Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The story of the storytellers

Think back to the time you read something great - a poem, a story, an article, anything. How did it feel?

When I read something great, I feel sad when I reach the end. Sure, I'm happy with a good ending, but I do feel rather bad that the journey is over. And I always wonder, "Wow! How did that he/she think this up? Why didn't I think of writing something like that? Oh, I wish I could see more of something like this! ". Then I spend the couple of days in a kind of daze, remembering all the characters and dialogues :D

I don't want to analyse a writer's use of language. It's up to me to develop my skills in those areas. But I really do want to know more about them as people. What can I learn about them that will help me grow, as a writer and a person?

So, months go, I decided to go direct. I decided to interview some of my favorite bloggers. I sent out emails to them. I sent a long list of questions and asked them to answer as many as they wished.

And now, enough of the exams and results, here is the first 'interview'

*Drumroll* Please welcome, Vanessa Rowe from Writing Revived

"Digging around about Life's situations and events... exploring experiences... with a dash of philosophy thrown in, in addition to thoughts on relationships one comes across in Life"

Your favourite hobbies aside from writing? How do you unwind?
Singing, humming my favourite tunes, whistling or just playing pranks on my loved ones. Oh, add reading novels and being a couch potato to that list too.

Do you believe we need inspiration to write? Is your writing planned or spontaneous? Do you take out time regularly for writing?
Inspiration – We are all inspired unconsciously. We read something, or watch a show, or discuss ideas – and in all this relay of communication some thought strikes us and we write it down – so we are inspired directly or indirectly.
Till now, my writing has mostly bordered on the spontaneous side, unless you count submitting articles for school/college magazines – which then had a deadline, word limit and genre limitation. And since I write spontaneously, I don’t take out time for writing unless I’m extremely bored and bogged-to-death with monotony.

Do you think you've grown as a person in your writing journey? How?
More than ‘grown’, I feel that I’ve ‘changed’ as a person. I started out as a motivational-philosophical writer, but after a year I started experimenting with my style – I entered blog contests, poetry sessions, I read different styles of writing and imitated some of them – I guess I wanted to see how varied I could be with my writing.

Any writer or person who you think has influenced your own style of expressing yourself when it was coming up?
Haahaa, didn’t think that such a question would come up… Hadn’t ever thought of this before – I guess, Khalil Gibran and Paulo Coelho – they made a tremendous impact on me when I first read their works and you can see some of their ‘style’ reflected in my early posts. It’s not an accurate style of theirs, but a part of my individuality mixed with theirs.

Now that you're a better writer (I'm sure you are!), what advice would you have given to your past self if you could?
I have always been a backward learner – my past self always does things better than my present self, but then my present self will one day be my past self… but I am meandering, sorry. On reflecting for quite some time, I now see that my past self did have a chink missing and I would tell her (my past self) to “go ahead with experimentation in writing but retain the individual style that belongs only to us/me. Always preserve the initial passion and soul that you first began with.”

Do you prefer any particular genre or do you just freestyle in your writing?
Hmm… again, I started out with a motivational/philosophical/self-help genre, but of late I’ve been exploring the music/books/critic/causes genres. Now and then, I venture into my old phase of self-improvement topics. It’s fun being diverse!

The best thing about being a writer?
The best thing, about being a writer, for me, would be my ability to express clearly those views which I am unable to express verbally.

Your milestones and favourite moments as a writer? Any you're proud of?
Well, the highlights of being a writer is that various websites, online writers groups and online magazines request me to write articles with them. The best was when I was invited to be a Guest Columnist with The Viewspaper – it is an online news website for the Youth and it has been nice writing for them. (Plus, one of my dreams was to be a columnist – I didn’t imagine I would become one so fast!)

And the age old classic, any advice for aspiring writers?
Aah, I have been waiting for such a question :D
Hello all you aspiring writers, let’s start you off: 

One - Stop being an ‘aspiring writer’ and just be ‘A Writer’.

Two – ‘Write whatever you feel like.’ (I seriously mean it, hang all the rules).

Three – ‘Write whenever you feel like.’ (This is very important – don’t write just for the sake of writing)

Four – Enjoy life, put your talents to good use and follow your passions! (Yeah, it’s a 3-in-1 point :D)

The nicest compliment you've ever received for your writing or the way you write?
Ohh, I really can’t pick any… Being a writer/blogger I understand how much time, attention and thought goes into visiting a blog, reading the posts and commenting - and that’s the nicest compliment of all!

What question would you ask your favourite writer(s)?
Oh, this is a good question! I would probably ask my favourite writer the following questions:

How do you maintain your writing style?

Will you be betraying yourself if you get influenced by someone else’s style of writing?

NOTE: I don’t normally plan such things, so on the spot I’ll just pop up with some more questions for them J

Have you ever mentored or encouraged an aspiring writer? If yes, what was it like? If not, would you like to?
I have mentored a few of my friends – not in the exact ‘sense’ of ‘mentored’, but I did give them the occasional push, nudge and motivation to write and create a blog! It requires quite a sustained effort on the ‘motivator’s’ end to get the individuals to write, and this continues when the individuals start neglecting their blogs due to work/college/health issues/family issues/boredom. But, I don’t push them too much if they don’t feel like it – they will write whenever they feel like – even if that may be after 2 years. NOTE: If anyone needs a push/nudge/motivation to start writing you now know who to contact J

What are your thoughts on writer's block? If you've ever had it, how did you get through it?
Aaaarghhhh… the dreaded writer’s block – it has assaulted me innumerable times as has been apparent on my blog – whenever you see a gap of 3-4 weeks, you can be assured it is this monster that stalked me that month. Jokes aside, the first time I had writer’s block was, believe it or not, in an examination hall. There I was, ink pen in hand, answer sheet before me, hand clutching my head while my mind remained vacant as I tried to pen down something on ‘Global Warming and its effects’. I know, easy topic, but blank mind at the time! Thankfully, over the years I have learnt some secrets to overcome this mental agony – Shut off! Chill out, stop worrying about it, unless your boss is breathing over your head, or your submission time is up – in that case, do a few mental tricks, like practice your maths times-table (you know, 2*2=4, 5*2=11, ooops sorry, 10), recall a favourite song/movie/dialogue/quote – and bingo! Something will strike and you’ll be able to defeat that ugly writer’s block!

What are your plans for and where do you see yourself in the near future?
I don’t look too much into the future, and I never plan too much – I go with the flow of life, and my life has always taken me to places that are pretty interesting! My life has always given me what I’ve needed without me asking for them. So, I’m sure that I’ll be in an interesting place in the near future J

Any author or personality, dead or alive, you would like to meet or work with? Any recent favourite book?
Oh yes, yes, yes!! Ruskin Bond ! I am longing to meet him and talk with him… In fact, I’m planning a trip this year to his town just to see him! I hope it works out! Anyone one want to join?

What words would you use to describe yourself as a writer or a person?
Oh my! Really!?! Oh-kay… As a writer, I would say that I’m experimental, spontaneous and easy-to-read (as in, you don’t have to rush for a dictionary while reading my pieces).
As a person – Loyal (I’m doggedly loyal to anything that is close to my heart).

What have you learned about life as a writer or as a person?
Ooooh, a philosophical question! Just my type J I’m still in the process of learning about life, but what I do know till now is that Life is Life – Life may keep you alive and Life may make you die, but in the end, we all can’t do without it, no matter how much we may curse it from time to time. I love my life – in the good and after the bad is over :D (okay, that was just a joke), but I do love life in it’s entirety.

If you were writing a book about your life, what would the title be?
My Best Friend – Life!

A favourite memory that still gives you a warm glow inside?
My ever favourite memory is when a reader actually composed a song using my poem for the lyrics! He took the effort to compose a tune, sing and record the whole song – and then presented it to me! Regardless to say, I was speechless! J

What's one of your biggest dreams?
Ahh, I don’t really have any BIG dreams as such. I have little, small and cute dreams which I hope to reach. But my one favourite dream is to form a Nursery School on a hill-station after I retire. I would love to teach children!


What do you think? Next interview up after a week!


Saru Singhal said...

That's a good one and good to know more about a fellow blogger. Thanks to both of you!

nil said...

Absolutely awesome to have read this!
Deeelightful and wonderful idea!

But gaah. Charu, I still claim to not have received that email of yours in either of my email IDs :(

Anonymous said...

this is a great idea

Charu said...

@ Saru: Soooooooooo glad you enjoyed this. I can't wait for yours either!

@ Nil: Yay! Nice to hear you liked it too

As for getting the email, I'm flummoxed. Err, maybe the gods are annoyed with us :(

Maybe it keeps ending up in spam or the inbox is full? But I'll mail it myself again and also ask vanita to mail it to you. Hope it works and I can't wait to see yours as well!

@ Anonymous: Thanks! Hope you enjoy the upcoming interviews too!