This world is full of strange, crazy wonderful things. I love to explore it. To talk to strangers, to visit new lands, to fall in love, to take on adventures, to take stupid risks, to grow and to live. But when the sun sets, I need a home to retreat to. One where no one would find me. Where I could lay on the couch, upside down, with my legs in the air and no one around to judge me for looking like a monkey. And like a turtle, I was born with a home that went everywhere with me. I am sure you have guessed what It is (you smart cookie you). Its writing. Because when pen touches paper or my fingers hit the keyboard I am transporter to another world, where everything around me melts away and I just am, at home.
I started writing when I migrated to the middle east. Moving to a foreign land is a great catalyst to finding a home. Moving schools in 3rd grade, specially to one where none of the students speak your language is an even better motivator to find one. As a young girl surrounded by people who are nothing like you, you need a place where you can hide out from the world. So at the tender age of 8, I found a home in words. Within the pages of my journals, I could be angry at the world and where I learned to appreciate it. When kids were saving up for clothes and shoes, I spent my pocket money on pretty pink journals, pens and music ( cassettes that I would play on repeat on my Walkman until I knew every word to every song). My journals were my best friends growing up. They knew all my secrets and it was in between these lines that I learned to dream.
It was only natural for my writing to work its way outside my journal as I grew up. Soon, it was spilling out in the form of poetry and short stories. I was writing for (and being published in) school magazines, regional magazines and the internet. At one point my class mates were asking me to write poems about them (kids can be very narcissistic just like I can be a big hypocrite). My shell (please see the reference to my spirit animal, the turtle, above) was becoming my identity. I want to say that everyone started inviting me to their fancy parties and worshipping me as the best thing to come along since sliced bread… but I would be lying. Writing definitely helped my coolness factor though ( I realize its extremely uncool to say coolness factor). My loud voice and ability to talk someone’s ear off took care of the rest. At one point, I had fallen so deeply in love with my voice that I was producing my own little radio show using the record function on a Walkman. I absolutely adored creating content for this show. I even had my friends make guest appearances! None of this obviously ever aired but somewhere, in some secluded dusty corner of this planet lay cassettes marked “radio show”. May they rest in peace.
When I had finally settled into my new environment, which took a really long time, my family decided to move to Canada (D’oh!). At this point I was in grade 11, which as you know is the worst because by then everyone belongs to a clique and has no space left in the limo they booked for prom (Spoiler: I did end up finding a limo and great friends to go to prom with. ). Being the new kid can be the kiss of death. I remember writing up a storm on the plane here. The first few weeks were terrible. As is a normal part of every immigrant story ( I assume) I was asked why I talked the way I did, on count of my thick Indian accent. I wanted to reply with “because I wasn’t born here. You know there is a world outside these walls right? You ignorant little…”. I obviously didn’t say any of that. Mostly because it would sound ridiculous in a thick Indian accent. What I did do was quickly adopt a Canadian accent (ish). This curbed the stupid questions and gave me the confidence to finally try and fit in. I figured it would be easiest if I played to my strengths. So naturally I joined the team responsible for publishing the school magazine.
This is where I got acquainted with Mr. Byard and Mr. Byard discovered my writing. He loved my poetry and was the first person in Canada to encourage my writing. I remember he played me a song about houses. Several times. Like it held a secret he wanted me to discover. I know that sounds vague and I wish I could be more precise about this, but I cant. I don’t remember the song .
All I remember is that the words fit together like magic. These simple yet beautiful words hung off an enchantingly intricate structure to form something completely foreign to this mundane world. I think that’s what Mr. Byard wanted me to get out of the song. The magic that words sown together with the threads of inspiration and simplicity can create.
PS I FOUND THE SONG
With this very old picture, I want to thank Mr. Byard. He was an awesome teacher. He also took us to Stratford to see a Shakespeare play, my first theatre experience. Please ignore the peace sign. It was a problem then. It just seemed to magically appear in every picture. I have resolved this.
Well, as all things in life do, high school came to an end. I got so busy with life as an undergraduate student and eventually an executive recruiter that writing took a back seat. For years ( I am ashamed to say). I know this part of my post is abrupt and devoid of titillating details. Because my life without writing is just that. A black hole. If I didn’t write it. It didn’t happen.( I lie. I made a lot of really cool life long friends during this time. But I missed my home. Everyday. I don’t know why I didn’t write. I wish I had a good reason. Again, spoiler alter. This dry spell eventually ended. )
I believe that taking a hiatus from writing built up like pent up anger which eventually leads to frustrated crying, curled up in a fetal position in your bed after you explode from something as miniscule as having stubbed your toe (what, no I don’t do that, there is just something in my eye, sometimes..). During my first MBA co op term, I found myself working at a ridiculously amazing company surrounded by mentors of all shapes and sizes. One of these mentors used to be a blogger and shared her writing with me. Reading her blog was my big “I stubbed my toe, where is that darn bed” moment. I launched this blog the very next day. I realized that I couldn’t live without writing. Not really anyway. I wanted to rediscover my home. I had been away too long.
The reason I chose to write a blog instead of poetry or fiction like I had always done was the challenge and variety. I wanted so much to write every day but had never for the life of me been good at writing about one thing for very long. But I knew absolutely nothing about blogging. So this would have to be its very own life experiment.
I have been tasked with discussing my blogging process for a school project which I figured I will do in part 2 of this series. While, I could have done this in a private blog, I wanted to open up the floor to the blogging community on WordPress for some feedback. Kicking my blog up a notch is one of my life’s top priorities at this point. Right after daily sustenance. Who better that a group of blogging geniuses on WordPress to tell me what to do. Ill post up part 2 before Monday next week (trust me, I don’t have a choice). Please feel free to comment with insights and advice.
What I do want to leave you with today is the biggest thing blogging has gifted me with so far. It’s a sense of community. Writing has always been my home, but I have always pictured it to be standing by its lonesome in the middle of the amazon somewhere. Blogging makes my home feel like its part of a community. You inspire me to create and be creative. You also inspire me to keep coming back home. So when I am sitting with a group of friends who live and breathe in a very different world, with different interests and priorities, where I still feel a bit like that 8 year old or 16 year old foreigner, I think of you guys. I think of home. And I realize, I write, therefore I am…happy.