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Image by Drew Beamer
On Why I Write 

I may have had the inclination to write from a young age. Reflecting back now to my childhood, I wonder if the  process of writing necessarily entails loneliness and melancholy. Looking back, I feel that I may have been a lonely  child in a family of six including my parents. I have a sibling with a major disability, and I often wonder if the rest  of us fell through the cracks -- emotionally that is. We were very well provided for but perhaps not with the  emotional presence of our parents. As an adult you understand and empathize with the struggles of being a parent  in that situation even if you do not have children -- in their shoes I may not have dealt with emotional presence  as well as they did -- but the mind somehow holds on to certain emotions generated by the past. I was immersed  in books when I was little but that habit briefly left me in my 20s. I always loved to buy books though and my  ever-growing bookshelf is still filled with books that my 20-year old self bought and would have loved to read. 




I had my big heartbreak in my mid-20s and now looking back I realize the pivot back to writing may have begun  then and somehow I was thrust into the real world as opposed to writing fiction. I have never been much of a  fiction reader. I read a lot of history, I still do and now I write about it too. Now, however, it feels like a bit of a  calling.  



I have traveled far and wide, lived in a few different places -- perhaps moved homes 20 or so times. Having lived  a somewhat peripatetic existence, I think another set of melancholy in writing comes from displacement, and a  simultaneous desire to belong but also transcend the familiar. One is a foreigner everywhere, even at home but  also at ease in foreign places. My writing certainly seems to be inspired by my positionality as a writer: female from  the Global South but intrepid in terms of location all the same -- but most of all it is inspired by multiple  inequalities. Most of my work focuses on public law & human rights -- female voices are few and representation  of my part of the world even more scant. As much as I wish these hierarchies and erasure of our voices and  histories did not exist; these also motivate writing. Overtime, I have discovered that my best writing comes from  a place of rage and outrage -- the melancholy lasts only as long as the content is brewing in my head. One might  think, well if outrage is what does it, there is no dearth of that in our world, plenty of rage to go around. Here too  lies another dilemma, I often feel overwhelmed and numb from it, and the melancholy returns. 

There is no one way to write. I wish I were more consistent. Sometimes I wish I could find solace in writing. I  rarely do. Most of the time: it is liberating and a way to channel the heaviness of the real world, of inequalities,  and of injustices. This is beginning to feel a little Orwellian -- the title sure is inspired by him. 

The Universe and Its Conspiracies

I have often wondered about cosmic connections to the universe. Does it, as Paul Coelho might have us imagine, conspire to have us achieve what we want? Biblical accounts of the heavens aside, science tells us the sheer breadth and expanse of the universe and galaxies within it. Do I, a mere speck on the sand against that vast span stand a chance for the stars to align, to give me what I want? I certainly have no answers but what I can surmise from the odd occasions when something good happened was, “I should have asked God for something else”—what a wasted opportunity. Trouble is I neither believe in God, nor in fate. 

In my fairly insignificant lifetime, as against the timeless span of the universe, what I have gathered is the way good and evil tend to balance. I supposed one could call it some variation of Karma. On odd occasions, I also think that God, if there was one in the non-traditional and non-denominational sense, might be a communist given her penchant for equitable distribution of grief and sorrow.  The universe always finds a way to balance. Despondence is fleeting; every storm ends, and every tribulation finds relief. What the universe will not do, however, is to hand that reward, good or bad, in the way we think. People and opportunities come into our lives as messengers to impart a lesson, offer a step up to be a better version of who we are or simply hold the key to open a new door or shut another behind us. They could come to us packaged as friends, perhaps a fleeting interaction with a stranger or a confrontation with an old foe. Often their significance is lost on us. 

I for one do not always have the time or inclination to be curious about those messages. We have such little time for reflection that we miss the beauty in the details of these interactions. If the lockdown months of the pandemic has taught me anything, it is the importance of human connection and the desire to be seen and heard. But humans are complex beings akin to perhaps the mythical associations of ravens. Some cultural connotations associate them with bad omens while others consider them to be the bearer of luck. By these analogies, you never know, if that raven in your life waiting around the corner might turn out to an angel, or vice versa, in offering a gift or a lesson. People usually show you who they are; see them, believe them, be curious about them. You never know which doors might open and the skies you may soar to.

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