Heartlines

J Eh Kaw Thaw Saw

"Centre for Stories allowed me to meet fellow writers and creatives - some of which I now consider friends - to share my experiences with. I learnt that I am not alone on this writing journey and that my stories are valid and people do indeed care."

Heartlines explores what it means to write – from the heart and soul – and where that writing takes us. Every writers’ journey is different, so we invite you to take a moment to read, pause and reflect on what it means to shape stories for the page.

J Eh Kaw Thaw Saw is an emerging writer residing in Perth, Western Australia. He is a Karen man born in Insein, Burma, who migrated to Australia at the age of three. He is a student in a Bachelor of Arts at Curtin University studying Creative Writing. His works have been published in Grok Magazine and the KSP Writing club anthology; and his works explore love, loss, death, grief, identity, and sacrifice.


Centre for Stories: What do you do outside of writing? 

J Eh Kaw Thaw Saw: Outside of writing, I have a passion for many forms of movement: running, lifting, swimming, surfing, climbing, yoga, pilates. Once in a while, I also like to test my masculinity by engaging in hand-to-hand combat, but only in controlled environments such as martial arts gyms, and definitely not on the streets.  

CFS: Why do you write?

JEKTS: I write to express myriads of thoughts and impressions and imaginations that swirl around in my head: things that inspire, annoy or just keep me up at night. But I especially like to write about subjects that I find beautiful or love and have connections to. I am also a sucker for crime and noir fiction. 

J Saw is standing in front of a lime green wall. His soft blue shirt contrasts nicely. He is looking off into the distance with a thoughtful expression.

CFS: When did you decide to pursue writing and what triggered that decision?

JEKTS: Like the more memorable decisions in my life, I was impulsively triggered to pursue writing when I was stuck in a mile-long traffic jam on the way to my corporate job one morning. “Let’s become a writer,” I decided. It has been an amazing ride ever since – albeit with many challenges. And both my partner and I have not once questioned it. Ironically, pursuing writing has now taught me to write out my thoughts before making decisions.  

CFS: What are you currently reading and does it inspire your current work?

JEKTS: I am reading Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk because it is fun and easy and it gives me a noir escape for about a night or two. But if for some reason you read Fight Club every night for months, I would like to suggest that something is not right. Although the book is not an inspiration for my current work, Chuck Palahniuk does like to write in the first person which is also my preferred POV. 

CFS: Walk us through an ‘aha’ moment while you were on the hot desk.

JEKTS: An ‘aha’ moment during my hot desk came when I was amongst fellow writers in a circle to share roadblocks we had with our writing. The session, other than providing many nuggets of wisdom, gave me the ‘aha’ solution to a nagging problem. I had been having difficulty finding a suitable ending to my story; a fellow writer suggested that stories often end where they first begin – something I had not yet considered. Although simple, the suggestion helped me immensely and I finished the ending to my story.  

J Saw is standing in front of a very old brick wall. he is looking off into the distance and standing with his hands in his pockets.

CFS: Based on your experiences in the writing industry, including your hot desk at Centre for Stories, what advice would you give to writers who are starting out or are unsure where to start?  

JEKTS: The best advice I can give to writers who are starting out or unsure where to start is to just concentrate on writing – and write as much as possible. For me, writing is a muscle that gets stronger with use, so I write to build that muscle. Often, I can easily get distracted by the noise of industry and publication which can paralyse me from writing. I find it helpful to block out the noise and just write because at the end of the day, my motivation for writing is to tell stories that I can only tell. 

CFS: Centre for Stories is about taking things at your own pace, working with others, and providing a safe place for all. How has this space enabled you to think and explore your work?  

JEKTS: I am very grateful for the opportunity and space that Centre for Stories provided me. I came into the Hot Desk Fellowship with a rough draft of a short story that I had abandoned many times before because I did not know how to continue. The space and time at Centre for Stories enabled me to push through these roadblocks and I was able to complete a story that I am proud about. In addition, the Centre for Stories allowed me to meet fellow writers and creatives – some of which I now consider friends – to share my experiences with. I learnt that I am not alone on this writing journey and that my stories are valid and people do indeed care. 

Thank you to the Centre for Stories for nurturing writers.  

CFS: What will you be working on next?

JEKTS: I will be working on a student life creative non-fiction piece that questions the value of an arts degree.  

J Saw is standing in front of some lovely green trees. He is smiling directly at the camera.


J Eh Kaw Thaw Saw is an emerging writer residing in Perth, Western Australia. He is a Karen man born in Insein, Burma, who migrated to Australia at the age of three. He is a student in a Bachelor of Arts at Curtin University studying Creative Writing. His works have been published in Grok Magazine and the KSP Writing club anthology; and his works explore love, loss, death, grief, identity, and sacrifice.

Writing Change, Writing Inclusion is Centre for Stories’ signature writing program for 2021 to 2023. Generously funded by The Ian Potter Foundation, Australia Council for the Arts and Centre for Stories Founders Circle, this writing program features mentoring, hot desk, and publication opportunities for emerging writers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and/or Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.