Flumes Volume 2: Issue 1, Summer 2017 - Page 27

It’s the only way I’m going to be able to write authentically, and my whole thing is, if I’m a true Sikh, if God is one, then I’m going to treat people with equality too. My writing Seva for me is, you help anybody, it doesn’t matter their color and what happened, you have to help everyone. Seva is all about that. Seva is doing things through humility, doing things for everybody, and that’s what I’m really at right now. That’s where I’m at right now as a writer. I’m going to make sure that I do my Seva authentically and honorably and that I’m not creating lines that may be caste lines, may that be religion.

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Jewel Crowned Jem Seeker, Lee Dawn

I think that he was being honest and I appreciated that. He said, “To be honest, I would go with J.K. Bassi.” I think, though, I’ll go with Jassi K. Bassi. I’m not going to lose it. He told me, “I truly respect that. To be honest, when your writing is so good, when I read your writing, when your classmates read your writing, there’s always that silent pause after we read, because we don’t know how to react to it.”

JGH: It makes you think.

JKB: With your voice if you want to be revolutionary, write about the things that make people so uncomfortable and super uncomfortable where they want to hear your story. And the publisher, whoever’s looking at your story and your writing will want to publish you because of that, because you offer something that not A, B, and C aren't offering and you don’t sound the same.

And I think that to become different, if you have a revolutionary voice and you use it, don’t be afraid to write what you want to write about. That’s something I had to keep pushing through my creative writing class that I took at Sac State. I kept putting the Punjabi in there because, as many times as people told me I had to meet them halfway, I kept pushing because I was exploring it myself as well. So then I started meeting people halfway and I realized I had so many people come up to me after the workshops; it really inspired me to write about my culture.

Amy Bush, [a writer, editor] said that I was brave, and I asked, “What do you mean I’m brave?” She said it’s so brave to write about our culture. [Jassi’s Culture] I thought, it’s so beautiful that she said that to me, and that’s what people think of me. I think that’s the biggest struggle. I think that, as women, we already have the idea of rejection in our faces. It’s already, it’s always there, and it’s going to be there, so in everything we do, we have to do it twenty times better than a man. We have to just push harder.

Say, if they don’t want you, then you publish it yourself. If you have people that hear you and want to read your writing, you can make it