It’s been so long since I clicked on the button to add a new post that I feel like I should just write “Hello world!”, like the default first post that WordPress puts up for a new blog. On the plus side, here I am, only eight months after the last post. They’ve been eventful months and at some point in the future, when I need to remember that show I saw in June 2014 or September 2015, I will curse myself into a tiny pile of ashes for not having blogged. Because obviously, I will not remember anything other than the fact that there was something memorable. Logamnesia, ahoy!
But that’s ok. It’s ok to forget, to be forgotten. Someone else probably remembers and that’s enough. There was a scroll by Chinese artist Qiu Zhijie that I saw (and loved) at the Venice Biennale this year (told you these months have been eventful). It’s crammed with tiny figures and little sentences. This is one little section of the scroll.
I’ve wandered over to this blog a number of times over the past few months. Things I’ve jotted down in the past turned out to be surprisingly useful in the present on a number of occasions. It felt weird to go through the old posts, to put terms into the ‘Search’ box. The blog felt like something that had ended. It was like going through an old photo album.
That sense of time past didn’t come only from the fact that I was looking at posts written years ago. Those posts were like snapshots and looking at them, I remembered more than the thing I’d written about. I remember the act of writing and how it made me feel. There’s nothing particularly complicated about it. Subject, verb, preposition, conjunction, definite article, adverb — pick words, string them together coherently, go off on a tangent, realise it’s time for dinner/ bed, click on ‘publish’. It’s potentially so mundane, so unremarkable. And here’s the best part about those old posts: the act of writing them was as everyday as picking up the newspaper, checking email or some such casual, thoughtless action. It was fluent and it brought satisfaction precisely because it wasn’t laboured.
Over the past couple of years, writing hasn’t felt like that. My fingers have hovered over the keyboard and typed out words and sentences because there were deadlines. I’ve felt myself receding from my writing with every paragraph and from time to time, I’d try to reel myself back in. Keep your feet on the ground. Focus on the writing. Get that sentence right. Finish the article by deadline. I stopped writing and instead just churned out ‘pieces’.
That’s the story that ended on this blog with the gaps in the posts: of the writer who stopped writing and became a churner. With every sentence I churned, writing was less of a delight and more of a monstrosity. People grow and flower with time. I, on the other hand, have let my sentences become dull. I’ve twisted my writing out of shape. I can only remember how it felt when writing rolled out like Cleopatra’s carpet. Now, it got stuck at security check and beeped miserably. So I wrote less and less, and even less. I blamed it on the lack of time, the constraints of work, the dissatisfying template (never underestimate my ability to go off on a tangent). Of course they were excuses. I just didn’t want to have to admit what I knew: In the lengthening intervals of wordlessness was a conclusion — here, she did not write because she churned.
This is not a sacred space. If anything, it’s profane. Not in the sense of being blasphemous or obscene, but in the sense of being free of religious/ spiritual frills, of being comfortably unmiraculous. This is not a place where I want to struggle or force my hands.
Here, I write. Here, I go on and on. When I can’t, here is where I stay silent.
Here is also where I come back; not unchanged, not the same. Because stories have endings. Sometimes, after the ending, they have sequels.
Here’s to going anon and on all over again.