Saturday, April 03, 2010

Story Telling

Story telling is an art that I have never ceased to marvel about.  It just makes me think: to have the words they write, flow that way is just a divine gift.  Though a lot of hard work goes on to make it what we, mere mortals finally read, writing is not something that can be inculcated with continuous training or hard work. To conjure a story or several of those is one amazing thing, and to put them down into several thousand words and at the same time keeping the reader going, is quite another.

A book of Somerset Maugham, ‘The Moon and Sixpence’ has me hooked at present.  The classics, I realize are called so, because they are indeed timeless.  Even if the costumes and the way life is led changes, the universal emotions of the people remain perpetually the same.  Some of the situations continue to be so.  I enjoy Maugham because it is these ironies of life that he depicts so well.

“Mrs. Strickland had the gift of sympathy. It is a charming faculty, but one often abused by those who are conscious of its possession: for there is something ghoulish in the avidity with which they will pounce upon the misfortune of their friends so that they may exercise their dexterity. It gushes forth like an oil-well, and the sympathetic pour out their sympathy with an abandon that is sometimes embarrassing to their victims. There are bosoms on which so many tears have been shed that I cannot bedew them with mine. Mrs. Strickland used her advantage with tact. You felt that you obliged her by accepting her sympathy.”

“It was the kind of party which makes you wonder why the hostess has troubled to bid her guests, and why the guests have troubled to come. There were ten people. They met with indifference, and would part with relief. It was, of course, a purely social function. The Stricklands "owed" dinners to a number of persons, whom they took no interest in, and so had asked them; these persons had accepted. Why? To avoid the tedium of dining tete-a-tete, to give their servants a rest, because there was no reason to refuse, because they were "owed" a dinner.

I am certainly an ardent admirer of the abilities and the great works of several of the old writers, but it is not to say, I do not enjoy reading some of the less accomplished modern day writers who may not use bombastic parlance, but do have a story to tell.  My opinion about them certainly isn’t sky high as it is for the other writers.  But even then, even though their books could be trashy or crass, many of them still manage to provide some ephemeral entertainment if not wholesome satisfaction.  The characters in most detective or crime thrillers are hardly as powerful as Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot were, but they still manage to keep one hooked and that is a talent in itself.  Hats off to all those who have this talent.


  1. That sounded wistful, but let me assure you we all are inherent story tellers but only some come out and put the stories into words. Try it. Who knows, you might come up with a classic yourself one day!

    I have tagged you, but you have to come to my blog to take it up. I don't know to link stuff yet. :(

  2. @Seeta: Thanks for the motivation! I certainly wish I could pen down a classic :D..I ll wait for that inspiration to dawn on me someday!

    I cannot get to your blog..Do give me the link.