February 25, 2018

Author complies letters to younger self in though-provoking book

By Lakhram Bhagirat

We quite often think if we could turn back the hands of time, we would do a lot of things differently. For Guyanese author, Soshinie Singh, it is no different. Her recent book, “The Phoenix Letters”, is a compilation of letters she has written to her younger self. These letters are from deep within, as she writes about love, life, laughter, sadness and time.

Soshinie Singh

What began as an Instagram project has now matured into two beautiful books, “The Phoenix Letters” and “The Phoenix Letters Return”.
Reading the “Phoenix Letters”, I was transposed to my childhood and the challenges of growing up.
For Soshinie, she believes that there is a very thin line between teenage years and adulthood.
“Being an adult, we have more responsibilities, but when it comes to relationships, the bumpy road can almost be similar. It is when the roadblocks occur that the major differences can be seen. We lose friendships, lovers, everyone we categorised as ‘dear’; we may lose them at any stage. However, our experiences may not necessarily be at the same stage in life,” she said in an interview with Sunday Times Magazine.
The 24-year-old author is a former student of the Bishops’ High School and is currently studying Information Systems and Operation Management at the George Mason University in Virginia. She lived a simple life and was raised in Albertown. According to her, simplicity and love for her parents are what kept her going during challenges. She noted that inspiration comes daily from her parents and sisters.
The “Phoenix Letters” series reminds us of how far we have come, how much further we have to go and where we are presently.
Soshinie explained when she began writing the “Phoenix Letters” at age 21 her aim was to keep writing and to discover how much she has learned up to that point. Initially, she shared her letters on Instagram and friends, and was astounded as to the difference they were making in people’s lives.
“I began my journey of writing poetry in my mid-teens, so a lot of my experiences are still fresh (since I am only in my early 20s). Over the years, writing has proven to be my reprieve; a place where I can escape into my thoughts and study myself. It has been a place where I can assess how far along I have come and how far I am willing to go. I have often been told that there is something that resides in me, and yet no one has been able to give further explanation. As I began writing this series of letters, I intended to write for myself. However, I slowly realised that I was writing for many people as well. I was their voice, too. I hope I was able to touch you, inspire you and enlighten you with these letters. Thank you for being on this journey with me,” the author expressed in her book.
The paperback edition is available at Barnes and Noble and through Book Depository, which provides free worldwide shipping and also on Amazon for US$9.99 and US$10.99.
Soshinie hopes to get her books to Guyana in the near future so that she can speak to the average Guyanese teens who are going through the same things she experienced as a teenager.
“The Phoenix Letters” series takes you on an emotional rollercoaster ride as Soshinie talks about how to use experiences to humble yourself, about feeling ugly, being gullible, and about indifference. The 50 letters in the series transport you into the mind of Soshinie and make you reflect on your own journey, something we quite often forget.
An extract from one of the letters (“Letter #4 Equality”) reads: “Open your eyes and see what is right before you. You should never think that you are above or below anyone else. There are equal opportunities existing for all to share. They are just about a mean and a motivation. Do you witness the relationship that the sun and the moon share? Do you pay attention to them? You learnt in school that the moon has no light of its own and it is the sun’s light that we see reflected. Does it not tell you something? Though, the sun is the fiercest epitome of light, it does not think itself better than its counterpart, the moon. It shares, it motivates and it embraces the moon as an equal. This intimate light and dark makes love to the universe and you can do this too. Move your mind and make someone else shine.” (Guyana Times Sunday Magazine)