My dearest Joanne,
This is not a story.
This is a close, heartfelt correspondence with a woman, who is more than an idol to me. This is a piece of my mind – a piece of my life.
I’m currently in that phase of life when the warmth of a wishful hope, hugs me so tightly at night, that I am suffocated and cannot help thinking – ‘What if.’
So many what ifs.
What Ifs are like December mornings. You can see the sun, but you cannot quite feel the heat of its presence.
This is piece of writing is probably the last amount of courage that I have, and I’m glad I’m investing it right here – where it deserves to be.
Tomorrow is September the first – The day when Harry’s life changed forever when he boarded the Hogwarts express at Platform Nine-Three-Quarters. To me, the date signifies a turning point in life, an escape from harsh circumstances, and into a world that one can finally call home.
I don’t even know where I’m going with this post. My thoughts are quite non coherent right now, and I hope that you stick with me until the end of this. I’m figuring it all out as I type.
You inspired me to write, Jo.
And hence, it is only sensible that I write about this to you.
I’ve lost a dream.
I lost it somewhere between the lines ‘Just one more shot’ and ‘This is never going to work’.
I remember writing my first ever short story, posting it on Facebook, having an audience read it, and appreciate me for it. I kind of liked that feeling that I went on to write almost thirty more short stories and a novel – All within a span of 20 months. And I have to say, those were the most beautiful 20 months of my life.
I never knew that I could be so passionate, disciplined and committed about something, until I started writing.
I still vividly remember the first time I was hit by a massive idea for a novel.
And just like all massive ideas, this one swept me off the floor, made me fall in love with it, consumed my entire existence, and made me believe that getting that idea written into a stack of two hundred and twenty pages, was the ultimate purpose of my life.
Nothing else mattered. I wrote page after page, and even before I knew it, I finished the novel.
I had created something for the first time in my life, and the rush and thrill of creating something soon gave way to the desire of unleashing it into the world.
I wanted it – still want it- to be published.
However, we don’t always get all that we want in life, do we?
Maya Angelou once said that there is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. How true.
The very thought that I have a 220 page novel that I once loved with all my heart, perishing in the dusty walls of my cupboard, makes me despise the person I’ve become. I try and distract myself, but it doesn’t work.
They say love hurts more than anything else. How wrong. How very wrong. I don’t think anything could hurt as much as creating something and letting it die. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m currently in no position to judge.
It wasn’t just a novel, Joanne. It was my baby.
I put my heart and soul into it, wished for it every night, loved it as much as it was possible for the limits of my human spirit to love any material thing, held on to it, during the toughest times of my life, clung on to it, with the tiniest amounts of courage that I had left, only for it all to end. Abruptly. Just like that.
And now, it’s as if it never existed.
I just want to shout, at the top of my voice, until my lungs run out of air, and ask for it to come back. Not the novel- but the feisty inspiration that once swept me off my feet.
I need the inspiration, Joanne.
I miss being inspired.
I’m not me, without the creative inspiration that I was once bubbling with. I’m an agonized wounded soul, screaming and crying for help. The only balm that can soothe my pain is the very thing that wounded me. I need to write again. I’ll probably get hurt once more, and even at a larger magnitude, but I honestly have nothing more to lose. Trying just one more time wouldn’t hurt, would it?
But I’m afraid I can’t.
The spark is gone. Most of it melted away with each rejection letter, and the dawning of reality ruined all that remained of it. A Lost dream can never be retrieved, I guess.
There’s no traces left of the passion or commitment that I once had, and I would’ve very easily believed that it was all just a dream, if not for the bruised heart, and the bleeding soul that the shattered dream left me with.
But for the very small amount of time that the dream existed, life was so beautiful, Joanne. I felt so good about myself.
I was happy.
When it all crashed – without any warning – and right in front of my eyes, I fell into the deep dungeons of depression.
I was lost. I knew I’d never be the same person again.
The spark, which kindled the fire in my spirit, was gone. So was steel resolve, and undying amounts of courage, which made me believe that I was the heiress of Gryffindor.
I’ve grown up since the first time I ever read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone, and the last time I did, which was yesterday.
I’m 21 now. An adult.
I can hear the winds of change, knocking at my dorm room, and I’m trying too hard to listen. I don’t want to miss the message they’ve brought. I’ve missed enough.
You were almost a second mother to me, Joanne. You raised me. My childhood was wrapped around the infinite, never-ending realms of the Harry Potter Fandom.
You taught me to stand up for myself and my beliefs. You taught me that a girl can always be better than her circumstances. You taught me that that life isn’t always, fair – but you try to live it courageously anyways.
And that even the toughest times can be lived through, if one manages to cling on to the values they cherish the most.
You taught me that faith, always, wins.
My mother keeps telling me this, Joanne. ‘When courage is lost, everything is lost.’
Surprises me how right she is. So much more surprising that I wrote almost a thousand words without even planning for it.
I feel a lot different about myself as I type this out. Maybe it’s not as bad as I thought it to be. Maybe it isn’t about getting to sign a contract, see your name in print and sign copies at bookstores.
I’m not going to lie. Of course, I do wish I get to do all the ‘celebrated’ author part, but honest to Krishna, that’s not the only reason I’m writing.
It’s about doing it for the fun of it. The thrill and excitement that gushes through my veins, every time I finish a story, type ‘The End’ and stare at the computer screen for what seems like an eternity and then take in a deep breath – because I’d just CREATED something.
A creation. Another world. Several characters that did not exist a few moments ago, now lived inside the electronic confinement of my computer screen – that thrill, that excitement- That’s probably what writing is all about.
It’s about not quitting when you get rejection letters that say ‘You’re not enough, Bala. We don’t want you, Bala’ in the most polished way. It’s about putting it off at the back of my mind and to keep writing anyways – because it makes me happy.
My dream is broken. Yes. But the fact that I managed to survive only made me realise that my spirit is not.
Every time things look dire, and I think I’ll never recover from a particular situation, I end up realising I’m stronger than I thought I was, and I actually do recover.
Perhaps it sounds quite clichéd, and I know you’d have heard this a million times before, but I owe you, Joanne.
I do wish you could see that everything I am, and everything I ever will be, is because of you.
You taught me that some battles are worth fighting for.
And that happy endings are worth waiting for.
For the past few months, I’ve covered the depression part of being a rejected author enough. It’s probably time I give Inspiration, some company.
I now find myself with the desire, to wrap my Gryffindor scarf around my neck, roll up my sleeves, chase the inspiration that I lost, to catch up with it and live it.
So here I am.
In my calm and picturesque college campus, with a fresh new notebook, a shiny golden coloured pen and a million new possibilities.