There are many nuances to the art of writing and some of these components were covered in great detail at an intellectual stimulating discussion called "writing - from idea to meaning" at the Sharjah International Book Fair. The group of successful writers present during the evening included Dr Abdul Al Salam Al Masadi, Majid Bushlibi, Abdel Rahim Lahbibi and Richard Scrimger.
They discussed what really inspires and influences them as authors. Canadian writer Scrimger creates stories for children and spoke with great vitality and passion as he explained the main objective for him as a writer is not to have a blatant, preachy moral message but rather, to amuse and entertain. He prefers the inner message of his stories to be much more subtle and enjoys creating funny, zany and offbeat storylines with fantastical characters put into very human-like situations.
Many of his books revolve around the theme of isolation or the sensation that the characters do not "belong" to a particular society. He wants to inspire individuals by making his all of characters feel comfortable in their own skin, in spite of their differences to society and in doing this, Scrimger successfully creates a loud and clear message that it is perfectly acceptable to be different and one should embrace individuality. He thoroughly believes that children are very impressionable, so what one reads and learns about as a child gets carried well onto adulthood subconsciously.
Moroccan author Lahbibi has a deep inspiration for his environment and he emphasizes that one's surroundings play an important part the creative process. He spoke of a book he wrote which all about a traveler was going on a journey across Morocco in the 19th century. He explains about the semantics of the book and how, because it was written deliberately in a Biblical like language, the way people interpreted the book becomes varied and ambiguous and the implications of this.
Bushlibi could really understand and relate to Lahbibi's sentiment about environment being a key factor. His plays and stories are frequently inspired by his own Arab heritage and city. He has a deep appreciation for Sharjah itself and is captivated by the fact that it is so unique in how the city is a beacon of the arts, culture and literature.
The subject of interpretation came into the spotlight, particularly the writer's intention of a message they aim to convey vs the reader's interpretation and additionally, what the reader personally takes from a piece of writing. For instance, Scrimber aptly compared this link of interpretation and writing to a game of catching and throwing – the writer throwing the message and the reader attempting to either catch or miss it. Do their messages get "lost" and foggy because of the reader misunderstanding or drawing their own conclusions? Moreover, is there a "correct" way to interpret something at all or does it all boil down to what the reader is currently experiencing in their own life and that each person relates a piece of writing to their own personal situations and experiences?
Scrimger concluded the session with an insightful note. "The greatest joy about being a writer is the ability to connect with your readers and have them able to relate to your stories."