Intro post #1 Tangentially, the why of it

In PERSONAL on December 3, 2012 at 9:21 pm

I have been writing and I have been dabbling.

Samplings here:

Recalling Things That Other People Have Desired @ The Antigonish Review

Selections from Wall (funded by the Ontario Arts Council, 2012) @

Afterflood @

I have been writing for several years and for some of these years I have been thinking about representation. Not only thinking of representation as being problematic in language but also that the attempt towards a representation of the foreign (by foreign I’m referring to culture. In simplistic terms this would be a representation of the east in the west and vice versa) is further complicated, and well, difficult to achieve in any sense if one is aware of the necessities that a true (?) representation of the foreign may entail.

For what is foreign is already with us in how we have been made to consume it, and what is foreign is loaded.

It’s been a while since I read F. Fanon and E. Said but I think a discussion regarding the portrayal of what has been termed the “Other” in literature is still relevant. It may be even more relevant in the aftermath of 9/11 as many have made careers mining the lives of people and places of the east, mainly by reporting on various aspects of societies in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Middle East. I do not mean to belittle the effort towards scholarship and the time and energy spent on research and writing by the authors. So many books of the sort mentioned above line shelves of bookstores such as Chapters providing proof that there is a demand to know about said regions of the world, and a hunger for stories from said regions of the world. However, in all of this I think it is important that people from source countries and from within the originary communities must also be able to represent themselves and their words should be able to find a place in the pages of books that get to be on display at bookstores around the world.

Because I was born in Pakistan and have firsthand experience only of Pakistan and not of the other countries mentioned above I will limit the discussion to writing in, and on, Pakistan. There are less than ten writers of contemporary fiction from Pakistan whose works reach the English-speaking market. These are countless other writers of note living in Pakistan who write either in Urdu or in a regional language. Because the works of such non-English speaking writers have not been translated into English their voices fail to engage or to make an impact on a global scale. I’m aware that similar discussions on representation of this kind have been had before but perhaps a change can be affected by continuing to bring up these issues.

On a personal level then, the impetus for this blog and the decision to put my work-in-progress online has been taken so I may create a dialogue with other writers/poets/artists worldwide and to finally be able to write from the inside, and from the inside of experience.

  1. Wow, what beautiful and insightful reflections. I can’t wait to read more…

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