What is it that you require to become a writer?

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Is it about ‘writing space’ or is it about some kind of ‘inspiration’ that is necessary to write? Is it only good imagination that gives rise to powerful writing?

Lately, I’ve been trying to find answers for these questions and have recently came across a tedtalk by Markus Zusak on yout tube.

Zusak who is an author of New York Times bestseller The book Thief explains that these are problems in life for which a person wants some solution and in order to get away from them, he becomes a writer.

This phenomenon sounds interesting to me and Harry Potter’s writer J. K Rowling came to my mind. Prior to publishing her novel, Rowling was going through lots of troubles in her life. She was a single mother and in absence of any kind of permanent job, she was in need of money.

Rowling’s strong imagination was the reason behind her success but that were also problems in her life which compels her to use her imagination in an effective way.

Reign of Queen Victoria in England is famous for its novelists and Charles Dickens is considered one of the greatest English writers of his time. When his father was in debtors’ prison, Dicken left school to work in factory. Dickens’ was quite young when he was forced to live a life away from his family and while working as a child, he experienced the problems which poor working class faced in society.

Facing issues and on getting first hand experience of life, Dicken with the help of his imagination created some unforgettable characters in literature.

Wilkins Micawber, Ebenzer Scrooge and Oliver Twist are considered some of his memorable characters.

An author while writing her memoir writes

” My sharpest memory is of a single instant surrounded by dark”

Which means that these are dark moments in life which leave strong impression on our minds and writer is a sensative person to express his emotions well from such moments.

Tolstoy in Anna Karenina writes

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Which shows that in unhappiness there are many shades while in happy moments we often don’t find much which can stir or move our soul. Troubles in life provides us with many ideas to get away from them.

It’s not always necessary for a writer to own some perfect writing space, it’s anywhere that an idea can struck him.

Going back to that tedtalk by Markus Zusak, he tells that while writing a draft for his book, he literally tore and threw away many pages. He was confused about selecting his narrator and while looking at the pile of crumpled papers, an idea came to his mind.

Previously when he was considering taking girl to be his narrator, he was facing lots of issues but when he decided to make death a narrator of his book, everything went smooth.

It was out of the box thinking and once the novel was well received, he concluded that his journey of writing The book thief was not easy. He was sure that problems helped him in creating such a compelling piece of writing.

Have you read this book by Markus Zusak? Do you agree that these are problems in life which often helps writer in his writing.

Image Coutesy: Unsplash

When Breath becomes air

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Life is finite. I knew it well but never thought of reading an experience of a journey of life that would suddenly culminate at the young age of thirty six, “When breath becomes air” by Paul Kalanithi is an autobiographical account of a neurosurgeon who at the peak of his career discovered that he was dying of lung cancer.

My sister told me about this book and after reading its review on internet, I placed an online order. Once, I got the book in my hands, I finished reading it in two days. It’s an easy read but the deeper meaning of life which Paul’s want to narrate through his experience demands us to not only read but ponder over his words.

Here’s this quote from his book in which he shares his thoughts about life. He writes

“There is a moment, a cusp, when the sum of gathered experience is worn down by the details of living. We are never so wise as when we live in this moment.”

In the beginning Paul was confused about choosing his career. He loved literature and he loved doing writing but in order to understand the mysteries of human brain, he decided to pursue his career in neurosurgery.

I would recommend this book to medical students and to anyone who’s interested in reading about medical cases. There’s an account of real life dramas that happens in corridors of hospitals. Paul’s gives us an account of details he witnessed as a medical student and also describes his experience of saving many lives as a senior neurosurgeon.

The best thing about Paul’s writing style is his way of mentioning quotes from literature that goes well with his life experiences. He was a doctor and he was aware that his illness of lung cancer was life threatening yet he did his best to fight off his disease. He continued doing his job till his body became too weak to carry weight of struggles of life.

Sunday Times considered it a powerful and poignant tale. There are many passages which I liked to read again and again but reading this one passage where Kalanithi was bidding his final adieu to his dream job of neurosurgery left me speechless.

“I left the OR shortly after, then gathered my things, which had accumulated over seven years of work___ extra sets of clothes for the nights you don’t leave, tooth-brushes, bars of soap, phone chargers, snacks, my skull model and collection of neurosurgery books, and so on. On second thought, I left my books behind. They’s be of more use here.

On my way out to the parking lot, a fellow approached to ask me something, but his pager went off. He looked at it, waved,turned, and ran back in to the hospital___”I’ll catch you later!” he called over his shoulder. Tears welled up as I sat in the car, turned the key, and slowly pulled out into the street. I drove home, walked through the front door, hung up my white coat, and took off my ID badge. I pulled the battery out of my pager. I peeled off my scrubs….

This book has taught me that life is finite. There’s a certain amount of time that’s been allotted to all of us on this earth but “Cease not till death” should remain our approach in life.

This post is written in response to daily post Finite

You’re the captain of your ship

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Today, father while talking to my younger sister about her studies advised her to remember that in no case person has any right to blame others for his failures in life.

These days when my sister is facing problems in her school, my father is busy in motivating her in her studies. I heard him saying that if you’re not succeeding then remember you’re doing something wrong, so instead of blaming others you must try to find faults in yourself.

While hearing conversation between father and my sister, I remember reading Gifted Hands, in the beginning of the book Sonya Carson, mother of Ben Carson, writes a letter in which she shares a poem named “Yourself to Blame” by Mayme White Miller. I like the message of this poem

If things go bad for you

And make you a bit ashamed,

Often you will find out that

You have yourself to blame…

 

Swiftly we ran to mischief

And then the bad luck came.

Why do we fault others?

We have ourselves to blame…

 

Whatever happens to us,

Here are the words to say,

“Had it not been for so-and-so

Things wouldn’t have gone that way.”

 

And if you’re short of friends,

I’ll tell you what to do

Make an examination,

You’ll find that fault’s in you…

 

You’re the captain of your ship,

So agree with the same

If you travel downward,

You have yourself to blame.

She further writes that remember this as you go through life. The person who has the most to do with what happens to you is you! You make the choices; you decide whether you’re going to give up or ante up when the going gets tough. Ultimately, it’s you who decides whether you will be a success or not, by doing what is legally necessary to get you where you want to go. You are the captain of your own ship.If you don’t succeed, you only have yourself to blame.

Heidi and Peter

Heidi and Peter

Today, before taking a nap in afternoon, I took Heidi from my shelf and after opening  it randomly, I enjoyed reading this little melodious song.

A little background: Heidi’s best friend Peter was struggling with his studies and with the help of this beautiful song little Heidi successfully teaches Peter how to read.

If A B C you do not know
Before the judge you’ll have to go.

If D E F you cannot say
Bad luck is sure to come your way.

If you forget your H J K
You’ll have misfortune all the day.

If L and M you can’t say clear
You’ll have to pay a fine, I fear.

Trouble will be in store for you
If you can’t say N O P Q.

‘If you get stuck at R S T
A dance’s cap your lot will be.

If you confuse a V with U,
You’ll find yourself in Timbuctoo.

If over W you fall,
Beware the rod upon the wall.

If letter X you can’t recall,
You’ll get no food today at all.

If you find Y is hard to say,
They’ll laugh at you at school today.

If Z should tie you up in knots,
They’ll send you to the Hottentots.

 

The picture in my home

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All that is gold does not glitter,

Not all those who wander are lost;

The old that is strong does not wither,

Deep roots are not reached by the frost

(J.R.R Tolkien The Fellowship of the Ring)

When my mother asked me to clean the dust from the picture, I realized that it’s been a long time that I had stopped noticing it.

This scenery is hanging on the outside wall of my parents’ room. I’m not sure but I think that it was in 1992 that my mother brought this scenery along with two other pictures.

I remember one was a scenery from some Northern areas of Pakistan and other was a picture of a vase. These past years saw us changing home thrice. The ups and downs of life left its impact on our belongings.

After living a life to their fullest, two of the three pictures got worn out. Today, two new pictures have taken their place but this one still exists in our lives.

As a child my observation of this picture was different. I used to take a refuge in its calmness. In those days I wished to take a look inside a hut. For me there was a magic in the reflection of large trees in the water and the white sky with the tinge of pink color looked beautiful to my eyes.

For a long time, I wished to sketch a picture like this. And, today when I’m a grown up girl, I’m amazed that how could I forget such an innocent desire of my childhood. As a child my heart was pure and my mind was relaxed but now the germs of revenge and hatred have blackened my heart.

Today, I’m not relax but I’m restless. Never ending desires and wishes of my life have left me tired.

I don’t believe in keeping regrets but there is one in my life: I wanted to conquer the world and in order to reach the moon; I forget the simple pleasures in my life.

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Day 2: Quote Challenge

Many thanks to Deb author of the blog onceuponahotflash for nominating me for this challenge.

 

 

BLACK BEAUTY : The autobiography of a horse

Black beauty

“Black Beauty” by “Anna Swell” is a classic English literature, and is counted among the 100 greatest novels of all time. The only novel of “Anna Swell” was a great success and the writer died just after the five months of the publication of the novel.

While, reading this novel, I was experiencing mixed feelings.  The moment when Black Beauty ran to save the life of her mistress brought tears in my eyes and Black Beauty’s showing love to his master was a moment of elation for me.

“Black Beauty” is a story of trust and loyalty. It is a beautiful tale of friendship which narrates the story of a horse and his journey from his birth to his old age.

The moments of flogging and the misery of a poor overloaded horse are beautifully narrated.  It is a story which starts from a lush green farm.  Moving from one hand to another, Black Beauty became a cab horse and also worked as a work horse.

This intriguing tale is written in a first person narrative. The scenes are so vividly described that the book is sure to leave an everlasting impact upon its reader’s mind.

Have you read this book? What really inspires you about the horses?

Story : The dryness of an autumn season

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The bitterness of the autumn season caused every limb of my body to scream with pain.

People say that life goes on but for me time is a prison. The thoughts of the freshness of my youth revived many lost images. I remember the day when I got admission in Oxford University.My father was happy and with shining eyes he said, “I’m so proud of you.”

But, I never realized the importance of his feelings of love for me.

I moved on in my life. Wife and my kids were all I cared about. In those days, my father used to call me.  He wanted to talk to me, but I was so preoccupied. For, my professional life and my family were all that I cared about.

One foggy night of winter, he passed away quietly. I never got a chance to say goodbye to him. And, today when my hands are withered and my bones are fragile, I’m missing my kids. They are all busy in their lives.

I wanted to tell them that I loved them too much. I wanted to share so many things,but they have got no time for such useless talk.

I’m looking out of the window.The dampness of my eyes has blurred the image and I can feel the salt of my tears.

 

Re-reading these lines and saving the file by the name of “An Excerpt from an unknown diary” Mike turned his laptop off.  

He thought of his daughter who often complaints about the presence of darkness in his stories. Looking at the picture of his father he thought that how could he explain to her that it was his inner darkness which was gnawing at him.

How could he reveal that that excerpt saved in the laptop was from the diary of his late father.

Image courtesy: (google image)

The Highest point in life!

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Today’s Prompt: Pick up the nearest book and flip to page 29. What’s the first word that jumps off the page? Use this word as your springboard for inspiration.

Dear Life,

I have always dreamed of conquering the “highest summit” and as, a school girl, I used to admire the seniority of the college girls.

For me, the college was superior but when I reached University, I realized that I was still a student and to achieve the high rank in life, I had to put a lot of efforts.

I remember admiring my teachers and then you gave me a chance to teach my Alma mater not once but twice.

Yes, I taught in my school and then in the same college in which I have been taught. That was a prestigious position and that was a great achievement but after some time I realized that that was not my destination. It dawned on me that no matter what, I had to move forward in my life. So, today’s prompt remind me of all those decisions which I have made in my life.

Dear Life, I must admit that with all these opportunities in life, you have always remained kind to me.My typical human nature has never allowed me to remain contented in life. I have a passion to go higher, I have a desire to achieve my dreams and I’m enthusiastic about doing “impossible” in life.

My dear Life, you have taught me to take a step forward not backward.

So, keeping an eye on that “mountain peak”, I’m still moving forward and my thirst for conquering the highest peak in life has not been satiated.

And, here I am making a firm decision that despite all the obstacles I’ll never cease to move forward. I’ll never look back and like a valiant warrior I’ll keep on fighting and the day will come when I’ll ascend that distant “mountain peak”.

Thank you for all the sweet and bitter experiences. I have learned a lot from you.

Yours lovingly

(Image Courtesy: Google Image)