Where the conversations never stop…

My promotion for A Deconstructed Heart wraps up in a few hours. It has been a fun and eventful week; heavily promoting my book brought me into a round of delightful conversations with readers and fellow authors. Many of my favorite moments were on Twitter: I received a gracious tweet from a sculptor and fellow author in England who thanked me for sharing the book and told me how much she was enjoying it. I had a meaningful exchange with an author about writing about England and deciding, as readers, at what point we give up on a book that has not made a connection with us. I had a lot of fun with the lively ladies at the Thirty Mommy blog, who had chosen A Deconstructed Heart for their book club of the month. It was fun to chat with them in real-time, having cross conversations with multiple people from various cultures. We discussed the role my character Amal plays with regards to being a caretaker for her uncle, Mirza, and how many of us have taken on unexpected family responsibilities in our lives.

I come away from this week with two thoughts: firstly, how art created in isolation ultimately calls for a shared experience, a human connection at the most fundamental level, and is a panacea for the ills of disconnection in modern life. You may not like the art, you may disagree with it, but hopefully, at the very least it has been thought-provoking and engaged you on some level. The only manner in which art can fail is when it has not succeeded in forming a connection with the reader/viewer/beholder.

Secondly, I was struck this week by how the internet, Twitter in particular, reminded me of what I loved about Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children: in his book, every child born at midnight at the time of India’s Partition is given two magical gifts, the first is unique to that child: it might be strength, or the ability to become invisible… the second is the ability to connect telepathically with all other children born at that moment in history… to meet in the rooms of each others’ minds and hang out together. Twitter was that room for me this week.

Here’s to many more conversations about the human experience sparked by a book, a painting, a sculpture, a piece of music. We need that connection because we need one another. As Desmond Tutu said: “My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together.

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Do you find yourself being drawn to the same theme again…

Molen Lava (kindof)

Molen Lava (kindof) (Photo credit: lrargerich)

… and again? Either as a reader or as a writer? I can’t explain my attraction to stories about India/Indians and Pakistan/Pakistanis. Well, duh, you might say, your Indian heritage explains everything… but indulge me for a moment… what exactly is at work here? Is it a desire to see if someone is doing this better than I am? (Writing about, or simply being Indian?) Or is it a sense that something is inadequate… there is a missing piece that a novel, a story, even one I write myself, will tease out? A childhood memory that I am grasping towards or an inarticulate loss? I thought back to all the writers whose work I have coveted: Naipaul, Rushdie (for Midnight’s Children), Anita and Kiran Desai, Amitav Ghosh, Mohsin Hamid. While they rework the molten silver into strange and fantastical shapes, each utterly original but shining with that familiar gleam, I am rapt.