January 3, 2014

What inspires you to write?

Dear M,

I was asked this question again - what inspires me to write?

I haven't yet figured out the answer to give. I know my own answer, but that is not what people want to hear. They want to hear that a writer is inspired to write by a waterfall, or the skies, or the wind. Or a child or love or sadness. I do not know why such an answer brings a twinkle to their eyes, but it does. I don't know why it is thrilling to hear someone is a writer, but it is. There are so many questions they ask. The writer, writhing in the centre of their attention, does not know what are the right answers to give - the answers that would make them happy and make them stop asking. So, the writer, in this case yours truly, prepares a set of answers. The proper answers that could pass without invoking more drastic questions, answers that don't make them write the writer off. Safe answers - like a shrug or a smile or a word no one can hear or a long sentence the listener cannot make head or tail of. Something like - "Oh I am inspired by many things, by many things I do not mean those - well but we aren't talking about the kind of things that inspire in general - we are talking of this specific instance - for example our conversation could inspire - not exactly in the way we think - yet it could inspire - oh if we are talking about fiction - say, short stories, pretty much a leaf by the side of the road could be inspiring - though I like to think that the leaf has already been inspired by the wind - but in the case of a novel - "
Take my word for it. The person who asked this question would have vanished in no time.


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