There are ideas. And then there are none.
The other evening while I was strolling through the perimeter of my apartment, I recalled at random how walks as an exercise have visited me in phases since I was a teenager. Consistency is a trait I am notoriously unfaithful to, and the saga of these walks tumble into this precise category. In the past, I have turned to seek solace through this physical activity of even-paced footing at inconsistent intervals of age and have maintained its routine across erratic timelines. Like, one Sunday in four months. Or alternative days in a week continuing up till two. However, before I could expound on this intriguing practice in further detail, half expecting to chance upon a freestyled, sequinned pattern of self-bearing, the thought had dispelled into the air.
Here had been an idea. Now there was none.
Some time ago, I read Ruskin Bond’s The Lamp is Lit. I fawn over his style of clarity-writing, and like his other works, he captures the reader’s eye on the first page of the opening chapter in this publication as well. He talks about a young reader writing to him, expressing his wish to become a writer like the author, so that he too can spend his days sprawling across the grass doing nothing. This visual writer, however, is quick to point out had he been privy to this virtue in his youth, irrespective of how beautiful the occupation, his stomach was likely to have found a similar morsel to feed upon – green grass when empty and fresh air when thirsty. Ruskin Bond stresses upon the underlying fact here every idea that materialises is significant, however random. Every contemplation, any notion, and all conceptions that surface must be expanded into an – to quote him – intelligible and readable means. These must be jotted. Put on paper. Written about. At once. Every time one is hit with a thought, the only way to pass through it is by writing about it. It is how, he says, he survived his life as a writer for as long as he has wanted to be one. The time when an idea stops by isn’t crucial but the act of writing about it then and there is. Like one’s life depends on it. Like transpiring that one occurring thought on paper at that moment is all that matters to cling to dear life. Perhaps, this is why Bond thatha stands where he does with all that he has today.
Life-changing, as we call it.
This ideology of this revered devout painter-writer also reveals an underlying observation across all us wannabe writers – the space to accommodate any laziness must die. Under the covers of unearthing one idea after another and thought after next, the practice of laying observations upon disclosures is continuous. The human mind is a kaleidoscope of opined thoughts; colour or greyscale, negative or sepia, pale or flashy, recurring or momentary. It isn’t known to rest when we are awake and perhaps doesn’t, even while we are sound asleep. Where then, arises the chance of inducting procrastination when one must document ideas in almost perpetual suspension? Especially those of us who want to be known as writers to sustain that rain check for pleasing our cloak of self-vanity?
Here is a flash of another idea left unexpended. Again.
A conversation with a friend last week delved into the nuances of writing. As the discussion shifted around bringing about technical differences, I felt intertwined amidst a range of ragging and raging emotions. What started as a bemused exchange of learning turned into a confounding exercise of comprehending gravity. Midway, I could no longer figure which meant the magnetic pull of the earth, which described solemnity of manner and which meant serious business. I could have left the conversation to coagulate, returning to resolve the tangled threads at a later date. But then, it isn’t everyone who emerges as Newton while seeking shade under an apple tree. Some need to move on to the nearby cherry to avoid earning a headache from that falling apple, even if for no reason better.
Now here is an idea. Will this too dispel into the air, resulting in none?