Monday, May 24, 2010

Reader Feedback: The Beauty of Life

Readers often share thoughtful and interesting observations with me. Here's one:

The reader asks:

I like the way you put words together. It's pretty and also poetic. You seem to write about macabre and bothersome parts of life like war, religious strife, death.
Will you ever write about the beauty of life?


I responded:

Dear Sandy,

First off, thanks for the literary compliment! I work hard at the craft of writing. Sometimes I succeed. Many times I don’t.

Regarding my topical choices for writing - Life is a matrix of experiences. Literature is a fun-house mirror reflection of that matrix. It’s a mirror because ALL literature, no matter how speculative or outlandish, is SOMEHOW a manifestation and product of a human being’s/writer’s experience. The mirror’s a funhouse mirror because we writers contort and distort and reframe those life experiences into alternate images that are based on the original but modulated to fit the content and context of our particular piece of writing.

Adversity is the crucible in which our character is forged. As a child, I remember a soldier who came to our house in Kampala, Uganda while my father was at work and my mother was at home with my young brothers and me. The soldier made the point that we (Asian Indians) would soon have to leave Uganda and so my mother should let him inside so that he could take our belongings. Later than year, my family and relatives and many other Indians who had lived in Uganda for generations were deported to a refugee camp in Naples, Italy. We were there because of the color of our skin, our ethnicity.

Everyone’s character is created and tempered by their life experiences. When I sit to write, those seared impressions are the first to leap from my mind and into the blank computer screen. The world teems with “war, religious strife, death.” But yes, Sandy, it teems with beauty too.

Resolution 786 is a first novel. There will be more. As I write each successive work, perhaps I’ll have the good fortune of metabolizing the strife and discord that I’ve seen in the world. When all that is successfully exorcised through the cathartic cleanse of written expression, perhaps my last work will be the world’s greatest love story :). I hope it will.

Finally, I’m compelled to note that although Resolution 786 focuses primarily on themes of “love and war and God and lust and loss,” it is not completely void of beauty. When Becca indulges Adam by listening to his philosophical dirges, she does it not from topical interest, but rather, from love. When Lamech’s mother sends him an e-mail in Iraq assuring him that his room at home is the same as he left it, that it patiently awaits his safe return, she makes those statements from love. There is love in Resolution 786. And there is no greater beauty in life than the beauty of one being’s love and affection for another.


  1. Well you're writing something of interest from those experiences. I don't know what Sandy had in mind when she wrote "the beauty of life". But, given your response, I'm sure that one can find beauty and life in your novel.
    So nice to read your blog for the first time!

  2. Fullet,

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. Thanks, too, for thinking well enough of my post to infer "that one can find beauty and life" in my novel. That means a lot, especially coming from a visual artist like yourself.

    E.E. Cummings was a visual artist as well. That aspect of his being manifested in his poetry. In his poem "Grasshopper," Cummings "draws" the letters of the words in forms that convey the jolting movements of a grasshopper. What a perfect union of the literary and visual arts.

    Thanks again for visiting. I look forward to learning more about you on your blog.