I have had my share of sheroes growing up. It began with the likes of J.K Rowling and Enid Blyton as I gradually moved on to reading classics by Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte. When it came to poetry, I found solace in the works of Maya Angelou, Alice Walker and Sarojini Naidu.
With time, writing evolved and obviously, so did reading. When I started putting together my first book “Nascent Wings”, people told me to think twice. They said poetry was too niche and that nobody would read the book. I still went ahead and published it. The process helped me understand the difference between being a writer and an author.
Meanwhile, came a wave that changed it all. Contemporary poets like Michael Faudet, R. H. Sin, Rupi Kaur and my personal favourite -Lang Leav, swept the world with their unconventional yet beautiful style of poetry.
Lang Leav is one poet who inspires me the most. She makes me want to be a better writer, a fluid poet and above all -an awesome woman. We all know that she is an amazing poet and a great novelist. I had the opportunity of meeting with her during a reading session at Kinokuniya Book Store in Singapore last December. That encounter changed my approach towards writing, in fact, it impacted my approach towards life altogether.
That one-on-one meeting with this powerhouse of talent is a day I look back to whenever I feel low. Her work has been an inspiration to me in the last decade and her words became my secret mantra since the day I met her.
I told her about my ambitions and aspirations. I also told her about my work – successes and failures. She was kind, patient and supportive.
She told me how she began her journey. She explained that there is nothing wrong with self-publishing. You put your work out there and let readers decide. It will pick up eventually. She also explained that it is a gradual process. We, as writers, keep learning and improving throughout. There should never be a point when we cease to learn because if that junction arrives, we cease to grow.
She further explained how she had supported her work with self-publishing for almost 10 years. Social media played a critical role in helping her develop a fan base. When I asked her about her basic mantra for success that she would give to aspirants like myself, she said
No matter what, just never give up. Keep writing and keep pitching your work. The day will come. Use social media and go for self publishing until they notice you. If your work is honest, you will get there for sure.
Her words were like a consolation for me. She made me realize that I could be something more than what I am today, that I could make a difference with my words and be remembered for them when I was gone. I could not thank Miss Leav more for her humble guidance and encouragement.
In your words, I would like to thank you ma’am
“You have said all the things I need to hear, before I knew I needed to hear them.”
Every time I look at my copy of “Love & Misadventure”, it reminds me of that fortunate afternoon when I met my Shero who turned out to be much more than I had ever imagined. Your down to earth attitude and passion for Literature make me want to be like you. They fuel me with the urge to be a better person and make me fall in love with books even more!
Thank you for blessing me with a memory that I will cherish forever.
Love, respect and unending admiration
An Ardent Fan.