The best sellers of today are so atrocious that I have vowed to stay away from them come what may. “Self-published author” Varadharajan Ramesh recently provided the secrets of the making of a best seller as well as securing a career with that.
Anyone can write anything and make that a best seller too within a day. It’s a game among friends. You buy my book and I’ll buy yours. Let’s make a group of such people and we all become best selling writers. Simple.
Have you ever read some of those best sellers? There’s no content worth reading. Worse, there’s no grammar, let alone style. Most of these best sellers are not read by anyone at all. Why does anyone write them then?
Writing best sellers is arguably the easiest way to get some fame, a feeling of self-worth, and possibly a feeling of intellectual superiority. I wonder how many of these best-selling authors actually found any delight in writing a school composition when they were students.
I am a teacher by profession and a language teacher at that. I know how impossible it is to get 16-, 17-year-olds to write a paragraph with some genuine effort, emotions, and thought. There are exceptions, of course. I still have a whole bunch of writings presented to me like a daily naivedya every morning by a student a few years ago. Every morning when I reached the staffroom a piece of paper would be awaiting me on my table. This was from a student who had passed through much pain in her life. She transmuted all those pains into elegant lines. Today she continues to struggle with life in a professional college and has no time to write at all. Genuine writers have no time. She is one of many similar examples I know.
|What one student alone wrote in about 2 years|
“Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic,” as Oscar Wilde put it. What creates today’s best sellers are farcical existences. People who were born into the lap of luxury, people who have known no hardships, people who have not even bothered to take a look at the hardships of other people, are our best-selling authors now. Those who don’t experience pain can’t ever produce any worthwhile art. Writing, like any other art, is not the raucousness of the weekend party but the subdued sigh in the jhuggi jhopri.
The sigh is likely to remain subdued in the dark alleys while real life roars on the highways.
The obverse side
What prompted me to write this is Indispire’s latest edition: “When did you first realize that you can or must write? What was the subject of your first creative written work?” I wish I could remember any of that. I used to write quite a lot of stuff as a student but never dared to show any of that to any teacher or anyone at all. Even when I wrote some good essays in the language tests, particularly Malayalam, the teachers scoffed my attempts to sound poetic. It was a tough existence in those days. It was tough later too. Now, in the autumn twilight of my life, the toughness has become the normal routine. And I have learnt to smile as my voice merges into the sighs in the dark alleys.