10 July 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Writing

But sexuality is fluid.”
Yes. My sexuality is very fluid in terms of moving from one woman to the next.”

I am writing a novel. I’m re-writing it as I write it. And I’m too possessive about it right now to share it with anyone for feedback. But I can promise plenty of women and sex, sordid affairs and dark humor, and several tales of almost too good to be true love.

We evolve as writers over time. We actually do get better with edits and re-edits. But it takes practice and consistency. I was incredibly pedantic at 23 and wrote terribly: “…colonialism is alive and enduring in the geographies of Chinese imagination that has employed narratives of discent in shaping a nation which suppresses and appropriates all ‘other’ histories while trumpeting a nationalist hegemonic history on the linear trajectory of past, present and future…” Then I started blogging for an audience that could hardly grasp that academic style and I knew I had to change it considerably.

I was a young poet. I tried my hand at creative writing and I was terrible at it in the beginning. I cannot bear reading some of my early pieces. But over time, I’ve realized that the more you grasp your characters, the more you feel for them, the better you get at writing them. They shape you and you shape them. Another important thing I realized is that I have to finish this piece while I’m in this space and zone. Otherwise, what I’ve written would seem foreign to me within a couple years. That’s how fast I feel myself growing and evolving. If I had to re-write parts of some of the fan-fiction I’ve written, it would be dark, morbid and satirical rather than some cheesy, love story.

I’ve a circular, non-linear writing style. It often leaves people dis-oriented and it is a desired effect. But I’m still struggling to avoid typecasting. No one wants to read yet another story about immigrants. This is not to say that I am necessarily writing about immigrants but a lot of the plot is derived from real-life events. A friend once told me that if I ever did write my memoir, people would take it to be fiction. I could probably take advantage of that. I haven’t come across anyone else who can inject humor into the most painful and humiliating aspects of their life. Tragic-comedy is a survival skill and I do have plenty of it to spare.

I also don’t want to be compared to other South Asian diaspora writers, especially since I’m nobody in comparison, since I am not writing for an audience but writing for myself. I’ll never be a Jhumpa Lahiri — she is too special. I don’t think I am meant to create brilliant postcolonial art  like Salman Rushdie. At the same time, I have my own voice, I’ve experienced great highs and lows, and what I have to share is unique, worthwhile and special.

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