Welcome to the land of Poetic Parfait, and today’s visitor is author Balroop Singh. I have followed her blog Emotional Shadows for a while now, and it is nice to have the opportunity to chat in depth with her about writing, her poetry book Sublime Shadows of Life, and more. I put out a platter of assorted cheeses and crackers for us as we talk. You are welcome to help yourself to some too! Let’s get started with the interview, shall we?
Welcome, Balroop! Let’s start with an open-ended question. Please tell us a little about yourself and your writing background.
When I was young, quite young, I had no idea that books contained so much of knowledge that could be beyond our comprehension. I was happy with whatever reading material I could find and felt that I had all the information of the world.
When I gained some awareness about the vastness of this globe, I hardly had any time to read, didn’t have any guidance about the choice of books but I was highly imaginative or so I thought! I loved to read and during my flights of fantasy, I could see myself writing. I would consciously tell myself – ‘one day I would write my own book.’
But I had no time! Early, traditional marriage made my life extremely busy and hectic. I forgot all about reading… writing was a far cry!
I gave up my first and a very secure job at the age of 23 to start my family but I couldn’t stay away from the company of students, my most cherished companions who kept my creativity alive.
I chose a busy life to be with the youngsters who were my perennial source of inspiration. As I moved on, balancing various duties of a wife, mother, homemaker and teacher, I started recording my fleeting thoughts on whatever piece of paper or notepad I could find.
It was so easy to write! I didn’t have to struggle with the haphazard placement of syllables on a keyboard, trying to locate them. All my thoughts could flow so spontaneously from my pen!
My students continued to inspire me and many of the poems, which have been compiled in ‘Sublime Shadows Of Life’, were written when I conducted creative workshops to motivate them to write poetry. Those challenging hours and the competitive spirit brought the best out of me.
If you had to choose your favorite poets, whom would you choose?
The classic poets, who have inspired me for varied reasons, have always carried me away:
William Wordsworth for his Nature poems
Robert Frost for his realism and imagery
Rudyard Kipling for his poem “If”
William Blake for his sensitivity and “Songs of Innocence”
I will now read a bit of Blake… No, best to stay on track here (note to self to read more later). Balroop, let’s talk about your book. Who do you think would enjoy reading Sublime Shadows of Life?
All age groups could like Sublime Shadows of Life, as it is a comment on life, its turbulent curves and relationships. It envisions people through the prism of poetry. I, you, he, we and they are universal symbols, which highlight the fact that happiness is not a destination but a chasm to bury agony, anguish, grief, distress and move on! No sea of solitude is so deep that it can drown us. Sometimes aspirations are trampled upon, the boulders of exploitation and discrimination may block your path but those who tread on undeterred are always successful.
What inspired you to write this book?
This book is an anthology of poems, which were written at those emotional moments, those ups and downs of life when we say:
Drowning in the sea of solitude
I looked around shocked
Even tears could mock…
…You remain rooted to earth
But I hold the sky to rise…
Both the journeys
Come with a price!
The spontaneity of those moments is its own reward, if we are able to capture them. I organized them later when I discovered they could make a book.
How beautifully you describe moments of inspiration! I am wondering, Balroop, what feedback have you received from readers so far for Sublime Shadows of Life?
I am humbled by the following feedback, which has been received from my friends and students:
“I would like to congratulate one of my best English teachers – Balroop madam for her sheer will and effort to come up with this poetry book… I could relate the journey of my life to these poems…I would recommend everyone to read this book as one will surely discover some deeper part of oneself in these poems that display myriad of emotions…” – Sumreet posted on Amazon
“For me, this book is a true treasure, which I keep exploring as every emotion expressed in the poems, touch me deeply. I can relate to many sentiments… ‘Parental Bonding’ transports me in time; I can almost feel the touch of those tender hands, which have grown to touch their own horizons….” – Baldeep in Foreword, print addition.
“I marvel at her realism, the imagery, the alliteration and her lucid style of depicting the deepest thoughts. I always knew that she lives through her heart but I congratulate her for expressing the feelings of many hearts, for pouring the anguish into her style and winning our hearts.”- Upjit posted on Facebook.
“Thanks a lot for the excellent collection of poems. Every single expression is so personal yet so universal. I don’t know how many times I am going to read them to understand a new dimension of life.”- Bharati posted on Facebook.
That is amazing feedback. Congratulations! Can you tell us a bit about your writing schedule? How often do you write and do you have a structure to your day?
I only write on weekends and that too if inspiration hits me as I am a busy grandmother, trying to nurture the formative years of my grandchildren with the love and care, that they might feel is lacking at those hours when their parents are at work.
What are your goals in the future in regards to writing?
I have always approached life as it comes. I believe in living in the present moment and so my goals unfold themselves slowly.
It was never on my mind that I would write a blog one day or I had so many moods, emotions and words to express my feelings. A person of few words, I always found poetry a more suitable genre of expression.
Some of the days just pass by me, I keep wondering what to write but some times the divine inspiration is hard to shrug off and I am able to write a poem just within half an hour.
I am working on my next book ‘I Want To Grow Up Again’ but its progress is quite slow. Writing is my lifeline; it fills my leisure hours with positivity. So I want to keep writing, as it is highly cathartic for me.
Indeed, writing is like a form of therapy for many people with whom I have spoken. Okay, one last question for you. What tips would you give to someone who is an aspiring poet?
Aspirations don’t make poets, perseverance does. Flow with the emotions, let your imagination soar, find what ignites the fire within and let it go wild. Sky ceases to be the limit when we start the flight of fantasy.
My conviction is that it is our zeal, our passion for work, which makes us noticeable. Whether you are a homemaker, trying to make your home more comfortable and loving or a struggling writer, dedication and sincerity gleams through your work.
Thank you Balroop for your wonderful answers here! Feel free to stay a little while longer and we can talk some more about poetry.
You can find out more about the book Sublime Shadows of Life by Balroop Singh at Amazon.
To all who join us for this interview, thank you for your support of poetry, writing, and Poetic Parfait ♥