Porn and Masturbation

For a while now, I have observed this disturbing trend of using the words Porn and Masturbation (P&M) as suffixes in hyphen-separated-phrases to convey that the prefix is inferior, waste of time, pathetic, something to aspire against, etc. Cases in question: intellectual-masturbation, achievement-porn, etc.

I find two insulting underlying reasoning schools at work were. One: Just because something is _perceivably_ akin to P&M, it sucks. Two: P&M implicitly suck.

Well, that’s it.

The Long Tail of Blogging

Here’s what Nabokov said at the end of his literature-appreciation course:

“In this course I have tried to reveal the mechanism of those wonderful toys — literary masterpieces. I have tried to make of you good readers who read books not for the infantile purpose of identifying oneself with the characters, and not for the adolescent purpose of learning to live, and not for the academic purpose of indulging in generalizations. I have tried to teach you to read books for the sake of their form, their visions, their art. I have tried to teach you to feel a shiver of artistic satisfaction, to share not the emotions of the people in the book but the emotions of its author — the joys and difficulties of creation. We did not talk around books, about books; we went to the center of this or that masterpiece, to the live heart of the matter.”

Is this true? When I heard about Lolita, or more so, its purported story’s theme, I didn’t know that the book was about something else. But I know now. What if I didn’t? Or couldn’t? Would I have dismissed the book as a cheap attempt at erotica that’s not even there? Maybe.

The point is – When I write, I think of a certain type of reader who will get my allusions, and more importantly, whose appreciation hierarchy matches mine. The hope is to create something whose unravelling would thrill a reader – give that shiver of artistic satisfaction. I must also admit that, in retrospect, my posts from the past have given me more cringes than shivers.

Is that you? Not being able to believe that you could’ve written this? You should read some of the other stuff you’ve written.

Get Shorty

Ramanand passed me the 55-word-limit-short-story baton and here is an attempt:

Am a ten pointer. Doesn’t mean that it’s been easy. My neighbors (let’s call them ‘R’ and ‘P’ for now), cheap scorers, but so popular still; seen everywhere, unlike me (sigh). Me, gotta wait for you to complete me. Ah, there you are! come now, lets append ourselves to ‘art’ near that double word score.

My love affair with short stories began with Doordarshan’s Mitti Ke Rang, which used to adapt the best short stores from the likes of Chekhov, O’Henry, Maxim Gorky, Guy de Maupassant, etc. into 30 minute episodes. This was when I first heard that short stories were a different genre altogether.

Earlier, I had tried my hand (or rather, Akka had lead my hand) into some Panchatantra and other Hindu mythological tales. Later, when I did venture into the world of short stories myself, I was amazed at the depth, creativity, storytelling, philosophy, characterization, and everything else that makes a great short story, not to mention the proverbial twist in the end. I am still to see a short story which anticipates that the reader is expecting a twist in the end, and comes up with a double twist, or no twist at all. To top that, this story must be a part of a compendium which has twists/no-twists in a calculated order to snare the reader throughout the book. Just a game-theoretic idea.

Of all the authors I have tried, I have been most impressed by Roald Dahl, Maxim Gorky, and Jeffrey Archer. Rahl is black, dark, and creates an air of eerie pathos that kind of tells me what horror writing is all about. Gorky, the few stories I have read: they were abstract, and created visual images that were beyond the ordinary. I find it very hard to capture that imagery into words now. As for Archer, he is the master of feel-good cheesy stories with his standard elements – wine tasting, courtrooms, bankers, good looking men and women, Oxbridge, etc. Have read all of his, and liked most of them.