What is to be done?

The title of this post comes from a novel written by Nikolai Chernyshevky, a Russian philosopher who idealistically proposed in the 1860’s that educational reforms in Russia driven by the new-fangled intellectual ideas of the Western Europe, which emphasized science and secularism, would help to alleviate the mainly agricultural and Orthodox country’s economic and social problems.  Obviously this triggered the reactions of many conservative Russians, including Dostoyevsky, whose outstanding work Notes fron the Underground, can be seen as a retort to Chernyshevsky.  I love the fact that I know this and I miss being in a classroom or even social environment where I could learn more about this.

There is this dark dejection brewing inside of me.  I am not sure what caused it, but  its effects are not pretty.  Being around people annoys me, and yet I have nothing to do in my room.  There’s nothing to study and I’ll go blind if I watch any more tv shows or movies on my laptop.  I am not being intellectually stimulated at all nowadays, I feel like after the last semester there’s been a lull not only in my mind but in life in general over here.  It is summer after all, and the heat evokes lethargy and disinterest but that’s hardly a good enough excuse for not wanting to do ANYTHING.

I want to write, but nothing is really coming to me.  Before starting this post, I thought I might discuss Samuel Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilizations’ and how his theory is really applicable to expats, specifically Pakistanis living abroad in the States or Europe.  I also thought I might talk about the shortstory I wrote last year and brainstorm on how to develop more characters and subplots so as to expand it into a novella.  I even started Googling stuff related to all this but I just can’t see the point. 

I wish I could take a Creative Writing workshop or something, but unfortunately, this city doesn’t have anything to offer in that department.  It’s a sad state of affairs that I hardly know anyone here who has any interest in creative writing, and it’s sadder still that the university hasn’t bothered yet to pay any attention towards increasing its Literature faculty beyond one or two members so far. 

There are a couple of books I could read but when I open to a page, the words get all muddled up in my head and I become resentful.  The sentences are well-crafted and the plot is intriguinging and it all just reinforces this nagging idea in my head that I will never be able to create something like this.  I have become insecure about my fiction writing, mostly because I haven’t worked on it in almost a year, and this doubt just makes me less inclined towards doing anything to solve this dilemma of mine.  I feel like writing because I miss the adrenaline rush that I would get after typing out page after page of something that had the potential to be something really great but at the same time, I also feel like I don’t have it in me anymore, that all I can produce now is mediocrity.  Such a paradox.



  1. “There is this dark dejection…. anything”… welcome to my world 🙂

    Are you staying in karachi in the summer too? :O


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