It took me several weeks to finish writing up a 600 word piece on ‘Fasting Around the World’ for SISTERS magazine. Along the course of writing it up, I found myself ruminating on what Ramadan means to me. That in itself led to some deep thinking, but as the piece was supposed to be written in the cultural context of the contributor, I finally came to the realization that I have only spent Ramadan in my childhood years in my home country, Malaysia. From the age of 19 onwards, I have been spending Ramadan in the United States.
I find myself quite lacking in fresh and current experience of fasting in Malaysia, and had to really do some digging from my memory bank to recall the sights and smells of the Ramadan bazaar.
I started out free writing, and of course, after a while, I got stumped. Let’s just say, I wasn’t truly free writing, hence the blockage. I made an outline, and wrote from that, but got stumped again. I wrote and rewrote, outlined and reoutlined, and rewrote. After numerous rewrites, I got the beginning I wanted, but my ending was unsatisfactory.
It was in writing this piece that I realized that as long as you are not satisfied with an aspect of your piece, you are not done writing, and if the writing doesn’t come from the heart, it will show. Writers are always told to begin with a hook. Beginning with a hook is easy enough, but ending with satisfactory ending is not as easy, or at least not that easy in my experience with this particular piece.
You want to end leaving the reader satisfied, not hanging or wondering. However, you also want your ending to leave the reader with some food for thought. As I worked this piece, writing and rewriting the ending, I began to think of it as my baby. My mother calls her unbaked bread dough her baby, after all the mixing, kneading, and shaping. When I was done with this piece, and satisfied with it, that feeling overcame me. I have mixed it, kneaded it, and shaped my ‘baby’.