An interview with Farheen Ahsan, winner of the Poetry category in the Myths and Legends Contest.
Briefly, who are you? (Feel free to shout out any social media handles and all that as well).
My name is Farheen and I am 16 years old. Currently, I am writing lots of short stories and poetry but I do want to work towards writing a novel. I have an Instagram account with a lot of my writing on it (@fayble_writes).
What is your piece, and what is it about? How does it relate to the theme, from your view?
My piece "She once was a girl" is about the story of Medusa. It explains how Medusa became the creature we all know her as today, and about how she was killed. This story is told through Athena's perspective. It relates to the theme "Myths and Legends" because I wrote this piece based on a very well known myth. I think Greek mythology plays a huge role towards what Myths are so I decided to write about Greek mythology.
On the theme of Myths and Legends, what's a myth you love, and how has it affected you?
A myth that I like is the myth about sirens. Sirens are mermaid-like creatures who lured sailors in with their voices. Those sailors would usually be found dead. I like this because you could learn one thing from this story. "Looks can be deceiving." This phrase is also one of my favorites. I think it's important to know that you can't go based off looks for anything.
What has your writing journey been like? What is your writing to you, and why do you do it?
I've been writing since I was probably in grade 4. I started taking writing seriously in grade 6 when I was selected to be a part of our school's Spoken Word team. Since then I've alway joined spoken word and have been a part of the team. Now I write poetry, short stories, and I'm working towards writing a novel. Writing gives me peace, especially when I'm stressed or not feeling well. It provides an outlet for me. To me, writing is almost like meditation since it calms me down. Usually I write about feelings represented in movies or books. I use a certain character as my prompt and I write from their perspective or about their feeling.
What's your favorite part of your process? What's a myth most people don't know about it?
My favorite part of the writing process is definitely doing an outline and a character sketch. When I'm writing poetry I like to write from someone's perspective. I like to give this character some personality traits and make a vague character outline.
A myth I think a lot of people don't know about is the Bengali Ghosts (bhoot). This myth is believed by very few people but it's one that seems interesting. Ghosts are a pretty common myth all over the world but in Bangladesh, the Ghosts are supposed to be people who have died unnaturally or because of abnormal circumstances. Some also believe that animals could turn into Ghosts. This is one of the reasons why many Bengalis develop phasmophobia Although I myself do not believe this myth, it's interesting to see how people born and raised by the same standards have their different beliefs.
What challenges you most in writing?
Finding the right words is definitely the most challenging part of writing. Even if you have an amazing idea and outline, that goes to waste if you can't find the right words to describe the feelings and emotions that are supposed to be portrayed. One way I overcome this is using symbolism. I use symbols to represent a feeling or emotion.
What is your perspective on both yeses and nos, (wins and rejections)?
Wins definitely feel rewarding, but loosing just means you have room for improvement. I think it's important to understand that rejection doesn't determine the quality of your writing.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I get most of my inspiration from books or movies. I like to take some features of a character and turn it into a poem or a short story. I like to take minor conflicts or arguments and turn them into a more exaggerated problem then write it out as a poem. I like using character flaws as a prompt as well.
What's something you wish more people knew about writing?
I wish people knew how rewarding and accomplished you feel after finishing a piece of writing. A lot of people don't want to write because they think writing is just novels and longer stories, but they forget that you can write short pieces and short stories. After wiring your first piece there's a feeling of accomplishment that you want to experience over and over again. I also wish people knew that poems aren't just sappy love stories that all flow the same theme. Poetry is often strong and powerful and can easily change the way you see certain things in the world.