Wednesday, August 21, 2013

WRITER, CHIEF EDITOR

" How can you pursue it, if you don't even know what it looks like? "

***

Look to the right of this window. 
"4. Get published."

I used to think I wanted to be a writer. If you're a regular here, you'd know that writing is something I adore. Nothing gives me greater satisfaction than threshing out my thoughts into structured sentences, lovingly arranging my inner musings to form prose. Writing makes me feel alive.

To the point that I was certain I would have a career in it. The title "Chief Editor" was something I always felt would eventually become mine one day. There was no question about that. It was my dream, which I cherished and adored. It was only a matter of time before we would find our way to each other.

I would inspire others, speak to thousands through the written medium, challenge the norm, melt away the rigid, defiantly stare down the unconventional, destroy boundaries and scoff at the mundane. 

People would take notice of me, they would ask "Who is she?", "Who does she think she is?", they would sit up in astonishment at my audacity to speak as such. My boldness and tenacity would earn me many enemies, but even more loyal allies.

***

Then, I stepped into the world of journalism. I was excited, overjoyed. Finally! All my lofty dreams and ambitions were going to take flight! I was ready, brimming with eagerness to stride out and carry home what I KNEW belonged with me.

But. (There's always a 'but' isn't there?)

I started out fresh faced, starry-eyed and naive. But gradually, doubt crept in. One by one, things were revealed to me, which challenged the foundations of my aspirations. For the first time, my certainty began to falter. 

If you are a commissioned writer, tell me, do I speak falsely? For you know, you know! That writers are shackled by heavy chains of the pledge to be loyal to our respective publication houses, all for the sake of profit. For the big, important people sitting in their cushy offices, so that they can make money from the house. While us writers scuttle about on the ground generating content to drive profits, they rest on their comfortable footstools of complacence.

The truth? There is no profit to be had in the truth. No market appeal, no glitz and glam. Certainly not a desirable package at all. It would not do to put out something which would offend certain members of society.

What good is the truth? It would tear down rich men, break the powerful, cause the elite to squirm with unease.

And so we roll out pleasant stories. We paint pretty pictures. We cut, snip, and trim our tales to woo and cajole. We indulge in idle banter, lazily sipping cups of tea as the truth wails mournfully and writhes in agony at our feet, begging to be set free. 

The players of power continue to make merry, arrogant in their inpenetrable facade of invulnerability and corruption. Surrounded by their mountains of moolah, buoyed by their hangers-on with wagging tongues ever ready to flatter and proclaim praises of sweet decay.

We throw the truth out onto the darkened back lanes, sweep it as we would dust under proverbial rugs, banish it from our presence into exile. 

***

My eyes were opened to what I would have to bow to. What I would have to submit to and call my lord. I would be like the dog who does not bite the hand which feeds me, even if it were feeding me poisoned meat. The impact was gargantuan, it knocked me out of breath. I was forced to consider :

Could I do it?

Could I kneel to this?

Could I pledge my loyalty to this heinous, slithery master?

Was I willing to cast away what I stood for?

Could I sacrifice the values and principles I value and hold dear? The virtues of truth, integrity, honesty, honour, transparency, and uprightness? 

Was I willing? Willing to proudly broadcast lies as truth, to hold my head high while fully conscious that what I was doing was deceitful and despicable?

The gilded path to that childhood dream stretched clearly before me. The gatekeeper had flung the doors wide open and was smiling expectantly, waiting for me to step forward. The golden opportunity was laid before me. All I had to do was take that pledge and go forth.

It took me a while to decide.

I realized that I could not sacrifice these things, not even to fulfil what I had always longed for. 

The doors shut with a resounding clang, jolting me awake.

There I stood in the darkness. The dream which had always been mine had firmly turned its back on me, or I on it (whichever you please.)

There I stood. Alone. Disoriented. Unsure of where I would go now nor where my path lay.

But then I looked about, realized what I still had with me and was glad that I had chosen them instead. I hugged them close, held them a little tighter. They revived my strength, comforted my being. We reassured ourselves that we would always be there for each other. 

So hand in hand, we continue onward in the quest for another purpose, a new dream to run after.



                        

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