The immediate pinch which set off this essay was a Facebook post which spoke of how one of the rejection letters of Einstein’s theory of relativity said, that his claims were too artistic to be physics.
Just over a month ago, on the last stretch of my editorial work for our college science magazine – the kind of final scampering which goes into fastidious packing hours before going on a vacation – the official email address buzzed, announcing the arrival of an article from a professor of Physics in our college. She traced the legacy of Einstein’s inventions in her study. For an industry which had formerly rejected this man’s vision succumbed to textbooks teaching his theories and academicians conducting research on them.
The prolonged cause for writing this essay is in the idea of thoughts, ideas and writing being rejected for being too heavy. It was once a pinch which, with time, has become, I admit, a scar.
The industry of readership has a way of reducing writers whose work provoke contemplation and interpretation into misunderstood teenagers. The irony is, the people who are zoned into this group are the ones who strive to be visionaries, educators and philosophers. They are the ones who know the way, but nobody seems to think that the hedge-grown path that goes into the dusty libraries of contemplative writing can find its way into the city.
When it comes to the age of contemporary writers and new age bloggers, everybody seems to assume that the content they explore will be trendy, the perfect soulmates to noisy cafés and expensive lattes.
If Einstein had to face a comment about his theories being too artistic, of course you know how common it must be for you to receive criticism of your work being too elitist.
Yet, for what it’s worth, the sphere of readership that doesn’t believe in gravitas in the twenty-first century don’t represent the entire population of readers on the planet. Hell, they don’t even represent the readers in your country, or your city.
If some people feel that your poetry is too heavy to carry itself past two verses, let them. I guarantee, there is a moist-eyed summer boy sitting on his roof on a blue afternoon, reading your poem over and over. And a dust-souled mountain girl who learns your metaphors by heart.
If you are here and you are writing the kind of literature you are writing, then there a many more who mirror you and will appreciate you.
That sounded a little like a high school guidance counsellor, but you are not the misunderstood teenager of the literature industry.
Standards change. Nobody is satisfied with the response they receive in their own time. Oscar Wilde thought that his nineteenth-century readers were damned. It’s a common phenomenon.
You are another pearl in the necklace of history whose sheen did not make sense to the world.
And there is a glow, because it isn’t solitary, because the light is allowed to bounce, even if elusive to your knowledge, from one jewel to another.