154

February is the month of illness and waiting.

My mother's bougainvilleas behind our gate. Home.
My mother’s bougainvilleas behind our gate. Home.

152

Many good things have been happening, but my Internet connection hasn’t been strong enough to keep up with them. Firstly… well, I’m not yet allowed to talk about the ‘firstly’. (I’ll post about it and put a link here as soon as I am.)

So, secondly. PodCastle put up my story on the third day of February, narrated by Elizabeth Green Musselman, who was excellent with this multilingual universe I loved the way the story sounded. (All those horrors abated.) And everyone at PodCastle – and especially editor Dave Thompson, who bought the story in January – was very nice and very positive about the story. And now I’m diligently following the story’s discussion thread on the Escape Artists forum, where other people are saying other (largely) nice and accurate things about it.

I have been building and obsessing about the Johuree universe for so long (I started writing the first story in 2009 back in UG3; never finished it) that I keep needing to remind myself that this is the first Johuree story that has actually seen the light of day. If anyone wonders what the inside of my head looks like (though I cannot imagine why anyone would), do go and listen to the story!

Kindle illustration for 'Hip-Bone Butterfly'
Kindle illustration for ‘Hip-Bone Butterfly’

There was another publication, equally happy-making. On the second day of February Kindle published its latest poetry edition, and my very old poem ‘Hip-Bone Butterfly‘ finally came out in it. The poem is from 2011, but it is one of the last poems I’ve written (I hardly write poems any more), and it had won the first prize at the Poetry with Prakriti festival the winter when I was interning with Blaft in Chennai. I had this blog even then but I hadn’t mentioned it on the blog – although it was the first time I received a reasonably important prize for my writing, and I was super kicked – because back in college I was too cool for all that.

And now I’m too old to be cool, but I cannot for my life imagine that to be a bad thing. :)

A story, a poem

A poem I wrote in 2011 was recently published, in an online magazine called The Missing Slate. Here is a link. And here‘s a link to the original, which is one (punch)line longer than the version that was published. It is ever interesting to discover how people read your writing. I’d have thought that last line essential, but the editors of the magazine found it redundant to the poem.

Sometimes, these are lessons.

Of course, I no longer feel the bruise under which that poem was written. (Other scars have covered it.) Distancing is so often a blessing.

efiction

The other, the story, is one I originally called ‘Interview with a Bollywood Screen Goddess’, which was published in the November 2014 issue of eFiction India. I have not seen this one yet, since the magazine can be purchased either as a digital or a print edition, and I am waiting for my print copy to arrive.

‘Interview’ (which the magazine no longer calls ‘Interview’) was a great story to write; it cheered me up during a period of otherwise intense depression. The story starts out as a magazine interview with a famous Bollywood actress, which is something I always find fun to fictionalize. I think anyone who’s ever been an entertainment journalist has had that thought running through their head – what if you could make up all of this, rather than, let’s say, about 60% of it? What if the person you’re interviewing literally represented those adjectives like enchanting, mesmerising, unearthly… and then, in ‘Interview’, it turns out that they do! A very generic, easygoing fantasy story, set in Delhi (the Other City of this blog, whose habits and memories are still fresh in my mind) that made me very happy.

There is something to be said for this sudden surge of publications. It is that I have finally (I think) overcome my reluctance to publish. Of course, the transformation is less sudden than it seems. I had started writing ‘Death of a Widower’ in 2011, abandoned it, picked it up again in the summer of 2013, finished and send it in to Rupa, and An Atlas of Love was published in early 2014. That’s not quite sudden. I write maybe a poem or two a year. It’s hardly enough for a sustained publishing record, and as for fiction, for most of my life I have not been able to think in short stories. Any idea I had was always the length of a novel, and I’d start writing it, and of course, I am yet to complete a novel. I wish I was prolific, but I’m not. And while I never retouch my poems after I’ve written them, I find myself rewriting my stories most of the time, hopefully making them stronger and better with each version. It is a craft I am still learning. I hope one day I will be good.