What makes a Writer?

Writing comes when sources of fulfillment are blocked

No one quite contented and happy would write anything to please people, particularly something about injustice, misfortune or suffering. The contented person would write only if their happiness acquires excitement and they want to share it with others. Generally writing comes naturally when most sources of fulfillment have been closed. Creativity is like a stream of water which needs to find an outlet when stress and suffering seem to block its flow. A heaviness of hours, said Shelley, has chained and bowed one who is “tameless, and swift, and proud.”

Oppression can lead to creativity

The need to create or write creatively arises when there’s oppression of some kind. It could be in one’s place of work, at the governmental level, or even in the family. This happens when subjugation at some plane annoys to the extent that one is driven to stay away from others to create shapes with words. Creation means finding a kind of container; a form, or shape to pour one’s feelings into, because straightforward expression is not possible or permitted. Authors manage to say things through art, things that others would find difficult to say. They rarely speak out directly. They wear masks or use a language of suggestion.

An example of authors who could say things through art and beguile people about their intention was Shakespeare. A remarkable facet of the Bard was that he wrote about several tyrant monarchs (like Macbeth) at a time when he could have been beheaded for doing that. He probably escaped execution because he could use the power of art to present these tyrants differently. He presented them in a way that they appeared human rather than criminal. What he was trying to say through his plays seemed secondary to his artistic endeavor or manner of presenting his thoughts.

Oppression and suffering need not always make people writers

Oppression does not make all people creative. Some will take to different routes of escape from their real worlds. Others take recourse to drunkenness; some start finding refuge in the company of people who please them in some way. Still others can even start becoming insane. Shakespeare observed that the lunatic, the lover, and the poet are essentially similar in the way they imagine things. To write, one must acquire a passion to create something out of nothing but the imagination and one’s experience, or be frenzied enough to take it through to the finished product. The main thing is that suffering tends to make an author look away from reality towards what gives them relief.

Writers see suffering closely and find literary strategies to voice them

Literary writers have been witness to some extremely pain-giving experiences. They have seen from close how delicate human life is. They know how people become victims for no reason or for real reasons that they’ve fostered. Writers often see how man becomes little more than the sport for the powers that be. And, if they have the power of expression, they show this to readers. Authors who can’t tolerate oppression are often the ones who write magical realist fiction. They particularly react to the oppression of colonizers who have left behind some ugly memories. Magical realism combines the extra-rational with the real to make things appear less ugly for aesthetic reasons.

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