Pact With The Universe to Write Every Day: Jerry Pinto
By Sukant Deepak
NEW DELHI, (IANS) – Giving final touches to his translation of Damodar Mouzo’s novel, ‘Jeev Dium Kai Chya Marum’ to be titled ‘Boy Unloved’ in English, and also working on his novel, author, poet and translator, Jerry Pinto, says that when he decided to give up his last job almost 20 years ago, he made a pact with the universe to write every day and not worry about money.
“Well, to begin with, I got lucky as I never married and do not have children, those are game changers in terms of time and finances. They can take a lot of time away from creative endeavors. I am extremely cold about acquisitions, happy with simple clothes, and do not need too much — just books, films, and food. Travel is taken care of by literature festivals. While for many who are in day jobs, writing can be a weekend thing, but for me it is about putting words at least 16 hours everyday day,” he says.
Adding that he makes it a point to tell youngsters that it is possible to make a living out of writing, but one cannot have a lifestyle, he admits that despite the discipline of writing every day, there are times he just does not want to.
“During those days, I treated myself like a child — ‘write a few lines, now finish a page…’– I tell myself. Not to mention, it is great to wear a watch and not look at the phone for time. The moment you touch that gadget, it is very easy to get sucked in,” says this Sahitya Akademi award, National Film award, and Windham-Campbell prize-winning author.
Talk to him about working on two projects simultaneously, that to a translation and an original one, and he asserts that the same proves to be easy.
“Translation requires the ‘unselfing’ of oneself and the want to know what another author thinks. Doing that, I inhabit his/her world and do not let my avatar of being a writer come in. And that can lead to some restlessness. Now that is where the original work provides relief. This ‘switch’ has always served me well.”
Best known for his novel ‘Em and the Big Hoom’, the author, who has a long-standing relationship with the publishing house Speaking Tiger, says that he completely trusts its editor, Ravi Singh.
“Of course, if another publisher comes to me, and asks me to do an idea, I will. But most of my time is spent doing what I want to do, and Singh never says no to anything that I offer, including the translation projects, which do not make him too much money. We have a 20-year-long association, and I completely trust him. There are times when I make changes because he asks me to. He has spent his life birthing books. I might be the mother, but it is important that she trusts the midwife completely,” he says.
With more than 15 books across genres to his credit, Pinto feels being a poet also helps in his prose.
“When it comes to poetry, there is a hypersensitivity to language because there are such few words. With prose, you can be a lot more lavish. In my case, while editing prose, the poet comes back, stressing that each word must earn its space on the page. So, poetry is like that editorial person who reads the book and cuts it before it is sent,” he concludes.