If one has the talent or gift to write and understand language, one cannot become a writer without support. One needs encouragement guidance and appreciation.
How I became a Writer
I always wanted to write a book. I was not aware of the form and shape because I was just ten years old.I knew that I wanted to be like one whose photographs I saw in ‘Life ‘Magazines and ‘The Readers Digest’
Then I was put in a lovely school with many good books, full of pictures, stories and adventures and best of all were the poetry books’ The Silver Bell Series. I was now sure that I wanted to write yet still did not know what it was like to be a ‘writer’
Many years later when I was in the 8th year of school I found myself reading Alexander Dumas’s book ‘The Three Musketeers’ , ‘The Man in The Iron Mask’, ‘Jane Eyre’ was the favorite made me cry and wet my pillow.’ Treasure Island was yet another one which really stirred the imagination. One cannot really ignore ‘The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes which played a major role in developing the art and skill of writing and deeply inculcating the love of ‘Story Telling’
Writing is deeply connected with the writing instrument ‘the pencil’ and soon the love for pencils seeped in the heart soul and spirit never to leave its earthly encasement.
Writing poems started early then came article writing, four short stories and then more articles which found their way to the pages of Women’s Own Magazine Karachi Pakistan
The arrival of the Internet brought a great change with it.It opened the doors to the larger writing community of the world and my poems jumped into the International Forum where they took me across the oceans to the United States of America, winning a simi final bronze medal in the 2000 Poet of Merit Competition for my poem ‘Dear Teacher’ The on it was no stopping for poetry, prose has been slow but my third line of ‘Defence and Survival’ being Art and Drawing helped me to move on. A few cartoons successfully reached Turkey in the AyeDin Dogan International Cartoon Competition, the cartoons carried a story but later being in the character of a girl, I abandoned the project on learning that such artwork is not allowed.
This led to a discussion with the family who thought I was greatly talented though one key person in my life (prefer not name) always discouraged me from artwork and my studies were diverted towards Literature and Language and today I am thankful to the Almighty that I did not take up Fine Arts, though perhaps it would have brought me more money that being a writer poet. But again it is ordained in life ‘whatever will be will be, the future is not ours to see’ And so I started writing a diary with travel notes. I drew a map of the journey in the Northern Areas with father then an Armed Forces Agency Surgeon posted at Gilgit, a beautiful place where natural beauty never ends.We travelled from Gilgit to Hunza on Jeeps and from Hunza to Nagar and back to Gilgit. The year was 1963.
I recorded the names of the places and took photographs and cannot forget the majestic mountains, the fruit: apricots, apples, cherries, grapes and walnuts.I have never again seen walnut trees so fresh and green ever again nor have tasted walnuts in that raw form. They were deliciously strangely sweet.
A gap came in between for a few years and in the 1970s I realized that writing is The Way to Survival for Sure’ and started my struggle on the road to literary development.
My job as a Teacher Trainer brought my artwork forward when my Principal Mrs Shahid who had the gift of identifying talent in an individual, told me one day
‘Anjum, you have that stroke in your hand, why don’t you draw. Add a little art work to your language handouts’’ I tried that and it was quite a success because even in the year 1991 starting my first professional job we were using a type writer and a photo copier. Using the cutting pasting techniques we prepared reading material and activity sheets for the Teacher Trainees. This work gave me the opportunity to combine art and language.
One day my gracious Principal came up with another Project
‘Anjum, you have to write a prayer a day’ It was a challenge I accepted.My principal knew I could write for I was already writing welcome and farewell speeches for the Training Course Openings and Closing Ceremonies’ ‘The result was ‘ Prayers of Gratitude for The Classroom’ a book for Teachers and I was well on my way of becoming known as a writer.
I called the printer shop and ordered some visiting cards. I asked the man in charge to write’WRITER’ under my name and ‘this was a step forward on the ‘Road to Writing’
By the Grace of The Almighty I have seen my name Listed on the Internet website Listorious as an Author ‘The year 2011
Thirty five years later.