Space

If you were an artist

and I was an object,

what space would I

occupy in your canvas?

Would I be a fruit on the table

or a shadow beneath?

Or the painting inside the painting

or the floor spread all across?

Would you care

to splash your paint

and make space for me?

The Art of Hiding Behind Words

When we think of hiding, camouflage and going underground would be the ideal option. You wouldn’t normally think about writing. Nah! we write to express, to communicate, to disseminate ideas. Could writing be a way of concealment then? Very unlikely, and yet very possible.

The thought struck me when I came to know about a film related to Charles Dickens. Dickens is one of the most widely read authors in the world, he is also considered to be the quintessential gentleman from 19th century England. The man who when was asked to write about the pomp and glory of the royal family denied to do so, because he wrote of the pains and joys of the everyday people. That was Dickens to me, whose stories I have read and rejoiced since a long time. But this particular film was a revelation, because it shattered his image as a family guy, uncovering his secret mistress that he had for a time period of 13 years till his death.

150 years ago, Dickens had a strong brand image, which would have gone down the drains had his secret been revealed. Thus, he tried his best to conceal his relationship, shocking many people. But I am not here to debate his life.

The faint possibility that Dickens might have written much of his later works to conceal his pain, agony and his secret affair with his mistress interests me the most; the idea that through writing, Dickens did not necessarily express but rather hid behind his craft.

Think of a line you absolutely love, from a book, a movie, a conversation. Anything.

I’ll share a snippet of a piece I wrote.

The Wordcastle Instagram 4

Now, I might have 1769 reasons behind writing this line. And it is not necessary that as the listener or reader, you will be able to interpret it exactly the same way. Unless I explicitly state the objective, you will never know it, but what you will know indeed is your objective, your understanding. It surprises me greatly, how is this expressing myself then?

What I am doing but hiding behind an array of carefully chosen words? Of course I am writing. But it is you who is expressing, to yourself. I am merely hiding, beneath these networks of words. Some might call it a barrier, but it is a beautiful barrier I must say, one that helps us hide.

This is of course a very rudimentary version of anything concrete. All I do want to say is perhaps there is a different side of writing, one that does not involving expressing but hiding in metaphors and characters.

Perhaps that is what Charles Dickens did. His mistress is believed to have had a profound effect on his greatest work, Great Expectations. The story follows the life of Pip and his beloved Estella, but they never meet, not explicitly. Dickens separated from his wife, but could never bring his love for his mistress into light because of his public image. He could have instead hid his desires and confusions inside his characters and inside a story. But does this mean all works of writing have something hiding behind them? Not necessarily. But the idea that people write to express, might just be a one-sided approach to the very complex nature of us, humans.

You don’t necessarily have to express as you write, you could hide, camouflage and divert your audience in a world so very different from where you are. It makes writing sound like a code breaking task in Sherlock or James Bond. It might be and it might not. But it sure makes it interesting to explore.

Two Parallel Lines

Our minds are two parallel lines drawn from left to right,
right to left, any deviation
makes the blood under our thin skins boil.
We havent thought of the triangles, and the circles,
the rectangles and the vast sky with no lines.
Our minds have become two parallel lines, any deviation
making our blood under our thin skins boil.

The circles that make up the chains we see not,
because criminals we are each of us,
hard not to be one
to keep the lines from the minds we have,
the words we speak
and the unknown we cannot touch.

These lines creeping in our
windows and doors,
curtains and clothes,
eyes and ears,
hearts and souls.
Demons we have each of us,
to let go must look at it first,
eye to eye
word to word,
and say goodbye.

Patience it takes to convert these parallel lines
into sharp triangles, and smooth circles.
Courage it takes to look at them,
to admit their existence.
Our minds are two parallel lines,
running from left to right and right to left,
any deviation makes the blood under these thin skins boil.

Two parallel lines, thats what we’ve become,
wont you stretch a little side by side?

Think think think. About these parallel lines.

The Sphere: A Perspective

The circle is a beautiful geometrical figure. No edges. Smooth.

Expand it, give it a volume. One of many things it may become is a sphere.

The planets are sphere, so are the stars that we sing about at nights. Our world is a sphere; a circular figure expanded to include life.

Life is a sphere. We reside inside a sphere. Sometimes its easy to get lost inside of it, other times we’d just walk out of it into the vast vacuum of the universe, filled with matters of all kinds, discovered and undiscovered.

You could be happy inside the sphere. Who says there’s nothing inside of it. From the minute grain of sand to the vast endless blue waters. Your body is a sphere, my body is a sphere. Our boundaries make us a sphere.

If you’d like to stay inside the sphere, like sometimes I do, stay in it. Perhaps, you like the secure feeling of the walls, like I do. If you want to break the walls apart, like I do one piece at a time, cross them over. If you’d be happy, be happy.

It’s all in the eye. While I have come to believe that the eye is one of the most deceiving organs we know that makes us forget about the grey matter inside the cranium, and the beating instrument placed inside the ribs, but aren’t the eyes also a gateway to a person’s soul? Perhaps its deceiving nature has to do with the fact that it should not be easy to break into a person’s soul with so much ease.

It’s all in the eye. The sphere whose shadows I have failed to shade.

I’ve sometimes thought it is in the hands of the artist to be able to draw the fine lines of a person’s face or the shadows of the mighty mountains, breathing life through a perspective, through the wand of a paintbrush or a broken pencil.

Take the sphere I’ve drawn.

I do not know how to draw but I am always awestruck by the magnificence of the ones who portray reality and beyond through sheets of paper, meticulously using their hands. If I were to enter an art class, I’d be that outgrown kid who doesn’t understand shades, but then again who’s not a kid. And finally one fine day, I decided to be that kid, again.

One fine day.

To be a novice, to not know the technicalities, to pester a friend to help you, to stare hungrily at your peers’ work (as if they were a cream doughnut!). To look at an object like never before. I often said, I cannot draw a potato, and turns out I am not wrong. Potato! You’re a challenge.

It’s all in the eye, the magic, the deception or any other adjective you’d like to name it. To be able to see the darker shades, the brighter ones, the shining ones, like a story in progress. To depict reality and how it acts, to fuse imagination. It is all in the eye.

To be somehow able to predict the future by feeling the texture of the paper in front of you, with nothing but sheer practice. That is how I learnt to see an artist, as I tried to be a kid again, through a sphere and its shades.

While some draw its fine shadows, I am lost in the vast perspective of a round object. 


Thanks to Subina Shrestha for helping me draw The Sphere. 

A Starry-eyed Writer,

Alfa