The other day I was chatting with Kaartikeya who happened to mention he was quite busy and happy, but didn’t have time to concentrate much on his own writing projects. A week later, at a gathering I listened to the virtues of community-building amongst artists, and before I knew it these two seemingly different threads interwove, making me wonder… that as writers and poets we often integrate forward and backward.
Within our inner cocoons, we may be dreamers, incubators, writers, editors, translators, self-critics, self-publishers, submitters. On the outside, fragmented into marketeers, platform-builders, PR persons, brand builders, event organizers.
How many times have our family members and friends become our first-readers and critics? Our photographers at events? Who contributed that wonderful graphic art, painting, logo sketch for our magazines, journals, e-zines, books, and book cover designs? Who edited a mammoth manuscript for just a cup of coffee and a warm hug, before it was submitted to a publishing house?
We are I00 personas wrapped in one, and there is no other choice that to mutate to survive this ecosystem. Becoming multi-faceted is the better part of the deal. Having our time and mind-space divided, the trickier element. How fast a day passes, a month, a year leaving behind half-imprints of manuscripts.
Where is the time for community-building then? The bigger question being should we be creators or community builders? Or both? What should be the balance between creating, giving, and taking? And is creating a way of giving back, in itself?
To each his or her own answers. But allowing and accommodating for variations in these answers is what is important.
On the thought of accommodating came another thought. In this unforgiving biota of fluctuating readerships and sales, chaotic trends and topical flavors, rejections, eternal subjectivity, we tend to become unforgiving toward ourselves. The push-back has to be accommodated somewhere – guided into understanding ourselves in order to see the microcosm for what it is.
Somedays accept that you won’t give back to anyone: not even to yourself – and there should be no guilt about it. No losing of steam, swing, or momentum. This, that contributes easily to self-doubt and plagues in the dark corners of the mind.
The point is: are we patient with ourselves?
I remember, years ago, when I was two-stories old, a moderator at a forum introduced me by saying my fiction was good, but not my poetry. And I instinctively stood up, quite out of turn, and said I would give myself 60 years to know if poetry was my thing.
Evolution happens through a spectrum, if you allow it in. Be it the cave or the café, individual or the collective, it is up to you to decide how long you should take to complete a piece of writing, ascertain your techniques, know your periods of gestation, timelines for revisions, editing, rewriting. Also, if the individual creative pursuit comes before, after, or simultaneous with community-building, with no blueprint, no pressure, since there is already enough coming off from the macrocosm.
Our metamorphosing roles are on a spectrum of development and might I say: refinement. But I find that most of everything comes on a spectrum: poetry from the nebulous to the sheer concrete; literature between its genres; life on a turning wheel of experiences and epiphanies.
You are then answerable only to your own restlessness, the breathing ink of life before, after, and during literature.
And before I stray into yet another revealing daydream, let me anchor your attention, dear reader, to the poetry you will find in this issue:
Shanta Acharya’s lyrical biography of Ramanujan that goes beyond the persistent realm of imperative questions. Amlanjyoti Goswami’s mythological character alluringly traversing a time-cut scape into current trajectories. Dah Helmer’s whimsical back-footing to the Big Crunch that weaves thick the experience of subversion, and splinters a juxtaposition with Sukrita Paul Kumar’s dream-catching, making me wonder about the malleability of directions. This way or that. And Goirick Brahmachari’s poem about a radio that whiffs mist off the earthy palette to etheric propositions, and ends with Tikuli’s diptych of togetherness that joins hands and threads on this unfolding tapestry of commingling poetic visions.
I will see you soon, between the interactions and interpretations.
Happy reading! Let us know your thoughts.