It is not true that one can create an illusion of humility; the membrane is so thin that the world will see through the facade It is not possible to divorce us from what we voice and write. They are our selves-good or bad, acceptable or outrageous, humorous or livid.
In times gone by when I was young, avenues to see one’s thoughts in print was rare and success- an achievement as scaling the Everest, possible only to the very few who succeed after relentlessly posting in the mail the works they pen- essays short stories, poems ,so on and so forth to publishing houses, newspapers and periodicals. In fact there were no boulevards that one could trod through to air one’s thoughts. The virtual age has revolutionised all that. And it will be sheer untruth to claim that what we write on our blog, be it as a post or comment is not us speaking, our psyche, our experience and they are only pertaining to aliens or we speak for the reader. Else one must admit that one is a common hypocrite who wants to influence and sway people with clichés like “awe”, “awesome” etc.
An ode to melancholy cannot be penned in an elated state. One has to be feeling sad to write about being sad. Can I say that my poem, my essay are not my thoughts but of my neighbour? It is only when one empathises with the misfortunes of the neighbour or when one is consumed by one’s own misfortunes does the ode to melancholy bears. A man like Mukesh Ambani sitting in the ugliest mansion ever built to desecrate the Mumbai skyline cannot possibly pen or be enchanted by the lines of William Wordsworth
“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.”
I’m not an afficando of poetry but I understood that the language of John Keats lines
'Yes, I will be thy priest, and build a fane
In some untrodden region of my mind'
can be linked to his love letters to Fanny Brawne.
Keats penned one of his famous five odes , “Ode to a Nightingale”, one spring. He felt immense tranquility and happiness in the song of the little bird that nested near his house. He went out sat beneath the tree for hours and thence was born one of the most beautiful odes. What other state of mind other than sheer joy and tranquility can provoke such a creation? A paranoid mind cannot hear nor see the nightingale.
Take these lines of P.B.Shelly:
My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Oh! lift me as a wave, a leaf, a cloud!
I fall upon the thorns of life! I bleed!'
The poet evinces his aching for rebirth and resurrection. He wants to be as 'timeless, fleeting and lofty' as the West Wind, for he suffers endlessly. The intense emotional distress of the unforgiving life makes him bleed-the life experiences ('I fall upon the thorns of life') and longs to put an end to the agony. I do not think that Shelly would have felt offended or ashamed at this dissection of his verses.
Can one say that the lines were all in humour and jest? There is always our pale self in our words and writings even if we consciously want to camouflage or deny that. One need not be a Maugham or a James Joyce, but life’s experience is in our words and writings.
Hemmingway’s candid painting of life as seen and experienced by him created the unique literature that give us immense pleasure. Hemmingway’s life and his writings are entwined and are mirror images. “Death in the afternoon”, “For Whom the Bell Tolls” both vivid narration of his love- bullfighting and his experience in the Spanish Civil war, then “The Old Man and The Sea” are undeniable exposition of human relationships, emotions, love, agony, lust and disappointment. Imagine Papa Hemmingway creating “Snows of Kilimanjaro or the Green Hills of Africa if he were a reticent and incipient arm chair explorer? The throbbing emotions packed in the “Snows of Kilimanjaro” would certainly have touched Hemmingway as an experience felt or seen in some ways.
It is life that make a writer or a poet, Mark Twain,Hemmingway or the Bloggers like us and there is no infamy in not being timid and to accept that our words in letters are our life- humour, jest, agony, joy or stoicism.The opposite is sheer malarkey.