Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Musings from someone who sees stories everywhere.

Friday, February 11, 2011


An editor just mailed me saying she didn't "get' a story I'd sent her. Fair enough, but this leads to the question, what DO people 'get' when they read something you've written. An opinion piece of mine was published recently in Deccan Herald The widely appreciated essay was meant to be tongue-in cheek and sarcastic. It was certainly not 'preachy' but meant to make at least a few readers introspect before finding fault with the 'authorities' for causing everything that ails the world. Guess the irony/sarcasm/fun element must have gone over the heads of some readers, who not only could not 'get it', but are jumping to conclusions.

A Google search brought up the same article cited in full in a lawyers' forum. Being lawyers, the poster has cited my name and the original URL of the publisher before quoting it verbatim, so I guess this probably takes care of copyright issues. or does it?

The same posting has received the following comment on that site:

"A very nice illustration of what we are but we only clamour about and do nothing because Indians are the biggest hypochrites.In straight term these preachings are for others and others means others which means not for us and that is what we have been genetically made by our maker and we feel proud in it.The presenter of this article is Monideepa but she could not shed her another identity,i.e SAHU.She wanted to identify herself not as Monideepa but as belonging to a SAHU clan.Quoting text from other source is not for herself but for OTHERS as mentioned earlier. Come on folks dont just waste this column to PREACH others if you can not follow yourself.Thanx."

so this person is saying that I , as author of the original article, am "quoting text from other source is not for herself but for OTHERS"  Now it's my turn to not 'get' it.

In writers' groups, we discuss again again how we should not underestimate the readers' perceptiveness and bluntly and crudely point out the meaning of each and everything we write. But then one always wonders. Shoddily written and oversimplistic books seem to be doing excellently in the marketplace, while novels and stories involving more complex artistry gets fewer takers.

An open ended story can leave quite a few people flummoxed.

A writer friend recently lamented the apathy of the publishing franternity towards more complex and intelligent writing. Following the advice of his agents, he is painfully trying to "dumb down" his book according to perceived market demands.  "So," he tells me, "I have been (quite angrily) spending the last few days turning my literary social thriller into a marketable thriller (that's why I was not in a mood to reply to any mails, sorry for that). "

My question (I welcome insights from anyone happening to read this post ) : How much complexity in writing is actually accepted and understood by readers today?

Must we all succumb to market forces and make do with writing trite and oversimplified stuff?

How much must we conform, and if so, to what standards, to be understood and accepted?

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