Saw the movie ‘The Great Gatsby’ today. Baz Luhrmann kept it quite true to the book, while adding his unique flair to it.
But it got me thinking about who or what Gatsby stands for. Here is a man who has a vision of himself. He has come up the hard way and through dubious means acquired immense wealth. His driving force is his love for Daisy Buchanan.
In his vision, he gets the girl, and they live happily ever after in his enormous mansion. That this vision comes to naught is a moot point.
Had the vision come true, would he have been happy? Probably not. Even as he holds Daisy in his arms, he starts to realise that the green light on Daisy’s dock is starting to lose its significance.
That green light symbolises hope & ambition. Is there not something that each of us aspires to? What happens when we fulfil that ambition? Do we not find that the goal post has moved again?
Gatsby never fulfils his dream, and therefore he becomes a tragic character. Yet the true tragedy of life is,that sometimes holding your dream in your arms is also not enough.
Are human beings by our very nature condemned to certain unhappiness? Is there a little bit of Gatsby in all of us?
The Short story seems to be having a revival of sorts. I, for one, have always leaned towards this genre, simply because I am most comfortable with it. There is a certain beauty in brevity. I like the fact that something has gone on before this story unfolded, and something else will happen, after I have concluded it. Whatever that maybe is left to the reader’s imagination.
Despite, my love for it, I often wonder, if the short story is regarded as a poor second cousin to its grander rival, the novel? Invariably I get asked, “Are you working on a novel?” as though I need to move on, to graduate in a sense, to better things. The long and the short of it is: No. I love what I do, and intend to carry on for a while yet.
My question to you however is: What do you prefer?
I often wonder at writers who say that their protagonists appeared in their minds fully formed. J K Rowling claimed that Harry Potter walked into hers quite suddenly. My process has never been quite that painless. My characters are amorphous. Some I can grasp and try and pin down on paper. Others hover on the edge of my consciousness.
Even those that I put down on paper have the uncanny ability to surprise me by developing in ways that I had not foreseen. For instance, Parvathy’s Well, a story that I wrote quite some years ago, had as it’s main character a girl who was shy, overly imaginative and prone to fancy. That she had an unconscious nasty streak, revealed itself to me only as the story progressed.
So, as a writer, inspiration may arrive in the form of a movie, a snippet of a conversation, a glance, a throwaway comment…take your pick. The interesting thing is how that inspiration translates itself into words.
Right now, I have a troubled woman, someone who is tired of the day to day care of her invalid mother, wanting me to write about her. Who is she? No one I know. Will I be able to tell her story? I can certainly try. Will it be the story I have imagined? I can guarantee not. It will be the one that she wants told….tantalisingly vague as it is at this point.
So, here I am. After having been poked and prodded to start a blog, I have FINALLY arrived here. Not without complications, I might add. However, that is a story for another day.
The primary purpose of this blog is to post my stories here. For those who are keen to read them, and for those guinea pigs (you know who you are) who have been subjected to them regardless of choice.
I will be posting a link on my FB account. Please feel free to comment or criticise, whatever takes your fancy.