Fiction authors, are you gender conscious? Thousands of stories and novels are getting written daily and most of these are great by normal standards. But I put an important question to contemporary authors. How conscious are you of your gendered position as an individual when you write? Do you think of the other gender’s different ways of perceiving things as compared to your own? No? Of course, you don’t. You don’t need to in your first draft, at least, because this should come to you naturally. At the time a fiction writer writes, their mind is so deeply engrossed that it cannot stray into another’s gender; that will disturb their vision. At the creative moment, one writes from one’s whole being and this being is not limited by one’s gendered identity. The writer is a babe in the mother’s womb when the two were one; without an independent gender. There are several moments in our lives when gender ceases to be an issue. Just as a mother bringing up a male baby will be able to see any inconvenience that the male child can experience inside the nappy, similarly an author will take care of a character or a situation they are creating by placing themselves in the character’s gender.
Our times have made us more gender conscious than is natural for the human species. Movements like Feminism, though they can help women, have at times taken away from us the bliss of an unselfconscious existence. Things must be allowed to happen naturally in the creation process. Shakespeare’s advice to hold the mirror up to nature is of vital importance. In Nature’s scheme of things, genders are probably inconsequential. For Nature, a woman and a man are quite the same, for the two sexes have different roles to play and these must be played unselfconsciously. Society is the villain that brings in the consciousness of sexual difference.
The creative moment should be a moment when the writer has a transgender status. They are neither surely in the shoes of men nor of women. My short story collection, INTRIGUING WOMEN, has twenty-three stories, each about a woman or women. While creating these I never thought I was male, standing outside feminine experience and constructing something like one constructs a pillar. Men and women are parts of the same whole, that is the Creator, and we must not let artificial and stiff movements divide our beings. Growth and creation must remain natural, undisturbed by a socially generated consciousness. For society, though it spells convenience, is almost always wrong.
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