Friday, April 4, 2014

Missing a World That Never Existed

It's a strange feeling missing a world that never existed – a world of your imagination created for a work of fiction. 

I spent five years or so of my life creating and crafting a small town where my character Elijah Emory went to school and played out his life with his friends Tobias, Tenzin, Melody and Deirdre. As school-kids in a Himalayan hilltown would: by hanging out at the town malls, eating street food, watching the mountains covered in snow, attend classes, attend balls, sports seasons, and so on.

A year or so ago, I decided to give this work a break and focus on other projects. This was because I live in NZ, a world so far away from this imaginary reality that I was struggling to keep it alive. Also I felt disrespectful of the blessing that was of being able to live in NZ by so blatantly dreaming about a place somewhere else. Also I was starting to forget to live my life here in this new country.

Some days, however, I go through withdrawals, or a stark nostalgia for this memory of this imaginary world. When this happens, I feel crumbled inside me, like a knot has been tightened in my stomach. A very tense sense of longing again.

You don't have anyone to talk to, simply because no one else, apart from you, has been there. No one knows the streets enough to talk to about. The people who would know this place are also imaginary, made up fictional characters. And as real as they are (were) to you, they do not talk back to you.

The feelings don't last too long. Because I know one day I will go back to India, if even for a few months just to write and finish this book. It's the one story I will not leave unfinished. 

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