“You may see all my rises but will certainly miss seeing how many times I fell before rising. I would say that is very humble and kind of you for choosing to see me only rise.”
Writing comes with a huge baggage of responsibility and a tremendous amount of vulnerability. Certainly, I thus wanted to ensure what you read is only the best. When I say this, with no hesitation I must tell you that this piece which is merely 7000 words, has been edited, rewritten, and presented to readers of all age groups at multiple levels during this entire writing, publishing and printing process.
This journey has been an enduring and challenging one for me and my sister (all the work besides writing has been majorly handled by her) and it will be my absolute delight to share with you the intricacies of the entire process; from how it began to how it manifested into this beautiful edition and everything in between.
When did I begin to write?
I have been writing since I was in my 6th grade. It gradually progressed from prose to poems, from writing about personal experiences to those that were meant for a readership. Ever since then, I have only practised the craft every single day.
As far as the idea to produce this book is concerned. By the third year of my college, I had with me a big collection of poems. This idea to bring them into a compilation for an audience was brooded by one of my professors in College and later on given boost by my sister. I was pushed to realize that what I wrote required to be put out in the public domain for others to read. I knew it could certainly become a possibility someday, so I asked myself, why not now?
What gave me the confidence to plan something this big? Were there any rejections? How did I work upon them?
The little appreciations from readers in my first line of circle and confidence of my closed ones in my potential were enough for me to launch myself into a risk of this worth. So it would not be wrong to say that the idea had been planted after my graduation itself.
I began by sending compilations of poems and short stories in various competitions and failed every time. I was certainly not ready. I was only at margins of producing the best. So, I began reading. This was a moot point of transformation. I read classics, contemporary poems, works of fiction and all literature that could interest me. It gave me confidence and a foundation upon which I could build my work. If ever I am asked which part of the journey I enjoyed most, it would certainly be this. I had in my mind many ideas to weave them all in a story but I needed something more than that. I wanted to accomplish something which was relatable, relevant, a short and light read pertaining to all the age groups.
What is the most interesting aspect of my journey as an author? How much time did I take to write the book?
The most interesting aspect of the journey was the writing and editing process. It began on one of my cheat days (off-studies). I watched the movie ‘Forest Gump’ then picked to read Robert Frost’s Poems and landed on this one “Good Hours” which instantly inspired me to execute an idea. I sat around 6 pm only to leave my desk the next morning.
I picked up a few of my poems and adjusted them to suit the requirements of the storyline. The idea of the story was the only aspect I approached and executed in spontaneity. It was the most opportune moment and I seized it unapologetically. It was first published on this website, then it went on to be in a kindle (e-book) format.
I had written the story overnight but the entire process stretched over one and a half year.
Is this book a work of pure fiction or does it have a reflection of me?
Of course, I could not keep myself away from the story. No author has ever been able to establish that. At least a marginal reflection and author biases do find some place in the book. It definitely is fiction, I assumed a character “Frost” and built it around the ideas I had borrowed from my reading of a few books, poems, movies and indeed my personal observations around me.
As far as the theme is concerned. “Depression” was not the first underlying theme in my mind and I had only carried the idea of abandonment from the poem I had read a night before. My perspective was limited to a minor idea. But as they say “you see what you want to see”, most readers made their distinct interpretations and this helped me mould my story further with their inputs and reviews.
I was overwhelmed and surprised with the intensity with which people found it relatable and some even genuinely asked for help, which gave my work an unmatched purpose. I had to be responsible and sensitive. This certainly was a challenge.
What to expect in the book?
The book is in the form of a monologue with a collection of poems woven into a story. Although the underlying theme appears to be depression and an evaluative journey of coming out of it, the book covers a wide arena of themes like societal conditioning, Identity and/or existential crisis, love and attention, empowerment, world peace etc.
In the book, Frost-the protagonist engages with the reader upfront on a one-sided talk. However, it is beautiful to see how the experience of the reader transforms when it more or less becomes the story of the reader himself/herself. Then the distinction between the reader and the protagonist disappears.
Frost begins her book with a writer's block, she is not sure what she wants to talk about and slowly in her first poem itself she finds a flow which she consistently keeps up.
Her conversation is divided into 12 chapters covering a wide arena of themes and aspects of her personality. It progressively transforms her individual story to involve a world perspective and the reader himself/ herself becomes an engaging part of it.
How have I ensured the book for a wider readership?
With a genuine understanding that poetry is not in every reader's capacity to comprehend, I made it as guided as I possibly could. I have additionally added chapter wise meanings as well as a notes section with insights on several aspects of the poems. So that even those who haven't been into poetry before, at least begin to experience it and maybe, if they find the content insightful later, love it as well.
A few closing thoughts to surmise this write-up-
The title of the book is 'IN GOOD HOURS WITH FROST'. Frost is the protagonist and a beautiful storyteller. I simply wanted the reader i.e. you to know that your following couple of hours with Frost would be one of the most cherishable experience. Nothing less than meeting a person who begins to share her story with a striking similarity to yours.
This book is very small. The objective was to make you feel relevant, relatable, belonging and light when you read the book and fill you with an experience that makes you revisit it again.
I must take this space and opportunity to thank my lovely parents for trusting me on every aspect of it and bracing me with finances and love and to my sister Tanu, without whom this project would not have even begun.
I dearly hope you find my work insightful. If you are interested to read more about the process in detail you can visit my author’s page on Goodreads where I have attempted to address a few similar questions. For any further queries, please feel free to comment below or e-mail me.