Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Part 2: Life with the Written Word–Ernest Dempsey’s Story from Pakistan

Yesterday Riehlife readers were treated to Part 1 of Ernest Dempsey's "Life with the Written Word." When you read part one you'll see Ernest' bio and the story of our four year internet friendship since 2007. --JGR

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PART 2: Life with the Written Word - Ernest Dempsey's Story from Pakistan

JGR: Your home is in Pakistan, currently a turbulent part of the world. Can you speak to how you manage to maintain internet access?

Ernest: Using internet has always been a problem here. Internet speed has generally been slow and, for years, I had to go to an Internet café to use the Internet, where of course I had to bear with the all the noise and disturbances combined with outdated computer systems on whose keyboards I had to literally bang my hands in order to type the intended text.

In summers, most of Pakistan is out of electric power and if you don’t have your own laptop and/or alternate power source, it means you can’t use the Internet (even if you don’t count serious sleep disturbance as a distraction). But for the past over a year, having a laptop and my own USB Internet connection has helped me to keep working online despite the power crisis and all that.

JGR: Ernest, The general situation in your country as we see and hear it in media sounds very uncertain and risky for any citizen there. How do you manage to maintain your inner peace and confidence through all the fear filling your surroundings? Does writing help keep you balanced and sane?

Ernest: I must say this is just the question I had been looking to come my way. You see, long before Pakistan became famous (or infamous) for terrorism and turbulence, I had sensed that for a person like me, being by myself meant peace.

Creating a world of imagination on paper in a lonely corner always meant ‘peace’ for me; out among people felt like ‘threat’. Decades later, I intrinsically remain unchanged while the madness around me has grown to the point of obvious, attesting my choice of staying aloof, creating a world and not destroying it through acts of terror or mere dawdling out there in confusion.

In my childhood, some of my family members expressed concern over my loneliness and intensive reading, sometimes questioning if I was a normal child. Today, everyone is wondering whether someone going out in the dangerous crowds is normal.

Time has sealed my writing obsession with a ‘Go!’ stamp and I am proud to say that my direction has been clear and my writing journey is my card of sanity and peace through all the madness that I find all around me.

Does writing help me keep balanced and sane? Absolutely! Writing is the only thing that can and does this for me. In fact, it is this very hobby (and now profession) which has the potential to keep me going, like a powerful magnet that attracts a piece of metal in its direction despite the millions of other things surrounding it.

I have been a lonesome soul, not quite socializing easily, and my psychological and social needs were satisfied mostly through the activity of writing. Without it, I can’t say what possibly could have become of me. But one thing that is quite evident is that I would not be me without writing.

JGR: Ernest, I’m grateful that we became internet buddies. You’ve opened many windows in my world. Thanks for sharing your experiences and Village Wisdom on Riehl Life today. Until next time!

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4 Responses »

  1. Ernest -- a perfect reminder of the healing balm that writing can offer. Thank you, once again!

  2. Great to have this conversation. Love your phrase "healing balm."

  3. Ernest,

    Better than a Healing Bog!

    Cheers,

    Janet

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