writing alone, and with others


writing can be a very solitary act--done in private, with only my eyes and god watching. so letting others in to the process can be fraught with its own challenges. of course, i don't write simply for my own eyes; i write to evoke and to be understood. but sometimes the writing fails to achieve those aims. and i'm not sure what to do in these cases.

i am not likely to elaborate or elucidate, to speak or even yell. perhaps i feel the distance insurmountable, our human nature too hopelessly self interested to be overcome. in this way, i believe misunderstanding (indifference, apathy, violence) to be a failure of humanity.

writing and other narrative art forms can be a powerful antidote; however, i'm quite sure that i don't believe i will ever be fully understood by anybody. that another person will fully grasp my experiences as though they were his/her own and see me as 'self,' no longer 'other'.

it is a wish of mine, both for me and humanity, but i sometimes wonder if it is a great fantasy. altho i must say that i have found understanding and communion with other writers. have uttered the words: yes, i see myself in you. i remember there. --AL.

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  1. "There are two ways to imagine the making of this book. The first pictures a solitary figure, hunched over his desk, silencing all other voices so that his own might speak: the writer as a monk with words. The second sees writing as a social act: social because the writer has no words without everything written before, without the people who catalyze his ideas, without the stories that others tell him, without the roots that give him his own story. There is some truth in the first vision; many days of the past many years were spent that way. But if these years taught me anything, it is that a book cannot be written alone."

    -Anand Giridhardas
    opening paragraph of his acknowledgements for his book India Calling


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