The featuring image of this post carries the images of Borges and Dali. While Borges was a key figure in Spanish-language and international literature, Dali was was a Spanish surrealist artist renowned for his technical skill, precise draftsmanship, and the striking and bizarre images in his work . I almost forgot it, but I started this page a couple of years ago as a writer’s blog before I expanded my artistic activities towards other artforms.

My goal as a writer was (and still is) to retell the Mahābhārata in a more contemporary context. The Mahabharata is widely considered as the core of the Indian literary canon. Although it consists of 18 books, it can be divided in five main sections: The Beginning, The Assembly Hall, The Forrest, Virata, and The War.

The bulk of the Mahābhārata was probably compiled between the 3rd century BCE and the 3rd century CE, with the oldest preserved parts not much older than around 400 BCE. Its longest version consists of over 100,000 shloka or over 200,000 individual verse lines (each shloka is a couplet), and long prose passages. At about 1.8 million words in total, the Mahābhārata is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and the Odyssey combined.

The making of an English edition of the Mahabharata took 48 years (1919-1966) and 3 generations of scholars who made  a critical synthesis of 1259 Manuscripts & 12,985 plus pages across 19 volumes.

A.K. Ramanujan once said that no Indian reads Mahabharata for the “first time”. For many centuries common Indians have grown up with the stories and morals of Mahabharata. To rework this tale into a contemporary literary format, I had to condense it to the narration of the struggle between two groups of cousins and the fates of the Kaurava and the Pāṇḍava princes and their successors while weeding out most of the philosophical and devotional material.

At this instance I have finished the first three volumes of the retelling of the Mahabharata that I have named the Maharajagar (a self-coined portmanteau of the three Hindu words Mahaan, Hara, and Ajagar that means The Great Green Dragon).  The first three books are meanwhile published while the fourth one, Virata, is still in progress.

For the writing of this urban fantasy I leaned very strongly upon my literary diary that also contained a wide variety of notes about non-fiction books. I started to bring some order into it and out of that effort sprouted my first non-fiction book that is called “The All is an Egg”. I sometimes refer to it as my artistic manifest.

From there on an artistic vision sprouted based upon Frank Zappa’s Project/Object method.

However, there are moments when writers are confronted with a problem, and they end up spinning their wheels. It’s important to develop a mechanism to get you back on the road to productivity. That’s how I started to develop my own covers for my books. And what started as a method to break a writers block, became an intrinsic part of my artistic activity.

The catalog The Complexity of Simplicity resumes all my artistic projects and can be downloaded in a pdf format by just clicking here. It can sometimes be a huge benefit to take a step back and allow yourself a macroscopic view of your project.

4 thoughts on “The Connection between Writing and Painting

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