My blog title 'Reflections on a Gift of India' is deliberate and for me the meaning is profound. I am not sure if poets are born or made but I know my early exposure to the modern poetic world helped.
I went to an alternative school in Toronto, Canada and we had alternative course material all of which was perhaps divined by some higher wisdom to prepare me for an alternative life. My younger brother who went there also says in his opinion the Institute of Child Study taught us to self-govern and made us unemployable. That is, unable to work for anyone except ourselves. As a summary it interests me - I myself have been sacked more than once - so I think there must be something to it.
The truth is he and I both run our own businesses now and my sister is happy in a collective state. I guess his assessment is right. One tremendous advantage of the Institute of Child Study was that they encouraged the writer in me - part made and part born - and that is where my India title originates.
Reflections on a Gift of India is a straight steal from 'Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle' which is a verse that was put in front of us when I was maybe nine years old. Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle goes on to tell of Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle received from a friend called Felicity during that summer. When unicorns were still possible.
(Interesting how suddenly sad putting these words down on electronic paper makes me feel. Nothing wrong - I still like the poem, the ground is still here, I can still breathe - it is just that an impossible amount of water has flooded countless football fields between when Jean - my name at nine - first got still with that poem and now.)
In summary, I would like to encourage EVERYONE who might be waiting to create (cookery books, photography, sculpture) and say to all that it really is okay not to be out there at 25. Also fine to still have her/it/him on the backburner at 50. I made some small literary waves when I was younger (they felt big on board my ship) and then that expression of my creativity went inward for decades. I was on a kind of time release unknown to myself and I had my hands full. There really isn't any other way to say it. I wasn't happy about it but when I turned to my guides inside and out I was told to follow my path and believe. I also, wisely, gave up.
Trust me when I tell you that the creative spark is hard-pressed to extinguish and I do believe what they believe in India - my friend and the Ayurvedic doctor Sheela without hesitation told me so.
Everything has its time.
So I have brought my second novel-in-progress here to India (I burnt the first one) and I have brought my poetry in a metaphoric jar. This time the waves can be as big as they want and I am willing to fall off or go under.
Postscript: I have been in India for 10 days now and have 53 more days to go. This start-up blog is in honour of my writer-in-waiting. Today I dedicate my thanks to John Tobias who wrote Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle and for Jean (my name previously) sitting cross-legged and reading on the ICS classroom floor. Thanks also to the Institute of Child Study because all that floor sitting was fantastic preparation for yoga.
More to come...
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