Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The Writer's Block

The self-proclaimed and twice published author was in a quandary. He was going through a bad, bad writer’s block. He was sitting in most idyllic sorroundings that touched him, made him feel good and made him want to pay tribute to it; but still he could not write anything. EnGeeTham (not his real name, a pseudonym, if this writer may add), the author in question, pondered on, looked for all possible plots, but still could not come up with a plot that he could write on.

Engeetham was sitting on “The Ridge” at the Simla, watching the people go by, in an unhurried way - the locals and some tourists. It was start of the summer and he was told the tourist season had not yet begun. He saw that famous church picturised in several movies awash with a lovely glow of lights. He had been sitting there since the evening, but still had gotten no clue nor a divine intervention nor a bolt of lightning (although it was beginning to drizzle) for a story; but just failed to come up with a plausible plot.

Engeetham was captivated by Simla’s beauty. The mountains, the valleys, the pine trees, the greenery and the vast expanse of forest were a treat. The air seemed to cooler and cleaner. The surrounding areas around Simla, as one moves away from it was even more refreshing. The stillness of the air lent to the surreality that the life itself was going in a slow-motion; it seemed to add a time-dimension for him to step back and survey in a detached way. It was philosophical; yet he could not come up with a plot.

Engeetham has been in Simla for about a week then, with his family staying as guests in his friend’s parent’s house, along with the friend’s family. It was kind of first visit up to the hills and he had enjoyed it thoroughly. He also knew that his wife and kid too were enjoying the visit; the wife the hospitality and the scenery; the kid – the horse-rides, the new place, the yak-rides, the serene pine forests and ability to walk around. Engeetham knew his family was experiencing something different. He looked for angles there, but still no plot or a sign of a story.

Engeetham loved the simplicity of Simla. It was much uncomplicated and the flow was slow. People had time to do things and they were not rushing from here to there. People seem to take time off, even during the work-day to walk on the Mall road. Just walk up and down and have some ice-creams or any other such eats. It seemed one could have a lot for a lot less. The undulations on the road provided a lovely setting to watch the imposing and rising hills all around. He found it specifically very very strange yet child-like when people stopped on the streets, said hello, shook hands with their acquaintances and moved on their earlier trajectory (refer to mention of undulation above) of walking. Engeetham could sense a possibility there for a story; but try as he might, he just could not convert it.

Engeetham and wife were touched by their hosts; there was this endearing non-urban, village-like quality in them – the community feeling. They seem to have that something that urban population like himself seem to be yearning for – having the time, quality and willingness to care for someone other than themselves. He found his hosts were most welcoming. He was sure their visit has introduced chaos into their lives and intruded into their normalcy. In spite of inability to communicate effectively across the language barrier, it was still special. Engeetham’s wife was touched that his friend’s mother insisted that she buy a shawl as a parting gift. Where does this happen? Engeetham could see a possibility of human interest and emotions that the TV News channels effectively peddle these days. He thought hard, but still no cogent plot.

It was more than 2 months since they returned from the vacation. Today, Engeetham was on a plane, on a flight home, from one urban jungle to his home (another urban jungle) – Engeetham took one last attempt; but still nothing; He sighed, as hard as he may try, he just could not get a story out of it. As he gave up, it stuck him: YES !!! Here was the story, with that recommended twist in the narration towards the end of the story that Jeffrey Archer wrote in his Twists in the tale.

...Eureka !!!, Just convert the writer’s block and present it as a writer’s blog.

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Authors Note :) Googling Writers Block spurts out 1000s of pointers. One interesting one is
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Writer's_block
Someday, this blog would appear in the top 8s list :) ;)

8 comments:

ramesh said...

good one...
even the slow shimla life, couldn't hold back your restlessness to look for the story :)

Anonymous said...

hmmm.....uhhh... "i just lost my comment"... must be something in the story - varun

EnGeetham aka "My Song!" said...

4Ramesh: Always restless, always-on :)

4Varun: Eventually, two month later, you will get it; come back then :)

Dinaker said...

Good one :) On your next trip, would suggest moving out of the popular hill stations (preferably during the months of Sep to Nov) to further up into small hamlets along the river streams, am sure u would get engrossed into the beauty of nature !!

Anonymous said...

What! You didn't speak to a single soul Shimla?! You could have mined the locals' resentment over what their town has come to. Writer's block? Plain sailing!

EnGeetham aka "My Song!" said...

4D'kar: perhaps; when you start on your 'journey' perhaps you could point me to one such place ?

4Anon: (its KA, right ?) - yes, its easy for you !! I'm going through one right now !

Anonymous said...

Wow! Evolution as a writer is almost complete!! You have just converted "nothing" into a story..good work.
C

EnGeetham aka "My Song!" said...

4Ac: thanks :)