Monday, October 5, 2009

Writer’s Block

I’m not the newbie on stage to talk about what Writer’s Block is and how it can be evicted from your writing career.

Like any other creative writing blog mine too has something to say and begun with Writer’s block. Actually, the fact being this is what came first in front of me when I tried moving my fingers on the keyboard… no tap, mere zzzz through the keys… this is when I realized (epiphany) that I’m facing a writer’s block. And, it’s not a day’s phenomenon. It’s going on since months and I’m stuck like a pig in street hole here with lack of topics, short of vocabulary and deprived of thoughts.

Technically speaking, Writer’s Block is referred to anxiety that one faces when all of a sudden you fell short of words which is of course being a writer a shameful moment. A writer falling short of words, what an embarrassment! Isn’t it? Don’t be embarrassed rather find out what exactly is going on. What happened and why you are not getting that “Go” feeling?

How to know it has come?

It is when you feel you are shorn of ideas and no more thoughts are popping up. It is there when you are stuck in between some thought and there is no appropriate word to end it. It arrived at your mindscape when certain thought challenges you to give it a full and meaningful expression and you feel some lump in your throat to voice out your own views. And, also when your mind is flooding with ideas and words to give them impression and yet they re thwarted and given backseat just because you are too self-conscious of your words that you fail to execute them.

Writer’s anxiety often leads them to think on the lines that they lack some special writing quality and thought process which other famous writers had. No! There isn’t any special writing habit or quality that renowned writer’s possess. Instead it’s their hard work, determination, and will power that plays crucial role. Whatsoever impediment may come, you must not stop striving. Do not get slag in your efforts rather try finding out various resources that may come of some help in the time of dire necessity. Simply sitting hands on hands won’t do.

When I face this situation, it seems as if the whole world has come to an end and now there is no way out of the chaos and darkness. My fingers and senses go numb. I have been fighting this one dreadful foe since long. Now, you must be wondering how come I writing on the subject then? Right? In reality I’m not writing rather I’m broaching upon this dreadful subject and fighting this evil out. See, I have written a whole length blog entry just on this damned curse! Let’s find it out what else can be done to combat writer’s block?

Never in your life are you deprived of thoughts, even while saying I have no ideas left for writing you are thinking on scarcity of idea- so here lays you topic. Isn’t it? Almost whole of the day you keep thinking, brooding, observing, analyzing, and above all riding the horse of your imagination behind some fancy idea or thought. You have umpteen numbers of stories and incidents to share and yet jotting them down on a piece of paper becomes too difficult a job that poor notebook is deprived of its pages after every few scribbles.

Procrastination is the right word for hat we often tumble down to while planning of a new write up, be it a novel, story, poem or an essay. We dilly-dally with the idea so much so that we get thrust into a self-imposed writer’s block. It happens when we get diverted into various other distractions in our day-to-day lives. Time is precious, it waits for none! Every single minute which we spent idly is wasted and could have been utilized well in framing some beautiful verses.

Myself, I keep trying those quizzes on facebook and updating my status on twitter. And, at the end of the day I sob, “Where the hell on earth whole day went?” whatsoever time I’m left with then, I waste it simply in making a list of all important tasks I would be accomplishing the nest day which never comes even nearer to the truth.

If you really want to surmount this Satan of writing paradise then follow my dictum:

  • Write whatever comes to your mind in the heat of thought
  • Isolate yourself from the worldly distractions being a writer your entertainment lieth in beautifying the world of your thoughts, imaginations, and creation. Be an entertainer and entertain and thereby seek amusement for yourself. World is a stage where follies of various creative minds are on display so you be next in the line and let the others dance on your music
  • Value silence! It is only in silence when you hear what’s not audible to common ears. Muses visit you when you are left all alone in some nook of your own seclusion brooding over your creation. It lest you get in touch with your inner self because deep within yourself lays the mystery of your creative genius. From the deepest core of your being comes forth the great ideas and in the world full of myriad of noises you tend to lose contact with your true self and there you are furthered from your thoughts and thus the writer’s block. Search within, you will find mine of thoughts and beautiful words. “Silence is the great teacher, and to learn its lessons you must pay attention to it. There is no substitute for the creative inspiration, knowledge, and stability that come from knowing how to contact your core of inner silence.

    – Deepak Chopra
  • Make notes of whatever strikes you in whole day. Keep a notebook and pen ready with you always. You never know when an idea comes knocking at your mind’s door!

Everyone wants to be a perfectionist which is indeed a gruesome task to tackle with. You might be a literature student who has chewed away huge literary cannon till date. You would have read and comprehended the meanings and purport of plethora of literary theories. You might also have done linguistics in your academics and have read and mustered all syntactical errors by now. But, when it comes to writing your own, very personal little piece, you are at loss. You realize that everything you read and learned by this day in your life has been drained down the gutter… and you have spilled some too grammatically incorrect piece of writing. Lo, here the lighting has struck and you dash off to your desk!

I remember few words of William Butler Yeats, not the exact ones yet, they say do not edit your writing, when you edit it, it is deprived of its originality and true essence. This is why you have often heard from older people that things in their crude form lends more impact than in their refined form.

So, concentrate on writing first and not on its quality! Practically speaking, there is neither a school nor a teacher who can make you learn writing. It’s you and only you! Lace up your shoes and find out your corner!

I may have left some important points un-broached upon, so you all are welcome to have your say!

William Golding’s Lord Of The Flies- Characters Analysis

Every one of us at certain point of time in our lives dreams of running away from our life, to escape into the lands of anonymity where no one can reach us and we have life the way we want it to be. But, never can we imagine that this dream, if fulfilled can turn into a living terror. In his novel, ‘Lord of the flies,’ William Golding has definitely let his characters attain their dream but this one doesn’t turn out to be as glorious and enchanting as it seemed when in fantasy. It was more loathsome than the reality is, with no restrain on human and amoral conducts. Wilderness and savagery were the thumb rule. Each character in the novel traverses these dark gullies of their fantasies in their own peculiar way. They get astonished, scared, succumbed, develop, and evolves into a being other than what they were. Their character’s strength is put to test and how they come out those adverse circumstances is what the story is all about. Ralph, Jack, and Piggy, the three main characters of the novel are synonymous with the struggle a human face when thrown into the dark nooks of the primal world where wilderness tries to overpower their civilized mind. Ralph fights out the empowering savage prowess and wins.

Golding etches out beautifully how wilderness tries to succumbs innocent souls and fighting it out leaves what impact on the life of protagonist, Ralph; Jack who surrenders to savagery and cannibalism. He drives his group to the ultimate edge of savagery with camouflage to get rid of civilization and their blood dance around fire after slaughtering a boar; Piggy, with all his maturity and sense of civility. Despite being ridiculed every now and then, mocked of his composure, yet he proves to be most sensible when everyone is fighting each other. (Hafidh)

Ralph seems to be the best amongst boys, who did command certain authority, and combined it with morality and intelligence. He always made it a point to keep the priority of rescue in mind and retain focused on signals even when savages threatened their life. The twist comes in when a boat passes by island without noticing them which happens because Jack left fire signal back at hunting place. Ralph gets infuriated on Jack owing to his negligence on the part of rescue signal, fire. This breach of trust results into conflict between Ralph and Jack. Just because of Jack’s stupidity rescue was lost. Ralph loathes Jack and gets separated. Jack wanted to attain leadership and for this he tries to lure Ralph’s team. The savage tribe loses control and act unruly yet this does not deters Ralph from keeping the fire alight and send smoke signals. Ralph felt a stab after Piggy’s death and conversion of Eric and Sam into savages but his spirit of looking for rescue didn’t break. While the end approaches, the Savages sets pyre to the island to kill Ralph. Ralph’s determination to seek rescue gets achieved as a naval officer notices the smoke signal and comes to rescue. Finally, boys are saved from getting succumbed to the oblivion of distant Island.

Without Ralph, rescue wouldn’t have been possible. Jack would have been the head, and all the boys might have turned into savages already. Ralph shows courage whenever required. His actions are his mirrored thoughts. Ralph is the one who doesn’t give up on his determination to leave island to reach home.

The novel implores the archetypal theme of defeat of evil by humanity or the other theme can be anthropological which traverses the fact that when humanity left alone into the wilderness, in the world of primal forces how, it gets succumbed to those dark powers. How much easy it is to let go off humanity and civilization when in the middle of primitive forces of distant islands. The time when William Golding came up with the novel was of World War II when the very European standards of civilization were questioned. A reconsideration of human rationality and civilization was called for. (Schwartz)

Ralph is a blond British boy, aged about twelve, and is one of the eldest amongst the group stranded on the island. He is the protagonist of the novel, and is one of the strongest characters in the ‘Lord of the Flies’. Well built and charming, as put in the words of Golding, ‘You could see now that he might make a boxer, as far as width and heaviness of shoulders went, but there was a mildness about his mouth and eyes that proclaimed no devil.’

In the beginning of the novel, Ralph is chosen as the leader instead of other contender Jack Merridew, who is a choirboy’s head. Ralph acts decisive, and shows a leader’s quality, when he goes on to assign an important task for Jack, so that he doesn’t feel left out, and co-operates, in their endeavor to escape the island. He distributes the work amongst all, and shows the decisiveness of his character, where he is not only a commander, but also a just leader. Once being selected as chief, Ralph sets rules and using the exemplar of a conch shell organizes the whole society under his command. He is the only boy who has good sense of judgment and differentiates between what is right and what is wrong. And, with the help of his good discerning prowess he strives to achieve what is right. The main focus of Ralph’s action was to keep the civilization amidst the boys intact and strive to achieve rescues in any case. He along with Piggy who is an outcast builds shelters and makes sure that fire is alight always so as to assure that smoke signals are sent consistently for rescue. In order to keep conch running impeccably, Ralph calls meeting of boys two times in a day i.e. in morning and once during evening. With meetings he wanted to instill the sense of security and unity amongst the members.

However, at first, Ralph’s actions seem to be selfish, unfair and ignorant. He sends Jack and Simon to go up to the mountain, instead of Piggy, and check whether it is an island or not. It was done in an order to placate Jack. Piggy is an intelligent and understanding person. But, Ralph and others choose to ignore him rudely when he shows his readiness in getting along with them and mix up. He shows lack of understanding as a leader, when he asks fire to be lighted, which eventually loses control, with little children around them. Ralph is too self-centered while making decisions. This is evident from the way he doesn’t allow other characters space to voice out their opinions. He had made it mandatory for others to follow the conch rule until the moment he realizes sense in Piggy’s words. The sudden realization dawns upon him of Piggy’s sense of discretion. Ralph weighs Piggy’s ideas and on finding their worth becomes humble towards him. This change in Ralph’s attitude shows his intellect and rightness.

The Protagonist has guts to show up when the situation demands it. After Jack’s tribe invades Ralph’s tent and loots the fire and take away Piggy’s spectacles, Ralph dauntlessly enters Jack’s arena surrounded with savages. At this junction in the story, Ralph stands for the humanity and speaks for himself and Piggy in the clearest term saying:

“You pinched Piggy’s specs…You’ve got to give them back…I say! You voted for me for chief. Didn’t you hear the conch? You played a dirty trick—we’d have given you fire if you’d asked for it…You could have had fire whenever you wanted. But you didn’t. You came sneaking up like a thief and stole Piggy’s glasses.” (Golding, 176)

Ralph’s intrepidity is visible even when he is aware that his life in the throes of danger and yet he goes up to Castle Rock to have word with Samneric. The strength of his character is evident from his attitude of not giving up even in stubborn situations. His character strength remains impeccable and doesn’t let him get succumbed to the dark power of savagery. Instead he stands courageously in front of adversities and remains sane in all circumstances. However, he is guilt ridden with the thought that in killing beast he had actually murdered Simon. He avoids this thought and assures himself that nothing has been done wrong. He does not have courage to admit it, even to himself that he has been involved in a killing. To wash away his guilty conscience Ralph keeps lying to himself. Golding reveals the conscience play of Ralph in the story and depicts how Ralph feels about his clean habits:

“He discovered with a little fall of the heart that these were the conditions he took as normal now and that he did not mind” (Golding, 110)

This is evident of the fact that including Ralph every other boy has accepted the truth and is adjusting accordingly in the life on the distant island. Ralph gets nostalgic and traverses the ways down the memory lane remembering his life in past.

“Once following his father from Chatham to Devonport, they had lived in a cottage on the edge of the moors. In the succession of houses that Ralph had known, this one stood out with particular clarity because after that house he had been sent away to school.” Golding says, “When you went to bed there was a bowl of cornflakes with sugar and cream. And the books—they stood on the shelf by the bed, leaning together with always two or three laid flat on top because he had not bothered to put them back properly…” Golding further talks about Ralph’s reminiscence of books and concludes at an eliciting statement, “…. Everything was alright; everything was good-humored and friendly.” (Golding, 112)

These reminisces re-instills the notion that Ralph is still a kid who should be rightfully away from the life full of vicissitudes. His life should be far from pains, troubles, destitution, and struggles that he has been confronting on the island. He misses his city life and the very moment the exciting and adventurous island life turns into a bitter recollection of past.

William Golding has critiqued the World Wars that have made us turn into savage towards fellow humans. He has craftily shown how at any moment of life savage or wild side of human nature can take over our rational self and attack the very premises of morality.

Works Cited

1. Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: The Berkley Publishing Group. 1954

2. Schwartz, Meredith. Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself: A Critical Examination of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies: March 2000

3. Hafidh, Sumia S. Abdul. William Golding The Loss of Identity in Lord of the Flies.