About a year ago last December I decided that the best way I could get around the problem of being published in Canada was to start a blog.
Writing a blog had been on my mind even in India. However, a combination of factors – primarily being hooked to television – prevented me from writing regularly. Some friends did encourage me to write, but those attempts were few and far between.
My reading hadn’t stopped. I read as if my life depended upon it; indiscriminately. Although for many years, I had ceased to read fiction. That changed in Toronto thanks to an easy access to a public library within walking distance from home. I began to read Canadian fiction and discovered so many great writers. Also got to know a couple of them personally.
I wrote my first short story and then began to develop it into a novel. It’ll be a while before the novel is anywhere near being completed. I was a bit foolhardy to enter a half-finished manuscript in a competition. Not surprisingly, I was nowhere near the winners.
I’ve enrolled at Humber to work on my manuscript with MG Vassanji. He helped me work on my short story thanks to Diaspora Dialogues’ mentoring program. Diaspora Dialogues has accepted the short story for publication. The fifth edition of TOK: Writing the New Toronto will have The New Canadians.
All this would have seemed like a dream last year when I started Generally About Books. As I assess my last year, I’d say the single biggest achievement has been getting a job that acknowledges my talent and utilises my experience.
However, my achievements in the writing sphere are no less noteworthy, and my apologies for being so openly immodest.
I wouldn’t have believed anyone telling me that I’d win two scholarships within a year; get a blog and a column in Canadian Immigrant. Moreover, get to know a whole host of people who have something to do with writing.
I attribute my transformation to the seriousness with which I approached writing my blog. It proved to be cathartic. Fortunately, I met so many people during the last 12 months who didn’t discourage me.
As I approach the first anniversary of my blog this week, I realise how serious the exercise has become for me. I have turned into a serious and compulsive reader and a writer. Until a couple of months ago, I managed to complete at least a book a week. Now the pace has slackened because I’ve started writing my own book.
I’m reading Empire of Illusion by Chris Hedges, a book that is ominous and disturbing. I plan to write about it next week. It sort of echoes the observation I made when I started this blog.
Before I conclude, I must congratulate myself for another reason, too. This is the first year – after many, many years – that I made more friends than enemies.