Why I Write

pencil:

It was English dramatist & novelist W. Somerset Maugham who once said, “We do not write because we want to; we write because we have to.”

I cannot say for sure what Mr Maugham was inferring, but I would guess that he was speaking of an urge to write that was all-consuming, of a passion to communicate thoughts and ideas so strong that it impelled him, as if by force, to put pen to paper.

Many years ago I was in the beautiful town of Vrindavana, India, attending a writing course. My teacher, long-time well-wisher, writing guru and friend Bhurijana suggested – nay almost ordered me, imploringly – to write everyday. I took that to mean that each day I should write something, however small. Realisations, hopefully, something deep to share with whomever cared to read it. My Guru and spiritual preceptor Srila Prabhupada, himself a vastly prolific author, also urged his disciples to write on a daily basis.

I have since come to think that even if I have no profound realisations, then even a few lines on what I did the day before would be better than not writing at all.

The age of blogging has meant that what I write can now be shared with the world. It may not be, (and is hardly ever) earth-shattering stuff. And inevitably it is also unedited. Bhurijana would suggest, after I submitted an essay or short story to him, to ‘cut it in half’. That’s right. Remove 50% of the words and keep the same story intact. Trim it down so that every word counts. Slice off every superfluous phrase, relentlessly. I still try to do that.

I have also come to feel this urge to write something everyday as a regular function, like the need to drink water or eat something. I often wish I had something more moving or meaningful to say, but in the absence of that, I give you my daily blog, be it shallow or trite, as a record of my life to share. Some may think it egotistic, self-centred and self-indulgent, as if I am presuming my life is something special. Whatever it is, take it in the spirit that it is offered – the written evidence that I am trying to follow in the footsteps of my Spiritual Master Srila Prabhupada, my writing mentor Bhurijana, and W. Somerset Maugham.
Posted by Kurma on 24/5/06; 6:59:55 AM

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