"A writer and nothing else: a man alone in a room with the English language, trying to get human feelings right. " ~John K. Hutchens, New York Herald Tribune, 10 September 1961

Thursday, October 18, 2007

All Abuzz

Blogs it seems, are all the buzz and have been sending traffic our way, so naturally I'm all up for it. Most particularly, one of them linked here (Jaded Malang's blog) has sent repeat traffic our way. Yaay!

I realize it's been a while since I've been here, and that may have resulted in a loss of readership. That being said, the reason was much simpler: there was simply nothing mind blowing enough to write. And since this is a writer's blog, it just seems like it should be more writer oriented.

To that purpose, I have something new for us today. Familial literati - or, to put it simply: the pursuit of literary ambitions when its hereditary. What does that even mean, anyway? Umm...well, it's normally when a parent is a writer or in the general field - take, for instance - Kamila Shamsie's mother, Munizeh Shamsie whose an editor and critic and thus produced a writer offspring. I'm not seeing a necessary connection, but there are those who do, and we at the Lounge, like to say we take everyone into consideration. :)

So is it really a big deal? Do they really have an edge over the lesser fortunate who've grown up with the working class mom and dads, or in most traditional and conservative households in Pakistan, working dads? Or is it just another hurdle thrown out by the perpetual would-be writers, trying to make things difficult for themselves? Sure, as a writer's kid, you'll probably come more into contact with the artists of the literary world, or in general. And you'll kinda take certain things for granted. But that only makes the struggle for the lesser fortunate, that much more interesting. Because we haven't grown up with writers coming in and out of our houses, haven't been in close contact with artists in general or activists in particular. We've had to climb our way up, earn our positions the hard way, and if you see it in a certain light it's the 'fortunate' few who've got a tougher job. Being the offspring of a particularly good and established writer pushes you to develop your own voice away from that of your parent (or parents). So really, we've got a far better deal. Besides, we also know how much is at stake here, because we've slaved our way to the top...or, well...wherever.

A few months ago (enter personal anecdotes - there are few things I, as a writer, haven't been through), coming off of rejection from my dream program, I began to wonder whether I was really at a disadvantage from those who were either holders of English majors in their undergrad, or Masters or with literary backgrounds, or with family history of literary backgrounds. My mother put it into perspective for me: You've had to do things the hard way. It wasn't easy to be recognized or accepted as a writer, by either family or society, but with diligence and determination, I got there. So isn't that a far greater accomplishment than having something handed down to you? Doesn't that really show the love for craft, more than family or background? It's much the same in anything - those who are handed down a title are more at a disadvantage than those who've had to get there by their own efforts alone.

So really, don't complain about people whose fathers or mothers were writers being at a higher vantage point, when really it's all about perspective. Beauty, as someone once said, is in the eye of the beholder. You make your own path in this life, irrespective of class, status or family and you earn respect for that.

But these are as always, my thoughts, and you're completely free to disagree with them. In fact, I'd be happy to spar with someone who disagrees. We could have a healthy debate right here, which brings me to a feature we'll be incorporating into the redeployed version of the 'Lounge. 'The Podium', which as a platform for encouraging debate allows a member to create an argument, allow for rebuttal and name the deadline for said rebuttal. It's sort've like a competition of sorts, too and is a great platform for all those verbal spars I hear in my mind sometimes. And the cool thing about it is, though you have to be a member to initiate a debate, you don't have to be one to continue and/or rebut it. So you can write a well worded, detailed rebuttal and it'll find its way up there, allowing the original or agreeing members of the population to contest it. Pretty nifty, huh?

We're also planning a virtual bulletin board of sorts, complete with push pins and cork, which will allow members and members only to post upcoming events, but and here's the nifty thing again: Anyone can view this. These two segments of the site will be independent from the forums, and will also include a rejuvenated and reborn Book Club including a newsletter to keep you abreast of our discussions regarding the book in question. Nifty, eh? Yeah. Very nifty. It will, I suppose, be lifting and editing existing discussions on the forums, and will probably introduce a degree of responsibility since I'm hoping more people would like a simple newsletter instead of joining the entire site at large. Responsibility for our members to be more active, involved and serious minded in the discussion.

So I'm trying to cater for everyone here. I'm just hoping this succeeds.

Comments are welcome, although I'm a little weary of actually getting them considering we haven't gotten any yet. :) But hope springs eternal!

3 comments:

Khaver said...

Woo hoo! I didn't know my blog was up here too. I haven't been paying much attention to that, but will try and update it soon. Thanks MP.

M. said...

Comment on my blog too. Its a lonely old thing.:)

mp213 said...

lol. We're all about promoting our writers here, Khaver so it was no biggie. Meeks, will comment indeed although a lot of people have been coming to us through you, so...rejoice! :)