Member Spotlight: Vijya Campagne
Vijya Campagne’s writing draws, in part, upon her diverse background.
Of East Indian decent, she was born in East Africa, where she lived until age sixteen. She later spent more than thirty-five years in NYC before coming to North Carolina, her residence for the last nine years.
When Vijya joined Winston-Salem Writers in 2005, she didn’t consider herself a writer, yet she wanted to try her hand at the writing process. Since then, she’s been working on a novel that examines deep issues, such as grief, healing, and why humans engage in violence and war.
As the novel has advanced and her characters have grown, Vijya says she, too, has undergone a personal transformation, and that is one of the exciting consequences of writing. “Writers, like readers,” she says, “discover the story as it progresses.” Her novel is about 80% completed, but Vijya has put it on hold for a while as her characters decide where the story will take them.
Her attention is currently focused on three children’s books she originally started for her grandson, and a series of short stories and plays that revolve around a fascinating woman based on her British school principal. The author likes placing this proper British woman into various scenarios and situations and imagining how she will react. “Since I knew nothing about her outside of her role as a headmistress,” says Vijya, “I have enjoyed fictionalizing her into a funny and loving character.”
Vijya credits the critique groups and writing-prompt sessions for motivating and inspiring her. She has learned to “just begin with an idea and see where it goes.” Sometimes one line will repeat itself in her mind until she feels she has to develop it into a story or play. She also enjoyed the unique elements of the different genres. In a novel, she says, events or incidents can project the characters and the storyline forward. However, in a play, it’s the dialogue that creates the momentum, and the audience fills in the rest. WSW activities have not only increased her faith in the writing process, but have also helped her to better understand all arts and creativity. She has discovered that the “nebulous creative force inside is real.”
Vijya is thankful for the people who have crossed her path through Winston-Salem Writers. She observes that while she has encountered varied and distinct voices, the experience of participating in WSW has helped her get in touch with her own voice in the process.