Monday, July 9, 2012

;;Writing Time ;;

At some point, while writing my stories and poems, I discovered, different languages use tenses differently. In Bangla, we mix up our tenses frequently : the past and present and present-past and pas-present reside together in the way we speak and write. I wasn't really conscious about it when I began to write. I became conscious of it when others in the workshop pointed it out to me. Ever since, tense has been one of those things. I would try to write most of my poems and stories in the past tense. But then, when I would read them again, I would feel that something is missing. And when I wouldn't be conscious of it, the tense would get all mixed up. Then, I had a meeting with the poet Gabrielle Calvocoressi during the TILTS workshop. She read aloud one of the poems I had written, and we talked about this specific problem. She suggested that I write the entire poem in present tense, and the term she used to describe that is “active past.” Yes, that's what I have been looking for so long-- a way to write about past and memory in a way that they are still active. Now when I am revising my poems, I try to write them all in the present tense. Rather than in the past tense which had been my practice so long. It doesn't resolve all the problems of time, but it does sound better. And this is making me think, what if I keep on writing in mixed tenses? Will that put too much pressure on English as a language? The kind of pressure it wouldn't be able to take?  

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