Getting it (w)right(e)!
Like all things in life, when we love something, we love doing it too. The English language has fascinated me since I was aware of what a powerful weapon was available at my disposal. My feelings would get translated into words which held, whoever read my work, in awe. The mesmerizing effect of the right kind of words and the usage and the flow of thoughts brings the wildest of imaginations to life.
The English language paper of grammar was my playing field as my teachers looked around for reasons to shy away from giving me the 100 score. They would call out my name, smile that ‘what-do-we-do-with-your-paper’ smile and my friends would let out an anguished sigh of “not again”. Yet the 98 or 96% whichever they gave me despite a flawless paper did not make me unhappy; neither did the next PTM see my parents clamor to go and argue about who were the real descendants of the Queen as far as the language was concerned. And my father wrote out the best scripts for me as I took fledgling steps into the unknown field of debates and elocutions. I would love to make my additions and with that added flair of an attitude ‘tadka’ (=spicing up) loved to bring my thoughts and ideas and opinions and words and poems to a vivacious sparkle on stage.
I excelled at it because I loved completely what I was doing.
As years progressed and I honed my skills further along with my other academics and finally my choosing to be an educator, my love for the language in all its forms increased manifold. I loved teaching and instilling the friendship for the language in the children – my students too. And several years down the line the idea to be an author, embedded somewhere in the deep soil of my thoughts suddenly germinated and I started work. Within a year I had authored two books and both my scripts were scrutinized by my publishing team only for formatting and picture placement corrections.
After my first book, the fear of a published work and the process just vanished, and I worked so much easier on my content as I knew the other ropes and mechanics. Language was never a problem and my love for using it and expressing myself was even a greater delight. It was a satisfying feeling to bring to life the emotions expressed by people I met. I noted down even their smallest reactions as I spoke with them and at some places even the gestures. As I revisited my notes, those moments with them came alive and then it was not difficult to bring them alive on paper nee my computer document and finally my book!
With my third book off the drawing board, it is not the writing which seems intimidating but being able to get the whole perspective right and stemming from that the purpose of doing it in the first place. Apprehensions are not about being able to offer solutions but whether the way forward would seem logical and doable and less scary to implement. But then that is possibly the most enjoyable part of writing – to be able to capture the sentiments, the emotions, the nuances, the thoughts, the opinions, the reactions, the hints, the subtleties – the whole gamut of what makes up views and outlooks.
When a book reaches a reader’s hands, what does an author want?
Delight? Satisfaction? Amusement? Gratification? Value for money? Food for thought?
Depending on the reasons for taking up the book for reading in the first place, I guess a bit of everything. When writing justifies the words on paper, the sentiments professed that it shall convey, the purpose gets served.
I have failed to understand the fear of many to have their own style. I hate to copy anyone. I draw influence and read many. I enjoy some authors more than others. But even though I like the style of many, I always prefer to have my own. When my writing is to satisfy myself, I fail to understand the need to satisfy or follow any style or established way of doing things.
The joy of writing goes out of me when I am told to do or follow a certain style. And everyone has something to say or convey when they write. It may not appeal to my taste of what I like to read but it becomes popular with someone else. Like the fact that I believe in appreciating everyone who tries – a genuine one. I hate those who piggyback ride on ghost writers with zero acknowledgment. Genuine, from the heart, authentic writing has its shred of bona fide thoughts behind it. A casual conversation last evening as we sat enjoying the lovely weather, had my mom-in-law share how a colleague of theirs published a small book of articles and poem and thoughts of his wife after she suddenly passed away as tribute. He shared the book as a small gift with all their close friends. He had let them know that she was not a serious writer but would casually pen down her thoughts which he found in her diary and was thus sharing it with everyone. He hoped they would let him know what they thought. My mom-in-law revealed that the small booklet, which she very diligently read in memory of her dear friend had random writings penned as and when the lady would have felt the need to express herself. She said that some of the writings were nice, and she liked them while others were passable; meaning not to her liking of the kind of things she likes to read. She called up the husband of the lady (her late friend) to let him know her thoughts as he had asked them to call him, once they read the tribute booklet.
What she shared subsequently left me appalled. It stayed with me the rest of the evening and beyond.
The husband was happy that she had taken time out and tried to read through the booklet of thoughts and was extremely grateful. When my mom in law shared her views truthfully, he quipped, “I am grateful that you honored her memory as all the others did not even bother to get back to me on this.”
A few things are evident from this, I concur.
Firstly, Writing is a self-expression. Never do it to satisfy others.
Secondly, Being a catalyst goes a long way for one’s own mental well-being. Do it often.
Thirdly, When you do something do it wholeheartedly and with self-confidence. The journey is only yours and defines you thus.
Fourthly, Ask, listen, talk to everyone. But make up your own mind.
Fifthly, Keep your goal clear – want to be an author; getting commercial success will happen if it is meant to be. Even an organic following is success if you perceive it thus.
I am the monster for my own self-doubt – I devour it and leave myself free of any writer’s guilt!!
And I love what I write because it is about my thoughts and how I perceive the world around me – the world will have to learn to adjust around me 😉
(My monster cupcakes from an earlier moon)
Writing is so similar to our footsteps in the sands of time; it helps us to leave an indelible mark about ourselves and our thoughts and our feelings and ourselves in ways far truer than we can ever imagine!
(Cathedral Caves, Catlins NZ nature never seizes to amaze us here)
Writing like reading happens when one is free of all cares and worries and even with them but when one is in a space of comfort with one’s expression of everything that one may be feeling at that moment!
(My most favourite nook with Harry right next to me and my cushions, foot stool, lovely breeze, a cup of hot tea, my specs, my diary, the pen and my thoughts! Bliss!)