When Writer’s Block Knocks, Other Doors Open

Hormaz spent most of his off hours not just thinking about what to wear, but looking at himself in the mirror, or asking his younger brother who happened to be a cinematographer to take pictures of him for publication. on Instagram stories and reels automatically linked to his Facebook feeds too.

Hormaz was also a writer. He had published four thin volumes of prose poems and short stories. He had just finished A fashion dictionary, a collection of prose poems and short stories parading like dictionary entries, a real juxtaposition of real clothing research. Besides getting dressed and undressed, Hormaz spent his spare time reading the history of the costumes.

He was particularly interested in the relationship between fashion and literature, so much so that under the dictionary entry Found Clothes he made a point of mentioning that Edgar Allen Poe was found dead in the street wearing the clothes. from someone else. Most of the dictionary entries referred to his literary tastes which spread across cultures. On the whole, he was not interested in Anglo-American literature, culture, and morals. He was much more intrigued by writers like Hermann Broch, Franz Kafka, Robert Walser, Amir Khusrau and Mir Taqi Mir. These names populated by colors A dictionary of fashionlike endless dresses and fabrics populate wardrobes.

Hormaz had just finished writing A dictionary of fashion, and felt so lucky that a renowned and fascinating anthropologist from Rome, M. Canevacci, wrote such a spirited preface for the book in Italian which was later translated into English by D. Khetarpal, writer, translator and beautiful soul. Now, A dictionary of fashion was complete, ready to be sent to a literary agent or publisher. Unlike his earlier publications, Hormaz wanted A dictionary of fashion would hit it big, for which he needed a publisher with strong marketing skills.

Hormaz never resumed writing, and although A dictionary of fashion is often quoted in design schools around the world, it never really made him any money.

Hormaz, however, hadn’t written anything significant in the past six months, apart from a few letters, long text messages and emails to promote A dictionary of fashion. Maybe as a writer he had hit a dry spell, not writer’s block, maybe a change of direction, a new calling in his life. He was never one to force his writing unnecessarily; writing his last two books, Costumes of the living and A dictionary of fashion, he had spent a lot of time thinking and writing about clothes and often, sitting in his office, he wasn’t sure whether he was writing or sewing clothes in a tailor’s shop. Hormaz felt that he had written enough and that the act of writing itself was painful enough, however comic his work. He figured it would make more sense to become a tailor or fashion designer instead.

As a result, he spent the next few years learning to sew clothes under the mentorship of a gentleman’s tailor, I. Memon, in a one-horse town covered in textiles – remnants of a once-thriving mill history – in developing a fashion brand called Adina. and Hormaz. adinaa Hebrew word, means sweetness, sweetness, kindness and warmth, exactly the kind of things Hormaz felt was missing in his life.

Hormaz never returned to the boring and torturous task of writing, and although A dictionary of fashion is often quoted in fashion and design schools around the world and was published by Bloomsbury, it never really made him any money or provided a livelihood. Rather, it was the gentle kindness of Adina, a soft muslin spirit of this one-horse mill town ridden with cloth and tailors like I. Memon who enveloped Hormaz in layers of comfort, protection, strength, of good health and abundance.

(This appeared in the print edition as “Adina and Hormaz”)

(The opinions expressed are personal)

Gaurav Monga is a writer and teacher