to be real. Such were the power of words. For as overrated as being in a perpetual trance is, realities should be taken with a pinch of salt as well.
Nonetheless, such vulnerability was enough to make her introvert self cringe – bringing about the demise of her literary ventures. The joke was on her – where writing, so universally revered as a method of self expression, had become self limiting for her.
“I have stopped writing,” she wept.
The writer is a second year student at the Department of Economics, University of Dhaka, and also working as a Communications Intern at The University Press Limited (UPL).