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A WRITER’S STRUGGLE: THE EARLY YEARS

Cover of "A Stone for Danny Fisher"

A STONE FOR DANNY FISHER From L. Frank Baum‘s Oz sequel The Road to Oz, I advanced precociously to this Harold Robbins bestseller

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

“Begin at the beginning and go on till you come to the end.”

So said the King to the White Rabbit in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

People always ask me how I became a writer. The question makes you wonder if one ever becomes a writer. I grew up with so many books in the house. So did my two sisters and my brother, but it was only I who “became” a writer or who chose to be a writer or who fell in love with the idea of becoming a writer.

As a child, books held as much promise to me as the ticket booth for a carnival ride. Each book was a gateway to a strange new world. I began, like all children, with the fairy tales. As I got a little older, maybe five or six, no longer content with my mother reading me bedtime stories of her own choosing, I’d arrange to have a trip to National Book Store, my childhood Disneyland, my childhood Timezone, and I’d find myself at the shelf containing the LadyBird Series, little hardbound books that unlocked the worlds of Rapunzel, Puss in Boots, The Elves and the Shoemaker, Jack and the Beanstalk, Hansel and Gretel, Pinocchio, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, and more.

To me, the move to The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum was a big one. Whereas my Ladybird collection was one of miniature editions, my copy of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was a big book, a real book with so many pages, more words than pictures. With that book in my hands, I felt like proclaiming to the world: “I am no longer a child.”

Cover of "Road to Oz (Wonderful Oz Books)...

THE ROAD TO OZ My superhighway to adult fiction

There were many sequels to L. Frank Baum’s work, some of which I read with as much gusto, particularly the first sequel The Marvelous Land of Oz and the third, Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz.  The fourth sequel, The Road to Oz, was my last of the Oz books. That Road to Oz was my superhighway to adult fiction as from it, I advanced rather precociously to Harold Robbins‘s A Stone for Danny Fisher, my introduction to life as we live it, as I know it now, rife with pride and shame, virtue and vice, good and evil, poverty and riches, deprivation and indulgence — and sex, lots of it.

This is how it began. I thank God for my many adventures with Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Three Little Pigs, Thumbelina, and The Little Mermaid, who all led me to yet greater adventures and exploits. When I began writing professionally, especially when I began writing for a magazine, I resented it that I spent so much of my childhood between the covers of these books and yet, when I could use them for an article as metaphors or allusions, I always found myself chasing the details to oblivion.

That was because in high school, tired of spending my life in the company of fictional characters, I decided to live it in the cafes, in the clubs, in the company of friends. I put my books in boxes and cast them aside. It was only when I found myself writing for a living that I rekindled my love affair with books and with words. It took me many years to get back in the habit, but I did get back and my world as well as my writing was so much richer for it.

THIS BOOK IS BY ME Write Here Write Now: Standing at Attention Before My Imaginary Style Dictator, published by National Book Store, the bookstore of my childhood, gateway to much of my imagined world

THIS BOOK IS BY ME Write Here Write Now: Standing at Attention Before My Imaginary Style Dictator, published by National Book Store, the bookstore of my childhood, gateway to much of my imagined world

I was a reader, a happy reader, an obsessive reader. That was how I became a writer. I am a reader still, not always happy, not as obsessive as I used to be, but only because many other things take up my time, as they should.

This is why, I think, for me, no matter how much I’ve done, no matter how much discipline and love I pour into it, writing will be always be a struggle, demanding great effort, as it should.

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10 thoughts on “A WRITER’S STRUGGLE: THE EARLY YEARS

  1. AUM

    Hello

    First of all , let me thank you for liking my article so much . I always felt i should spread this word and my thoughts should remain with people forever.

    I am really passionate about writing and would love to take forward as a career.

    I believe that the work I did was fair. However I want people to judge. If I can by any means contribute to sense and style I would be very Happy. Please do let me know.

    Today i have recieved the biggest honor from you , that you have posted this article as one of the related articles in your post. I am really honored. Looking forward to hear from you and communicate with you.

    Thanks and regards
    Shwetal Gajbhiye
    AUM

  2. I, too, have had a life long love affair with books! 🙂 Being a writer has long been my wish and now that I’m no longer working, I have a chance to make that wish come true.

  3. i’ve always wanted to become a writer,i remember back in primary school thats all i ever dreamt about…the dream died when i started thinkin about becoming a doctor,thats the path am taking now,but i wanna relive the writing dream on my blog if all goes well… they say ”to be a good writer,you must read” #leggo

    • I believe that our dreams never die. They only go to sleep or are only set aside. That you are thinking about that long-ago dream only means it’s there, waiting for your wakeup call.

      Yes, every writer is a reader first — and also a dreamer. But we read only because we need to know more, see more, live more and the only way to do that is to read, through which we can live a thousand lives, travel a million miles without having to move at all. We all have stories screaming to be told but what makes writers (and musicians and artists) different is we have a special way to tell these stories.

      Don’t let your dream die, not that it ever will while you are alive. It can co-exist with your other dreams. We can be many things all at once. That, we are designed to do.

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