The humdrum and angst of mediocrity


This weekend I read a few more pages of The Lowlands by Jhumpa Lahiri and I watched the movie Brick Lane, based on the novel by Monica Ali. I was hit by a gloom, a darkness that rendered me paralysed from the eyes up. What was I doing, trying to write a novel? How could I bring anything new to a genre that had already been explored so beautifully by such talented authors? What was I trying to achieve?

I thought my life in Calcutta, my move, my experiences, the stories that I had heard qualified me to write. But how wrong I was. I kept telling myself, throughout the whole process, that the outcome was not important. At this stage, it was more important that I finish what I had started. If I could do that, that was more of an achievement than anything else that would or would not follow. This weekend, however, I realised I was ‘kidding myself’. What I actually wanted was to write something amazing, something thought provoking and deep. I wanted to create characters with depth and with complex emotions  playing  on their very faces. I wanted the reader to be able to uncover the layers of meaning and be left breathless and crying out for more.

But…

I CAN’T DO IT!

I AM RUBBISH!

I HAVE NOTHING NEW TO OFFER!

These are the affirmations I was left with, this weekend.

Calcutta has a lot of things, but it doesn’t have a magical wand to turn me into an award winning novelist. It has allowed me to dream and dream big. It has introduced me to amazing people who are encouraging me to keep going, who tell me I CAN DO IT! Then why can’t I?

I guess I just don’t have the talent. There are a lot of people out there who’ll read this and be nodding, saying, “who was she trying to fool?” and I’ll tell them, for a brief moment in time, “myself.”

But, do you know what? Let me reassess my goal. I’m not writing an award winning novel. I won’t get any prizes and the book may not even get to print, but by 30th November 2013, IT WILL BE FINISHED! and if I can do that, I will have done something amazing! Besides, I’ve been promised a holiday if I reach that goal, at least! :))

Wish me luck, comrades and well wishers, as I send up a prayer to Mother Saraswati to offer thanks and to lay down my pride at her feet.

Here’s to finishing what I have started!

(And here’s to NaNoWriMo for getting me started in the first place!)

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10 thoughts on “The humdrum and angst of mediocrity

  1. I feel the same way when I read Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Jack London….but then I pick up “Twilight”….and I realize that yes, somebody published that. And then I feel I owe it to the world to write something that is actually worth reading.

  2. I’m with the others. Keep going. We all lose faith and trust and believe we have nothing ‘important’ to say at times. I’m one of the worst for it ! Do it for you. You just never, never know. See it finished and the huge smile on your face when it is. Oh and enjoy your holiday x

    • Aw! Thanks Jacki! Comments like yours have kept me going…I know I can do it, whether it’ll be any good or not, who cares at this point, right? the important thing is i keep plodding along. And I certainly will be grinning from ear to ear when it’s over and I’m sitting poolside with a cocktail in my hand!

  3. Do’nt we all love a speck of light in darkness, does it not light a dawn of thought that light and darkness are two sides of the same coin.One is incomplete without the other.The waning moon gets its fullness on the fifteenth night and see what happens, the universe bathes in its soft mellow light.Do n’t we often feel fatigued on a long journey, the journey may have been travailsome but, at the end of the journey, the meeting!. a refresing, endearing end. Did you not experience the high and low during those ordealsome mothns and then the pangs of delivering your bundle of joys- the devine motherhood!!!

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