Wednesday, August 26, 2009

FAQ: How did you get the idea to become a writer?

From the garbage, of course.

Now let me explain.

I used to write a short story a day, back in Fiji Islands when I was very young. When I turned twelve, I finished my first screenplay called "Jeevansathi," meaning "Lifemate." It was completely written in Hindi and it dealt with divorce and extramarital affairs in the Indian culture. LOL. I Know -- I guess I didn't have better things to do at age twelve over the long summer break but to think about extramarital affairs and marriage breakdown. I had so much fun writing, that when I finished that script, I wrote another. This one was titled "Jewels." It was treasure hunt story, a more proper subject for a twelve year old to be concerned with, I suppose. I still have both stories tucked in a dusty closet somewhere!

Fifteen years later, in Canada, one of my friends was helping me move. I was throwing out everything I didn't need. He picked out two sentences I had written on a piece of paper which I threw in the garbage. He brushed off the coffee grinds and asked me who wrote that. I told him I did. He asked me if I copied it from somewhere. I told him no, I wrote that myself and throw it away. It's garbage. I was too stressed with moving to care. He put the piece of paper in his pocket. Two months or so later, when I was settled in my new place, he came over and handed me a magazine that was holding a short story competetion. He wanted me to enter that. I told him I didn't write. I thought he was being funny. He told me to just try. I eventually did. It took me three weeks to write four pages. But I remember how much fun I had. Being a creature that is known to like fun, I decided to take this further. I shared my story with others. They loved it but they didn't really believe that I wrote it. But that was okay. It told me that it had something. I entered the short story competetion and didn't win. However, this set me on a different path. I dropped the courses I was registered in the last semester towards the completion of my degree and enrolled in Creative Writing courses instead. I did well and started the chapter of my first novel. By this time more and more people were believing that I wrote and started encouraging me to continue. They wanted to know the ending of the suspense novel I started in University. I told them that I can tell them where I was going with that. But they wanted to read the ending for themselves. I assured them that there is no possible way that I will write an entire manuscript. They advised me that they were willing to wait as long as it took. Eventually, I finished that manuscript, then another, and then another.

So here it is -- How did I get the idea to become a writer? From the garbage, of course.

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