What matters…

…is that I didn’t give up writing, but that I still think about writing here, extensively.

A thousand unfinished drafts fester on some device or the other, forgotten and incomplete. Each the essence of an idea, initiated but forgotten. In the midst of them all lie stories without a second chapter, political analyses without a clear answer, jokes without a punchline. And so they are fated to remain, unclaimed and incomplete.

Who’s to blame this time? Work, studies, family? Or the constant procrastination that is a hallmark of my life? Maybe a combination?

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity – what nourishes it, and what saps it. It’s been years since I wrote a single song – the act of picking up a guitar for that purpose somehow transforms into a few lonely strums, and even if I find a pattern I like it is confined to the nether realms of my brain, quickly forgotten. Even recording doesn’t help.

Perhaps creativity is contingent on a particular state of mind. One that is limited in quantity and is easily exhausted by the day long work grind – “Make it more concise,” they tell me. “Sharper, stronger, more succinct, more powerful…” Or maybe it withers after carving through yet another set of PowerPoint slides, trying to figure out how to convert a wall of text into a simple yet powerful graphic. Or maybe it diminishes without practice, or due to stress, or because of the effort it takes to navigate through the increasingly dense urban jungle. Or maybe it perishes on the altar of responsibility – that bewitching ambrosia that is more addictive than any narcotic known to man.

As you may have heard, Violet Smoke is no more. Careers and family have transported each of us to distant corners of the world, and Skype is no substitute for the pleasure of sitting together, face to face, playing a few chords and seeing where we go from there. I’ve been trying out a few new bands – but that drive to create, to entertain, to lose myself in the music I create, and to make music that is fundamentally about me – all that is gone.

And so I look back fondly upon a time, just five years ago, when we were at our most creative and most prolific. We would churn out songs by the dozen, and somehow we knew just what words would fit the song. We weren’t afraid to try new things – adjusting songs recorded with instruments to an intimate stage ensemble is no easy task. Yet we were always in sync, knowing just when to transition into the next verse or chorus.

My writing followed a similar trajectory, it seems. Prolific at first, propelling me to some uncertain renown, and then disappearing just as quickly. It wasn’t writer’s block – it was a tap shutting off, with not even a drip remaining behind.

I might not have control over other band members, but I do have control over my writing. After all, it isn’t only a few words to me – it is catharsis. And so today, the dawn of the Bengali year 1419, I think it is time to brush off those frayed neurons, uncover that dormant creativity, and let loose once again.

No more drafts hidden away in the dingy dark corners of the internet.

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