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  • Writer's pictureKaren Divya Shekar

Writing My Heart Out

Ever since I was little (eight years old, in fact!), I have wanted to become a writer.

My dad used to read to me every night before bed. Strangely, it was always the same book: Sly Fox and Red Hen. Every time he read it out aloud it sounded like we were reading the story for the first time. I was never bored. I never lost interest in it.

Stories are magic to me.

It’s probably because there wasn’t much magic in my life growing up, that’s why I turned to books to satisfy my need for excitement.

I started out by reading books my sister was reading: Enid Blyton, which is what every kid growing up in India probably reads. While my sister liked the Malory Towers and St. Clare series I like the adventures stories. I was crazy about the islands, smuggling, airplanes and the wild implausible things that used to happen to the kids in those books.

I wanted life to be like that. One crazy adventure with a whole host of implausible things, but of course, with a happy ending. Here's what I used to do. I would always read the ending before the beginning just so I wouldn't be in for a nasty surprise!

So I read like crazy.

My tastes, however, started changing in class six. That’s when I read this book: To Kill A Mockingbird for the very first time. Proved to be a turning point for me. It opened up the whole world as a fearsome, fascinating thing.

I sensed there was something more here. There were adult problems.

I liked the story so much, it made me want to take a stab at reading the classics, real literature.

I'll have you know that when I put my mind to something I can really stick with it for eternity. I decided I would educate myself on all that there was to read in the literary world. Oscar Wilde, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Herman Hesse, Austen, Wharton, I was determined to finish off the whole gamut while still at school.

So I started.

There were things I did not understand, but I would lie that I did, not wanting to be thought of as less smart. And there were things I did understand, so I absorbed them like a secret.

And I wrote as well.

I wrote stories as a kid. Still write them now as a grown up.

There was nothing more I wanted than to become the world’s greatest writer. I was convinced the title was mine. And I would do everything it took to get there.

I put myself on a punishing schedule. I wrote poetry, novels, stories, diaries. I made sure I got the highest marks in English at school. I poured out my heart, blood, and soul into becoming a writer.

Except it didn’t happen the way I wanted.

I wanted to be brilliant, stellar, so amazing and astonishing that I took everyone’s breath away. But no matter how many contests I participated in, no matter how much I tried, nothing worked out. So I joined an engineering college. Sick joke right?

Writing’s always been my escape, my secret place, my comfort, my security, my confidante and my support. When I put my thoughts out on paper, I feel like I know the truth. I lie to people’s faces with no scruples whatsoever, but when I write I can tell the truth that paints even me in a poor light.

Writing was always like looking into a mirror full of squiggly marks. Past that, I could see what my heart looked like cut open.

It’s so funny, how much I feel at home and at peace when I’m typing or writing with a pen and paper. I was born for this. I know it, I feel it. It’s my identity. But mix with it ambition, and I turn into a monster. Suddenly I want to be the best, the greatest, the most unique. That isn't beautiful, it puts unnecessary pressure on me.

I can sense it’s time to build a portfolio again, with no aim or ambition in mind, just as a means of talking about what I can’t face. When the words won’t come out from my mouth, they flow freely through my pen. That's how I survived school and college and most of the challenges of my adult life.

When I think about an escape, I think about my writing.

I know I am a coward according to the definition of the word, but sometimes for me, this creative outlet is the only way to heal.

Writing provides me that escape.

So I write my heart out.

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1 Comment

Radha Chinny
Radha Chinny
May 09, 2021

Writing is not only the outlet for the people it gives life to the dull soul.

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