Salman Rushdie’s Writing Routine & Mastery of the English Language

I’ve always been fascinated by the routines of people I admire. Especially what makes a writer tick.

And since I’ve always been fascinated by the author Salman Rushdie I googled to find these gems.

The great thing about the writing life is that there’s no retirement age. All you do is write the next book.

Salman Rushdie

I’ve always told myself to treat it like a 9-to-5 job. You just go do it. It doesn’t matter whether you’re feeling good that day. I don’t think writers or artists can afford to have a “creative temperament” or to wait for inspiration to descend. You have to simply sit there and make yourself do it. And over the years that’s a discipline I really developed. I can sit down at my desk every day and do my work, never give myself permission not to do it.

Salman Rushdie

There is undeniable pride for me, in the fact that he’s of South Asian ethnicity and more than mastered the language of the coloniser.

I have a complicated relationship with the idea of colonisation, being an Anglophile. Most wouldn’t consider me a native speaker when they look at my name, or see me, a brown skinned Singaporean. When they think native speaker they still think white and that just seems unfair as my mother tongue Tamil is not my native language either.

In fact, as a child I spoke English more as the only person in my family who spoke in Tamil was my grandmother. On top of this both my parents could speak Malay but sadly I wasn’t able to pick it up, again from lack of use. So I don’t think you can blame me for being more comfortable in English.

I dream and imagine things in English, so I can’t see myself having any other native tongue. I even translate everything from English when I’m trying to learn other languages. At the same time I’m proud that I’m naturally fluent in Singlish, a language that connects all locals.

I take joy in the fact that there are writers like Rushdie who elevated the English Language and expanded it with a style of his own.

More in this interview: about the English Language

Intimate, but you know, not my mother tongue. That’s to say. I grew up in a kind of environment in India where everybody’s kind of multilingual because you have to be. But basically the language we spoke at home was mostly not English, mostly Urdu. But I went to what they call an English medium school. So when I went to school, I was being taught in English. So I grew up more or less bilingual. One of the reasons that I never make a spelling mistake is because I had to learn the language. People who just have the language very often can’t spell.

Salman Rushdie

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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