Schrodinger’s Cat Has Only One Life

The thing about writing, specifically (at least for me) writing fiction, is that there is this moment when the story (doesn’t matter how long or short) is ready — you’ve penned the last full stop, or question mark, or exclamation mark, or pressed the save icon, or the keyboard shortcut, whatever. That moment, when the story is between you and the world, when it is a Schrodinger’s story so to say — neither dead nor alive, when you don’t know if you would kill it then and there, or expose it to the world, and you with it. It’s in that moment that as a writer (and I am using the word in its most liberal sense) you’re the happiest person. Or should I just speak for myself, not make gross generalizations based on a strong personal experience.

Okay then, that’s what I will do. That moment, when I know that a story is ready — not necessarily for the world, not necessarily safe from my own doubts (is any story ever?), not necessarily worth the (proverbial) paper it might be printed on, not necessarily good/decent; in other words: not necessarily something anyone else should/would care about — is the moment I’m at the happiest. It’s a moment that makes writing worth all its troubles: all the doubts that keep eating at your sanity, all the misery of being stuck in a place where all the roads seem to lead back into it, all the anger at terrible stuff that seems to be getting written and published, all the anger at oneself for not being able to write anything that convinces the inner critic, all the cluelessness, all the anxiety (would I ever write anything better than that piece I wrote when I was young, which, btw, now I believe was shit) , all the helplessness, despondency.

It’s a fleeting moment though. For the demons that you had just managed to stuff into a cupboard for a very brief respite, come running out. The cat is out of the bag. There is no turning back now. One has to confront it. So what if the world doesn’t know of its existence, you do. You are Schrodinger. You fu**ing created the cat. You ought to now open the box, and deal with the reality that was in there, unaware of you.

Not all cats have nine lives. Surely, not Schrodinger’s — for one would say with a very high probability that it is alive, and be right 8 out of 9 times. Sometimes, it is alive, and Schrodinger is so confused, that he buries it. Sometimes, Schrodinger carries it around as if it were alive, and gets ridiculed. Sometimes, he just keeps staring at it, not knowing what to do with it, and it keeps staring back at him, with a deadpan gaze that is neither apologetic of its existence, nor pleading for its life. It’s as if, the gaze is coming from within. In that moment, Schrodinger is the cat.

 

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