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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

My Blog: Mental Jumble vs. Creative Expression

This blog started out as a way for me to express myself, and the thoughts that occupied my mind, at any given moment that I could afford to sit down and pour them all out onto the screen in front of me. However, and maybe I am finally able to admit it to myself, this makes for a very disjointed sort of reading for a regular reader base, unless of course I was a case study for a psychology class, in which case it would be mandatory reading for my audience, and opinions about the writer's ability to hold his audience's attention will not arise, or be entertained. I will concede though, that even for me as the person behind the written effort that is this blog, my attempts at creative expression are a fair enough distance away from where I would like them to be, in general and specifically. With knowledge of this, then, what's with the publishing online of these half-formed thoughts to assault the already overwhelmed world of reading material out there, by tinging it with my particular brand of whiny drivel? Nothing terribly intuitive about this, I don't think, but having been more verbally reserved for most of my natural life, a perfect combination of having a lot to say, but having just as much trouble saying it out loud proved to be the ideal recipe to have me devote my need for catharsis in my life to the strokes of my pen. It has been a work in progress, and will always be if I consider the ways in which I can improve before exercising creativity. Yet, at this stage in my life, having come so far thanks to time spent on this alone, understanding that I have a lot further to go, and nowhere near accepting the distance to be traveled, before considering the exact plan of action that will see me get to where I would like to be, I seem to be a victim of my own confusion, brought about thanks to my own, constant haranguing of myself ceaselessly considering the path my life is taking.

Needing To Want To...

My first attempts at creative writing since college had been attempts at writing about the goings-ons in my life, for friends who were interested, like a sort of open letter online, in the hopes that their comments and subsequent posts on their own blogs would form the a more complete response to my post, and so on. Honestly, I tried to make it a point to connect a lot of what piqued my curiosity to interests of the day, or season, but in essence, this has not pushed me along further to achieve the desired result. What result was I looking for? I believe when I started this blog back in 2005, I was one of the last of a group of friends who was attempting to stay in touch by having a means of regularly updating the rest of us on the current goings-on in their lives. Blogging took preference over emailing because of the ability to publish and reach a much larger audience, to include not just us, but friends of friends, even friends of those friends, and more distantly connected acquaintances, if any, thereafter. Also, readily admitting that writing an email is much less intense an activity than posting on a blog, my inability to keep in touch is a legendarily discussed-at-great-length character trait of mine that dates back to time spent away from home in boarding school, when I seemed unable to put pen to paper, for many strange reasons, all of which resulted in serious complaints from my parents. Back to this online-publishing-to-stay-in-touch effort that we seemed to have started, some of my friends managed to keep things going. However, and with specific reference to what appears to be my phobia when it comes to keeping in touch with people, I was not one of them. I have had too many spikes in activity, with a steady decrease in these over the last couple of years. More recently, which is a very relative estimation of elapsed time between posts, there are numerous posts where I have lamented my inability to be consistent, and promised to try again, only to let myself down repeatedly. So, I devoted a little time to my woes in this department, and it finally dawned on me that I should attempt to express my mind, the "mental jumble" I have seen fit to assault the world with, in a more creative manner. A most obvious, "Duh", right? But like I said, and a decade and about a thousand posts later, I have finally worked up the courage to admit to myself the haphazard nature of this blog, regardless of the archives, or label cloud to help people find what they are looking for, or quite simply to assist in the browsing of the site. This time around, and understanding that the most pressure I feel debilitated by is of my own creation, I will turn to a slightly different sort of writing, which will hopefully be less obscure in its trains of thought because it won't seek to impose upon the reader any of my confusions, to mildly label them so. Of course, I rely on your kind feedback to let me know if I should proceed further down this path, or abandon it altogether.

A Journal of Mental Musings

It has often struck me that, for all practical purposes, this blog would best serve as a journal for psychological analysis of the writer as a patient, with a detailed although not daily posting schedule, having captured my thoughts and interpretations in writing for a couple of years. It shows interests, recurring themes, attempts at creativity, various forms and kinds of complaining and the odd photograph, where I have posted such. Dare I say that if you read my blog from start to finish you would know me very well. Perhaps you would understand more about me, or the inherent motivations that led me to post what I have. But these would collectively comprise the proverbial tip of the iceberg as far as knowing me as a human being goes. Maybe you would find the grammatical errors that are rife more revealing, or at the very least, mildly amusing. I don't know. Having said that, I have felt the need to sit down and edit all of the errors on my posts, especially the ones that jump out at me, but have been forced to put this off because it would take up more of the time that I was already not able to spare to proofreading. Or writing, which if you remember, was the original issue. Okay, and I say this most honestly, I like to proofread but need to be able to distance myself from the post for a period of time that will allow me to read the text again with error-seeking eyes. This is how it is with most people, I know, but when looking at my formerly favorite style of sitting down with half a thought, effortlessly splurging words on this passing notional fancy, and filling voids that should have remained empty with text-based information, it makes for a more convincing argument to stop doing this.

Fire-and-Forget Writing: Quantity, not Quality
Enough of the fire-and-forget writing style that comes from a desire to post, but with none of the discipline of doing so in a structured and sustainable manner, like I was writing for an exam where the person grading the paper looked for a greater number of pages than whether or not the answers made sense. Enough of, also, forcing myself to write out of the frustration of not being able to force myself to write from the last time I tried to force myself to write anything, itself resulting from a time of previous urgency to act in this manner. Not only is this a recipe for endless frustration, but it also happens to be working at cross-purposes with my attempts to be a professional writer, one with an audience that isn't trying to find out where he lives so that they can silence him and his works permanently. I would like to have a few books under my belt, a couple of these could be collections of shorter works, like essays or short stories and opinions shared, while engaging myself in other kinds of writing on an ongoing basis, to make what I imagine to be the steadier stream of income to help replenish the stocks of food on the table. Also, and so as not to make it sound like vocabulary flows through my veins, in various font styles and sizes at that, taking care of my needs will enable me to do more of what I want, which isn't as complicated as the writing thing, or so I believe. Currently, one of my main areas of interest is to rediscover the wisdom of old, information that was commonplace during the time our grandparents were around, but that which we have thrown out with the onset of our technologically-superior ways. I see a lot of others attempting to do something similar, collecting old recipes for DIY remedies for common conditions and ailments, to a more active and locally-focused rediscovery of knowledge related to how people lived in civilized accommodations, and in a manner of lifestyle that were more in tune with their immediate environs, from days and times long past. Part of this comes from having seen this in action, wherever I have been to in India, starting from my hometown. The rest of it comes from having some yearning to want to undo that which should not have been done in the first place, something that often forces me to see things in this world as a cause to be fought for. I refer to this specifically because one of the first memories I have of an all-school event is one that centred around Earth Day, and being eight years old, it meant the world to me to better understand what was really happening to the world that I was a part of.

Thirty years later, it pains me deeply to say that in spite of my best efforts, meagre and non-existent as they may have been during this time, things have only gotten worse. A lot of the posts I have written are essentially veiled frustrations at this fact, a sense of general unhappiness causing me to write about the injustice perceived, hardly ever to do anything about it. Understanding this was essential to learning that I too, in spite of my level of education, social exposure, circle of friends, the family that I was born into, among other things, was just an educated idiot who was programmed to do everything on command, whether it was destroying the environment to promote my own individual prosperity, or destroying the environment to disable other inhabitants from being able to survive. And, some part of this indoctrination seems to have translated itself into a kind of need to leave a record of all that had transpired, as I witnessed and perceived it, providing me a safe space to air my grievances, and make thin-air suggestions not necessarily rooted in the realities of this world, whatever the reason for any of this may be. But now that I look back on what the origins of this blog were, as well as what purpose I had envisioned for it, it strikes me as odd that the evolution that I seek is not all that far-fetched. It simply requires a little more focus, a little more time to be taken, and essentially, a little more care to be shown for something that I so strongly wish to make my future. I guess one of the greatest surprises the average human being can have in this life is the fact that in spite of all the ambition and effort resulting from it, the biggest obstacle that leads to shattered dreams and brokenhearted misery lifelong is her- or himself.

Loss of Focus, or Poorly Defined Purpose? 

To lose focus would mean that there had to be some to begin with. Truth be told, and as you've probably guessed it, there was also no real purpose in mind when I started this blog. Of course, when having to select options at the time of registering this blog, well, I may have attempted to select available choices to mimic a purpose, but really, no, I have to admit to not having one at the beginning. This was more of a sort of experiment, this blog, where the bigger hope was to engage in conversations outside of the normal sphere of topics that we focused most of our time and energy on, or maybe even to discuss the big news stories of the day, but from a stance that was far less exoteric, by no means an attempt at inclusion, but purely a means of ameliorating our perspective, or our sense of perspective. Having said this, it makes it much easier to lead into the fact that both of these elements were lacking at the outset of this experiment, or effort at something experimental but by no means unique, and that now more than ever, there seems to be at hand, the time to make a serious call about the future of this blog.

In essence, and at its most succinct, the question is basically should I stay on this course in the hopes that it may lead to something unexpectedly worthwhile in the near future, or possibly, something that I can look back upon fondly during my retirement, which actually makes the 'journal' concept, no matter the nature of its contents, that much more endearing from a long-term perspective. Either way though, there is a lot of work to be done, and perhaps, as I think aloud on this, the amount of effort to push this piece of virtual space into a more meaningful realm of social interaction electronically, is really the same, no matter which way I decide to take it. Even abandonment, at this stage, would deal a what-could-have-been blow to the frail psyche, wondering what all of this effort, severely waning though it was at the end, was for in the first place.

Therefore, here's to attempting to work through the frustrations of my life in a manner that is relatable, without having to get deeply personal, which I have a tendency of doing, no matter how much I would like to think that this is not the case with me. The trick is to perceive life creatively, taking real instances and happenings from those lived, but transforming them into tales that can be told without having to belabour a point, or begrudge another person their own existence because of the way in which it appeared to outshine our own. Hey, now that sounds like the basics of being able to tell a good story. And I never thought I would get here.

Wish me luck!
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