Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The importance of creation

Creating stories was a part of my life since a very young age. As a little girl of five or six I had this habit of telling stories to whoever cared to listen. Most of these stories were made on the spot or were a mixture of stuff I read. Mostly unsuspecting aunts and uncles became a victim of these sessions. Some, like my dear youngest Chacha Jeff, encouraged me immensely and I distinctly remember sitting in my eldest phuppi's big living room, telling some spur-of-the-moment-created story to him.

The love for reading came at a very early age too. It seems I was born with it. Maybe the reading genes of all my ancestors from both my parents' sides came into me. And of course, when a person is a reader, he/she naturally wants to write. 

Although the love for stories and storytelling was something I identified with at a very young age, the ability to transfer that onto paper was something I failed at. I've been thinking about this for a while now. Writers create stories from fragments of life around them. Some stories come from experience, others from observation, and some from a combination of both. Sometimes a certain setting inspires a story, at other times a memory. One of the first stories I wrote, and that too for a writing competition in school, was about the pets of my friend and neighbour who also happened to be in the same class as myself. In the story the pets, two rabbits, drowned. The story almost won, I forget why. However, I was asked to read it out to the entire school, which I did and found myself at the receiving end from my friend. In fact, he was so upset that I had killed his pets (even if in a story) that he said something like I deserved not to win.

That hurt. 

Maybe it's that fear of hurting others or more importantly, being judged for what I write, that has held me back. There is this thought, always, at the back of my mind about the audience, whether it is the unknown reader or the friend. 

This fear, more than anything, is what had crippled me as a writer. It is still very much present, filling me with doubts and anxiety. Nobody will read your work. The world doesn't need your stories, it has better ones out there. The truth is that yes, there are better stories out there and yes, maybe no one will ever read my work. But that doesn't mean I stop the process of creation. After all these years, and more recently, weeks of agonising over this, I've realised that I need to create. For myself. I have to write what I want to read. I have to write without shame, judgment and fear. And most importantly, I have to write because I do think I have a story to tell.