My inspiration to write comes from those who can work the permutations and combinations of the 26 letters of the English alphabet. They work these into words, craft sentences with them which become stories transporting us into their worlds, minds and, experiences.
Conrad made me experience ‘the horror, the horror’. T. E. Lawrence dared me to be a ‘dreamer (s) of the day’ and act on those dreams with open eyes to make them possible. The Voyages of Sinbad took me into mythical worlds, which made me imagine with wonder. Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, William Peter Blatty and Stephen King made me reluctant to get off my bed in the middle of the night to make the few steps to the bathroom.
Lewis Carroll made me laugh when he advises a penny postage stamp ‘You’d best be getting home (he said) The nights are very damp!’ Elmore Leonard and Kurt Vonnegut helped me experience the dark underbelly of society through what their characters said to each other.
I witnessed watery wastes, distant lands, and great sea battles through the eyes of Patrick O’Brian’s Captain Jack Aubrey and the ship surgeon Stephen Maturin.
I hear Freddie Mercury singing Radio Ga Ga and am reminded of H. G. Wells and all his stories in the lyric ‘through wars of worlds, invaded by Mars’.
Paul Beatty helped experience the urgency to get out of a theater when someone shouts ‘Fire’. Sandilyan’s Kadal Pura took me to the times and adventures of my distant Chola ancestors.
Reading aloud ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’, ‘The Jumblies’, Jabberwocky’ and ‘The Hunting of the Snark’ endeared me to my daughters and helped them sleep knowing I was a constant in their lives. They still do.
Books and their authors have resulted in who I am today. The thoughts, ideas, visions, experiences, and empowerment they shared caused a continuous change in my life. They informed my attitudes, the resulting behavior, and practices defining who I was during the moment in time. From a one-liner such as ‘Money can’t buy you happiness but it does bring you a more pleasant form of misery’ to books I struggled to understand (Leviathan), the words and sentences forged by their authors informed and educated me. They were formative and catalysts. They opened out possibilities of human endeavor I never thought possible.
There are books you come back to year after year. Dune is one of them. It continues to influence me, no matter how many times I read it.
I too wanted to undertake this craft, to share my experiences and the world I saw and experienced through my senses with others. I believe this trait is common to every human being, within whom live stories needed to be told and shared. These emerge through countless ways and forms of self-expression. I use writing, art, and illustration are capabilities for my own self-expression.
These are the reasons I write, no matter how imperfect my craft. I draw inspiration from everything I read, be it doggerel, a blog post, a short story or book. I am encouraged by the sincerity and honesty of those who connect, correct, and criticize me. I am driven because time has taken on a new and increasing urgency. No matter how imperfect, I need to share my thoughts and perspective of the world whenever there is an opportunity to so.
At the core of everything, I am inspired to write by those who failed time after time, stood up again, persevered, committed everything. and with self-sacrifice, worked the 26 letters ultimately into literary gems of dazzling incandescence.
Daniel Sinnathamby is a humanitarian and development professional with more than 30 years of strategic leadership, organizational development, and program management experience with international humanitarian and development agencies and networks.
Illustration used had been crafted by Daniel Sinnathamby.