What-If And Life Stories Spark Creativity

What-If And Life Stories Spark Creativity

“You have been a prolific writer though I reserve my comment about the quality” Lulu, my parrot, said as he read my blog.

Parrots, or Lulu to be accurate, do not have the sweetest tongue in the world of avian. Lulu often reminds me of my friend who told his wife, ‘As long as I do not make an adverse remark, you should presume that you have cooked a good meal.’ Be that as it may, Lulu remains a critique and a friend.

Lulu, my Parrot

“When did I say I was a writer? There is some difference between a writer and a blogger. Like the difference between a Jumbo 747 and a Cessna private jet. It’s okay. One carries a few hundred passengers and the other carries only the owner. But you are right, I always wanted to write short stories like Jeffrey Archer, Hemingway and Somerset Maugham.”

“What happened then? You haven’t written one…”

“I couldn’t think of a good plot for my story”

“And that’s where you went wrong.”

“What do you mean?”

“See what Stephen King says – ‘I distrust plot for two reasons: first because our lives are largely plotless, even when you add in all our reasonable precaution and careful planning; and second, because I believe plotting and the spontaneity of real creation aren’t compatible.’ Kuchh samzhe?”

“Hmmm….” I mulled over this insight chewing salted peanuts. “Agreed, I mean it is insightful. King says ‘our lives are plotless.’ I wanted to do research in biochemistry, get a PhD and teach in a foreign university. But one twist in the tale and see where I landed!”

“I know a brilliant lady who is a well-known doctor. She could not secure her admission to MBBS, narrowly missed it, and then she became a celebrity after meeting her mentor who had a great influence on her life.”

“Every life is a story of such unexpected twist and turn”

“That’s why King says spontaneity is the real thing. Also brings in the fizz. When you are spontaneous you pour something from your life in to the creative work.”

“That’s a great insight Lulu. Our work is a reflection of our life.”

“I don’t like that analogy. Reflection is seen but it is not embedded. I think we pass on our genes to our creative work just as we pass on our genes to our children. But remember, our children are like us and yet they are also not like us in many ways. Spontaneity is the accident of talent and imagination.’

“What does that mean? I should take my pen, start writing, and see what appears on the paper?”

“Nah! King says plotting is not okay, but ask instead, ‘What-if?’”


“Yes, What-if?” Lulu moved closer to me, fluttered his wings and sat on my shoulder. “That sparks imagination, right? Imagine – What-if you take your wife to a restaurant and find your ex seated at the table next? What-if CBI Chief meets you and persuades you to undertake a secret mission? What-if you lose your way in mountains?”

“My life will be in turmoil, if such things ever happen. Unpredictable. Phew!”

“That’s the point. That chaos will create creative opportunities in the story. ‘What-if’ – that’s the question to ask when you begin any creative piece”

“And there is a saying that ‘Half of Life is If’. Out of the four letters that make Life, two are ‘If’! Real life stories have so many impossible situations. Life itself is a great source of creative writing.”

“So true. Life and What-If are two sources of creative writing. They create the glue for a reader. Hmmm…. What next, my friend?”

I was chewing the wrong end of my pencil…..

Vivek S Patwardhan

(Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ sparked off my imagination, and I mention it gratefully.)

“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.” **** “Aroehan: Creating Dream Villages in Mokhada by 2025: “No Malnutrition Deaths, No Child ‘Out of School’, Reduction in migration by 50%.”