Pragati Verma

May 28, 2021

3 min read

On the process of writing

I have been recently putting together a collection of poems and musings, so, I went through a lot of old pieces hidden in my old diaries and at the back of my class registers, with varying degrees of pride and discomfort. I don’t really like reading my old pieces as much as a lot of people don’t like listening to their own voice on a recorder or looking at their old photos. I experience a mix of emotions of cringe, dread, curiosity, regret, and tender optimism whenever I do this, but still, there’s no denying that I love writing. There have been times, I have approached writing as an escape or an impulse, but every time it has been an expression of me, and my innate thoughts.

I often ask myself and am asked these questions — Why do you write? How do you write? Honestly, I don’t have any concrete answers to them. Read along if you want to unveil, as I carry this conversation with my sanity to decipher what makes me write.

I am not usually seeking ideas, experiences, or poems, however, they often arrive unconsciously in form of violent waves, leaving behind the tremors of muse, and writing it down is the only peace I have discovered till day. For me, writing happens when I hush the voices of the world and sit alone with those thoughts, tracing steps in an ever decreasing spiral from the big idea to the kernel of inchoate metaphysical realizations that reside at the center. They are not my instincts, possibly, facile expressions that possess a certain kind of mystery, unraveled to me as in I have been looking for it, without even knowing what I exactly want. I never understand them completely to their core, perhaps this question mark drives me to write and interpret what I could make out of it.

The process of writing, I often think, is in itself an incomplete act where all of us are basically expressing our incompleteness in a particular form and some of us commit the mistake of believing that an articulate expression brings us closer to the truth. However, looking at it widely, there’s an unfathomable depth that separates our thoughts and their origin. We just have abstractions, patterns, and symbols from which we attempt to build meanings, ideologies, and notions.

Writing is a futile chase to infiniteness. It is the spot — right there — that can never be reached. Almost — so close — but never. It is purposeless, ephemeral — a winking mockery of existence. It is an art of expressionism that can’t be overlooked. It’s the reflection of all the almosts, maybes and whys, that we carry in our eyes, each day treading through life. We write as if to live life twice, once at the moment and then in the retrospect.

I read the paragraphs and the stanzas out loud while I am writing to assure myself if it sounds natural and makes sense, although it does seem like a dialogue from me to me. I am never satisfied with my writing, perhaps because it’s an endless talk and I am the one who has to put a full stop, and deciding that is quite tough. Sometimes, I am hung up on words, and then writing becomes a struggle to find the apt phrase to convey what’s up in there, in my head. It’s eccentric, sometimes it comes bursting out and at others keeps you waiting, whatever it is, all I know is that writing is home to me, a refuge to my peace.

I suppose there’s a lot to discover and to add to this conversation, but limited by my experience, this is all I could put together here. However, I truly, really believe in these lines by Charles Bukowski, where he talks about being a writer:

“when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.”