To Be Or Not to Be

by Chandrika R Krishnan

It was in the year 1983 when my very first story was published in the then women’s magazine in India. Short of taking out a billboard, I tried to let everyone know that I wrote. I left the magazine at strategic places and walked a couple of inches above the ground.

An inveterate dreamer, I dreamed my way through school and college. My mother who noticed my scribbling on the back of the calendar paper and read the story about a married couple who have ***teething*** problems but eventually iron them out, did not know what to make of it as I was just seventeen. But she was sufficiently invested in it to seek a second opinion from my “perpetually procrastinating father” who was more of a serious reader. She made me visit the local typist for the story to be typed out, get it re-typed after the edit and then use the snail mail, enclosing a self-addressed stamped envelope in case of a reject.

It was one hell of a costly affair not to speak of the time taken between writing and publication, if at all. By the time I finished my college, three of my stories were published in the same magazine and many were rejected. Looking back, I believe that despite such early successes I couldn’t capitalize enough because of limited markets for short stories and sending them out was even more of a tedious job. Moreover, I smarted at the rejects. Today, I am happy getting them as it is preferable than silence!

Then was I a failure?

Neither I nor anyone in my family circle even considered a career in writing. Though we were all voracious readers, we left the serious writing to serious authors! I suppose that “doubting bone” still remains despite having published more than two hundred articles, short stories and poems. I always had and still have the famed “impostor syndrome.”

I am now exploring newer markets, having my work critiqued by groups which is helping my writing. On the flip side, the “impostor syndrome” is larger than ever before. When earlier every piece of my writing made my heart jump in joy, today I am only finding myself comparing quite unfavorably with other “successful” writers with “drool worthy” bylines.

But each time I think I haven’t achieved much, I remember my father who till his death in 2015 had a bag with copies made of my articles and handed them over to relatives and friends like the Bit – Notice, which In India are small pamphlets distributed at bus-stops and other places as an advertisement to new business ventures. I made my parents proud and that is a triumph enough for me.

Even if my writing wasn’t a roller coaster ride with its triumphs and falls, it was always gentle as a see-saw.

The above excerpt are some of my ruminations in my journey as a writer.  My essay was published in a book To Be Or Not to Be a Writer.  Do grab a copy on Amazon  and read mine along with some amazing authors journey.  It also has some fabulous flash fictions and poems among others.

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