World Book Day #Shelfie

In honour of World Book Day today, here are a few #shelfies to celebrate! The books don’t belong to me, unfortunately, and neither does the bookshelf. Both are the property of the erudite owners on whose property I stayed recently. They wisely kept the bookshelf locked! If they hadn’t, I am sorry to say I might have tucked a few under my arm and run off with them!

White Piping

Hola, folks! If you’re wondering why everything looks new around here, it’s because I decided my blog needed a change of scene, or should I say, a change of theme. Yep, that’s the best joke I can crack early on a Sunday morning before my cuppa. 

Also I thought what better way to declare a short story win? 

If you haven’t heard of the literary journal On The Premises, do head over there straight away! They hold nifty theme-based contests every few months. These are free to enter and offer excellent prize money. If your story becomes a finalist then they even offer a critique! 

Their last themed contest that ended in March centred on clothing, titled ‘It’s on you.’ 

I am more than thrilled to report that my story earned 2nd place in the contest! This story was particularly important to me, with all the conversations around #MeToo and #TimesUp entering the mainstream. 

This is one of the fastest acceptances I’ve ever received. I sneaked in my entry minutes before the deadline as I usually do, and a week later came to know I’d been shortlisted. Fast forward, another week and I received the fabulous news that I had placed second! 

I’d love it if you popped over to read the story and let me know what you think!

Please note: Opinions expressed in the story belong to the characters only!

Image Credit and Rights: Rare Vintage

National Poetry Month

In case you didn’t know it already, April is National Poetry Month in the US! 

I am by no means an expert on poetry, but I’ve grown from an ambivalent reader who found poems confusing at first to someone who has grown to love it. 

In my school days, we learnt a lot of poetry as part of our English curriculum. It intimidated me at first but I soon got the hang of it. Here are a few of my favourite poems from school:

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Home they brought her warrior dead by Lord Alfred Tennyson

The Frog and the Nightingale by Vikram Seth

 

You can also join the Poetry Challenge on Writer’s Digest here.

Nowadays I read the poetry that fills the pages of the literary journals I read regularly or subscribe to, and I also subscribe to A Poem a Day.  

This is a wonderful way to keep in touch with poetry. Every day a brief new shiny poem will show up in your inbox and need not steal more than a few minutes of your schedule to read it and absorb the beauty of words. 

I believe reading poetry even if one doesnt write it can help writers appreciate the beauty and lyricism of words and recognize the beats in their own writing better. 

Though most poetry is non-rhyming these days, I’ve written a mix of poems, including limericks, rhymes and the like. You can read some of my poems here (scroll down to the end). 

Do you read poetry at all? If you do, what are your favourite poems? If you write poetry, please do share some links for us all to enjoy!

In The Bowels of Her Birkin

Though I am a fledgling in the field of poetry, I subscribe to Trish Hopkinson’s blog to stay inspired. She is herself a multi-published poet, and her blog is an excellent resource for poets, aspiring or otherwise. Check it out here. 

I spotted a call for submissions to a relatively new venue called Willawaw Journal, and sent out a few poems there. One of them got accepted, and the issue was published last week! 

Do take a look here! Let me know what you think. If you feel like sending something across, check out their guidelines here. 

If you write poetry, please leave a link to your poems in the comments! I’d love to read some by my fellow writers! If you don’t write poetry, feel free to leave a link to your favourite poem!

Third Flatiron

I’ve always been a fan of the science fiction and fantasy journal Third Flatiron. Their Spring anthology, “Monstrosities,” is now available in ebook format on Amazon 

It is available free to Kindle Unlimited members. 

The 20 satirical, fantasy, and horror stories contained in the book would be a great read while you wait for spring to finally kick winter to the curb. 

Click here for details. 

Submissions are now open for their Summer 2018 issue (“Galileo’s Theme Park”). 

Check their website at http://www.thirdflatiron.com for info and deadlines. If any of the themes inspire you, consider sending along a story for consideration. 

The Drive: To help them continue publishing great stories and paying writers well, please subscribe (it’s only $1/month) or support us on Patreon at patreon.com/thirdflatiron. 

F or NF?

Ever since I picked up creative writing, I have written a mix of fiction and nonfiction. I launched my writing career with a nonfiction humour piece that found publication in a major Indian women’s magazine called Femina. I followed it up with several more pieces of humorous nonfiction, but I tried my hand at writing fiction alongside as well. In this endeavour, my efforts met with less success. My critique group rightly ripped my stories apart, but I persevered and managed to get a few shorter pieces published to begin with.

In the years since, I find myself equally divided between fiction and creative nonfiction. Some days I pick up my laptop determined to write a short story but it doesn’t flow and a nonfiction piece comes quite easily instead. On other days when I begin an essay, the muse doesn’t cooperate and prods me towards a short story instead.

I’m at the stage now where I go with the flow. Earlier I used to stress about it, mistakenly believing that I should stick to one and master it rather than dabble in different genres and fail spectacularly in all of them.

However, when I researched this problem a little, I found that most writing websites advising trying genres to test one’s mettle and also one’s interest. I have not found myself gravitating to any one particular field yet. Even within fiction, I write a mix of YA, contemporary realist, speculative and magical realism stories.

To add to this heady mix of fiction and creative nonfiction is poetry. I find it tough to write poetry, even though I have had poems published but those are more on the humorous side. My muse often pushes me towards poetry as well. I have written a few serious poems but so far I haven’t tried to get them published, convinced as I am that they are spectacularly poor and don’t deserve publication. However I haven’t got them critiqued either. Poetry is something I plan to tackle later, when I have wrapped up penning the stories and essays that I have already ideated first.

A number of classic novelists were excellent essayists as well. You can read them on Project Gutenberg, like this collection by George Eliot.

A few of my writer friends do attempt to write both, but some are devoted to one particular form of writing – say science fiction or perhaps children’s stories, or even journalistic pieces that involve research and reporting. I admire and envy their single-minded focus, considering my writing is nowadays all over the place.

But after years of experimenting with different types of writing, I realized my attempts would never go to waste. I count all of it towards practice.

And as the old adage goes which we learnt when we were children, practice makes perfect.

At least, that’s what I have pinned my hopes on.

What is your favourite genre of writing? Do you feel moved to experiment in different modes of writing as well? Do let me know in the comments below!