It was Bertrand Russell (or maybe Bernard Shaw in one of his long introductions) who wondered what an overthrown official would do thereafter. In ancient Greece, he speculated, the deposed official would round up mercenaries and attack his city state. The unseated Chinese civil servant, he added, would retire to the hills and write poetry. A retired Indian bureaucrat, I believe, would write his memoirs or set up an NGO.
After my retirement, I opted to continue what I had stopped long ago. And that was writing, on whatever interests. I kept slotting them into different blogs. This was more preferabled than a potpourri of assorted stuff. Three blogs are active as on date. Another three are still pending.
I worked on these blogs intermittently since mid-2019. They went live only in April 2020, in the early days of the pandemic. Initially, I was able to upload at least two posts per blog in a week. Thereafter, I discontinued for certain personal reasons. My attention got diverted to the print media and a few online journals.
For someone writing regularly late in life, having to wait for editorial decisions is suicidal. Some issues cease to be topical making the article irrelevant. Even after an editor approves for publication, there could be delays in search of the right time and suitable space. This is compounded by the fact that many scribes continue to write into their 80s and beyond. At the same time, many new and young journalists are aspiring to join the profession. Between these extremes, a new writer on the wrong side of 60 stands no chance.
There have been cases of unreturned calls. Not to mention unacknowledged messages and mails. Many cases of payments overlooked, delayed, reduced, or refused. But the most difficult have been editorial rewording or truncation of title and content without any consultation. Sometimes, these are to the detriment of the flow and continuity of the article. All aimed to suit a procrustean bed of editorial rules and space. That was when I decided to be on my own.
When I saw myself behind a paywall for my own unpaid article, I decided to put an end to relying on anybody else for publishing my articles. Thereafter, it has been an effort to bring back the blogs which I had put on the backburner.
Hence this blog. Please see the About section for details.
My writing approach has been dictated by Orwellian principles inculcated in me from a young age. There is also a favourite quote from Coleridge who wrote that Schiller burns a city to create his effect of terror, but Shakespeare drops a handkerchief and freezes our blood. The reference is to the style and effect. Understatement is key. It is not for me to shock and awe.
I do not propose to actively “promote” these blogs. After an initial nudge among friends, I hope they will get around by word of mouth. I welcome suggestions from all well-wishers.
© G Sreekumar 2021
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