By Pallavi Ghosh:
Even today the notion that fiction writing or literature is nothing but a figment of one’s imagination is quite rampant amidst people. Of course, imagination forms one aspect of creative or fiction writing but definitely not all. What most of the people fail to understand is the impact of any piece of writing in relating to our surroundings. Any piece of writing makes the reader think about the relevance or the correlation of subject with the world- be it of a different time frame- past, present or future. This, in my opinion is the neglected ‘R’ as the purpose of reading is often deemed to be of escaping into a transcendental world only.
What it reflects is the current forms of representation and ideas. Even in the most fantastical tale, there will still be elements drawn from the so called ‘real’ life. So, when one reads about the mythical Malgudi, one can immediately get a glimpse of the Southern India and its culture. Saadat Hasan Manto’s stories on partition present a realistic picture of the macabre that took place during the riots.
Moreover, even in the most scientific write ups one has to construct or fabricate arguments in a way such that it is convincing. Therefore, it is just an arrangement of words and numbers (figures) that enables a shared understanding and leads to a conclusion.
Even in the case of non-fiction writing, creative tools are employed to enhance the write up. Every writer and each write-up is subjective. It is just that the representation style differs from writer-to-writer. While one may choose to present figures and statistics, surveys and interviews to present a realistic picture of the society, the same can be done dramatizing the life one character- who may resemble or may be based on the experiences of a living person.
I will go even further to suggest that nothing can be ‘imagined’ that is not already present or past. Every creation is a distorted or slightly molded from of what already exists. So we cannot think of an alien but in terms of a distorted human figure- may be diminutive, with three eyes and with a queer vocal noise. We, thus for example, cannot think of another physique or form of communication but change or develop from the ones we know.
Even in the most factual from of writing, that is the news reports, one needs to select the most important and relevant aspect and develop the report on the basis of it. It is rather interesting that some of the channels refer to these reports as stories. Not that these are fictional, but a lot of creative energy is put to edit out the inessentials and present a complete package that just about conveys what it is meant to convey.
So, as it turns out to be, there is no ‘unreal’ form of writing since one does not only read but relates too.