October 25, 2013

Finding inspiration from someone else' misery

Dear M,

Last night we had a discussion about someone in the family who is going through a rough patch. It is pretty bad, really. The Dad is sick with multiple issues, the Mom cannot make both ends meet, the daughter has a baby, the son had to drop out of college to support the family, and so on. The rest of us try to help them in some way, but there is only so much we can do.

And then, when the conversation drifted, I found myself thinking about the family again. But now my line of thought was different. The father who is sick... the mother who struggles to work... the daughter... the son... and I was moulding them and remoulding them so as to fit them into one of my stories. Or perhaps, I thought, I could write a story about them, bring out the strength and will power and sacrifice in them.

Shameless. Callous. Despicable. Someone has problems and all I am doing is conjuring stories around them. Not that I am trying to justify myself, but I think we writers (and other artists) are guilty of this. Finding inspiration from others' pain. Other people are characters and their miseries are plots. Not that we enjoy it, but it creates a spark within us. We feel that familiar tingle, that excitement, that urge, that energy to create something.

Our excuse is that what we write may bring issues to the notice of the world. Our writing may inspire others to look at unfortunate people with kindness. Our stories may help the capable see the weak in a different light and offer a helping hand. It may change some people or open their eyes to the truth. Out of one hundred people who read it, if one person decides to take an action, it is worth it.

These are our arguments but once we peel off the layers, what remains is the truth - that we see more than the tragedy in other people's misfortunes. We see stories.


Like this post on Facebook!


  1. Its not that we find inspiration from others' pains.. Everybody notices the pain. Its just that we express it through our words..