Exploration on a whim

A couple of days ago, a friend asked me about where the inspiration for my writing comes from. I have a few different answers for this, the first being travel. I’ve been very lucky to have been exposed to travel from a very young age. My family is Indian, but I grew up in Kuwait and Toronto. No matter where we were living, travel has always been a part of my family’s life, from trips to visit relatives in India to spending a weekend at a farm outside of Toronto. Each of these experiences has imprinted itself on my character.

The most exciting part of travel for me goes beyond the tourist attractions in a particular place. While I enjoy visiting these spots, what I appreciate more is walking around and getting a real feel for the place. Every city I have been to feels different, but offers its own aspects to be appreciated and admired.

I’ve spent the last two weeks in Paris and then London, so I can use these as examples. In an earlier blog post, I mentioned one of the aspects of Paris that I most admire: a wonderful appreciation of the arts that has inspired my writing. The heroine in THE AHRIMAN LEGACY, Petra Shirazi, actually spends the first part of Book 2 (currently in progress) living in Paris, of which I am exceedingly jealous.

London boasts some similarities to Paris, as a fellow old European city, but has a completely different feel. People walk down the streets at a brisker pace but the city provides a much more cosmopolitan and modern feel than Paris. Within the sea of 15 different British accents, you can also hear a wide range of other accents across every bustling street corner. Luckily, this week has been sunny (a rarity for this city) and I’ve been able to fully appreciate the size of the city and the collection of neighborhoods that make it up. I spent a few days in the Hamlet of Penge in the suburbs, which is made up of one main street and the surrounding residential area. Where I am staying now, in Little Venice, is a little bit more “happening” but yet calm and serene because of its setting on the Regent’s and Grand Union Canals. While walking around London, I’ve encountered a number of sites that have significance for writers throughout history. Next to Charing Cross Station, a friend pointed out the plaque denoting that Rudyard Kipling lived in the building next door. He also pointed out that Shakespeare and Chaucer worshiped at Southwark Cathedral which we walked by earlier in the day when we visited Burrough Market.

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Previous home of Kipling, next to Charing Cross Station

Southwark Cathedral

Southwark Cathedral

I shouldn’t be surprised that my first book signing happened in this wonderful city where so many writers have paved the way forward for people like me.

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With so much inspiration in both of these cities, it isn’t surprising that I finished the first draft of AHRIMAN: THE SPIRIT OF DESTRUCTION when I was living in between these two cities. At the same time, I do not believe that inspiration is isolated to any particular environment. Even when I am at home in Washington DC, I often notice new things that lead to new ideas that then show up in my writing. The most important part of being open to inspiration for me though is letting my thoughts explore different ideas at a whim, in much the way that we should all walk around aimlessly from time to time. Without a particular agenda, our minds can make strange connections that form the basis for our ideas going forward. By being open to exploring at a whim, I believe that we open ourselves to inspiration, regardless of the particular calling. In my case, that calling is writing, for others it is painting or entrepreneurship.

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Learn more about me at my website www.pujaguha.com.
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My first novel AHRIMAN: THE SPIRIT OF DESTRUCTION is available as an ebook at all major retailers and a paperback at Amazon.com. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L1ISEUS/

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