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Of Writing Blues, and Lalwant Singh

Some days you feel like giving up, like nothing is worth it any more. This happens in real life, as well as writing.

When this happens to me in writing, I have to bend down and pull myself up, lift the head from the toes, slowly peel it from my shins, coax it up my hips and stomach, catch it back when it rolls down again, uncurl it from its foetal position, slowly make it face the sun and make it see the light again, make it light up again.

Today is one such day.

Physical and mental exhaustion take their toll on the creative self, and the challenge is to create through the fog of tiredness, of frustration.

I’ve been uncurling myself since morning and now that I’m back in my study, the books on the shelves around me a sort of cocoon, I can unfurl myself and begin to write.

Someone very close to me said today that to me, my work is more important than everything..all else be damned.

Though I argued back, I know that on a day to day basis, this is true. The days I can paint with words inside my head or on the page, I feel I have lived, others are days wasted.

I do not know how it came to this, I do not know how I came to be a writer, not just in the worldly sense, but also in the deepest part of my inner world. Well, for better or for worse. We’ll see.

For those who have followed the life of Kartar Singh, I have news. His place has been taken by Lalwant Singh, a dark grey and red (who was getting his fins nipped by a host of baby angelfish, so I call buying him a ‘rescue’.) I guess I’m heartless.

Or a stupid masochist. Despite my last lesson, I’ve named this one again.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • What matters is that we have the strength to keep pulling ourselves up. Chin up my friend, you’re painfully talented 😉

  • Nate Wilson says:

    The Singh is dead. Long live the Singh!

    Sorry, I couldn’t resist. I apologize if you find it in poor taste. Nevertheless, my condolences on the loss of Kartar Singh, but I wish you the best with his successor. And may you feel every day, whether or not you’ve written, that you have lived.

    • Damyanti says:

      No need to apologize…long live the Singh….especially since his successor is a Singh too! I think in the tradition of superheroes, I will let Singh live on in all my bettas!

      And yes, whether I’ve written or not, I ought to feel I’ve lived. Just that I’m going through a phase… I’m finding it depressing to live without writing.

  • Nutschell says:

    I think writing blues are our body’s way of telling us that we are human, and we need a break. Treat yourself to a nice relaxing day. Go to a spa, watch a movie, read a favorite book or watch that favorite TV show you’ve been tivo-ing all month. 😀 Sometimes all we need is a little break to get us going. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

    • Damyanti says:

      I have no way of doing any of those in my life at the moment…so I guess I’ll just keep writing, and wait for the magic to show up 🙂

  • bronxboy55 says:

    A masochist maybe, but certainly not heartless. It’s your big heart that keeps you writing, as well as rescuing and naming fish. And I suppose a touch of masochism, too. I hope you’ll continue to do both — especially the writing.

  • Your popularity is a validation of your creative ability. That writing absorbs you is hardly surprising. I know myself how consuming it can be. But no longer. I have cleared out my study, and rid myself of the clutter. I am turning again to art.
    For me this is right. I have others to consider within this household and beyond it. The continual heights followed by lows into the depths of despair have little to do with the actual writing anyway.
    But YOU have a natural gift that flows from your heart and mind to appear in words. Rather like a gift of healing that flows from the ‘unknowing’ to those who are ready and willing to receive. A rare gift indeed.
    Some writers do well by churning out what is popular and hard hitting. Here today and gone tomorrow. But you write what is beautiful and enduring. And has appeal to people whatever their nationality.

    • Damyanti says:

      Gladys, as usual you’re too kind, and I hope to some day deserve your praise.

      Hope your art goes well. Post pictures!

  • toby neal says:

    That is what we are as humans- foolishly hopeful, and ever naming.
    As to the writing call… worthy of my own blog post. I must cogitate on a proper answer.
    *trots off*

  • Fresh Garden says:

    Absolutely inspirational!
    Everybody has talent, it’s just a matter of moving around until we’ve discovered what it is.

  • DarcKnyt says:

    I believe you made yourself a writer by doing your due diligence and just writing, writing, writing. You forced yourself, you made yourself, you trained like an athlete competing for prizes. You’re tremendous and I congratulate you.

    • Damyanti says:

      Darc, your words mean much to me, cos you have been with this blog for most of the three years of its life. Thank you.

  • Marian Allen says:

    Dear lady, I’m so happy you rescued Lalwant Singh! We need to see his picture, you know, and we need to hear his exploits!

    You ARE a writer in your head and in your heart and in actual fact. Please sent me a post for my blog about how you managed to write a beautiful poetic and moving flash fiction story every day for a month.


    • Damyanti says:

      Lalwant Singh would appear on the blog when he wants to. I have no power over what I write, and who I write about.

      Thank you so much for your support Marian. Now that I’m replacing some of the A-Z pieces and finding the going hard, I’m wondering how I did it throughout the month.

  • Damyanti says:

    It is important to be a writer at heart…the rest follows!

    ‘I usually write something anyway, without bothering about the how and the what.’

    That is often the best way to write. Our subconscious loves to play and can amaze us if it let it do just that.

    I toyed with the idea of naming the new red Laloo Prasad Yadav, then thought, why insult the fish ? 😀 I think it needs great stupidity to love, and I’ve got that in spadefuls!

  • PencilGirl says:

    I’ve always known that I’m a writer at heart, but I’m not really sure whether I’m a writer in my head. : I sometimes feel like writing with nothing to write about, and it is highly frustrating. I usually write something anyway, without bothering about the how and the what. 🙂
    As for Lalwant Singh, I like that you name your fish, because otherwise, I never could feel close to them. : And like someone said, it takes great courage to love. 🙂 🙂

  • Gabrielle says:

    but I meant to say I hope your writing blues only lasts a day and you don’t have to uncurl yourself too many times tomorrow.

    I do know what you mean about feeling like days are wasted unless you have written. I feel guilty when I haven’t put pen to paper or read a book. How can I achieve without doing either?

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks, and I wish you luck in your writing too. hope you get down the stories you have floating in your head. Sometimes it is a matter of writing the first line and then following it up with another, and yet another. Hugs…

  • Gabrielle says:

    Quite timely Damyanti as I am having a great deal of trouble staying enthusiastic about writing at the moment. I’ve posted 3 times in 3 weeks since the A-Z challenge – I don’t even know how I posted every day then. I’ve also barely written anything in my notebook and I now have two dreams floating around in my head that I must put onto paper. Then there is the looming deadline for a writing competition that, if I don’t enter into, I will kick myself for being so lazy. Hey, I think I just started an entry for my own blog…..

    • Damyanti says:

      Gab, I know what you mean. I eat myself up everyday because of how little I produce, even when I’m able to steal some time out of my days!

  • Just saw your answer (early in the AM here in NY). Sorry for the struggle, but..YOU ARE AN AMAZING WRITER! When someone gives you a kick in the shins like that, there are so many issues that they have. They do not see your POV, only theirs (they may say differently, but it comes from a number of things: jealousy of time not spent, jealousy of talent, etc etc). If you feel fulfilled and not wasting time, then your true life’s passion is calling you. It’s not a hobby. It’s your calling.

    • Damyanti says:

      Stuart, thanks for the vote of confidence. It is my calling, yes, and I hope to do justice to it within the time I’m given.

  • K.C. Woolf says:

    I think our brain directs us to what we feel we get most out of. Whether that’s correct or not might not matter much. It just is.

    For me, sometimes writing comes to the forefront, sometimes other parts of life. They’re equally important to me in the long run, and I try to enjoy them as they come along: living because it refuels me and gives me new perspectives, writing for its sense of creating from what I have acquired, digested and built into who I am.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks for your comment…and your perspective. It is quite similar to what I had a few years, months, ago.

      I think this feeling of time wasted when not spent writing, reading, thinking about writing or living in order to write is a recent phenomenon with me, and it will (hopefully) be less intense as I finish a few of the writing projects I have taken on, the A-Z book being one of them 🙂

      • K.C. Woolf says:

        When this is what you think / feel you need to do, it’s great that you do it – and you clearly do it well!
        Good luck / strength / perseverance / … with the projects at hand. 🙂

        • Damyanti says:

          Thanks! I do hope to do it well…am trying to redo some of my A-Z posts, and am clearly sucking at it! 🙂