I always wonder about borrowingwhen I am writing. Unconsciously or consciously we’re all borrowers, we borrow from writings of past that we have written and read, we borrow from people we have seen or met, we borrow from what we were ages ago. Writing for me is never about creating something new, I am always retelling someone’s story through my own words, twisting it perhaps to make the end a little happier.
Lets take the example of my last years novel, an untitled work which dealt with gay romance. Throughout, I knew that I was putting all the love I had for a person I met into the novel. I was putting someone in the place of the wife, I was putting someone in the place of the villains, and the worst part was, I had met all of them. Sure, I never meet my characters as whole people, they are the amalgam of many people I have seen or met. Often, while writing about a bus, I envision a woman with visible collar bones looking outside. There is a smile on her thin lips and her eyes look outwards while she listens to music using her headphones. Over the years she has started mouthing the lyrics, in some stories she has danced to them. However, I have met her only once, in an Auto Line while she argued with her boyfriend over the phone.
Then there is this little kid, sometimes the kid is a boy sometimes the kid is a girl. The gender is moving but, the features stay the same. The inquisitiveness, the anger, the happiness.. I never admit it, but, truly he seems to be a part of myself, someone I have left behind years ago.
The borrowing increases ever so much over the years. The names are stolen without a word said. You fear that if you end up telling them, they would object.
And they would, for no one sees the goodness in the villain as you do.
Then again, cest la vie, my stories end in Kokata not because they have to, but, because if they didn’t I would be lying to myself. And I live in the streets through those writings too.
Then again, when does the borrowing stop?
Right now, when my male character welcomes me with a phrase that chills my bones and makes me wish to write a thousand words or more; is it him speaking or are they the scores of people that go towards making him? And when I write of the women, are they invariably the women and men I have met in my travels?
Or are they mine?
I do not know…
However, when I put them through sorrow and they invariably cry, it seems that I cry too