Story of the storyteller

T. PADMANABHAN and M. T. Vasudevan Nair may not see eye to eye, but some of their younger colleagues seem to share a lot in common.

Some of the young writers in Malayalam got together at a camp, `Katha Koottayma', organised by the Russian Cultural Centre and Jeevan TV, at the Veli Youth Hostel here recently to discuss various aspects of creative writing.

About 24 writers from different parts of the State attended the camp.

Pradeep Panangad, coordinator of the event, said that `Katha Koottayma' was part of an attempt to promote interaction between writers.

Writer Paul Zachariah said that confusion marked contemporary writing. "This has much to do with the middle-class attitudes that dominate modern life. People's lives are centred solely on their jobs or professions."

Zachariah termed writing as "a kind of subversion". "The prime challenge before young writers is to preserve the element of subversion in their work."

Stereotyped characters, especially of women, abound in contemporary fiction, Zachariah said. "Such characters have no real- life connection."

Zachariah criticised the unwarranted use of religious images. "Even young writers are not free of this tendency."

Exhorting the youth to read more, the writer said that they should understand the real historical facts.

Later, Zachariah read passages from a few celebrated works.

Speaking on the process of writing, K. A. Sebastian pointed out that it was difficult to tell exactly how a story was born. "I usually begin with a blank mind, but once I start writing, words flow. And a story is born."

For journalist-writer Indugopan, writing stemmed from the feeling that the readers were eager to know about the new and interesting things happening around.

K. Santhoshkumar wondered whether stories could be written without being influenced by the tradition and belief systems prevalent in society. Mohammed Shafeer pointed out the importance of time and space in writing. "As writers, we have to be aware of the mysterious, unknown, infinite universe around us."

Terming writing as "the edge of freedom", Veena said that there was a divide between unwritten and written history. "It all depends on how the writer interpreted this divide."

A reading session was held on the second day. K. S. Ravikumar, critic, stressed the need for a stylish language to communicate effectively. He said that young writers sometimes tended to write in an exaggerated manner. "To tell tales, they also resort to roundabout ways." He urged the writers to improve their prose.

Later, C. Ganesh, Mohammed Shafeer, Arshad Batheri, C. Anoop, V. R. Sreekantan, Vinu Abraham, Sreekantan Karikkakam, V. J. James and P. G. Prageesh read their latest short stories.