Sunny and bubbly Lum Shaiza is a face that hardly paints the picture of a pensive writer. And yet, her work tells us a different story. Shaiza does what probably is the most important aspect of writing: she writes lines that articulate thoughts and feelings that readers have lost in their subconscious. Her work helps readers relate to the world around them, and the sentiments contained within them.
Here we chat with Lum Shaiza from Manipur to know more about her and her creative pursuits.
Hi, Lum Shaiza, introduce yourself. Also, is that your full name?
I’m a Tangkhul girl from Ukhrul, Manipur and I’m just two months shy of turning 23. I’ve been living in Pune since I was studying in senior high school. I’m still pursuing an MBA here.
I go by a few names, although I like to stick with Lum Shaiza and not my full name. Why? because that’s reserved for when my mom gets really mad at me. That’s when she spits out my full name, Lumyangnao Shaiza! and lightning strikes in the background. Haha!
What developed your interest in the field of writing and why?
Personal diaries and journals sort of introduced me to writing, and then gradually my writings morphed into poems and prose. Now it gets expressed in more than one form. That’s why I don’t limit myself to the rules or forms of writing. I’m interested in blogging, reviews, one-liners, articles, and free verse among other things. I create work as long as I’m happy writing it. Some of my work stays safe home with me while the rest of my writings are let out to the world, mostly on my Instagram page.
I mostly post my free verse writing on Instagram, which is my favorite form of writing. I’ve also started doing my own illustrations for them. Carefully matched illustrations that complement writings, is almost a beautiful metaphor of a well-dressed lady. It makes for what one may regard as a beautiful form of art.
What initially sparked your interest in this field?
Song lyrics were a major influence on that first spark of writing and they still very much are. When I’m in a slump, I go looking for good songs to get inspired. Writing is a hobby, a passion, a therapy, my forte of self-expression and then occasionally it can be a stress reliever.
“I am to writing what an old girlfriend is to a man. I love it but I can get insecure about it at times. Just like any relationship, there are highs-and-lows in my love for writing. But I feel strongly that it is where I belong ultimately. In fact I am sure.”
My laptop, my diary, and my phone (and a hat if I’m on a run) are basically the three things I need to set up a workstation anywhere. Mostly it’s just me and my diary in a cafe, then me and a laptop at home to make finishing touches to my work. Of course, the presence of Wifi is a given!
My latest piece is a piece inspired by two good friends who posted a really sweet picture on Instagram and I happened to stumble upon it. Their love for each other seemed so pure and happy. I thought that a part of the wedding vows that are said as part of a traditional wedding between a man and a woman are just as much applicable to best friends.
You are also a full-time MBA student. How do you manage to write, draw and stay inspired and motivated?
As a student, my primary focus is, of course, my studies. But writing fits into the rest of all the space and time I have left in between. I’m thinking of words during lectures that I find boring. I find myself jotting down lines on dates, just in case I forget them. I am always rephrasing sentences as I shake my head while I answer a question inside the classroom. I am even typing away when I don’t have anything to write about but I just want to keep going. Writing finds a way to fit itself in anywhere and anyhow.
What’s your creative philosophy?
My philosophy on writing is to write with sincerity. One must create work that makes you swell up with pride – both when it helps your readers relate to you but more so when it does not, but you’re damn proud of it anyway.
What do you hope people take away from your work?
When people see or read my work, I hope they find a word or a sentence that touched them. But I also sincerely hope they read my name below it and realize that the girl who wrote it feels the same emotions that they do. As you know there are so many good writers out there, so remarks like “this poem was by Lum, and I really liked it” are really precious to me.
Can you tell us about a poem or an artwork which you are particularly proud of creating?
One work of art that I am really proud of is a piece I wrote and illustrated when my grandfather passed away just last week. It means a lot to me and to my family.
Take a glimpse of Lum Shaiza’s work on her Instagram profile.
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