“I haven’t any right to criticise books, and I don’t do it except when I hate them. I often want to criticise Jane Austen, but her books madden me so that I can’t conceal my frenzy from the reader; and therefore I have to stop every time I begin. Everytime I read ‘Pride and Prejudice’ I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.”
– Mark Twain in a letter to Joseph Twichell, 13 September 1898
I am happy I wasn’t born when Mr. Twain was alive. Those who know me, know that such a criticism from a writer of calibre would send me in throes of sorrow. And if the writer were Mark Twain, I’d never pick up a pen again. Well, Ms. Austen was peacefully resting when he said that; who knows what the history of English Literature would’ve been, had she been alive. But then he wouldn’t have been able to beat her over with her own shin bone. Regardless, it’d have been an interesting time.
About a year back, I watched a movie called Enid. As the name might suggest to you, it was a little peek into the world of the famous Enid Blyton. I could have said the lovable writer for children, Enid Blyton, but I didn’t because I have watched the movie. It shows without reserve the kind of woman Ms. Blyton might’ve been — ambitious, manipulative, cruel, inconsiderate, driven for glory. If even half of what is shown there is true, I might never be able to read her books without wondering who might she be thinking of while she wrote about this ‘horrible gnome’ or that ‘annoying milkman’. “I’m going to write about the insufferable postman today, and I’m going to make him you!” She shouted this, or something like this to her husband in the movie. The husband, who was trying to coax her into paying a little more attention towards her children rather than shooting off 6000 words a day, tried in vain to make her realise the importance of spending time with/for the family, too.
While I was watching the movie, I was thinking of the child I was carrying, and the book I was planning to finish before she arrived. I never started the book, the child has arrived, and I am more keen than ever to finish and publish a book. But not like Enid. Or Jane.
As we struggle to keep our finances in order, B and I, I wonder if this unexplainable urge I’ve had to write and publish (a bestseller), write and publish (a bestseller) was for a purpose. I was never ambitious, and no, I never ‘always wanted to be a writer’. Ever since I started blogging, however, I’ve been wanting to become a professionally successful author. It’s been a little over two years. Just about the time I began to sense a nudge to give up translation, a profession that was not only taking up most of my day, it was also weakening my body. Could it have been that this urge to write and publish (a bestseller, Lord!) was to provide for this time in our lives, when I want to do nothing but sit with my girl?
I think too much, don’t I? While I take out reams of zilch every Wednesday, I wonder where I am going. Not to worry, though, dear reader. I am happy. Where am I going smilingly?