Friday, December 03, 2010


writerly constipation and love of writing

in sir vidia's shadow , a book of revenge by paul theroux on his one time close friend and mentor v s naipaul the writer (paul theroux) memorably described one incidence when he visited the famous writer and found he was in a foul mood. all because he was sitting at his writing table for how long i couldn't remember now without going back to the book , was it half an hour or was it half a day? but that does not matter, the point is v s naipual sat there for a long time and the only word that he could muster to write on the white sheet of paper was 'The'. and this is one of the best writers in english language past and present -or so they say- we are talking about. and if such a gifted writer such as v s naipaul has such mental block and writerly constipation as this what hope is there for others?

i've always wondered why people choose to be writers or journalists or worse 'mere hacks' writing all sorts of rubbish. i think it's one of the hardest and most torturous profession to write for a living. these people must be masochists to inflict such unneccessary pain on themselves and yet, i recently saw christopher hitchens on charlie rose talking about his battle with cancer and saying that the thing he feared most is the day when he would be unable to write anymore. and incidently i'm now half way through hitch-22 his very readable and sometimes quite funny memoir....

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