A few weeks back I read somewhere that 'to be able to write about heart break, you have to experience it first'. This, coming from an author, sent me thinking. It sounded a lot like the theme underlying the movie 'Rockstar'. Also, at that time, I was(and still am) reading Tolstoy's War and Peace. I noticed how effortlessly Tolstoy spoke of teenage love, heartburn and romantic tiffs while at the same time, describing a war scene to near perfection. It is true that Tolstoy's work is a proof of rare genius, rated among the best of out time. But should lesser artists let themselves dwell in an easy mediocrity?

It is the writer's imagination and skill that would enable him to create any world, any condition and emotion. It is true that artists can express those things better that they have avtually experienced, but it cannot be the case always. To enact out a scene, one needs to understand the emotional dynamics involved. Which may be done by recalling to mind a similar experience, or an experience wholly different but which would evoke the same emotional reaction. In many cases, artists are known to experiment with their emotions by creating conditions and letting themselves be made victim.

In the movie Rockstar, the protagonist was told he could not be a successful musician who sang about love and loss without having experienced it first. To me it seemed ridiculous advice. It is true that authenticity does lend a greater degree of romanticism to Art, but what about skill? Imagination? Creativity?

A novelist can understand the emotions of even a leaf, if he thougt himself to be one. Observance is the greatest tool of all artists.

Our experiences in life are so diverse that recalling them to mind we can re-create any emotion in ourselves. If I have to write about the fear of dying, would I actually have to first poison myself and experience it? If i know and understand fear and if I know and understand death, I would be able to express the terror of one dying. It is the basic nature of the emotions that matter, not the conditions in which they are made to be expressed.

If you're only going to write about the stuff that you've experienced or are experiencing, you're not ready to step out of your comfort zone and put on the thinking cap. You're not ready to explore.

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