For the short story reader. Updated every Monday.

The Short Form

Politics and Creative Endeavor

Muhammad Umar Memon in introduction to The Seventh Door and Other Stories by Intizar Hussain:

If you want to know how simple, ordinary lives are wasted by politics and history, read a novel, a short story, a poem.

Which is not to suggest some inevitable causality between politics and creative endeavor, or that fictional aesthetics invariably do or should lie in the socio-political reality that in fact inspired a work. Of course something of the empirical will always survive in a fictional piece—however oblique and tenuous its ascription to the times—if only because fiction knows no way wholly to transcend temporality; even the best attempts in the “spatial form” have not accomplished that. But the writer's world is a radically autonomous world. It is equally fictive. An action of the imagination. It will always be different from the sum of its empirical parts. In the final synthesis of the real and the fictive, objective truth will always be subverted, almost of necessity, in favor of a fierce personal vision. Nothing, however, can stop this “personal vision” from providing insights into socio-political reality that are truer than any afforded by even the most objective chronicle of events.