“There is nothing to writing,” said Ernest Hemingway, “All you have to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Writing is an act of courage, of putting thoughts to paper and telling an untold story within you.
But unknown to most, there are various kinds of literary phobias. The writers at Anita Nair’s fourth graduation ceremony dealt with 12 such phobias in their works and spun short stories and poetry around them.
The ceremony held at Rangastala, Rangoli Metro Art Centre, last week began with an insightful lecture — ‘The Hidden Life of Words’ by Suresh Menon. He spoke about how some nuanced emotions sometimes escape expression. He also observed: “Words are charged with meanings, popular culture, movies, the television. We have no control over how words can be distorted.
Patriotism, for example, has now come to mean being intolerant towards another point of view, and does not mean just love for the country.”
The first to read her story was Shreya Dasgupta on verbophobia, the fear of words, about a grandfather who is censured for openly disagreeing to call familiar street names by their new, nationalised names.
Preethi Venugopala’s story was about graphophobia, the fear of writing, in which she explored how an innocuous tweet on a superstar makes an author cautious of writing. Sruti Sagaram’s story was about philosophobia, the fear of philosophy, in which the protagonist overcomes it. Debleena Roy read out her poem about metrophobia, a fear of poetry.
Leadership coach Subash C.V. read out his story on mythophobia on how a young village boy overcame his fear of myths.
Jean Spraker read out her story on gnosiophobia, fear of knowledge, that dealt with a young librarian living in a regime where learning and knowledge have been banned, and yet keeps a secret library in his house.
Radhika Jayaraman read out her story about a boy’s fear of paper, called papyrophobia.
Mumukshu Mohanty wrote a story on fear of long words, and humorously remarked that it was ironic that the term (too long to be written here, too) is a long word. Her story was about the suspense-filled life of a screenplay writer. It was the first time that Anjali Soni had written a short story which was set in the Mughal era, about bibliophobia, the fear of books.
Vedanarayanan Vedantham, a marketer who moonlights as a creative writer, read out his story about a man who suffers from symbolophobia, the fear of symbols. Jinasree next read out her story on scriptophobia, the fear of writing in public. The event concluded with Harshad Karmalkar’s story about sophophobia, fear of learning, a unique retelling of Abhimanyu’s Chakravuyh.