Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Looking Back (Part 2)

You think writing about suman latik is easy?

Well, okay... you probably don't. That's all right. The thought probably never crossed your mind; I know that it was one of the last things I would have written about to begin with.

If I haven't told you how difficult it is yet, then I'll tell you now: It's not easy.

Come to think of it, there are probably ten or twelve other people out there -- fellow writers in the Suman Latik Web Ring -- who experienced, first-hand, just how difficult the exercise was. Or how easy it may be, depending on your point of view.

I figure that the first thing that most people consider is some form of prose or poetry. Despite the indignity of the task, it's not all that difficult to imagine a short story about suman, or a sonnet about latik sauce. To be sure, the suman doesn't necessarily have to have a starring role in the finished product; It can merely permeate the background to such a degree that you can smell, feel and taste it. A good writer should be able to write about anything he wants, much less suman latik.

The problem, of course, is that you can't keep writing suman fiction or suman poetry forever. You'll eventually run out of different approaches. You'll eventually run out of central themes. You'll eventually run out of ways to describe the glistening grains of rice, the soft sweetness of the tropical sauce, and the sticky sensation in the roof of your mouth. The exercise is more a method of seeing how long you last than it is a measure of your creativity, I think.

Then again, any person who can write even a small number of creative, compelling, and morbidly fascinating suman latik posts can already find them a testament to his skill. I suspect that my approach to the matter is more of a chance-based endeavor: I just churn them out week after week in the hopes that some of them strike it rich. I have to admit that not all of my works were winners, anyhow.

It's a lot like karate-chopping your way through a bunch of boards: You can break twenty boards at once with a single blow, and people will give you their applause. But you don't want to break twenty, thirty, or even fifty boards with a single blow. You want to find that single moment, that unparalleled level of skill that allows you to sunder a board precisely in half. You want to reach the point where you can merely twitch once and watch the wood shatter into pieces without anyone seeing your hand hit the surface. You want the audience to gasp, or shake their heads at the sheer impossibility of it all.

Frankly, I think that most people are surprised that I've gotten this far on suman latik alone. But I assure you that that'll pale in comparison to how the ultimate suman latik post turns out. You'll know it when you read it, I think. :)

I know that I've tackled the topic from different approaches, some that directly reference suman latik and some that hardly make mention of it at all. (I even wrote a cute essay concerning the latter, I think.) But for all this work, I still have yet to get down and write.

Do matters like this have goals in mind? Sure. But I suppose that they're not as easy or as obvious as they first seem...

(To be concluded in part 3.)


Dominique said...

As I said before, Sean: you da man! You da su-man!

You've carried on longer than any of us, and with far better posts, too. For that you deserve the suman award.

Sean said...

Dominique: Does this involve large amounts of suman for any reason? I hope not. :)