What a strange breed we writers are! What a strange set of preferences we have – a pursuit of the spotlight, yet also the veil of the wings.
We have our grey areas – those frequently trodden, yet still, somehow obscure and personal domain, somewhere between black and white roads, a place to reflect and rethink and restart and re-whatever, if you will… I’ve always wandered there, a safe zone of sorts.
A safe zone – something I often see many writers retreating to – an obscure name, an obscure path…but never an obscure purpose. Maybe we enjoy the obscurity, the feathery vagueness of a pseudonym, the little inner space to create, away from the endless tittle tattle of the crowd, the eyes of onlookers, of thieves and snakes… (sigh, once bitten by those it’s an ordeal to heal). Maybe, then, in light of all this, obscurity is better so. It eliminates familiarity and offers a certain security conducive to artistic creation. Those that cloak themselves perhaps do know better. They must be the clever ones, the smarter ones.
I look back upon the time when Ishaisms was a safe space for me, an obscure little bird full of purpose to break the chains, rattling away with passion, creating and being – until the obscurity began fading away bit by bit and with exposure and freedom, came the familiar discomfort of the introvert pursuit of writing – an old fear, and new faces – many friendly; many that turned a friendly face away; and some unfriendly, but seemingly otherwise – with wily smiles and itchy palms to snatch a word here, a phrase there and strip away at creation, plundering the safe space, scattering away the feathers of the quill, and letting the ink drip, drip, drip… I dread rattling the chains now, dread flying even – that the noise may summon another well known, (sometimes a little too well known) thief of words, and I, too tired to fight, might lose even the will to create.
Like most of my fellow writers, I’ve been guilty of glorifying the past (not its mortality rate, which might be the go-to for many debaters of this point – and which I shall smugly rebut with the current pandemic situation!), been called hopelessly romantic and that oh-so-frequently used word dreamer, yet, I still have a great reverence and ache for the obscurity of the past – the obscurity that fueled the desire to create, where one after the other, the greats followed, with art unpolluted by opinions and political correctness, and each honed their own craft instead of coveting and stealing another’s – there was honour in endeavour, and creation was the victor, endeavour was the victor, purpose, was the victor.
Now, tossed from its pedestal to every plebian pedestrian, pure poetry and prose, is a thing of the past, pun intended, and phrases put together happily like various different wet clothes hanging out to dry, (pardon the barely qualifying image, but that’s the point), is the evolution (one might stop here to question the very meaning of the term) of the art – I sigh and wonder – acceptance comes at a price, and settles in, unsettlingly posing the question that if this is evolving, if this is leaving the safe zone, if this is the future, where do I, or do I even, stand?
© Isha Garg