Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Death of a writer, kind of.



‘I have neglected my writing,’ I say to myself, 'I am going to sit here for at least, no, for exactly twenty minutes. Apart from looking up occasionally at the sky for inspiration and at every girl who walks in, I am going to put my nose to the paper and write. And if need be, re-write. Maybe at the end of these twenty minutes, I would have written utter nonsense or my pen would have spent more time suspended over the paper instead of running on it, but I will get up happy in the knowledge that I have tried. It is this kind of discipline that made Somerset Maugham a great and prolific writer; he would sit in front of his typewriter for two hours at an appointed time every day. It didn’t matter whether he wrote or not. Of course I can’t spare two hours a day. Twenty minutes is all I can afford every other day what with Facebook, Twitter and checking my e-mail on the phone, exchanging and forwarding ideas, thoughts and videos over the internet – the days are so full with action that it is a miracle that I can find twenty whole minutes every alternate day for this. The internet is truly a democratic medium – it is fed and kept alive by common people like me and you; without us this wonderful thing will implode and wither away like an uncharged cell phone. Maugham had it easy. If he wrote a letter, he would get a reply several days, even weeks or months later and he could always blame the postal services if he didn’t feel like replying right away.

Anyway, this sitting in a café and working like Hemingway is totally awesome. Except that there are so many girls walking in every now and then. And the sky is barely visible through the gaps in the buildings, gaps that aren’t wide enough for inspiration to flow through. And it is sixteen minutes since I switched off the phone and I wonder how many text messages and e-mails I have missed or if the internet has imploded worldwide because without realizing everyone has decided to spend twenty minutes without checking it. And that girl three tables away has looked at me the third time and I believe in the old saying – third time lucky. It’s already eighteen and half minutes and honestly, what’s going to happen in the next ninety seconds that hasn’t so far? I have only one regret - The world just lost the next Maugham or Hemingway. Or maybe even Shakespeare.’

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