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Writer, fighter

eM has this nice post up about being in love with books/character and idolizing writers in her youth (ie about three weeks ago) and then growing up and having scales fall from her eyes when she met writers in real life.
Its the worst thing to be if you like reading/films, a features journalist. Completely impossible to have any illusions about starry types. I remember being very disappointed with the first writer I did a profile on for the Telegraph, and dont even get me started on actors.
That said, a lot of writers do manage the whole aura thing. Rushdie has a distinct halo, Amitav Ghosh and Vikram Seth have the whole polite genius thing, Hari Kunzru radiates smartness, Rana is quietly impressive, Ruchir Joshi is all seen-the-world-and-know-the-stories , Rupa Bajwa is all serious and intense until you get to know her better, Radhika Jha manages to be both friendly and super-artist, Indi makes you want to have a notebook on standby and Sarnath makes do with being more wildly eccentric than any of his characters. Naipaul has a massive aura too, but its more of a sleeping hippo at zoo/Jabba the Hutt sort of thing; you kind of want to poke him with a sharp stick and see if he’ll chase you. I wish I had an aura too, I think there’s a shop in Palika where you can get a pirated one cheap.
Note to self: Cultivate mysterious writer aura for more sales
Note to self (underlined): This is NOT achieved by pottering around flat with hair standing up, wearing a T-shirt that says Pea Brain.


About Samit Basu

Novelist. Best known for fantasy and science fiction work. Most recently, The City Inside (Tordotcom)/Chosen Spirits (Simon and Schuster)


14 thoughts on “Writer, fighter

  1. amitav ghosh is a complete darling!!he’s quite the sweetest person i’ve ever met.but he can really politely rip your writing apart if he doesnt like it..especially if it has pretensions to being obscure lit…seen this happen in front of me.was very funny,actually.

    Posted by cass | September 9, 2005, 3:54 am
  2. LOL @ palika bazaar

    Posted by .m. | September 9, 2005, 5:07 am
  3. it must be spooky meeting people u had once idolised. it still happens to me once in a while that i read a book and i fall completely in the writers spell … that is i fall totally in awe of him as a person … though in fact, i know nothing of him as a person, right. later, watching an interview somewhere you get a glimpse of the person beyond the words, the man outside the book and it can be such a ‘spell-breaker’ πŸ™‚ I’d be petrified of doing it! Happened recently with Kazuo Ishiguro. I used to love his books and then I was watching a interview, and suddenly ur forced to think of them as real flash and blood people, it forces a total shift in ur perspective.

    Posted by Prerona | September 9, 2005, 6:01 am
  4. Not just one aura. The 3 in one DVD retails for 100Rs only, so you can get three actually πŸ˜‰
    But i guess you will need to sling someone 30 years younger than you on your arm to get a big big halo, but for that you have to be 30 first πŸ˜‰

    Posted by Tanveer | September 9, 2005, 6:45 am
  5. I am pretty sure I know what you mean,though it’s never happened to me personally. There was this one Indian SFF book I read(I beleive it was the first of its kind)…and I totally started idolising the writer….still do, in fact..just wish I could meet him and watch as the aura I imagined gets flushed down the toilet………

    Posted by Maru Marauder | September 9, 2005, 11:17 am
  6. Actually, I do know someone who can fix you up with a pirated version of an aura….howvwr I beleive those tend to go bad after a couple of days, and you begin to exude a kind of an “Alfred E. Neuman”ish aura(unless thats what you wanted in the first place, in which case you might end up being Oprah Winfrey)…….

    Posted by Maru Marauder | September 9, 2005, 11:24 am
  7. cassm: you are, i think, the 16th person ive met with massive crush on mr. ghosh.

    prerona: most of the people i idolized are, fortunately, dead. when i meet them, ill blog about it. what did ishiguro do to let you down?

    tan: ill have to wait until im at least 50, no? dont really think its cool walking into launch 8 years from now with a 3-year-old date.

    mm: :)Why would anyone not want to be like either of those two?

    Posted by samit | September 9, 2005, 12:19 pm
  8. and you dont have an aura? damn, i was imagining you with this dark brooding character with a quirky , sardonic sense of humor;)…..
    ….ok ok I read to many romance novels, but thats how i imagine ALL authors to be like.

    Posted by Natasha | September 9, 2005, 7:29 pm
  9. Maru M, who was this SFF writer? For a wild moment I thought you were referring to Mr Basu here, but that’s not really possible, is it? I mean this blog doesn’t hide the fact that he’s the Simoqin guy. So am very intrigued to know who the other SFF guy is. Kindly elucidate.

    Posted by The Marauder's Map | September 10, 2005, 8:20 am
  10. i’ll be number 17, i think and i know enough people to make it a round 40!

    Posted by Teleute | September 10, 2005, 10:02 am
  11. work on that aura,thingy.
    especially if you want to “…score a chick like that(Padma) in 30 years time.”

    Posted by tgo | September 11, 2005, 3:16 pm
  12. And what about Arundati Roy?
    you left her out.

    Posted by tgo | September 11, 2005, 3:18 pm
  13. hehe… great post!! agree with cassmortmain about amitav ghosh, though i haven’t seen him rip apart anyone’s writing…

    and sarnath, by the way, ROCKS! his attitude actually made me buy his book (though had read it earlier), and swear i found it boring than his real-life personality… you couldn’t be more correct about that…!!

    Posted by Tiny Black Cat | September 20, 2005, 8:29 pm
  14. neil gaiman is every bit as brilliant, funny, softspoken and nice as his writing/blog suggests. Definite halo.

    Posted by Abhimanyu | September 30, 2005, 10:06 pm

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Copyright (c) Samit Basu. Images copyright respective holders.
September 2005


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