This year has been like no other. When the year began, it gave us no inkling of what it held. And we end it on a note of bewilderment, not really sure of what happened and what will happen. Hope springs eternal of course, and we await the new year with a curious mixture of weariness and bated breath.
Personally, the year has been kind to me. Things have more or less been on an even keel and changes have been very manageable. I’ve realised that I am truly happiest by myself and suprisingly, life has rearranged itself accordingly.
I am so grateful for everything that’s come my way, and then some.
The happy news includes a story of mine published in this hot-off-the-press anthology. An excellent collection of stories, it is really worth reading. Here’s to more reading and writing in the new year too!
On a whim, I decided to join a writer’s workshop Anita’s Attic, run by author Anita Nair. It was a good experience and I met several absolutely amazing young authors, some of whom were less than half my age!
Late last year, a call came from Anita’s Attic for short stories. I quickly wrote a short story in a burst of inspiration, which I was quite happy with. I sent it off, and yesterday, it came up on Quillr, a new pay-and-read platform.
Here’s the link to the story Running, if you’re interested.
A few drops in a drought are always welcome, even if they make you hunger for pounding rain.
So, in the barren wasteland of my writing last year, there were a couple of fat drops that made me happy.
The children’s library we started is such a source of joy, even though I’m unable to do full justice to it in terms of my time, thanks to the various health crises that popped up regularly. It’s an oasis for me, a haven of peace and happiness, to be surrounded by books, fantastic partners, and the sweetest sight of all – kids deeply engrossed in books. It never fails to move me, and I feel so grateful that I’ve been given this opportunity.
Last year, for Karnataka Rajyotsava, we came up with an idea of writing a picture book that introduced some common Kannada words/sentences. I wrote the story itself in a very short time. However, I had the most fun with the illustrations. Not having Photoshop or any other appropriate software, and too lazy to sit and draw out everything, I used PowerPoint. I had such a blast doing the pictures, and it gave me such a high!
We printed one copy of the book, and read it out to the kids. It was a hit, and the best part was kids coming up and telling me – “Tumba chennagide!” (very nice in Kannada, which was one of the phrases introduced in the book). It was really such a wonderful experience!
Here’s the cover of the book Aane Mari’s Feast (Aane Mari meaning Little Elephant, though quite a few call it Anna Marie :D)
It was inspired by this. DH loves to junk as soon as he comes home from office. I completely forget about the junk food at home till I hear all the rustling and crackling. Then I have to give in to temptation! But if DH catches me with the junk, he’s like – there she goes again! And all my protests fall on deaf ears. 🙂
So the story started with that, and then found its own sweet way to the end. Do pick up your copy of the magazine today and let me know if you like it.
I wrote a story about two years ago and sent it off to a contest. My mood at that time was a bit dark, my thinking not very clear, and something I was trying to articulate came out in the form of a story.
I completely forgot about it (out of sight is out of mind for me and my stories), until I received a mail asking if it was still available for publication. That way, I’m a little weird in the sense I dislike sending out simultaneous or even consecutive submissions. If my story does not get accepted by the party I sent it out to, I kind of let it languish instead of looking out for other markets. So, yes, the story was indeed available for publication, and I was quite surprised actually, by the selection.
The editing of this story was a wonderful learning for me. Such small changes by the very patient editor resulted in such impact. It made me ask myself what I exactly I meant when I wrote this or that. My stories have been subject to editing before, but for some reason, this specific experience was much more of a revelation to me than the ones before it. A good editor can make such a huge difference!
Now that the story is published, I read it and I can see how much more improved it could be. The exceptionally good writers make the good writing seem like a breeze. I guess, just like all the other arts, where a good singer makes you feel you can sing too, or a great artist makes painting look like child’s play.
So much further to go down the road, but for now, let me celebrate the little successes in my life.
In the midst of the chaos that was October, which included an absconding maid who turned up in November and announced she was quitting, an unexpected blast from the past caught up with me in the form of a mail.
I was quite astonished to learn that Reading Hour had decided to publish a story that I had submitted long ago, when I was still clinging on to the hope that I would become a “famous author” 😉
I must have been about 10 when I read Enid Blyton’s House-At-The-Corner. It remains my absolute favourite to this day.
It was a story of a family going through some ups and downs and emerging stronger. One of the characters was Elizabeth, mostly called Beth, whom I identified with strongly. She was also shy and wore glasses, and most importantly, wrote stories.
Her first heart-breaking rejection becomes a laughing matter, and she begins to write in secret. She gets published secretly also, with the help of her aunt. Ultimately, her secret is revealed, along with the fact that she’s actually been earning money for her writing.
But what I remember most vividly is Elizabeth’s deep disappointment when she sees her first story in print, but without her name in the byline.
I don’t know if this served as a trigger, but somewhere along the line, it became my dream to see my own name printed against a story. That dream became a reality with the help of my sister, who typed out a “middle” and helped me send it out to Deccan Herald. My “middle” was published (we didn’t get the paper that day! :D), and I was ecstatic.
Of course, this journey of writing has been a stop-and-go at best. I haven’t been diligent or disciplined about it, preferring to write whenever I felt like it. Sometimes I felt I wasn’t really using my “talent”, but most of the time, I felt I was just deluding myself about my “talent”.
However, every success brings a happiness of its own. And the latest one (thanks to a good friend) is the first time my name appears in a book all by itself. Not just one, but several books in a series! I received the very first copies just recently.
I had the greatest fun writing the stories that are all about the adventures of a bunch of bugs in a junkyard. I do hope the children who read it derive as much pleasure.