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Sunday, November 21, 2010

To Bare Or Not to Bare - Telling vs. Showing

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~Anton Chekhov

In Our Lives Laid BareDeepti Lamba writes:

I am here talking about the need for us writers to pen our lives down. The need to share our lives with those who read us...It is a catharsis that we are addicted to- lay it all out.

In a response Ritu wrote:

There is a certain bit of ourselves that we lay bare everytime we write. Yet, I don't have the courage to lay bare the innards of my soul or write of the issues that really plague me. I always marvel the courage of writers who are able to reveal the innermost struggles of their lives in print.

Bathroom singing should not be for public consumption. This page is not a couch. The reader is not a psychiatrist. A writer's words should do the talking, if they could. The reader could nod, decipher, discern, relate and share the writer, if indeed they would like to, in those written words.


I have not commented yet on Our Lives Laid Bare. That is for not lack of attempts. I must have dispatched many comments, some short and some very long to cyber oblivion. [The wastebasket is a writer's best friend. ~Isaac Bashevis Singer.]

Dee, you elicited some very strong reaction. Being cast in a different mold, I have respect and admiration for those who are completely at ease with their "selves" and can write (about themselves) with ease.

I am not a writer, nor a poet: small time poets are not poets they are merely passionate scribblers. I belong to the group (am not sure if there exists such a group - but am willing to bet there is one on evidence) that would rather let their words lead the way - unadulterated and unmixed with raw personal details as much as possible.

And what I write (here) is not intended to encourage or discourage the writer in you [It is impossible to discourage the real writers - they don't give a damn what you say, they're going to write. ~Sinclair Lewis]

When Franz Kafka wrote, "Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself" I understood it to mean an arrangement of words on paper that lays bare the intense internal bombardment of thoughts in a manner that may present easily decipherable hints for the interested reader.

Here is a test. Tell me how their contemporary reader would have reacted to Yukio Mishima, Japanese Author, 1925-1970 [The average age for a man in the Bronze Age was eighteen, in the Roman era, twenty-two. Heaven must have been beautiful then. Today it must look dreadful. When a man reaches forty, he has no chance to die beautifully. No matter how he tries, he will die of decay. He must compel himself to live.- Yukio Mishima] [True beauty is something that attacks, overpowers, robs, and finally destroys. - Yukio Mishima] and Lord Byron, English Poet, 1788-1824. [If I don't write to empty my mind, I go mad. - Lord Byron][To withdraw myself from myself has ever been my sole, my entire, my sincere motive in scribbling at all. - Lord Byron]?

If you are unfamiliar with their eccentricities then you can check them out here: 7 "Eccentric" Geniuses Who Were Clearly Just Insane.

I cannot speak for Temple, V.S Naipaul or countless others who share bits and pieces of themselves with the world but one thing is for sure it does take courage to lay oneself open and its a gift few are willing to share.

Unapologetically I'd say Dee, Naipaul is a uncouth and unmitigated lowlife who should have taken a vow of silence after A House for Mr Biswas - or become a monk. Sorry Dee, I have no respect for those who loathe and are bereft of self respect - such persons cannot respect the reader. A reader is the prime reason for writing. Writing, in essence cannot exist in a vacuum, even though words are small gods. And baring the soul should be done through the "glint of light on broken glass."


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