Saturday, April 26, 2008

Hiatus, block, malady, misery

Even by my own hesitant blogging rate, I have hit a lean patch. In cricketing parlance, I suffer from a lack of form. My concentration and desire to write have got less and less recently, I am not scoring at all. It is not for want of trying or thinking of doing so, it is that there is a genuine block. Now, I should not take myself seriously and believe that I am a genuine writer and so on, for I have constantly strived to remind myself of what blatant dilettantism I am capable of. And sometimes one forgets to notice this, gives in to crass hypocrisy and so on again.

Yet this time, I do actually want to write something, for I am not tired of blogging as I do not consider it as a chore. In fact, everything else I do is, apart from caffeine and nicotine. I have always hesitated to rant, I do not want to tell the very few people who read this blog of how much coffee I drink and I do not go asking people their nationalities after reading them sympathize about Palestine. I also do not rant about how prejudiced you are, you have something against western writers, why criticise someone, anyone who dares criticise European writers makes you head itch, some such crap. Yet, I am even incapable now of ranting, as you can see. I had once dared to question Thomas Bernhard and his style, and what do I get......a self proclaimed great British blogger literally questioning my right to do so. And that after his cut and paste blog.

I must have been mad to volunteer to co-write the Proust blog with Antonia and Alok, my favourite blog writers. There too, I have gone dry, the runs have stopped, I am clearly leg-before. I wanted to write regularly and have been so dismal there. So, my dear Alok and Antonia, try keeping me in your team but if I am dropped, I will not question it.

My blog co-writer, who calls himself alpha2omega, had warned me of this phenomena last year, calling blog writing intellectual masturbation. Now, I still disagree, for we each will go into different graves, but I think he is right when he suggested that I might actually be tired of blog psychology, a sign of late capitalism! Ha! Perhaps, reading the rants of other bloggers has made me really anorexic, I mean in a writing sense, for who is interested in being told what one should think or write or read, so long as one has the right, admittedly self acquired of criticising what you and I write, but not at the cost of being told that stay off so and so, they are great writers, that kind of crap. There is too much mutual backscratching here in the blog world and some people excel in being members of a mutual admiration society of bloggers!

Once Alok advised me to read only what I wanted to. The advice is great but the projection in the blog world is great even for me to understand and succumb to, as evidence this naive post!

I do want to write again, but not repeat what I wrote the last few times, 2 absolutely hopeless poems, and one listless review of Bacacay. Give me poetry, I pray!
I will continue to read the unreadable books I have recently bought, including Ecrits and Dabashi. But, I find reading too boring at present, the likes of Arendt, with her myopic blind spot towards less civilised races like the Arabs of Palestine, too nauseating. I must read good old stories, and start reading Russian literature again. The intellectual world, I mean the genuine one is largely composed of Comprador intellectuals, those who are being paid to think and instigate wars. Those whose dull ignorance smacks of arrogant vacuity. Thus, we need more of the really great literature and not hatred and messianism disguised as travelogues and philosophy. Or even literature.

That said, even a holiday recently has not helped my batting slump ( I am always a batsman) and perhaps I must go again to Tangiers, and not avoid the cheapest cafes. That is where the waves and the bread and the sun and the nicotine gurgle and shine together. I want to go into the heart of poetry.


Lupe said...

some more backscratching

To feel bored with "contemporary" literature, well, that's actually a healthy symptom, I'd say.

A good thing to do when you feel fed up is to go back to the roots: lyrics.

Kubla Khan said...

lyrics, yes......but what kind?

Madhuri said...

In the past 2-3 weeks, I have read sentiments akin to yours being reproduced in more than a couple blogs. I don't know if it is a Blogger's apocalypse or the summers (I attribute a lot of ills to it - but I don't know if you even stay in a place where summer is as big a curse:-) )
Why get anorexic over what others write? If you dislike their views/thoughts, ignore them. Nowhere is it easier to do than online - all you have to do is to never type that URL. Shouldn't people be allowed a little opinion in their own blogs? And shouldn't others tell them that they are wrong And then shouldn't the blogger fight back?

Kubla Khan said...

Hi madhuri

there was a zero spring here and who knows what summer?
april, cruellest month, gone, faded......
i agree that everyone must express and say what they want to. but as soon as it becomes tetchy, polemical, then it loses verve.
for eg, if i say that this movie, so and so probably says this, one cannot question the authenticity of that experience, though one can got it wrong....that is not what it means.
so, blogs cannot become vehicles for personal projections but must be vehicles for understanding things better.
i read about your visit to Australia, i have never been there, so i cannot say a thing. if i had, we could engage in a debate, say about their paranoia or their neo-conservatism but not in a argument. that's all.

blogging about books and so on helps the less read reader know more and then we can make a choice.
i think cold weather is more tolerable than sultry heat but then i have never lived in hot conditions so i might actually love the weather at your place.
take care.

Alok said...

Why do you think dilettantism is in itself worthy of condemnation? The idea that you need to be some kind of certified expert to hold forth on any subject sounds too elitist to me... certainly we are all allowed to expand our intellectual frontiers and blogging is just a very nice way to document that process.. it even helps other people who are trying to do the same...

I also don't understand why you want a uniformity of voice and opinion... like the real world internet is also pluralistic, actually more so since there are fewer restrictions and I think it is a good thing.

I for example find your views on western literature and intellectual history in the context of orientalism to be a little too oversensitive and ungenerous, but despite that they have always provoked me and made me think about my own assumptions and viewpoints...

and lastly I think one should learn to see it in proper perspective. you are not going to make any major intellectual breakthrough by blogging... but still it really doesn't take too much effort and in the end is quite useful. I have certainly found it so. Anyway, hope you get over the "block" soon...

Kubla Khan said...


Dilettantism is not worthy of condemnation, but not recognizing that one is must be pointed out. not condemned. condemned is a strong word.

we must not have any kind of uniformity in opinion. i never say that. that w'd kill mature action and thought.difference is delight. but as soon as you attack a blogger's authentic reading or cinematic experience, his very right to hold a view, then it gets ugly.

yes, you are right about my views re western writers and their blind spots. it does not bother me as much as i find it baffling that it is not even recognised and even after pointing it out, one stands labelled as biased, antiwestern etc. thats all. western fiction is all i know apart from odd books from other literatures now and then.
and then what is western?
it is only a narrative thread, borrowed from Athens, secularized in Rome. it is a westward geographical is a white flight, very exclusivist.

i will find it hard to read Conrad again or camus for eg because their very orientation is based on a dogmatic sense of superiority, on the other, them, they.
only this needs to be recognised and mentioned. otherwise, conrad writes beautiful prose.

Marta said...

I would have thought that blogging, like writing, is all a play of the imagination. There are times, and places (like the one I am now, sob) when/where my imagination, my arguments, my ideas...are just too much for my life. Don't have enough people or quality people to play my games, tel my stories, confide my ideas. There is when I blog, talking to the aethernal absent, always imagined, "other" on the other side of the screen. I need "this other" in order to survive my own intensity. don't you?

And one of the the few contemporary writers I have really appreciated is Pellevin, russian, hypercutured. Babylon is a great book. Have a taste of it when you can.

And yes, give us some poery, or one of those stories you used to write, at the border between poetry an prose :) I miss them