One might think that compared to earlier, inhibited, raw way of writing, the new version is not really 'You'. I do think so. When I have to arrange things and put them in order, unlike penning down the random ramblings in my mind, I find that I get a little detached from my work. Maybe it is just a mind-block that forbids me to take responsibility. Yet, I have noticed that I am more possessive of my journals than of the essays or poems I write to get marks. No doubt, the latter are better written, with grammar et al but it is the former that is, in a weird way, a part of my body.
The problem I have with structured essays is that it makes me choose. And I hate to choose. It's like I have to pick from your children, which one is better, which one is worthy of attracting the reader's eye and sometimes, marks. My understanding is that every thought of my brain is my own. Sure, there is the important and the unimportant. But they are all mine. Hence, if someone is telling me, 'Was that really required', I am compelled to think over my own aptitude.
Last night, I was doing an assignment. I had to critically analyse a short story. I was not bothered about the assignment, till it came to choosing the story of my choice. I chose Jhumpa Lahiri's 'A Temporary Matter' from her first collection called 'The Interpreter of Maladies'. Now, this story is a beautifully written work. The trouble began when I had to dissect it: word by word, sentence by sentence, phrase by phrase. I felt, call me stupid, like I was betraying her. I was betraying Jhumpa Lahiri. I realised then and then it hit me, that I would be doing this for the rest of my life! Or maybe it was Jhumpa. I somehow connect with her work like no one else's. I can read it any number of times and still wonder at the beauty of her writing. I cannot explain it. Maybe I feel with her characters' sense of alienation. They somehow have this hazy sense of belonging. Maybe I love the way she writes, so sensuous and clear. Maybe its the way she chooses to be a neutral spectator, putting no one at fault. Whatever it was, I hated looking for sentences that stood out more than others or those that supported my point of view.
I always thought that when a writer writes a piece, they want it to be considered as a whole and not butchered into bits and pieces. And also, I thought, No one writes to be judged on the quality of their thoughts. Then why? Why do we in class, 'critically examine' structure and form and language and style and all-the-bull-crap? I love Mill on the Floss. I think its a genius of a novel. Yet, there are hordes of critics, just waiting to pounce on it and dissect it like a frog in the bio-lab. And I am following the suit.
I wonder, after all this, will I ever look at a piece of work and marvel at its beauty, without being tempted to point out its flaws? I have a feeling, I am never going to be a great critic. Damn!