Image of the Writer

If writing is considered as an art, reading and enjoying the same is another art. To just muse over it and recommend it to others is another art.

Those days I was too eager to meet the author and converse with them. I have come across a few amusing personal experiences in my life in my personal interactions with the authors of some of my favorite books and novels.

This had happened about three decades ago. The author was a popular writer and had written several novels and short stories in Tamizh. I am, indeed, a great admirer of the author when I was in my college and later after taking up the job. Once I happened to meet the author in a literary function and introduced myself as a great fan of the prolific writer. I also expressed my interest to talk about the novels personally and how the novels and the characters were evolved. The author immediately obliged and gave the address and invited me to come and meet.

True. My personal interaction was very interesting. The conversation invariably digressed into a lot of topics like politics, lifestyle, changing values and deteriorations of the standards etc. But, in fact, I was cheesed off by the author’s total anathema to the changing world and values. The writer was quite critical about some of the contemporaries unabashedly. Later, I could interact only on very few occasions, but the writings turned more acidic and started sounding like propaganda of a particular philosophy which was on the wane. I was disappointed.

On another occasion, in the book review I have posted for a popular author’s book, I have pointed out some of the grave factual errors in the book as it carried incorrect Tamizh words corresponding to the English words referred. The writer mailed me a very angry as well as abusive letter questioning my credibility to make comments like that. But, I replied to him politely and gave the correct Tamizh translations for the erroneous ones in his book with page numbers. I also requested him to cross check the same if possible with someone who knows Tamizh. After a few days, I received a mail from the author with an apologetic note for his haste and hubris. He turned out to be a good friend to me for some time but now he is no more. I was as much surprised by his humility as well as his vanity.

Recently, I happened to write an article on a popular writer of my times and after reading that article the author’s ward contacted me for thanking. But, to my surprise, I was informed that none in the family could really relate themselves to the works of the author because their reading habits are very poor and many of the younger generation in their families do not know to read and write Tamizh.

I happened read and review a book of a renouned author and I was thoroughly shocked by the satirical and rather offensive references made by him on many of the contemporaries of the writer in the book. We have come across either disappointing or contradictory comments when some popular authors have to express opinion either on some social or personal issues.

I think like the novels we read and the characters we cherish, the writers are afterall human beings with their own foibles. Reading is one thing; enjoying is another; family is something else; the author is also another character which may turn out to be a pleasant surprise or a rude shock for the reader if he/she created an image for the author.

Nowadays, if I read and enjoy a book or the writings of a particular author, I post a review in my blog and keep quiet. Because, like the characters depicted in the novels of the author, the author is also another character which we, the readers revere.

I never try to reach out the writer.


More by :  G Swaminathan

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