Mirror Magazine


So you want to be a writer?
By Thiruni Kelegama
"Seeking the validation of self is perhaps the sole preoccupation of youth. Such affirmation sought after in numerous ways, can only be successfully attained through two mediums: love and art."

This is what the editors of a publication called Final Draft have to say in their Editors' note. This group of young writers call themselves the Young Writers' Association and are dedicated to one common goal - writing.

Today, writing is not limited to a particular set of people. Most of us have dreamed of being an author or poet. There are those random scribblings through which we try to express our views on world problems and offer solutions. Somehow, at that moment in time, it seems worthwhile, as you feel you can change the world and cause waves in the world of literature.

Writing is about expressing your feelings and thoughts on paper. Who knows, you might actually be able to inspire someone out there with your random thoughts?

Sit down, ponder on what's in your heart... Spend some time reflecting on it and write - be it a poem, a short story or prose. Then send it to be published. Why? Because you think, it is brilliant.

So is this the proper way to go about it?

"Never assume that what you have written is the best thing under the sun," says Chayanka, an aspiring young writer. "I have been writing or trying to write for a long time, but I critically evaluate each and every piece and make sure that there is no room for improvement. And I am also very sceptical about getting it published. I learnt this the hard way - I tend to assume that since it is mine, that it is really good, whereas it really isn't."

Andrew Perumal, the Chairman of the Young Writers' Association stresses the importance of reading when you want to write. "Reading should always be the first step. I am saying this through personal experience. But somehow, it all depends on what you hope to do with your writing."

Catharsis apparently does not depend on anything. It largely depends on your feelings. "But any other kind of writing has to have a lot of discipline, he says.

Being objective is the key to proper writing says playwright Ruwanthi de Chickera. "However, I don't consider myself an experienced writer!" she adds with a laugh.

What does being objective mean? It means dealing with what is external to the mind, actually existing, or real. For a person who writes, it means dealing with outward things or recording facts uncoloured by feelings or opinions.

So what has worked for Ruwanthi? "Writing is a mixture of passion and skill. The first stages of writing are always subjective; it involves releasing of thoughts and feelings and whatever that inspires you. But feeling is not enough...

"You have to be able to craft it. Rhythm and structuring of sentences is extremely important. What matters in the end is how you say it!"

"I place a fair amount of distance between myself and what I write. I actually had to wait two years before I could pull out the first drafts of Middle of Silence and Two Times Two is Two to work on it again," she adds. "But even then, I don't show it to anyone, until I have edited it and till I think it is perfect and that there is no room for improvement."

For young aspiring writers out there, she says, "Be critical!" What matters in the end is not what other people have to say about it, but what you think about it. The passion could be there, but realise the importance of crafting your work and structuring it.

Writer Alfreda de Silva also echoed Ruwanthi's views. But she adds to it by saying that one should be aware of what one is writing about. "Topicality is important. Choose something you know about and never attempt to write about what you do not know." She believes in the importance of being aware of your topic and the necessity of research when writing about something.

Writing can do great things. It can inspire people and can change them for the better. Trying to write involves great strength of mind, and wanting to show it to the world requires even more. But skill is a must. Work on what ever you have written until there is no room for improvement. Take out your favourite piece and if you feel there still is something wrong, don't be afraid to edit it hundreds of times, as Ruwanthi de Chickera says.

In the end, remember, it is only through writing that certainties can be found.

A 'real fun' game
By Thiruni Kelegama and Ishani Ranasinghe
Known as the cradle of motor racing, it is where an aspiring racing driver learns his racing lines and perhaps lays a foundation for competitive motor racing. It is also an opportunity to break away from the monotony and stresses of everyday life and feel the adrenaline rush of prokarting.

Prokarting, the enthusiasts say, trains an individual to perform to one's peak in competitive and disciplined racing.

It is also the stepping-stone to go-karting, which is the ideal launch into formula racing. But, as we found out, you do not need special skills to enjoy it. For most of us, who would never dare to touch a racing car, prokarting can be an extremely exciting pastime

However, on a late Thursday night, an empty track greeted us at Millennium Park, Colombo's popular prokarting venue. But, it was not meant to last. As it grew darker and deeper into the night, crowds started pouring in.

Boris Bishop, a German who was in Sri Lanka for a holiday had decided to come prokarting to see whether it was as fun here as it is in Germany.

"That was so good!" he exclaimed as soon as he finished his 25 laps. "I will come back," he vowed. "And when I do, I'll break the existing record for a lap which is 14 seconds."

Millennium Park has a scaled down version of a Formula 1 track which is fibre-coated and covered overhead with a 40' high roof for the ultimate experience of leisure prokarting and racing.

Prokarting attracts a large group of people belonging to all walks of society. Most of the crowd that came in for the cricket matches did not forget to try their hands at prokarting. Sandeep, Balaji and Arvind from Chennai after going for a couple of spins agreed that it is exciting and in a way tested their limits.

"It is very safe," assures Melville VanderHoeven, the Manager of Colombo Prokarts, the outfit that handles the prokarting at Millennium Park. "It is essential that everyone wears head gear for their own safety. Prokarting is still very popular in Sri Lanka, which is why we have organised the All Island Prokart Championship."

There are two championship races each year, in the junior, ladies, P1 (Under 65kg) and P2 (Over 65kg) categories.

Come October 5 - the day of the race - the place was buzzing with excitement!

The junior races had started as we walked in and it certainly was a pleasant surprise to see the karts being skilfully handled by kids as young as 11 years. Sharez Mendis came in first, Rikaaz Khalid came in second and Yannick Lawrence came in third.

What stunned us most was the very fact that these young racers were so skilful, especially when some of them found it impossible to reach the brake and the accelerator without the aid of a cushion. Asked why they loved prokarting so much, they all had the same thing to say, "It is real fun!"

"We have been prokarting for some time..." they echoed. Any plans to stop? "Not at all!" they said heartily.

The next race was the ladies' event where Jeromy Vibratheebam (21) who is employed at Pramuka Bank was all excited at her upcoming event.

"I first started prokart racing because I was forced to. At the Interbank competition they needed people to race and I had no choice but to agree," she says. " That was the first time I had even seen a prokart track but after the race, which we won, I was hooked and the rest is history."

Niranjala Satgunalingam (26) comes once a month to practise. "I feel reckless on these wheels." She also adds what we have been hearing from the die-hard fans of prokarting and even the beginners, "It's fun!"

Somehow, it certainly seemed strange that everyone we spoke to echoed these very words. But, after a few reckless, life endangering and not to mention disastrous moments on the track, we didn't fail to disagree.

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