I wrote in my notebook the other day:
5th June, 2016 12:20 a.m.
“Wrote more Bridget Jones fan fiction. I am enjoying writing it. I really am. I AM ENJOYING WRITING. I don’t want to feel guilty about it. I don’t think life has to be all serious, dull and busy in order to be ‘right.’ I just want to be happy. As Mark Darcy would say, I have to accept myself
JUST AS I AM.”
I haven’t enjoyed writing in a long time. Even for the things I care about. I write as a sense of obligation, as a means of doing what I can do, and what I am allowed to do, to survive. Sure, I find it easy to get inspired, thanks to some natural curiosity. I have ideas, phrases, sentences swimming around in my head most of the day, everyday. But, perhaps, if I don’t feel a perverse amount of exertion, I don’t feel I’m doing it right. I feel obligated to be embarrassed about my writing. As if getting in first in the queue of criticism will help this doubtful thing to exist. I know I can write, even people who don’t like me have told me I can write (as well as people who do like me), but unless I feel guilty in some way, I can’t bring myself to do it.
Some of my readers are from the North American continent, to whom these feelings might seem alien, given their natural optimism. They give a 100% to everything they do, are just so happy to be alive and writing, and even guilt is fun for them. I guess, I conform to the Indian stereotype (the above was a stereotype too) of struggling with ego, having one foot in feelings of self-abnegation and the other in doing things for service and toil. I have to keep reminding myself what Noel Coward said,
Work is more fun than fun.
That is, work has to be fun first, in order to be more fun than fun. And writing hasn’t been fun for so, so long. Of course, there are moments in which I feel alive, engaged, happier than anything else I might have been doing that qualifies as fun. But, writing Bridget Jones fan fiction made me chuckle, and that doesn’t really happen. Of course, I can count on others to do the trick (for I am a notorious giggler), but I am like Mr. Darcy when in writing mode: dour, awkward, perfectionist, morose, brooding and heavily conflicted. Those are scientifically proven to be attractive qualities in eligible men, but not very helpful when following your calling.
You have to remember though, guilt is very important for pleasure. I’ll have to hand it over to that oft-quoted master here on Of Opinions, Dylan Moran, who said “Shame is one of the greatest aphrodisiacs.” And you only have to see for yourself, in how you measure the light in your life with what is dark. You may dwell on the dark, even get pleasure in it, but if you do, pockets of light appear in the shadows anyway.
But, writing Bridget Jones fan fiction has been like a perfect day in an amusement park when you were five years old. And I wish it was like this everyday. I have so many ideas simmering in my head about where to take this motley crew of characters, led by this highly infectious, relatable main character. I don’t want to, I don’t have to think about the art, craft and business of writing when I am in her world, because it is just so much fun. I’ve even had to check myself, get back to reality, because I’ve been having too much fun. But, it did happen, fun and writing did get together for a few days. And I’m grateful for the situation, just as it is.
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