This weekend I read a few more pages of The Lowlands by Jhumpa Lahiri and I watched the movie Brick Lane, based on the novel by Monica Ali. I was hit by a gloom, a darkness that rendered me paralysed from the eyes up. What was I doing, trying to write a novel? How could I bring anything new to a genre that had already been explored so beautifully by such talented authors? What was I trying to achieve?
I thought my life in Calcutta, my move, my experiences, the stories that I had heard qualified me to write. But how wrong I was. I kept telling myself, throughout the whole process, that the outcome was not important. At this stage, it was more important that I finish what I had started. If I could do that, that was more of an achievement than anything else that would or would not follow. This weekend, however, I realised I was ‘kidding myself’. What I actually wanted was to write something amazing, something thought provoking and deep. I wanted to create characters with depth and with complex emotions playing on their very faces. I wanted the reader to be able to uncover the layers of meaning and be left breathless and crying out for more.
I CAN’T DO IT!
I AM RUBBISH!
I HAVE NOTHING NEW TO OFFER!
These are the affirmations I was left with, this weekend.
Calcutta has a lot of things, but it doesn’t have a magical wand to turn me into an award winning novelist. It has allowed me to dream and dream big. It has introduced me to amazing people who are encouraging me to keep going, who tell me I CAN DO IT! Then why can’t I?
I guess I just don’t have the talent. There are a lot of people out there who’ll read this and be nodding, saying, “who was she trying to fool?” and I’ll tell them, for a brief moment in time, “myself.”
But, do you know what? Let me reassess my goal. I’m not writing an award winning novel. I won’t get any prizes and the book may not even get to print, but by 30th November 2013, IT WILL BE FINISHED! and if I can do that, I will have done something amazing! Besides, I’ve been promised a holiday if I reach that goal, at least! :))
Wish me luck, comrades and well wishers, as I send up a prayer to Mother Saraswati to offer thanks and to lay down my pride at her feet.
Here’s to finishing what I have started!
(And here’s to NaNoWriMo for getting me started in the first place!)