Friday, August 19, 2011

My Earliest Writing Influence

The other day, someone asked me that coming from a business family, how did I end up pursuing writing. I often wonder about this. How did I climb the writing bandwagon? What prompted me to start this amazing journey called writing? 

 I told the man that it was my grandmother (my dad’s mother). Yes, 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 all folktales or stories that revolved around  Hindu Gods and Goddesses and the great Saints. Granny’s tales of  the various  Gods’ childhood  pranks brought each God to life. 

The voracious reader that I am now has its roots in my childhood. I was a voracious listener then, never tiring of granny’s stories, craving them long 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, to make us (her grandchildren 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.

Yes, my grandmother was a truly gifted storyteller. To make several  fidgety grandchildren  sit through a repeat  story with only the lure of how she would finish it this time was no small task. And she accomplished this beautifully. 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 the best for my stories and books.

What has been your earliest  writing influence? Did someone  prompt  you to start your creative journey? Who or what  was it? We would love to know.


  1. That's really sweet. Your grandmother sounds like a wonderful woman.

    Reading is what started me on this writing journey. I loved books and reading so much that writing my own was the natural next step. I couldn't get enough of words and stories, so I had to write my own!

  2. Neither of my parents ever read. At least not fiction and not a great deal of non-fiction and my brother is the same. I was never discouraged to write but I was never encouraged either. My parents simply never got it. I can’t honestly say that anyone, even at school, ever encouraged me. I wrote poetry, it got published in the school magazine but no one saw any real potential in me because it didn’t show its face for years. Lots of kids tried their hand at poetry then but quickly grew out of it. I never did.

  3. What a special grandmother you had! Loved reading about her...

    My grandmother influenced me, too, in a different kind of way. When I was little, she subscribed to a children's book-of-the-month club for me. Each was a compilation of picture books, poems, biographies,stories about places in the world, etc. I couldn't wait for the next volume to come in the mail. What a treat!Thanks to Grandma, I developed a love of reading and dreamed of writing my own stories.

    Hmmm, thinking of those books makes me want to dig them out and look at them again :-)

    Thanks for your post!

  4. That's such a lovely story about your grandmother.

    Like Laura, above, I was a fanatical reader from the time I could understand enough to read on my own. Writing was just an extension of that passion for books.

  5. How wonderful to have such a Grandmother. In my case it was my Mother who read to me and bought books for me.

  6. My Grandpa was a poet, and always taught me to really see the world around me. He definitely was my first influence. :)

    Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

  7. Your grandmother sounds like a very special mentor.

    My mother was my first influence, both for a love of books and libraries and for the love of writing. She wrote hersel, and she encouraged my early efforts.

  8. I worked in the computer world of Dell for 8 years. When they shut us down I picked the profession furthest from. My influences for writing are movies and tv series. When I outlined out my project, I wanted it to be something that I would want to read and see on the big screen.

  9. It's great fun to learn more about you! I always liked to write, and then in high school I had an English teacher tell me I was a good writer. That was one thing that gave me the confidence to write more. :)

    Have a great weekend!

  10. Wow, what a precious thing to have that wonderful relationship with your grandmother. Apparently my grandfather was the writer in the family, but he died when I was 3 or 4. My earliest influence? No idea. Maybe my love of Tolkien books.

  11. What a blessing your grandmother was!
    I started to write in the fifth grade and I'm not sure why--I was shy and maybe it was a way to share.

  12. Lovely story! Your grandmother is really patient! I had written an article on the origins of my writing career.