I Hate Charles Gulotta.

Some confessions are difficult to make, but one has to make them sometime, somehow. I’d have liked to keep this one to myself, but it’s been my motto to let things out when I cannot manage them on my own, regardless of the extent of my foolishness I might reveal in the process.

“Laughter is the shortest distance between two people,” someone has said to the world in general. And this is what someone said to me in particular — “Priya, you’re a nice person, but it is difficult to get to like you. How does one? You are somehow… distant …, you know?”

Well, as things stand today, I am comfortable with what and who I am, and have (perhaps because of this reason) a few friends, who know me from real close emotional proximity. What eats my peace is that, like stiff limbs while dancing, my writing is stiff with too much distance. At least I fear so.

Consider this:

Papa: You write well. But it’s all too philosophical. Too sentimental. So sentimental, it is frightening.

Priya: Ouch.

Papa: There must be readers you have, of course. And friends who’ll be around you to understand you. But they must be very few. Right?”

Priya: I have friends I like and those who reciprocate. That’s enough. But my blog has 12 subscribers. Charles Gulotta’s has 2875*. I have not many readers to appreciate me.

Papa: He must be skilled. A writer is an entertainer, too. People need comfort. Does he give them that? Make them feel happy with small joys?

Priya: Yes.

Yes, I hate Charles Gulotta.

When I write, I write with my heart. My heart knows how to sing and skip and titter besides smiling, gently nodding its head, looking at ether poignantly, and crying. Somehow, the lighter aspects get smoothened out with bitter, rich, caramel.

“You know how writers are… they create themselves as they create their work. Or perhaps they create their work in order to create themselves,” said Orson Scott Card once. I do not know who he is, but I found this quote somewhere, and it has stuck with me. The ever-growing urge I feel to write a piece of work that satiates a strange chasm in me — breaks me, recreates  me — can perhaps be best explained with this quote. 

I stand on a threshold. A place from where there is no back-tracking. If I do step back and take a different course, I will have to take some time to forget these aspirations I have. Of writing. Writing to instill positivity, to make people happy, to make them cry. Cry. Will that create distance? It must. And what about humour? I want to come closer to people with my words. If humour won’t do it, what will?

Charles, my dear friend, symbolises what I am not — all in the writing world that I’ve secretly wanted to be. We writers like readers who appreciate. But that’s not what many of us really wish for, I think. We want to move minds. It is the thrill of knowing that your humility is powerful enough to impress a positive idea in your reader that makes us write more. You don’t have to pretend, you simply need words, which mean the world — real world. Simply? It isn’t all that easy to string words together, which talk of all that the world is about and make the reader laugh at the same time. Such writers are few. And most of us, who aspire to do that end up continuing to do so in vain.

When I think of those numerous writers, who have made an impact on people, I cannot help but compare. If I were a good girl, I’d have listened to my parents and remembered to “never compare”. Charles, who must be fed up with my I-hate-yous, has told me a number of times that like everyone else, I have my set of readers somewhere in this world. I just have to continue writing to find them. Why does it become so difficult to remain positive? Why can’t I just write for the joy of writing? “Write for the joy of it, and forget everything else,” says B. Perhaps I am impatient. I am impatient. And very insecure.

Drat. This post was supposed to be humourous. Eye-catching title, and all. See what I mean? The humour in my head becomes Mr. Bean-gone-wonky on my keyboard.

This is how things are with my relationship with light-hearted seriousness. The fluffy, uplifting matter just goes poof. Just like all the fog in the head somehow melts if you sit on a lone bench, looking at the endless, embracing waters.

* I saw the number when I began this post, by the time it was published, the number had probably reached 15,000.

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19 thoughts on “I Hate Charles Gulotta.”

  1. i love your writing..tell you paa that:)hehe…funny thing is i am in the same boat as you…would love for the world to love my photography…but i am making peace with it…anyways..keep writing priya..12 of us will always be reading…here’s to many more readers on this blog..cheers…have a great week…hug to bela

    1. My father wants me to tell you this — “Sandra, do keep loving her writing.”
      He also wants me to change a word I misquoted — sentimental. He used sensitive.

      Your photography, like all good things, is maturing with just the right flavour! Keep at it.

      And here’s to the both of us finding peace in our evolution!

  2. I agree with Sandra. We’re all writing public blogs because we want people to read our stories and admire our photos, and it can be very depressing if we keep looking at our stats which don’t seem to go anywhere near the 1,000’s or even the 100’s we’d hoped for. We can’t let it get to us. Charles has been writing for a long time – I have never done any writing until I started my blog. We have to just keep writing knowing that the more we write the better we get.

    You can be proud that your words attracted such a nice community of readers. I’m sure many of us have felt jealous of the honest, thoughtful comments your twelve people leave you. I have too many “followers” who just tick the like button without bothering to read what I’ve slaved over for hours.

    You’re also lucky to have such a loving, supportive Papa. With his love and encouragement you could move mountains. Gosh I miss my Pa [he would be 103 if he was still alive!]

    1. Papa is supportive, yes. If I am insecure, he and my mother reach out and do just what I need. I am very grateful for them. One of the things they have been trying to tell me is to first think just how I am going to say what I am going to say, because I get lost in my own thoughts, get ahead of myself, and then say something that is often misunderstood. No one’s fault except my own. When I wrote this post, my intention was to crib about my inability to be humourous. The post has obviously made it sound as if I am cribbing about the lack of readers (more wouldn’t hurt, though. Who’ll buy my book when I publish? If I do.). Well, so be it.

      Your appreciation always seems to come from the heart, Rosie. That is why I like you a lot. Thank you very much for being around.

      Did he have a beard, your Pa? I immediately imagined an old man with a sweet, toothless smile (imagined a 103-year old man) and a long white beard when I read your comment. So, I ask.

      1. Priya I think you can see into my house. My father didn’t have a beard, but when my Mother died last year I kept one of her paintings: it’s of an old man with white hair and a long white beard. It hangs on the wall opposite my computer.

        Who’ll buy your book? I will. So get over to your desk and start writing.

        Thanks for not just liking me but liking me a lot. Aw shucks…

      2. Just another coincidence, Rosie. 🙂

        I am going to publish a book soon, hopefully. You must buy it, then.

        I not just like you a lot, I love you (and not just because you’re going to buy my book).

  3. Priya…there’s no truth to that title at all. We only attack good blogging friends when they are good writers. The writing muscle is something we’ve all had to get into shape and it makes all of us vulnerable. Writers understand. Feeling weird? Write anyway. You may end up having the most wonderfully unique style…don’t try to compare or be like anyone else. Even Charles! 😀

    1. Of there isn’t any truth in it, Amy! But, if Charles will read this, let him cringe a little. 🙂

      I do compare my wit with that of the others, Amy. It’s become a habit, sadly. I’ll stop worrying someday. Until then, I will just continue boiling in my own soup, I suppose.

  4. As I said to you privately, I’ve come to see that the stats mean very little. In fact, as the number of subscribers to my blog has increased (and I don’t know why that is), the number of comments and views has dropped just as dramatically. You know who’s reading, just as I do, and it’s a precious few. But any connection at all is an accomplishment, and you’ve done that. The rest is just math. Or maths.

    Impatient and insecure? What else could you be? You’re a writer. By the way, your humor comes out in your honesty — your willingness to spill first and worry about it later. And then it comes out again, in the worrying.

    I know you’ll keep writing, and most of the time you’ll probably be miserable, because you’ll continue to compare. But I doubt you’re comparing yourself to me or anyone else. I think you’re comparing yourself to you — the writer you want to be. The problem is, you can never measure up to that standard. But something drives you to try. And that’s what will keep you working to improve, and what will entice your readers to keep coming back for more.

    P.S. I hate you, too.

    1. I hate you more for saying all that I wish to hear. Your analysis of me — the person — is spot on. Your analysis of me — the writer — is something I wish was spot on.

      I love you, though.

  5. Well, I hate you both, so there! Yes, Priya, Charles has this phenomenal wit. He has a clear-eyed view of the details of life that trip us all up, but which most of us tend to pass over and consider too inconsequential to parse. Yet his parsing of these little details is something we all crave, perhaps because it is so unique,.his observations so fresh and so honest. And I seem to remember that he was once (or twice?) Freshly Pressed…so I’m sure that ratcheted up his readership. (Not to take anything away from you Charles, because you had to be super GOOD just to get F.P. …twice.)

    But that is all about Charles and that is enough about Charles, for the moment. Let’s look at what Priya brings to our screens: Yes, Priya is sensitive. Is that a sin? I thought that was a goal. I’ve been working at sensitivity for over 50 years and it just isn’t happening! So you think you (or your writing) is inaccessible? For whom, I might ask? Maybe for Komodo Dragons or angry Pitt Bulls, certainly not for me. You say you have only a few friends, but that those friends are deep and personal friends…Lindsay Lohan would love to have a few deep and personal friends. Instead she’s got a fan base who sit around waiting for her next big calamity. In my never humble opinion, you need to stop wanting to be Charles and start reveling in being Priya. (And I need to stop preaching.)

    Seriously, I always look forward to your posts and they never fail to move me in some beautiful way. I also look forward to Charle’s posts and they never fail to make me laugh. See? I hate you both. I’m neither funny nor sensitive.

    1. Sensitive is good, Linda. Don’t forget the ‘too’. Too sensitive. But I guess we’re all we are because of a reason. I like me. So there! 😉

      You writing is mature and also has child-like curiosity — all at once. How many can achieve that, hunh?

      Thank you for being around. I love you!

  6. Awww… Just read your latest post and this one… Honestly, a little too overwhelmed at the delicacy that I was served: the bluntness at one end, and love at the other; with guts, sensitivity, support and 100 other sisters of the love family adding their shine to the story!

    I have loved your style from the day I stumbled onto your page, and I have loved you, for you speak your heart. There could be 1000 Us or 12 Rosies, it doesn’t matter. At the end of day, a critiquing mind can only go so much, and it can never aspire to rest where love does – in the human heart.

  7. Priya, I’m in my early sixties, I have been blogging since 2004, and the words I write are only just beginning to get a readership and I’m only just beginning to touch people. Strangely, I’m touching people more with my current blog which is intended to be for other people and light-hearted, than I did with the one that was intended to be for me in which I thought I’d written more philosophical stuff.

    If your blog is currently the only platform on which you write to be read by others then you should know that blogging is different from other forms of writing: the social element of it (your readers) need to be cultivated in order for them to come to you. Your writing alone (and by ‘your’ I mean any blogger’s writing) is, alas, not what is going to attract or keep people reading you. Interaction is the thing that will and right now, apart from your intellectual needs, you’ve got a child that will demand more attention from you than any you could hope right now to give to anyone else. (Which is only right.)

    Charles has a high readership -and I do think that many more read than he thinks, as it’s a given that more people will read than comment, that’s normal for all bloggers – because, as well as his writing style, he’s been freshly pressed several times and those people have followed (subscribed to) his blog. He also writes regularly – even if there are gaps between his posts, people know he’ll post again. And his writing follows a structure, there are the cartoons, there are his captions, and the content follows a kind of ‘what if’ and end with a summing up of sorts. I think he’s skilled, just as you do, but I think he’s also found a way – often unknown to himself as I think in some ways he’s just as insecure as the rest of us – to utilise a formula that he mostly sticks to.

    You, on the other hand, are still searching for yourself, your blog is more like a diary, it’s an indwelling of thought. I understand this perfectly as it’s how I was for most of my life. My own dad, used to come up to my room when I lived at home and say to me: “I don’t know what you do up here all day on your own. What are you doing?” And I’d simply say, “thinking.” And that was the truth. It was all I was about – finding myself, getting used to the changes, changing some more and above all else, thinking.

    To get a readership (and I know that your post started off as one thing and ended up as something else, but that’s what happens) you have to interact with other people much more than you do. You have to visit their blogs, regularly and comment, you have to visit new people’s blogs and comment, and then you just have to wait – for time to do its thing.

    You’re as impatient as I used to be.

  8. I know what you’re talking about. Especially about reciprocating the visit. At the same time, I do not understand it. When I want to visit a place, and I have time, I’d rather go there and read than go elsewhere just to register my presence. The trouble with me is that besides being impatient, I am also mulishly rigid and idealistic. It gets in my way sometimes. Even though I eventually feel happy about most of my choices, while I am making them, I feel miserable.

    With my daughter claiming most of my time and mind, it has become next to impossible to even visit those of you I wish to. But, if I want readership, I must reciprocate. Hmm. Back to the same concept — reciprocate!

    Thank you. You’ve hung on, Val — in spite of my fickle mind and fickled blog(ging).

  9. First off, you fear wrong. About the distance. How can writing from the heart be distant? Maybe it’s the people with a low E.Q. who feel that?

    Secondly, if a writer is an entertainer, I will have to stop calling myself that. I have written to inform, educate, architect, analyse, philosophise, understand; also, just for fun and to release, but not to entertain. Not yet. But I guess if I were to ever publish a book, it would have to entertain others, in order to do well.

    I have to agree with Rosie again, about your community of readers. It might be small bunch but it’s a wonderful one! I have been insanely jealous about the quality of your readership many times. 😛

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