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Thursday, September 04, 2008

writer's agoraphobia

From reading Amitav Ghosh's The Glass Palace, I intrinsically realise a flaw in my writing. One of the book's characters mentions that she finds it hard to write of the world outside, having to exit her inner world to observe the workings of the world beyond. She finds it terrifying, intrusive, violating, to enter a house that is not hers, in a way that classical writers do, writing about streets and other public places beyond the domain of their private lives.

I suppose she means that it is scary to enter into a world that is not yours, that perhaps this world might reject you, or you might reject this same world you enter. How she feels parallels the way I live, subconciously, as I seem to only write of what is in me. I write based on internal inspiration, and while I can tweak my sensitivity to inspiration, I have yet to fully master 'Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance' as it were in the book of the same name. I am not a master of my machine if I cannot take it further than my own neighbourhood.

I write observational accounts poorly, preferring to relate my response and thoughts to the event, rather than the sensoral details of the event itself. If I simulate the process right now of entering an event I would like to relate, and forgetting my own inner world for a moment, it feels as if I am losing my moorings and slowly am floating out into the open sea, to be lost until found again, if ever.

I used to think that the reason why I dislike writing reportorial accounts of events is because they are cliched and uninspiring. Like newspaper articles with staccato sentences reeking of a job merely needing to be done and nothing much else. My passionate opinion in me rules over the blatant facts of the world, for facts can be found on the bottom of any news channel, but opinion seeks to change and inspire, something of a higher intelligence.

Yet it is also true that I do indeed find it scary to write about an external collection of facts that have nothing to do with me, afraid that I might misrepresent it, or inadequately report it, denying the world of real, vanilla truth. I have to learn how to step out, eventually. Even the Impressionist artists once studied the Classical works of realistic representation, before they painted what themselves saw instead.