I write because I must. Because it is a compulsion for me, as integral to who I am as smiling my thousand-watt smile or worrying! Or daydreaming! I could no more stop writing than I can be daydreaming; an essential part of me would die.
I write because it is how I best convey who I am. I find I express myself better through writing than any other medium available to me. I am also an illustrator, so drawing comes naturally too, but words are most often my tools of choice. Wielding which gives me the power to connect with other people. This creative deployment of words (those that we know, and some that I invent) allows me to pour forth my deepest thoughts, passions, concerns, humour, ingenuity and quite often, failings. With this means to bridge gulfs, I can protest against wrongs, try to set the world to rights, entertain, even delight, bare my soul and convey love.
I write because it is how I best convey who I am. I find I express myself better through writing than any other medium available to me.
And anything that allows you to do as much, you love. But I also write because I revel in the process of writing. A pinch chicken-and-egg, the symbiotic nature of its place in my life is also a measure of its importance to me. Writing gives me joy like nothing other than my little family can. This year, I have been fortunate to have worked on two projects that have been a thrill – my book of short stories ‘Strange’ which is out now, and my opera for the Welsh National Opera which goes on tour in Britain in 2020. Both completely different, both challenging in their own way, and a complete delight to me, both in their fashioning and in the final product.
In the context of the opera, writing has also enabled me to score a first and pave the way for others after me. With the writing of this opera, I am reliably informed, I became the first and only South Asian woman writer to have written a libretto for a major international opera house, and the central characters in my opera will be the first modern Indian characters to grace the international operatic stage. Writing, therefore, has allowed me to strike a necessary blow for diversity and equal opportunities in the arts!
I also write because I revel in the process of writing. A pinch chicken-and-egg, the symbiotic nature of its place in my life is also a measure of its importance to me.
But writing is as much about the sheer joy of it. I have had so much fun writing the short stories in ‘Strange’, letting loose with my imagination, my arsenal of words, and mischievously twisted ideas, and then taking a chisel to them in the end to hone it to as near-perfection as I can, that I hope my enjoyment shines through these stories and warms the reader. Because that too is why I write – to share my pleasure in our weird and wonderful world.
Shreya Sen-Handley is an author, journalist, illustrator, and librettist. After years of writing and filming for international media organisations, she has embarked on a book- and opera-writing adventure, collaborating with the Welsh National Opera on a production that will tour the UK in 2020. Her works include the award-winning ‘Memoirs of My Body’ published in 2017. The views expressed are the author’s own.