KOCHU VARTHAMANAM: Random Musings… On A Spot
On Jan 27, 2012
A blank page… it is supposed to inspire me, like a virgin bed of fresh fallen show, inviting me to make footprints, from feet that softly sink into the pristine whiteness. The tabula rasa alluring me to fill it up with strange squiggles that make sense. The empty goblet silently willing me to top it off, a la Keats, ‘with beaded bubbles winking at the brim’.
And I sincerely wish I could do all that. Instead, I find myself staring hard at a mystery dot that seems to have found a place right in the forehead of this (now not so) blank document. It is a stain I know. Probably an over enthusiastic drop of sugary sweetness from the bowl of gulab jamun that I tried to draw inspiration from, the last time I had a tryst with a blank Word document.
It now has a brownish color; tan I would say, having drawn a more solid form from the recurring interest on the dust deposited on my screen. I know it does not say much about my ‘housekeeping’ skills, but the fact remains that it now looks like a charming bindi adorning the forehead of this page. Reminds me of the poet who sang of the ‘portait he drew of his beloved, adorning the forehead of his white wall like a ‘ponthidambu’.
If I look at it closely, I think I can see it as a miniature map of Sri Lanka or a teardrop or a gopi or the ubiquitous paisley design - the mango seed that the world borrowed from us. I stare at it for a while and consider basing my column on it, like I once wrote a poem about the mosquito I squished against the wall, which left ‘an infinitesimal blob in the middle of nowhere’.
But no, nothing comes forth. The empty page still has not inspired me to come up with my masterpiece - the one I still believe lies hidden somewhere among the keys on my laptop. Elusive… just out of reach… maybe it is just a mirage, but it keeps me going in the desert I seem to find myself in. I just need to crack the code, figure the puzzle, hit the right keys and the doors of imagination and creativity would be thrown open before me and I would finally write my masterpiece. I wonder if a retinal scan might help. (I guess that last line was the hangover from Mission Impossible 4 I watched last night).
But so far, no such luck. My Muse still hasn’t shown up after the ‘short’ break. For a while, my Muse stayed with me, tantalizing me with the visions that I desired to see, filled my pens with the magical ink of imagination and led me by the hand along on a beautiful journey of words. And then, all of a sudden, just like that, left me along the path, bereft, alone and bewildered.
So I am left to staring at empty pages and week old sugar syrup spills hoping that if I stare hard enough or long enough, my Muse will find its way back to me or at the least, the stain will remove itself magically, shamed by my stare. Back in my blogging days, I once wrote about the humongous writer’s block I once faced. It barred my way for months, before my Muse came along and helped me chip away the nasty old block. I think I managed to carve a couple of good pieces off that old block.
This time round though, the block stares at me, but no Muse to help me chisel it into words. My friend, a writer himself, tells me, I have to keep writing, something, anything, force myself to keep at it till it becomes an involuntary action. Till I reach a stage when I would go crazy if I did not write. When I would feel as if my head would burst if I did not write.
I wish I could feel like that. Sometimes I hope the buzz I feel in my head is a sign of it. Of words struggling to burst out of the shackles of my brain, rebelling to find salvation on pages. I listen hard hoping the buzz would get louder, if it gets intolerable and I feel like I would die if I did not write. But no. I soon realize it is just a feeling of lightheadedness because I did not have breakfast, because I was too lazy to haul myself off the couch and fix me some breakfast.Some people say they get their best ideas in the shower. I tried that too. Even taking showers thrice a day in the belief of ‘third time lucky’. It did give ideas – to my husband, when he wrote out bigger numbers on the cheques to pay our water, utility and sewage bills.
Then the God of All Things, Google led me to someone who suggested that I should have a journal with me at all times so that I would never miss out on the next big idea, for want of writing equipment. So I got a nice fancy journal in the hope that its beautiful design and inspiring artwork would inspire something beautiful within me too. I even kept it ever ready at my bedside table, brand new pen and all (fountain pen, mind you because.. well, because it felt more ‘writer like’) so that in case inspiration struck just as I was in that twilight zone between sleeping and waking, I could pen it down at once.
That actually made sense because I have often felt that I did my best writing - in my mind- in that warm, fuzzy and deliciously neither here nor there state of mind you reach just before you sleep. In fact I have published whole books in those few seconds. I just cannot seem to remember the words when I wake up. Like Coleridge who left his Kubla Khan unfinished, I have piles of unfinished writing – couplets, sonnets, columns and novels – in my journal. Only, they were never created in a drug-induced stupor, rather just a regular, boring old stupor.
I tried writing with music in the background. That was worse. I just lost myself in the heartbreaking words of real writers and almost swore never to put pen to paper.
As for my topic for the column, it’s still nil - nada - zilch…and I wonder if my boss will consider these random musings on a blank page and a mark on my computer screen (even those that come Sri Lanka shaped) worthy of being called a column or just a helpless regurgitation (mind you, not a spontaneous overflow of powerful emotions) of my mundane thoughts.
Meanwhile, I think I will stare some more at the spot. Maybe my Muse will come back to me…. If I haven’t been fully abandoned…