Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Big Events and Real Writers/2

Any epochal event is hot stuff for non-fiction writers, and you find a lot of them come up with tomes, mostly garbage, to cash in quickly on it. Some fiction-writers also would churn out stories/novels in a similar fashion. But they are all hacks, not real writers.

For a real writer, a big event is a boon in that there is enough of material for him to write about. But he’s not a reporter or a media commentator or any such hack. He simply faces it. He watches and feels the churning without being carried away by any emotion. He experiences the place and people reeling under the impact of the event. Now he thinks outside the box and places everything in larger political and economic perspective. Finally, he organizes his storyline and characters with insight and vision. No easy job.

A real writer would never deliver it hot. He has to live with his material for a while before he starts writing. If he tries to make it quick, he might be responsible for a bad book. Remember Maxim Gorky’s Mother? It was a hugely publicized book back then, and many devoured it. But it was propaganda literature, no real novel. No discerning reader would want to read the book now.

A real writer always comes up with original and quality content. The content may be a bit dark, dull at times, even not entertaining enough, but a distilled thing nevertheless bearing the hallmark of an enlightened mind. It’s something edifying, and transcends the reader to a new level.

Take for instance Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie. I don’t know how long he had taken to write this novel, but he was definitely seized by the cataclysm of Indo-Pak subcontinent after independence. He got Saleem Sinai to experience all the good, bad and ugly things of the time. It was history, literature and sociology rolled into one. A marvellous book.

Few books can match its real writing.

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