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#WhyIWrite: For Me, I Write To Make Sense Of All That Is Around Us

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I wonder if the answer to Why I Write is as simple as it seems. I wonder if I follow this question sincerely will it lead me straight to a place where the answer lies smugly in its truthfulness with an air of finality. In that case, will I be stuck in a complacency hindering the multitude of ways in which a writer can look at a theme? Do I simply want to tell stories: tell them in a compelling way so the reader is hooked and remains connected to it for a long time?  While I strongly believe that every story must be told and every story must be heard and read, I have also come to understand that every story leads the writer on a path hitherto unknown.

In the days when our mothers’ strict instructions had us packing as much into our playtime before the streetlights came on, we stuck together while returning home, surreptitiously glancing at the bamboo grove that lay on the way, imagining shapes in its shadows, raising our voices a little too boisterously to quell our fears and hastening our steps. When I write, sometimes my mind reaches out to such instances to understand why we reacted the way we did. What could be the possibilities behind those fears? Sometimes following these crumbs of memory, I reach a spot or a situation that excites me to see how it branches out.

When I write, sometimes my mind reaches out to such instances to understand why we reacted the way we did. What could be the possibilities behind those fears?

As I wait for my children at the bus stop, I follow the barber under the tree on the pavement gazing out onto the street between customers. Why does his rickety wooden chair to seat the customer catch my attention? I am fascinated by how he arranges the tools of his profession on the little nooks of the tree. What could he be thinking about or what gives him the most happiness?

Maybe for me, I write to make sense of all that is around us even in the most mundane of acts or interactions. And while I follow the characters and the stories around, I surprise myself with new facets of me as an individual. As we live from one day to the next day; as we don one role to the next role in the multiple lives, we lead, according to the familial and social ties, the real ‘I’ gets smothered in the layers over the years. For me then, writing is a way to unearth that ‘I’ in fragments and assemble a semblance of a ‘whole’.

For me then, writing is a way to unearth that ‘I’ in fragments and assemble a semblance of a ‘whole’.

If this is why I write, to understand myself as an individual, then a private journal might have sufficed. I found the courage to put it out in the world after my first workshop with Write & Beyond. With my first published piece in The Best Asian Short Stories Anthology 2017, I knew I wouldn’t go back. For a writer, especially the one who is just starting out, there can be no greater elixir than finding acceptance with readers. My journey had started. A few more published pieces and an equal amount of rejections told me this was how it was going to be. The path ahead was of self doubt, frustration, heartaches and what I realised intensely, a lonely journey. But a journey, nevertheless, that was all mine to embark on.

Ilakshee Bhuyan Nath is a writer based in New Delhi. Most recently her short fictions and essays have been included in Jaggery Lit, Café Dissensus and in three anthologies – The Best Asian Short Stories 2017, Storymirrors, and in Escape Velocity by Write & Beyond. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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#WhyIWrite: For Me, I Write To Make Sense Of All That Is Around Us
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