There is one problem in replying to negative comments. People always assume that I am being overly defensive or am scared of negative comments. If it helps you believe otherwise, let me declare that negative comments don’t scare or discourage me. Otherwise, this blog would not have been going on for such a long time 🙂
However, that does not mean I accept all the negative comments and the suggestions that come with it. I have a mind of my own.
There is a difference between me, as a writer; and me, as a business person. As a business person, my customer is indeed a God! So long as I am within the law and my morales, I would do things that would suit my customers, whether or not I, as a person, like it. My product will be for my customer. Even as a business person, however, it would not be possible for me to satisfy all the customers. More often than not, I would have to pick up a segment of customer whom I would endeavour to satisfy. I would not cater to every possible customer even as a business person.
And I am most certainly different as a writer. As a writer, I write first for myself. Anybody else, including readers and critics come later. The immediate question that I am asked is – why a public blog then? The answer is – well, it does not do anybody any harm. May be there are rare occasions when a reader genuinely enjoys it and even rarer ones when a reader benefits from reading me. But if that’s not the case, nobody is forced to read it. So, those who dislike it or do not understand it can just keep away from reading it.
What then? Do I mean to say that I am what I am, and my writing would never improve. No. There are things that can and will improve. Some of them will improve just with practice, some others with deliberate efforts. But here, I will make a choice on what is an improvement and what isn’t. Besides the things I myself am aware of, I am listening to the comments of my readers, but they are not my commandments. I will take a decision on what makes sense and what doesn’t – for me.
And at this point of time, I take the liberty of pointing out some of the things I found totally out of place:
But your title is gimmicky
Hmm… why? “Kafan” was not about Kafan, death, burial grounds or anything like that. It was about Poverty. Yet, it was titled “Kafan”. (For the uninitiated, I am talking of one of the very famous stories of Premchand). Just because it is “Tawayaf”, it becomes gimmicky? I expect my readers to be mature about it.
Do read the short stories of Ismat Chugtai, she has written a lot of stories on such subjects.
I have read Ismat Chugtai; have also read about her and would be happy to read more (she is undoubtedly a great writer). But when you say, she has written a lot of stories on “such subjects”, it seems like you understand what my subject is. Unfortunately that is not the case. I have not written on a subject on which Ismat Chugtai has written a lot. There was a whole story to be read beyond the title. I am afraid, you have missed the point.
You should read xyz.
Definitely. I am an avid reader, read a lot and will continue reading a lot. But that would not be with a purpose to write like them. I will write like myself. My writing may change, I may get inspired. But sorry – I would never ever try to write like somebody else. Does not matter if I remain banal.
Oscar Wilde once said- Defense is the first sign of weakness.
Just because Oscar Wilde once said it, it need not be the ultimate truth of life. I am not saying one must defend. One may just choose to remain silent. I have all the respect for such a stance and I do that at times. But defending does not always mean weakness. It also means that writer has a mind of his/her own and is ready to speak that out, if he/she finds that critics and readers have interpreted it wrong. Writer is no God – nor is the reader or the critic. So, let’s keep it simple please 🙂 and not impose unnecessary constraint on how a writer/artist should behave. Harivansh Rai Bachchan has written many poems simply defending his earlier works. I was just reading pages of defense Nabokov had written for the great piece of work called “Lolita”. The examples are endless. You may still adhere to Oscar Wilde, but don’t expect everyone else to do that.
in fact all great artists spend considerable amount of time in reflecting previous work of arts.
Ah! I am not a great artist you see. But I still read a lot. You don’t have to worry about that, really! But as I said earlier, I will not write like anyone else. Does not matter whether or not I become great that way.
But, the real problem comes when “The reader knows more than the writer”.
By now, I am thoroughly amused. Even greater problem comes when reader “thinks” he knows more than the writer. Sigh!
At the end of all this, nothing is going to discourage me. My second story is coming soon 🙂 Those, who find my attitude not suited to that of a writer, may please ignore it.