Monday, June 20, 2016

Featured Artist #7: Nida Rashid Author of book "The Calling"

I had a great privilege to have a conversation with a new emerging talented poet Nida Rashid, who recently released her E-book, full of wonderful original illustrations and sketches compiled with magical poetry. What is wonderful about her is that she is from my city Islamabad.

I was honored to be able to read her new e-book for free which she send me to have a look at. So let's dig in deep and see what this emerging new poet has to say:

Question#1: Hey how are you? Hope you doing great. Tell us about your background, where you are from and when did you started your journey as a poet?

Assalamualaikum. I am doing great, Thank you! It's a pleasure being here. I spent my childhood in U.A.E and later settled in Pakistan. As a nine year old, I came across a magazine at school which had some poetry published in English. The poems were written by children of my age and I loved how each line would end in a similar pattern. I had always seen my mother write Urdu poetry and how my father would memorize some poems from legendary Urdu writers and use them in his conversations. So, I picked it all up from my home and started writing poetry. Though, poetry in Urdu came way later in my life.

1. Esoteric:

Lone soul, dual existence,
Identical fates, events contradictory,
Union of similar destinies,
Shall reveal the actual brilliancy.

Seas and sands illusionary,
Depths of lies do carry,
Opposite coasts when amalgamated,
Will make a devastating discovery.

(Excerpt taken from her e-book)

Question#2: I read some of the beautiful, glistening-starry eyed poetry from your brand new e-book. Can you share some insight on creating such a masterpiece and what was "behind the scene" process of compiling 21 works of poetry in one book?

I wrote a lot of poems at school, which if I recall now, would have made a nice collection of kids poetry book. The Calling - The poetry Inspired Illustrations in my ebook, however, is a compilation of my poems from the year 2000 until 2011. I wrote intermittently usually when I would come across a situation which would touch my heart and emotionally affect me. After an intensive drawing experience, I felt a need to give words to my illustrations. That is when I started writing. But believe it or not, the words seemed to fall into place almost effortlessly. I wanted to publish this book back in my A Levels, but unfortunately the publisher ran away with my work. I gave up on the idea of getting published back then.

From where did you get inspiration for your poetry?

Being a creative, I hold interest in varying fields. I truly believe inspiration can come from all walks of life. I tend to explore departments from both Sciences and Arts. I am a Computer Science graduate and never had any formal degree in Arts, but I hold keen interest in both. My home had always served as a conducive environment to flourish as a poet. I got my inspiration for poetry from my loving parents, my struggles in life trying to adjust in a foreign (Pakistani) land, my apprehensions as a teenager, the life of the people in my vicinity, ambiguities in relationships and the hard process of learning by experience, all acted as a catalyst to my flair for writing.

2. I know it alright:

Hold me tight, 
I trust no more, 
It's dark within, 
Let go off sore, 
I've had enough, 
I've had it with you, 
Just leave me alone, 
With all that's true, 
It's there and I know it's there in my heart, 
I fear shadows no more, 
I pull them off well, 
You can't follow me, 
I leave no marks, 
Look and you shall see, 
A drowning beget, 
It's there and I know it's there in my heart, 
There's no one I see, 
It's walls all around, 
Strangled in a maze, 
And there's no way out,
But I've let go, 
I don't feel, 
I'm myself again, 
It's flickering and I know, 
it's flickering in my heart.

(Excerpt taken from her e-book)

Question#4: That's amazing. I love the magical illustrations you have included alongside your poetry. Can you share some insight on them?

When I would come across a situation or an event which would affect me emotionally, my initial way of venting was to grab a piece of paper and start drawing. I would draw my heart out and once the paper boundaries would end, I would feel the need of expressing more. That is where I took the help of words. I started writing and somehow words would seem to fall in the crevices of the illustrations making them a whole. I find it hard to explain how the illustrations came out. It was like a flow of emotions. I remember being so engrossed while drawing that I would forget about the world around me. And, I would draw it all in one sitting making sure I let it all out of my system.

Question#5: According to you, what do you think these days young poets lack as an artist?

To be honest, I haven't come across many. But, I can advice young poets to explore as many avenues as possible. Never, ever give up on learning. Read as much as you can. Inspiration will come from places you have never imagined. 

3. In the Dark:

I stared back and smiled, 
What a fool I had been, 
Running after illusions, 
Repenting upon saving my ego, 
Realizing I was lost, 
I sat down and closed my eyes, 
Could not see dreams, 
I was afraid to, 
Too afraid to see them shatter again.

(Excerpt taken from her e-book)

Question#6: Every poet/lyricist who is just starting out, might like to know that how you come up with sonnets and rhyming words?. Do you think sometimes it's difficult to come up with the "right" words to use in your poetry? How can you quickly come up with the right words ? Share some ideas.

Not all poetry needs to rhyme. At times, you might notice rhyming words do not resonate well with the audience. But, then if you play with the words correctly, there can be no better way to leave a lasting impact. Rather, sonnets and rhyming words can stick in your head forever i.e. if they hold the depth and meaning. Coming up with the right words can be quite a challenge. I remember changing my rhyme schemes at times just to make sure my message is understood well. There is no point of a rhyming poem if it makes no sense or worse, holds no meaning. The key to coming up with the right words is to have a sufficient vocabulary. This can be accomplished by reading books from all aspects of life. Do not limit yourself to just literature. The beauty of poetry is how you can use even jargons to express your point of view in a completely different context. And the true success of an artist is in how he can merge varying aspects into one piece of poetry seamlessly.

4. A Living Dead:

Breaking dawn - a promise, 
a hope,
Camouflaged shadows, 
Overwhelming distress,
Do you realize the hostile inclemency, 
Each moment to live, each instant to die.

(Excerpt taken from her e-book)

Question#7: As a poet, do you think sometimes it can get overwhelming to reveal your most vulnerable side through poetry? Many of young poets out there refrain from expressing themselves fully through words due to fear of "what people will say about them". It is a very frustrating state of mind for any artist to not be able to "express" fully just because of social pressure. What do you have to say about this. Shed some light.

Living in this society since more than a decade now, I completely understand the societal pressures. I was a bit skeptical about publishing my poetry too. Unfortunately, there are people out there who are literally eyeing for an opportunity to make your life miserable. But, let that not discourage you from being who you are. We all have our own life experiences, our own journey to self improvement, nobody is perfect. It is a dilemma in our society to 'haww haye' at people instead of focusing on our own selves. I, personally believe in learning through experience -be it others' or my own. It is true that in the process of self discovery, you will have to bear a few not-so-nice people.

Question#8: From how long have you been writing poetry and what have you learned overtime living in Pakistan as an artist?
I have been writing since I was a nine years old. As a 'Pakistani' artist, I felt what most of my fellow artists feel too much societal pressure. To be honest, if my parents would not have supported me in this, I would not have published my poetry. I have somehow remained a non-conformist throughout my life. I would not settle for less. Throughout my lifetime here in Pakistan, I felt suffocated, not being understood and being out of place. I still do at times, but I have learnt some Pakistani ways to survive. I get bashed every now and then, but it all comes with the struggle to make a difference. You need to be very resilient. People will come around. 

5. I Don't wish to:

I don't wish to conquer stars and constellations,
I don't wish to back out either, 
I don't wish to face it either,
I don't wish to turn back afraid.

(Excerpt taken from her e-book)

Question#9: What are your goals or future projects?

A fiction novel is in the pipeline. I am working as a professional photographer, as a mentor at The Citizen's Foundation and looking for more inspiring opportunities. I am exploring several avenues at the moment, let's see where I end up. 

Question#10: What's the message you want to give to the upcoming youngsters who are starting out as poets?

I really don't want youngsters to think that A Level students can write better English poetry. Not many people know that I have remained a Matric student who took up A Levels right after. And, if I can come up to the mark, anyone can. Just don't settle for less. I want young people to believe in themselves, keep learning - you know a lot less than you think, there are several people who know more than you do -stay humble and most importantly DO NOT give up. Dream BIG -think beyond your comfort zone. Say yes to opportunities, calculate the risk factors, make smart decisions. Keep high expectations of yourself. Do not let the fear of risks paralyze you. Keep faith in Allah, try and better yourselves. Ask these questions every single day, 'What have I done today to improve myself, to become a better human being, to improve the lives of those around me, how much have I loved, laughed, lived?' It is very important to live your own life -at your own pace. 

Looking back at your own life, you SHOULD have a very interesting story to tell.

Thank you Nida, for giving us an insight into a poet's life. What do you think fellas? Would you chase your dream of being a poet or give up?

-You can download Nida Rashid's e-book from amazon
-Have a look at her photography page here
-Here is her blog you can read right here


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