This year has been the year of book launches. Every year hundreds of books are introduced, many more read. Never bothered about book launches cause I didn’t know who the authors were. I was told to read English authors and that’s what I did for a long, long time.
Jeffery Archer’s visit to promote his Clifton Chronicles changed that. I attended my first book launch and saw one of my favourite authors in action. A story-teller, an entertainer, an honest man, Jeff is a man’s whose sincerity and genuineness reflects in his writing. That’s what makes him a great writer.
Months later, my best friend read out parts of a manuscript at work. I so wanted to read the entire manuscript just then. I believed every word he read. I felt every emotion he read out. I wanted to meet the author, though I had many preconceived notions about him. I wanted to see whether he was as truthful as his writing.
By luck, I had a bad day and my best friend invited me to the book launch. That one hour left me mesmerised. Not because of the company I was surrounded by but the sheer humility of the emotions spoken about in the book and the humility with which the author presented himself to the audience.
Today when I write this post, I think it’s the most important lesson I’ve derived in life is humility. How pride turns success into failure and how you still maintain your dignity in failure by being humble. I wish I had just imbibed it earlier. Maybe I could have saved some relationships when it really mattered…but that’s not relevant to this post.
Late June/early July I was surfing Flipkart for something new to read, a book on mythology flashed. I read about it and ordered the book. Finished reading the first part in days and pre-ordered the next part and patiently waited for it to arrive. The day it arrived, I finished reading it that very weekend. The book left me with a sense of incompleteness. Emptiness to be precise. I thought it could simply be the tactic of the author to ensure that his third book sold but I kept thinking about it trying to read if any other readers spotted what I did. Not many were as enthusiastic as me, I guess. Not many reviews online.
I waited to have a word with the author. The author didn’t have much to add online at least. I don’t think he felt the emptiness that I did as a reader. I went for the book promotional meet today and found my answer in a few minutes. The book lacked sincerity and modesty with which the first part was written. The story was gripping but the tone was far from genuine. The writing had no feeling and hence couldn’t evoke any feeling.
Knowledge is not everything. Being humble about the knowledge is.
Wish more writers understood that what makes a good story great is humility, the emotion behind the writing rather than the thought…