It’s my birthday. Exactly 17 days ago, lying awake in my bed under the weight of a darkness originating from I knew not where I had decided to start this blog. And so I begin writing to you from today, dear reader.
It does go against my writing training to address you directly, which begun in the academy and was honed in a newsroom. The reader is implied in these spaces, never directly engaged. The seamlessness of the engagement is what makes the writing crisp and professional, I have been taught. The ‘I’ has to be eliminated, so the ‘You’ too recedes. It’s a public address system blaring in a well-lit, white-walled room. Each syllable enunciated, each word seemingly meaning exactly the same thing to each person. So much clarity that it is almost embarrassing to look each other in the eye in this crowded room, for you, the reader, are not supposed to be here.
There was a man with a funny name, Northrop Frye. He made a bunch of theories. I read them, I reproduced them and I forgot most of them. But a few things stuck; the modicum of my formal education. I don’t remember the exact words but he said something to the effect of – a lyric is the poet thinking aloud in a crystallized form, with her back towards you, the reader. You, the reader, can only ever overhear her and nothing more. She is singing softly, she is singing away from you, but she is singing.
Thinking aloud. How do you think without conversation? How do you form your thoughts without telling them to someone even in your head? It is my brain that proposes, and also mine that counteracts. From the moment I give them the form of verbal sounds or written signs, I am already bound by the mode of conversation, by your existence, dear reader.
It is perhaps necessary for the newspaper to pretend you don’t exist. It disseminates information, and information demands authority, solidness, a claim to truth that is not liable to question.
But I have no claim to truth. Today as I complete the 29th cycle of my life and enter the 30th, I am beset with a multitude of truths that seem at war with each other most of the time. You and I exist in time, which seems to pass us by so blindingly fast, and yet it does not pass. We pass by, you and I, bound by the simultaneous processes of growth and decay, hurtling us towards death whether we want or not. Time casts its shadow upon us, and we struggle under its ephemeral weight, never really knowing why we struggle, what is it that we seek.
What do we seek, dear reader, you and I?
I have sought Truth, as long as I can remember. I have believed things about myself and been secure in those beliefs. I have tried to create established truths about myself. And yet I have shed those truths as eagerly as I built them once when time pulled at my seams. I sought truths, I made them, and it was also I that destroyed them. Do you see yourself in this rant, dear reader?
Which is why I am speaking to you today. You see, 17 days ago, as I lay awake, I realized with a sudden clarity that this darkness was originating in me. I was bound in conversations that I have sounded on every available inch of my mind and now there’s no room. My whirling thoughts are decaying the room, its shards dancing around, gathering in a storm that has escaped and settled on my chest. So I decided to give them a bit of room. I decided to give them to you.
I will speak about many things here. I have been good at many things, I have had interests in many things. Some would say too many – and part of me would agree – which is perhaps why I never really knew what to do with myself. My established truths have failed me quite enormously. So I will try to write with honesty. I will try to accept the fact that my honesty today may not resemble my honesty tomorrow and that is neither wrong nor right; that just is.
In other words, I will try to do exactly what I have been trying to do all along, to make sense. Today I make you part of this business of sense-making. I will be singing away from you, mostly. I’m no poet, my thoughts are no way crystallized, and I’m also quite terribly afraid of you, dear reader, as you too probably are of me. Yet, I will be singing, for I do need you to make sense of my own truth. And you do need me to make sense of your own.
The featured image in this article has been taken by Titas Roy Barman.