Thursday, August 2, 2012

Kill the Critic

They say in order to write, you must kill the critic. You know, that little voice in your head that watches every word you write and hisses into your ear how awful it all is, forcing you to second-guess yourself till every last ounce of self-confidence is depleted and you slap shut the laptop and slump before the TV. That's the inner critic, a writer's worst enemy. 

I told this to a friend who was saying her writing's crap and she described her inner critic to me (in a way that proves how un-crap her writing is). Inspired, I thought about mine.

My inner critic is a prissy Parsi girl who sits atop my shoulder twirling the end of one of her perfect plaits and, squinting at my writing, sucks in her breath sharply. "Really? You think that's how Parsis are?" she asks incredulously. "That's not how it would happen in Karachi," she laughs.

I'm from Karachi, I insist. Offering me a simpering smile, she crosses her legs daintily and lists my offenses: I was a mere child when I left, I know nothing of its politics, its history, its day to day occurrences. My Gujarati comes out a bastardized hybrid of Gujrati and Urdu and the Hinglish I've picked up from Bollywood, every other sentence caught in a downward spiral of confused tenses and misplaced pronouns till I give up and finish off in English. 

I continue to type. She goes in for the kill. Didn't I attended... the Convent of Jesus and Mary, she asks, patting the emblem of her Mama Parsi Girls High School uniform. 

People will see you for the fraud you are, she preens, plumping the ribbon at the end of her braid. You may as well give up now before everyone finds out, she smiles, revealing for an instant the flicker of a pronged tongue.

I wait for her to slink off to do her sadra kasti- being a good Parsi girl, she does her prayer ritual five times a day- and then, while her eyes are closed in prayer, I push her into a closet and get back to work.