, , ,

“If you want to write, you have to have two main things,” said Henning Mankel today in Jaipur. “You need to burn to tell the story…to tell it to someone else. There has to be a fire in you to do it”. The Literature Festival is a wild affair, as done in Jaipur. The tents on the lawns of the Diggi Palace are bedecked with swathes of Rajasthani fabrics, steaming chai dispensed in clay cups give just the right sweet hit to keep going from session to session of great discussions on writing and word wangling in all forms and the inevitable debate about the death of the novel and fascinating insights into India’s relationship to Pakistan and Kashmir and and …. then there’s the nightly music extravaganza. What a magical introduction for me…to some of the most haunting and powerful Rajasthani, Qawaali, Tamil…musicians, I’ve ever heard. The frenzy this evening was for Susheela Raman, singe and all round stunning performer. It’s also an auspicious day for weddings in India so Jaipur’s streets are filled with staunch men in regalia on white merwari horses and processions with fire sticks and lights and drumming and fireworks exploding in the skies and much trumpeting… wonderful. Two more days of the festival and I can’t wait!
It’s this sort of event that really makes me realise how inspiring it is to be around writers and books and how…no matter how many times I hear the question – ‘how do you write’ addressed to a published author – I am still so keen to hear the answers, gather the gems…. so, what was Henning Mankell’s second gem: ‘Find your voice; find the way that only you can tell a story,” and keep telling it until you forget it’s made up… He also mentioned a wonderful technique for up and coming writers, which I’ve often mentioned to attendees at Editing in Paradise. Find an author you love and …copy them. Yes…not, NOT plagiarise their work but literally, copy out their lines…you will get to see/feel how it is to form their sentences, find their rhythms and it will help you get yours…” It was great to hear it from him…a most impressive and entertaining story teller.