Two memoirs published 2021
There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
Maya Angelou (from Last Lecture)
I have reached an age when friends are ladened with hard illness or pass away. In their wake, memories live on. This made me realize how vital it is to create what we can while we remain not only here – but cognizant. That is why after delaying for years, last year – in lockdown due to the pandemic – I finally sat down and wrote two memoirs (True Fables: Stories from Childhood and Buddha and the Dancing Girl: A Creative Life). A friend exclaimed, “At last, you did it!” and I replied, “Well, I figured I had better write the memoir while I could still remember everything.”
What I had not anticipated was experiencing ‘a lightness of being’ after having had written the past away. This left a wide, creative space which in time I knew would be filled with another book or film or play.
Fortuitously, soon after the memoirs were published, a stranger from abroad – a publisher from England – invited me to write a book of short stories set in India. More than twenty years ago, I had written a short story that was published in Poetry London Delhi. At the time, following a Fulbright year in India, I wrote the story with an idea to write a book of stories set in India. Commissions intervened – mostly Hollywood – so somehow, I never got around to writing the book of stories.
That is, until the invitation came from England. I accepted the challenge – and had no illusions that this would be a challenge for a playwright and screenwriter to write prose fiction. Still in lockdown and fifteen stories later, the Tales of India (subtitle as the main title is still in discussion with my UK publisher) became my third book within the Year of the Pandemic. (To be published in 2022)
The moral of this tale is to write the story that is yapping at your heels and won’t let you walk on. It could be a fictional story, a family legacy memoir, a screenplay, play, novel, poem or song. When ‘the calling’ comes, just listen, sit down, and write.
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