I am not the writer I thought I would be, and I don’t know how I feel about it. Before I hit double-digits I had a pen in my hand and was documenting the world around me and making up stories to help my big imagination flow.
I often now say that I never stopped having imaginary friends, I just turned them into my characters.
Still, quite early on I was determined to be a budding novelist, but many unfinished manuscripts were birthed as I was never able to stick to a story I could marry myself to and I became keen to genre-hopping.
On a side note, the thing that has remained constant throughout my writing journey has been poetry. It has always been a different form of literary expression for me and I believe that honing my poetry skills has made me better at writing prose, but more on this later.
The first manuscript I was ever able to completely commit to was my memoir, Tiger Stripes. If you would have told me ten years ago that my first published book would be a memoir, I would have probably laughed at you. I read memoirs, but never did I have an intention of writing one.
I think the lesson that writing my book taught me though is that our best work truly does come organically. Writing my own story taught me how to immerse myself in the writing process in a whole new way, and how to get in touch with my senses and surroundings through meaningful observation that I translate through my words. Writing became a medium through which I healed and when I learned to translate myself into every piece of writing that I did including y poetry and now just starting to get back into fiction again, my writing has reached new heights.
My poetry, once something deeply personal to me and often a messy affair, has become one of my main mediums I work on and share. Writing in verse is my meditation. When I am putting a poem together I am in a transcendental state-of-mind that allows me to have an intimate experience with my subject. I am able to love deeper, see further, feel more, and shed some of of my most intense emotions because of poetry, and I am so grateful for that.
Everything you portray on your page: your characters, settings, interactions, sensations, perceptions—are a reflection of you, the author. This holds true for fiction or nonfiction, prose or poetry. I think the magic of it is that as writers we get to share our intimate awareness of feeling and perception to our readers, and something as seemingly simple as the way words are strung together has the power to change a person’s entire mode of thinking.
I am not the writer I thought I would be. I am not some Hemingway protégée or the next Sylvia Plath—and I simply am a writer who is obligated to inspiration alone, and I think a lot of maturity in my craft came in realizing that. I look forward to seeing where it will take me next.