The soul crusher

You who are ever in disagreement shall one day agree with my vision, my thoughts. One day you shall see light shooting out of my words.

You who are ever in opposition shall one day nod your little head in approval, and my heart shall leap in joy.

Do you know how much heartburn you cause when you trample upon my ideas, over which I have worked half a day and some more hours?

Could you not show some solidarity or at least refine my thoughts?

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Why do you instead choose to just berate, and criticise, and never show the path to the ever-complying learner that is me?

Oh why!

What cruel joy do you derive from shaking up the very foundations that offer me confidence in my humble capacity for creativity and intelligent thought?

Your method is maddening – your words seethe, I discard them as another of eccentricities, and yet at a later hour those words trouble.

My mind doesn’t want to concede defeat, not to you.

The fight that goes on within the recesses of my mind is of a mighty scale. The objective is one – to get your nod of approval.

Do you realise how central you have become to my existence? Yes, THAT central that my first waking thought is about meeting your impeccably high standards somehow.

Yet, defeat rattles my efforts – day in, day out. The reactions are varied – ranging from feigned indifference to righteous indignation at such flat rejection.

But, this I promise you, defeats may rattle me, but they will not break me. From the ruins of defeat, I shall excavate the seeds to victory.

That victory shall be the sweetest, better than any I have had so far. That shall be a REAL feat for I shall have matched your high standards.

Till then, I shall try.

Today I lose.

I shall meet you tomorrow again.

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Does adversity enhance creativity?

This question has been troubling me for quite sometime now, and I’ve been putting off writing this post for as long as I can remember.
That’s because I’ve failed to arrive at a definite ‘yes’ or ‘no’ as an answer to the question.

The Oxford Dictionary defines “adversity” as “a difficult or unpleasant situation”. By it’s nature, the definition is open-ended and can mean a lot of things – a financial crunch, an academic failure, loss of a loved one, a heartbreak, a long winding illness, to name but a few.

However, there also arises a situation wherein an individual is unperturbed by all the above mentioned happenings.
But, that same individual loses sleep over a trivial problem.

So for my convenience, I choose to define “adversity” as “anything that affects the human mind negatively, thereby triggering a thought-chain”.

And yes, a thought-chain is always good for creativity.

The worst tragedy that can befall an artist is the death of those voices in his head that tear him apart, so much so, that unless he picks up the pen, the brush, and creates magic, he can’t find solace.

A tranquil mind is an artist’s worst nightmare.

So, from that point of view, adversity is good. It gives you a lot to think about. Thinking is good for the creative ones.

But, adversity can’t make you a better artist; it can’t teach you to sing, or paint, or write, if you don’t already know.

It can’t teach you grammar, language, structure.

And, just as I try to arrive at a resounding “YES” as an answer to the question, there arises that one darn good arguement that pushes me back to square one.

The arguement is – “Adversity also has the nasty reputation of having created the worst criminals of the world”.

The persecuted have often become the persecutors. To plug their internal void, and to silence the monster inside, some have picked up guns, swords, and daggers.

Can we really rule that out?

Can we still say that “Adversity enhances creativity”?

The thing about writing rituals. . .

Almost every person who writes has a certain writing ritual.

Some can’t write unless it is night, and the moon is full, and the wind is blowing exactly in the western direction, and a rose is tucked in between the thumb and pinkie of their left hand!

While there are some who can write just about anytime, anywhere, anyhow.

Writing rituals are as old as the art of writing itself.
Here are some famous writing rituals :

* Victor Hugo wrote in the nude.
To ward off procrastination, he would send his valet away, with all of his clothes and lock himself up in his room till he wrote something satisfactory.

*Truman Capote called himself ‘the horizontal writer’. He always wrote lying down, claiming that he couldn’t think sitting down or standing up.

*Ernest Hemingway wrote “The Old Man and the Sea” standing up!

*Friedrich Schiller liked to have a smell of rotten apples, concealed beneath his desk, under his nose when he was composing poetry.

*Voltaire, a French Enlightenment writer, used his lover’s naked back as a writing desk.

While it is easy to dismiss these as quirks – mildly amusing, and entirely personal tendencies, the point to be noted is these difficult writing rituals didn’t stop these great men from writing.

Voltaire had to persuade his lover over and over again for participation, Schiller had to keep an abundant supply of apples, whilst Hemingway had to deal with pain in the legs!

The moral of the story is – There are no excuses. It’s well and good if you have your own little quirky writing ritual, but at the end of the day, if you haven’t filled enough empty pages with the ink of your pen, the world will never know about you and your work.

THAT, is where discipline comes into play.
You’ve got to show up, everyday, whether or not you are inspired, whether or not the words flow out of you with ease.
It doesn’t matter.

Quality will follow, readership will follow, fame and name will follow – once you start showing up.

The world is interested in the finished product, and if that is good enough, maybe someday they will want to know more about you, your story, your writing rituals, your eccentricities.