Journal of Arts & Ideas, no. 6 (Jan-Mar 1984) p. 35.


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Reflections of a Writer

Bhisham Sahni

NE CAN speak with a measure of confidence only about one^ personal experiences, although even there the temptation to generalize and theorize is very much present.

What draws a writer to his table may only be some vague urge or sense of unease, a vague emotion akin to some inner ache or wistfulness or longing, but invariably it is not very clear in its aim or direction. There is nothing deliberate or very conscious about writing, except some undefined inner compulsion to take up the pen and write. Even the emotion n^ay not be strongly felt; it may gain in strength and poignancy as the pen proceeds. The writer enters a region which is often fluid and in a state of flux, and rarely very sharp in its outline or clearly defined. More often than not, he gropes his way, and as he does so, things begin to assume a clearer outline and direction. He who is very clear in his mind about his objective when he sits down to write, or very conscious of his beliefs and values, or about the rules and conventions of his art, may not find it easy to go along with his pen; instead, he may find his pen drying up soon, deprived of that inner sap which nurtures all creative effort. It is a person's sub-conscious that becomes active when he sits down to write, rather than his confident, conscious self. And in the process of writing preoccupation with pre-con-ceived ideas, notions, norms and rules, and objectives is more a hindrance than a help. It is precisely when he breaks out of the conscious framework of these that the writer expresses himself freely and spontaneously. Even the most didactic of writers, when he sits down to write, cannot say to himself, 'Now, let me knock off a story that can teach such and such moral lesson to my readers.5 Nor can any writer plan out, with any sense ofdefiniteness, the beginning, the middle or the end of what he is going to write. These things gradually emerge and take on a form when the writer while writing evolves a sense of direction.

That is why no amount of persuasion that a writer should write on such a theme can succeed with a writer unless he has already been brooding about it or

JanuaryŚMarch 1984 ^5


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