My Love For Writing: A Few Reflections

'What do you think Umer, why writing is important in life, or is it?'

1. Since when I was asked this question by my teacher, I've never come to any conclusion - only pieces of fragments I've been able to gather at my own, which impede a great progress to me. If one person has found his place in arts, he's given time to it. But how many, you'd suppose, will be lured into the temptations of such a sublime and time-taking profession of extracting from the nothingness of space 'things' so concrete which persist so long, in this profession? A few. Historically. How many lofty and respectful poets we quote, and how many writers? Hundreds, thousands but not more than that.

1. (a). Thus, if writing were to be an integral part of life everyone should have an 'innate' capacity to learn writing, and triple the heap of printed books now we produce. But, if I consider that literature and philosophy, or simply writing is not a passion of rough minds, who insist or are condemned to remain as rough, only then the significance of writing may be properly hinted upon. Here I need to clarify by pointing to a historic trend among a spiritual class of people that those who negate writing need not be 'rough' that who cannot touch the skies. For simple reason, writing is only one type of communication among many others. We've world oral traditions, like of Persian, Red Indians and ours own, where a large part of education is given in oral medium.

2. Cultures can be differentiated on the basis of their associations with writing. We lack writing culture in Pakistan, on a larger scale. A college student at my native city studied at the most respectable institute of his city till high school level. The loneliest place he could find on the earth, he believed, was his college library, amassed with hundreds of book, some never opened! And, perceptually, I don't feel if he is an alien to me. But, if things are not like the way I see them that means the change is in the air. 

2. (a1). Americans, on the other hand, have a book-culture, my teacher has studied there for a few years and he's a witness to it. And, the difference is discernible with ease! (I do not mean to say as if it is a fault of our genes. It may be fault of generation(s).)

3. The little I think I know so far about writing I'm expressing my thoughts that are either derived or independent summarised in the following points, which I fear are far from being mature:

* Its a process not an event. Continues - our 'writing' shapes, reshapes, constructs and deconstructs.

*  The root word of book "liber' from Latin refers to the thin layer between wood and the bark, a book says. It also meant "liberty", "to deliver". Thus, traditionally the goal of a book is deliverance from the 'fetters of this world' and ignorance.

* Its a part of a bigger scheme. If I had no mind, or no innate capacity to learn language, how could I think? And, if I couldn't think, how could I write meaningful thing?

* I've found that in order to define writing and 'process' of writing, it requires a knowledge of writing and unusual 'way' of looking at it, for instance, understanding it with technicality has helped many a linguistic to use it in computers. Thereby, they're also able better to understand its strict structure.

* It is generating, expressing, labeling and creating with a structure that of a mathematical equation.

* Its material benefits are too obvious to mention.

* Its material benefits do not make writing unique. We learned writing only a few thousand years ago. And, now-a-days, benefits of other digital communications are more viable than writing by hand.

* Perhaps, the supreme reason for the uniqueness of writing lies in its quality as being a creative process of its own kind. Crystallizing intuitions is one thing, bringing feelings and abstract imaginable, or unimaginable ideas is another 'thing'. Techniques or principle of speaking do not absolutely match with those of writing.

* Writing is a physical creation of mental creation(s).

* Writings need not be logical or based on philosophical systems. A single idea may sum up in itself thousands of its inter-connected branches. We find many, many fiction and non-fiction writers who do not think from a philosopher's point of view. But, both can have a commonality in such a situation, both can think of abstract ideas as profoundly as the other one can do. For example, a writer may describe what he see is sitting on the table. And, taking those objects he can make them use in metaphorical or figurative sense. Or, relate one idea with another without any obvious connection between them (this technique is used to make brain run).

* If a 'writing' is an affirmation; it can also be a negation of an affirmation.

* Written words, not graphics, need not be spelled or spoken either by heart or tongue. We can develop enough reading skills by which understanding a writing by merely glancing at it.

* Writing puts great focus on a well-written, well-expressed problem or 'confusion'; gives body to its soul and create patterns out of it. By writing, we can negotiate and re-negotiate with ourselves on a solid ground.

* A little piece of writing can tell tales, one such broadened my scope about writing. A new class-mate of mine wrote in the class on what he previously believed, and the dramatic shift in this thinking occurred. It was very brief, in two or three sentences, but it seemed just as if a saga has been told.

* Writing and speaking share a unique feature which is the quality of saying things we know not of, which may even not exist or which cannot be imagined by our mind as 'images'.

* Saying the truth in writing is not as easy as it isn't easy while speech-making. Beauty of expression can have affect on reader's mind and that definitely includes correct structure. Fowler say that a bad structure cannot be repaired, it can only be changed from top to bottom (if the writer is to save the day).

* Writing demands deliberate recollecting of our thoughts, while it also becomes 'exploring'.

* A very effective 'way' of examining life and world that has been lived.

* What is beyond perception, cannot be written off with any assurance. For instance, if I don't know what the word 'lap-top' stands for I cannot even imagine precisely a 'lap-top'. Writing about a fact out-of-our-knowledge becomes impossible.

* I write to attain beauty.

7 did criticisms:

Abdul Sami said...

we do lack writing culture in pakistan... whereas in europe and indeed as u mentioned america... books are read and loved... !!!

but also... on the other hand... you hav the problem k every tom dick and harry comes up with a book... !

Think Tank said...

why don't you have a superb in your ratings? i don't know much about pakistan but its a country that really interests me what with the long standing politically contrived enmity between our intrigues me. perhaps u can help me knoe pak apart from newspapers.

but you got it wrong America books are read and loved largely by those from other countries...the average american isn't a reader ..the intelligent one is of course and there are plenty of those too

Abdul Sami said...

agreeing with think tank... i am quite sure that actually britain has a better reading culture than america does!!!

M. Umer Toor said...

Dear Abdul Sami,

Many thinkers, poets in Pakistan believe that the prime reason for our intellectual downturn is a result of our unimaginative syndromes. In simple words, speaking for the culture I belong to including Persian, Turkish region (historically) if you allow, we're borrowers of ideas and no more not creators and sustainer be it sciences or spirituality. We lack ideas.

And I believe that every tom, dick and harry must be a copier of thoughts. Have you gone through the new breed of acclaimed fiction writers from Pakistan? How did you find them as I haven't read any of them?

Thanks for reading and sharing your valuable points :)


Abdul Sami said...

being based in UK, unfortunately not... i have read mohsin hamid's 'a reluctant fundamentalist' though... set in lahore tho he lives in uk now i think... but that is the only one i hav read in the latest fleet of books written by our upcoming writers

but hey... jus look at the blog scene in pakistan... isn't it just amazin... do you think people r copyin ? hell no !!! there is too much creativity in us... it is jus a matter of expression

the thing is... in pakistan, you can get foriegn books real cheap as they are pirated... as a result the local publishers struggle to sell their books where they hav to pay all the legal fees to every one who was part of the book... which means writing and hence gettin a book published in pakistan is very much a loss...

the only place pakistani writers do make money is when they are teachin somwhere and implement their own book in the course... lol

M. Umer Toor said...

Dear Think Tank,

Thanks a lot for correcting the erroneous facts since I've not been at America, I was sure i could be mistaken. But IMF and technocrats in USA spend a lot of money on increasing 'literacy rates', as they consider it to be a cure for all societal ills, a scholar asserted in her book.

Morally, socially and politically our society has become a barbaric one! My People will discourage me to give a negative impression of the nation I belong to, but I think, only feeling 'guilt', not vanity in vain can bring positive results.

What can I let you know about my country as my heart rends whenever I recall these words expressed by the most upright chief justice (of Lahore High Court) of Pakistan, in 1957!:

" ... a sad reflection and sometimes these words have brought tears to my eyes:

Dekhta kia hai marry moon ki taraf

Quaid e Azam ka Pakistan dekh

(What are thee looking at my face?
See the face of Quaid-e-Azam's Pakistan! [The founder of this state 1947])

But the history and cultural saga of these two regions - Indus (Pakistan) and Ganga (Baharat) is very fascinating and illuminating. The best book I can suggest for a romantic, sharp and accurate story of this country and nation can be Aitzaz Ahsan's "The Indus Saga: And The Making Of Pakistan," it also discusses post-independence period. If you wish to understand where Pakistan stands politically and constitutionally the following work which has been printed in India can be very useful:

"Divided by the Democracy: Why India is Democracy& Why Pakistan is not" By Lord Meghand Desi and Aitzaz Ahsan.

I hope you've not understood one word I said :-)

Humble regards.

M. Umer Toor said...


Hahaha :-)

And, Sami if you mean to say that there is hope, I bet my life for this claim.

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