Thursday, April 06, 2006

I used to be afraid to call myself a writer

On of the books that really inspired me to become a writer was Stephen King’s “On Writing.” If anything, it showed me that almost everyone’s first draft sucks and needs editing, and heck, my first drafts didn’t seem all that different from his. Maybe I could be a writer after all!

I went to college intending to be an English major, but found the department so intimidating that I majored in history. (Not that I regret that choice at all, in fact it’s helped me in other ways). But some of the raw talent I saw just blew me away. How could I, ever hope to be a writer when this person could take apart Joyce and Faulkner so easily when I couldn’t even get past the first 10 sentences (though I did make it through both authors eventually, kicking and screaming). These people wanted to write great lit, be hailed by the critics, and be considered American classics.

And me? Little old me with my fantasy/ science fiction heavy bookshelf? Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate good lit too; Cisneros, Rushdie and Dostoevsky come to mind. But I like good stories. I can’t stand the post-modernist lit that critics love (and why is it always about whiny people whining about their lives). Good writing is good, but will your story stand up to translation into Swahili? Into Farsi? May be all the literary lit is good writing, but I like good stories more. I like stories like the Ramayana, the epic of Gilgamesh and that stand the test of time and transcend cultural boundaries.

That’s what I hope to write some day. Only, from a woman's point of view :)


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