I am not a writer, I am a reader

“Whenever I sit down to write, it is always with dread in my heart. But never more than when I am about to write straightforward prose, because I know then that my failure will be greater and more obvious.”

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1. I am not a writer, I am a reader

“Whenever I sit down to write, it is always with dread in my heart. But never more than when I am about to write straightforward prose, because I know then that my failure will be greater and more obvious .”  —John Osborne[i]

      Juvenilia[ii] is absolutely akin to the situation when you are roaming in the woods with a bunch of your friends, and by coincidence you come across a shining locket stuck in a tree’s branch; and the shining locket appeals for your desire to own it. Once you hold it in your hand, a very nice sentiment fills your heart. You feel so happy and excited—sometimes a feeling of fuss. You pretend that nothing happens, and you rush them in a hurry again. Meanwhile, you try hardly to hide the locket so that your friends cannot see it. None the less, you get the impression to tell about what you found—about the shining locket. You hesitate. You grow caught between two stools: whether to tell them about the locket or not. But, after all, the locket you found is no longer a secret of yours, and your friends get to know everything about it in the end.  

      Writing at an early age is to be likened to this experience. Indeed, it is too motivational to write at that age, but it is too dangerous to make you draw back every single word you wrote—or dared to write. When you are a young person—just like me—and obsessed with writing: you grow ready to jot down every thought you might think of, or read about, although you are not sure of it yet. Still, the ghost of writing keeps haunting you hither and thither.  

      To my mind, youth’s writings lack three notions, three basics, and let us call them three virtues: accountability, truth, and maturity. Those young persons who love reading  discover new ideas whenever they read a book—these ideas might keep them awake the whole night at times. Their thirst for knowledge does not stop by discovering then; some of them keep striving to write about the ideas they discover, or, perhaps, they  re-discover. Those who do not write, however, get this impression to write. Still, both kinds are not to be conceived of as writers, but rather  discoverers. When you write about something for the first time, you are, in fact, discovering its meanings and implications, rather than writing  about it. For that reason, youth’s writings lack the three aforementioned notions. And for that reason again, the writing would sound motionless. It would be full of still images that are meant to be moving and  living in a sense.

      I believe that reading is nothing but a sort of what I would call metaphysical writing—a very exciting yet tiring experience to re-discover the order of things. A good reader—most certainly not the one who seeks “le plaisir du texte”, to use Roland Barthes’s words—builds a parallel text: on the most obvious level, a good reader is the one who thoroughly pays attention to the blanks in-between, and is the one who eagerly attempts to fill in the ''gaps''. Thus, one’s endeavour—at least for me—ought to be having hands on reading skills. It is for this reason I am not a writer, but rather a reader. And it is for this reason again, we must learn to think before we write, and not merely as we write.  
 

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[i] Osborne, John. «They Call it Cricket. » Maschler, Tom.  Declaration. London: Mac Gibbon & Kee, 1958. 61

[ii] Juvenilia is the collective term for those works written during an author's youth. Use of the term commonly implies that the faults of such writings are to be excused as the products of immaturity or lack of experience. (Adapted from The Oxford Dictionary of Literary terms by Chris Baldick).

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