Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What has Triggered our Writing Passion?

I have just returned from a fabulous holiday. My brain is still woozy with everything not related to writing.  Sitting on the beach watching the sunset my mind drifted to what triggered my passion for writing. I don’t know why water has that effect on me.

I am sure that there is something or someone who has triggered our writing passion. It could be a book we must have read, a person who has become a sort of writing mentor or perhaps our English teacher in school who set us off on our writing journey.

One of the earliest influences on my writing was my grandmother. Every night while making me eat my dinner when I was around 4 to 5 years old she would tell me stories. These were more often than not folktales, or, stories that revolved around the Hindu Gods and Goddesses and the great Saints of the past. The tales of the various Gods' childhood pranks was absolutely wonderful. It brought each God to life. 

My passion for writing has its roots in my childhood. I was a voracious listener then, never tiring of granny’s stories, craving them hours after the dinner plates had been washed. Long after she gave up the practice of making me eat my dinner, I continued to badger her for stories. Granny, I am sure exhausted her well of stories, but, not one to admit defeat she made up stories just for me. 

For an entire week she told me the same story giving it different endings. I asked her why she was telling me the same story with different endings, she laughed and said “I am running out of stories, child.” 

Each ending changed the entire story. From humorous it turned into suspense, and then moved to the battle of good over evil. Each story was embedded with a moral. I am sure that it was deliberate, to make us imbibe good qualities and emulate the noble characters who peopled her story. I was fascinated by Granny’s quick thinking. My love for stories: listening, reading and writing started then. One of my first few published articles was the story she had narrated to me during my childhood. Unfortunately, she passed away before the story was published.

Though the stories were repeated she never bored us, as she embellished the story with each narration. Sometimes adding few characters, at times dropping few. This habit of hers has inculcated in me the practical experience of finding out how the same story can end in many different ways. Yes, at times I toy with different endings and finally zero in on the one I think works best for my stories and books.

What has been your earliest writing influence? Did someone prompt you to start your creative journey? What made you all start writing? Was it a person? A book? A teacher? We all would love to know about what triggered your passion?

21 comments:

Rahul Bhatia said...

I used to scribble and never formally wrote till about a year ago at my wife's behest! I was fond of scribbling notes while I traveled...

Jim Murdoch said...

I read a lot of the time about writers who began very early on. Basically they’d no sooner learned how to spell and they were making up wee stories. But that was never me. I drifted into it. The school magazine was looking for stuff and so I wrote a hundred poems and submitted them and did much the same the next year. I was at that age when writing poetry might have been considered a phase but once I left school I found that I had developed an urge to write so really it was just getting into the habit of writing that helped me discover that I had a genuine need to write. I’d tried painting and composing music but these modes of expression fell away. The thing I learned was putting things into words made me feel better. It came naturally. I had to work at the other stuff and was never as satisfied with the end results.

The single poem that did affect me and gave my poetry a direction was Philip Larkin’s ‘Mr Bleaney’ because it showed me that you could write poetry about the most ordinary of things, the kinds of things I was experiencing. I never really got all that babbling brook stuff.

Kenda Turner said...

What a wonderful storyteller your grandmother was :-) My grandmother inspired me,too, but in a different way. She fed my love of reading by buying me books. I still have them. Then, through reading--and wanting to try my hand at stories, too--I came to love writing as well.

Mark Noce said...

Great story! I'm not sure what triggered my passion, it's always been there. I suppose my first visit to the library as a kid helped though:)

Kristen Wixted said...

I've been listening to my father tell stories all my life. His tend to have the perfect punch line. I think that had a lot to do with it.

Richard said...

I came to enjoy reading and writing when I was a teenager. Before then, I never read anything. I have no memories of anyone ever reading to me when I was a child, but I remember, when I was a kid, being impressed by my father reading westerns.

Stephen Tremp said...

My art teachers would push me. They returned projects and told me I could do better. I had an English teacher in the seventh grade who would do the same. I had some amazing teachers who instilled in me to go beyond my talents to better myself.

Angela Ackerman said...

Aw, your grandmother sounds wonderful. I love that she told you stories!

I think my passion came from loving books so much as a teenager. They helped me cope through a lot of bad times, and I wanted to be able to offer someone else that same scene of escape. :)

Laura Marcella said...

What a delightful memory to have about your early writing influence, Rachna!

Reading triggered my passion. I loved being read to as a child, and once I learned to read on my own I devoured every book I could. I loved stories so much that I wanted to write my own! I can't imagine spending my days without at least a little reading and writing in it.

Jai Joshi said...

I think my earliest influence were the Hindu stories of good over evil. I loved those and they filled my mind with what the essense of storytelling was.

Jai

Robyn Campbell said...

I have always written, but it wasn't until after our cat Blue was stuck 50 feet up a tree and we could not coax him down, that my first picture book was born. And then my hubby said I needed to write books. And so it was. My earliest influence was Anna Sewell. She wrote Black Beauty. Have you eread it yet, Rachna?

Cheryl Klarich said...

The book that drew me into the world of fiction was Heidi- my first "big" novel and I read it over and over!
I'm still more of a reader. :)

Elizabeth Varadan aka Mrs. Seraphina said...

What a great grandmother! And how ingenious: to tell the same story with a different ending. Thank of how that opened up your imagination and your creativity by changing it and changing it.

My mother jump-started my writing with her love of books and also her own love of writing. She read to us when we were small, and later, on Saturday evenings we had "reading feasts", taking turns reading to each other and taking brief intermissions for snacks before returning to the reading. (Not surprising that I've always associated pleasure with reading.) I started scribbling stories quite early, and she always encouraged that.

Life Unordinary said...

My Grandfather inspired me. A voracious reader with a library of his own, he encouraged me to read and write. How blessed we are for the love of our grandparents.

alexia said...

I started writing when I was 5 or so... it's just part of me, I guess. I do have a very book-loving family, and my uncle is an author, but I don't think I realized this until I was older. It was just ingrained at a very young age.

Lydia Kang said...

The idea that anyone would want to read something I wrote has been quite an intoxicating feeling...later squashed by the realization that, "oh, I have to write something of quality???"

Lynda R Young said...

Sitting on the beach watching the sunset sounds like a wonderful way to pass the time!

I'm not sure what started my passion for writing. It may have had something to do with my losing my hearing for a while when I was young. I became quite introverted because of it and imagined my own worlds. Books and movies inspired me.

Karen Lange said...

Glad to hear you had a good holiday!
I had a teacher in high school who told me I was a good writer. I think I left the classroom about an inch taller that day. :) His comments inspired and gave me courage to write more.

Khushi said...

I would say my father and my childhood reticence...it was easier to write my inner most thoughts than express them verbally. My father had many stories...mostly adventurous ones. Besides he used to write a lot and I did edit some of his work.

The Golden Eagle said...

I wrote a few stories when I was little, didn't write much for a while, and then a book inspired me in 2009 which really started me on novels.

Alka Gurha said...

1,2,3, and 9 are my worst nightmares...Your granny sounds amazing if she could think of several endings...creativity I guess, runs in the blood.