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Sofia L, our Featured Author of the Month in August 2017 describes herself as someone who is happiest reading or writing. We bring you more about this talented writer.
Women’s Web is a collection of very diverse voices, of Indian women (and a few men too), from around the globe. Every month, we feature 3 of our community members here, authors who have made a difference.
In August 2017, one of our Authors of the Month is Sofia L. Sofia’s writing does not have the force of a sledgehammer; instead, it is proof that subtlety works. With the gentlest of prods, in simple yet eloquent language, she gets us thinking about things that we have often taken for granted. You can view her writing at Women’s Web here.
Authors are often asked this question, but everyone has their own reasons, very personal to them. So, why do you write?
As I have mentioned in my profile, I feel most alive when I am either reading or writing. Reading has always been my passion. I have always marveled at how writers, poets, bloggers and even historians manage to evoke raw emotions in the reader. To be reading a book, to be turning its pages and getting lost in its words, to be transported into a world completely different from mine, to feel for the characters, to laugh with them, to weep with them and to live their lives, that for me represents nothing less than a miracle. No other thing brings out that kind of feeling in me. To be a part of this elite group that writes and touches people through the amalgamation of certain words placed by the way they think is nothing short of a huge honour and privilege for me.
When and how did you first begin writing?
I had no idea I could write a bit. I got interested in writing when blogging came into existence almost 15 years ago. I realized that I enjoyed reading snippets of people’s lives. I wondered if I could do the same. I remember my first blog being about arranged vs. love marriage. Someone commented that I had taken the safest route to begin my innings as a writer. But my blog got a lot of views and comments.
I was hooked. I enjoyed the feeling that there were people out there who were actually interested in reading about my thoughts and how I expressed them. Being a very private person, I realized I was not cut out for the world of personal blogging. I was not very comfortable laying out the person I was on paper. I am glad I didn’t. At that age, I don’t think I had much interesting stuff to say. But I was not ready to give up the readership I was getting. So I switched gears and started writing love stories. More of love sagas. I went by the pen name of Fizo on Sulekha and to my utmost, pleasantest surprise, I gathered a huge fan following.
People would be waiting for me to publish something. I became a prolific writer and I was having so much fun that I vowed to always be a writer. When I write, I give a part of myself to my work. It is really a lovely experience to go back to the piece years later and rediscover who you were at one point in time.
Do you have a muse?
I would say the Universe is my muse.What is interesting about my writing is that I begin trying to write something and end up with something completely different from what I had intended to write in the first place. I am blessed that once I start writing the words just flow. A recent example has been how I started out thinking I’d write a story about an extra marital affair and ended up writing about how the husband falls in love with his wife over the course of their marriage. I surprise myself with where my writing leads me. It’s like I am being guided to write by my muse!
Where do you get your ideas from?
I get ideas from thin air. It’s like the universe wants me to write and is always throwing ideas at me. I do get inspired by my life and lives of people around me. I also get inspired by news and current events. Once I wrote a story based on the news that a soldier had died fighting in the Iraq war. Another time I wrote a story about a woman I had met on the bus who showed me the scars of her head that her husband had very ‘kindly’ imparted to her. I remember being shaken by that episode.
Another thing that inspires me is when I read a good book. I remember reading The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan and just being blown away by it. The book dealt with emotions and relationships which I believe is my forte too. I realized that I did not have to give long winding descriptions of the villa the people live in (I believe I don’t have that much eye for detail). I could touch the reader while depicting the lives and emotions of the people living in the villa and that’s what I do in my writings. I latch on to the feelings of people very well and can convey their emotions through my writings.
When it comes to writing on/for/about women, what questions and issues drive you the most?
I was never much into gender issues when I started out to write. I was writing flippant love stories, however all my stories had strong woman characters. As I got wiser (and older of course) with age and started to observer more and more, one thing that stood out for me was how unfair woman had it in their lives, me included. As I started paying more attention, I found that almost all the women around me had challenges that they were meeting at the cost of their own lives sometimes.
I was especially inspired by stories of my mom, the other women in my family, maids, my colleagues at work, my friends and their moms etc etc. I realized that almost all of us were fighting for our existence. While men seemed to be handed everything in a platter, we women were making sure that this platter was full by ignoring our needs, our health and our lives. As I mentioned before the universe seems to have a plan for me and directs me along that path. That is what I am treading now by writing about women’s issues.
I know I can’t do much to change about the way men think since most of them have it so good, they wouldn’t want to change it. It is the women I want to influence. I am very ambitious in the sense I want to change the way a woman thinks. I want her to rise above and beyond all the conditioning that society in general and families in particular have put them through. That’s my main driving force in writing about women and their issues – to break the mold of thinking which they have been forced into.
Anything you’d like to tell others who would want to write?
For all those women who want to write (and for the others who don’t want to), I have this to say – Please do write. We need our voices to be heard and for that we need a voice. We educated women have to be that voice. Each one of us needs to step up and write and let this world know about what we are facing, what the less fortunate and uneducated ones are going through every day dealing with the unfairness the world is subjecting us to. We need to empower each other out by sharing our views, our stories and our experiences and of those around us. We need these words to be heard and they won’t be unless we put them out there by writing. We need to write. Each one of us!