"A writer and nothing else: a man alone in a room with the English language, trying to get human feelings right. " ~John K. Hutchens, New York Herald Tribune, 10 September 1961

Friday, September 14, 2007

The Process of Things

Because I am now in a position to afford to hire a professional team to redesign and develop the site, I'm going to take the opportunity. There are a host of things I've always wanted to incorporate but because of a lack of time, knowledge and updates for the software solutions I've elected, haven't been able to.

Besides, this way the forums will be our own instead of the phpBB framework we run currently, and might possibly move away from Joomla, but that's only a distant forecast. Before I start getting all techno geeky, I should divert attention.

Alert: It seems me and my pieces are making a mark on the popular Chowk network - Pakistan's first independent thinking and encouraging, for that matter, website. I find it odd, for some reason, that the piece attracting a great deal of attention, although among my better ones, doesn't seem worthy. My own personal favorite is Color Me In which hasn't received enough good press as the more mellowed out, reminiscent All My Love. At the risk of ruining all that is so beautiful about the piece: this was written with my mind still transfixed on the beach house in Karachi's Manora district, and is not related to my own experience as a lover at all. I did find it easy to put myself in that position however - I mean, how can you not think about it with the sea breeze and the miles and miles of sea - whatever else I may be, I'm not heartless. Suffice to say, seeing the sea at such close quarters for the first time in my life, had a profound effect on both my life and my work in a way I couldn't possibly have foreseen boarding the plane en route to attend a family wedding. Why is it always weddings, I wonder? Or more appropriately, why is it always Karachi?

I was asked today, how I write, what my exact process is. I find it so difficult to quantify how to go about things. Is there really a set of rules by which all writers must adhere to and abide? Do we measure our work against a yardstick of writers past and present? And does that really do justice to our own abilities as writers and creative thinkers? My personal opinion is to look upon your influences as just that: influences, and write whatever you want in whatever style appeals to you at that point. As you continue writing over the years, you will be able to gauge what specific attributes of a particular style appeal to you, and in general, you'll always stick to some form of that original concept. But this of course, is what it was like for me. What it will be like for you, I have no idea, but I can guarantee the process of discovery is in itself the most thrilling aspect of writing.

Above all else of course, you must really want it. Writing, as mentioned earlier, isn't for the faint of heart. If you want to set out on that deadly path, you have to be prepared for the rollercoaster ride and possible madhouse, each day will be. There's nothing easy about writing - it's brutal, time consuming and each story seems after your own heart - but then it's over, and oh the joy! You love to hate it, but the reality of course, is always (and rightfully so), different.

I'm past my allotted bedtime and I need to be up in less than four hours.


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