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Art Is Your Weapon & Sustenance; Don't Let Society Snatch It

The way I used writing to express emotions and yet hide them behind metaphors is still the same. The only difference is - earlier my words were restricted to diaries but now they are spreading everywhere.  

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Rudrani Gupta
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Image Credit: File Image

Image Credit: File Image

"I write because there is a voice within me that will not be still" - this line by Sylvia Plath resonates with me like a lost wanderer in the desert finds a companion. I have been writing since my teenage years. Today, the words have changed, metaphors have matured and the format has gained royalty. However, the unchanged, immature ground reality hasn't budged. The way I used writing to express emotions and yet hide them behind metaphors is still the same. The only difference is earlier my words were restricted to diaries but now they are spreading everywhere.  

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In human life, ups and downs are inevitable and unpredictable. The moment you feel everything is in order, life gives you a blow that shatters the order and creates a mess. The one truth that we humans willingly deny to accept is that life can never be in order. It doesn't have a pattern. It might seem like a puzzle that you can solve but it is the mysterious force that destroys your puzzle. You cannot control life or cage it in a glass vessel. It is as erratic as the tides of the ocean.

What inspired me to be a writer 

It is this unpredictability of life that motivated me to practice the art of writing. The clamour of emotions which didn't have a language or words found home in my write-ups that defied language to give a new voice.

Do you know about feminine ecriture? It is a term by Helen Cixous that denotes the language in which women write. As it is known, the basic rules of language are phallocentric. For example, we used to write 'man' as a representative of all human beings in our write-ups. So Cixous argued that the phallocentric language has no space to allow women to write and express their emotions. Therefore, she came up with feminine ecriture, a language used by women which defies the standard rules. 

Coming back to my artistic empowerment - it gradually became my coping and escape mechanism from the stress and dreading reality. Not that I used writing as a source of amusement but as a medium to express my emotions, no matter how dark they are. People often say that sharing your problems with others makes you feel lighter. I practice the same but by replacing people with words and metaphors. Being an introvert, I never interact with people. But being a writer, I forget all the inhibitions and write down every thought racing in my mind. 

However, my introverted personality doesn't take a backseat. Do you know how? My writings are expressions of my life and emotions but they are immaculately hidden behind metaphors that will never let the readers have a peak into my life until they decode the maze of words and symbols. 

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How society berates the art of writing

An art, be it anything, is still not taken seriously. People still call it "a waste of time." Society has always been against writers, since history till today. You know the saying 'pen mightier than the sword'? Similarly, society knows the capability of a writer to bring a revolution. To nip the bud of the revolution, society tries to snatch away the pen. 

Let me tell you about an incident that happened to me. I wrote a poem on naked women. I started the poem as 

"Standing in front of the mirror

With no clothes on

I stared at myself

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Wondering...

Is it power or shame? 

Is it self-love or validation?"

When my family came across the poem, they were aghast by the picture of me standing naked. My aunt confronted me and said, "What will society think?" My only reply was- Kuch toh log kahenge, logon ka kaam hai kehna.

Although it is a clichéd reply, it works well on people who only understand the language of mainstream art. 

Then, another member of my family outright rejected my short story saying "bakwas" because it talked about suicide

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"Her eyes widened due to shock. She couldn’t believe what she saw on the chair. There was a pool of blood in which Kamala’s hand was resting like a baby in the cradle. Kamala had died by suicide."

The most common criticism I receive from people is about the negativity in my art. Everyone advised me to write about positive things so that I start thinking positively. I paid no heed to these criticisms because a writer's work is to reflect society through their mirror-like work so that readers face the truth they have been denying. 

So, my only advice to fellow artists is to never give up your art. Being an artist is a privilege in the form of a blessing. Use it to empower yourself and to open the eyes of society. 

The night is the hour for the writer in me to wake up. When every one sleeps, my words sync in rhythm, definitely not a lullaby. When the world wakes up, the art glares at it saying, "I may never be happy, but tonight I am content."- Sylvia Plath

Views expressed are the author's own.

Expressive writing coping mechanism #art
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