That voice, that silent nag….

Posted: February 24, 2012 in Blogs
Tags: , , ,

“Why do you want to be a writer?” asks David Morell, who started writing “First Blood” in 1968, a movie that turned blockbuster eighteen years later.

Morell never did expect the commercial success “First Blood”, slipping the name of his character, Rambo, on to the lips of an American President and a household name and American icon across the world.

What inspired him was the sheer excitement of imagining the thrill of an battle-hardy Vietnam veteran with an arrogant small-town sheriff, and bringing the war home.

He asks this question to present a reality check to all would-be authors. The effort required of all authors are considerable. Time. Lots of it. Effort that could be better used elsewhere, and guarantee some return on investment.

The world is flooded with hundreds of thousands authors and would-be authors in this era of blogdom and self-publishing, across genres and type. Writers have to contend with years of time, energy and other resources without any guarantee of returns. Any would-be authors had better keep their day jobs, Morell and many other professional writers advise.

Some might seek fame. How many of knew David Morell as the author of First Blood? Honestly, I didn’t. I found that out not too long ago from his book, “Lessons From a Lifetime of Writing: A Novelist Looks at His Craft”. Recognition is short-lived and not too different from many other careers in the marketplace, you’¢re only as good as your last game.

Why do I want to write? Would I write if it never bought me the Ferrari 400 I saw on Discovery Channel, or see my name in the credit rolls of a movie or an award-winning documentary?

I need to put some old demons to rest. For one, to quieten that old incessant nag that creeps up on me on those quiet nights when, close to sleep I ask,

If I could do anything without the possibility of failure, what would it be?

“Write,” it replies in an imperceptible whisper.

“If I die in a year, what would I want to be doing?”

“Write,” it prods.

I want to write for the memory of casting my tiny little green WWII soldiers, cast as Leftenant Hanley and Sgt Saunders, of the TV series Combat, leading a platoon to rappel down a steep cliff of a chair with Mum’s sewing threads, fighting off – mum’s – big-jawed, long-teethed monster hairclips when I was seven.

I want to write for the family who always thought I was the creative one, though always a rebel. My sister secretly kept a story I had written at thirteen for a class assignment. A friend won a storytelling competition at the community level with a tale I penned for her at twelve.

I want to write again after a long hiatus, after short stint as a reporter in a food magazine. I want to write holding the thought of those who wrote back with praise in response to my articles. They were my readers. Subsequently, Life gave back, with seven years of a buffet of destinations across the world experience in the hospitality and travel industry. I have no regrets whatsoever.

A friend told me he had cut out an article for the magazine, which I wrote 15 years ago, when I was only his acquaintance, and he thought the article was a refreshing one and had a distinct voice from the rest of the journal. I covered a hoi polloi beat.

To rekindle the sense of pride for every decent essay I wrote in school and the sense of complete exhilaration and rapture creating an imaginary world during an important English composition examination at sixteen. The poignant stories I spinned in my head for the sheer heck of it. Even if it involved ballerinas and commando troopers.

I want to write because it is the last thing I want to do and if I don’t, I know I will live long enough to regret it.

Now, I have to go find my voice.

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