‘You must always write with your reader in mind.’ This was one of the first pieces of advice that I received when I began my writing career. Honestly, I found this extremely hard to do because more often than not, I couldn’t picture my ideal reader. Slowly, this advice changed to ‘Write for yourself.’ While that seemed easier, it didn’t necessarily fulfil the reality of the situation, meaning, writing for myself didn’t translate into sales of whatever I wrote. As time went on, though, there were a few things I understood which made writing far more pleasant and lucrative, namely, writing was a transfer of emotions, the ability to keep a subtle journal and collecting gibberish.
Is it possible to read several books at once? Aneeta Sundararaj finds out.
My latest novel, The Age of Smiling Secrets was shortlisted for two categories in the Book Award 2020 organised by the National Library of Malaysia. When I reflected on the journey that this book has taken, I acknowledged the enormous influence of one of my all-time favourite books, Joseph Anton: A Memoir (ISBN 9780224093972 – hardcover) by Salman Rushdie. Written in the third person, the memoir is an account of Rushdie’s life during the fatwa that was issued as a reaction to criticism and a widespread controversy over his novel The Satanic Verses (1988). Rushdie used “Joseph Anton” as a pseudonym while in hiding.
Although the concurrent legal jurisdictions of Syariah Law and the Civil Law is unique to Malaysia, they continue to cause problems and there is a growing air of pessimism all round.
Aneeta Sundararaj is fascinated by the removal of celebrities’ wedding photos because of venue. Is this likely to happen in Malaysia?
A story about a Malaysian author, a locally-published book and a miracle in a faraway place a few days before Christmas.
[Note: This story was first published in CLARITY (15 August 2019). It is published here with permission.]
The scene is familiar: It’s Sunday evening and a family of four come into a restaurant for dinner. The waitress shows them to a table and before they even sit down, all four of them – father, mother, son and daughter – place their phones on the table. Orders are placed and while waiting for the food to arrive, they are glued to their phones.
[Note: This story was first published in CLARITY (15 July 2019) and is posted here with permission.]
When my aunt was diagnosed with cancer, one thing struck me as odd. Convinced that she’d lived a fulfilled life, she was resigned to her fate and said, “My doctor told me that if you get cancer, you’re just unlucky.” I wanted to tell her about the many people I’d met who’d gone into remission and, miraculously, lived long and healthy lives. However, I stayed silent because I knew better than to challenge her. My aunt died within 24 months of making that statement.