Thursday, June 5, 2008

Big Events and Real Writers/3

Like all epochal events, Nandigram offers a lot of fodder for a real writer. You may have noticed stories – especially in Bengali for its proximity to the land – centering on it in many literary magazines. I have read some of them, and not all of them are bad. A novel based on the turmoil, again in Bengali, is now in circulation. I don’t want to comment on it because I’ve not read it. But from the hype, it seems like a quick rehash of things you already read in the newspapers.

For real writing, you need a little distance from real time and space. But the thing is, big events are irresistible for writers. Just find out how many novels – even by well-known authors - have appeared on 9/11 and you’ll see most are crap. The sole purpose of the publishers of these books is to quickly cash in on the big event.

Do you see any novel on America’s Iraq war? There has been a crop of non-fiction books on it. But I have yet to come across any story or novel on it. Perhaps some real writer in Iraq is working on it in the solitude of his damaged home amid occasional bomb and mortar bursts.

Can one write a novel simply by visiting the region, and staying a couple of weeks talking to people and getting a feel – otherwise doing research on the subject? This is the standard method for fiction writers today. This is also the reason why you feel bored reading most of the novels in these times. It’s like writing novel with software. How can you expect verve and nuances from a writer who has not lived by and with his subject for long enough? Not even a writing geek is expected to perform it.

So, hopefully, someone some day will come up with a magnum opus based on Nandigram. The big event has thrown a challenge to the powers-that-be. It has sent an alert to those who care about human race and civilization. It may have inspired those in the lower economic stratum of society all across the world. May be it’s a turning point in history, and a harbinger of bigger things to come.

It’s huge challenge for a real writer, and a writing geek to convert all these into his fiction. But then real writing is always a lot of hard work and sweating it out.

1 comment:

Georganna Hancock M.S. said...

You ask, "How can you expect verve and nuances from a writer who has not lived by and with his subject for long enough?"

I think science fiction writers would beg to differ.

Novels based on real events, large or small, explore and reveal alternatives to the actuality.

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