On writing Literary Fiction and Poetry

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Literary fiction writing: I’ve always been someone who looks deep into something or someone. That’s because I realised from a young age that there’s always more than what meets the eye. Also I don’t like to interview people or write about what they tell me consciously. I love reading people’s silences, and interpreting what they don’t, or can’t tell.
This is why, I choose to be a literary fiction writer. And not merely to satisfy a need to prove my intellectual capacity as you might imagine. 🤓 😊

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Writing poetry: Thankfully my attention was drawn to the need for ‘pathos’ in poetry, over beautiful words and sentences, very early on in my poetry writing, by a very mature friend.
He had read my earliest poems on my blog and then after connecting with me online, had come over to meet me when he was in Chennai.
We met across my office, for lunch, sometime in 2008. It so turned out, to my utterly amused surprise, that he was not only a distinguished looking elderly gentleman, but was at the time, CEO of a reputed, gigantic MNC. As I’d not taken my writing, let alone poetry writing, as anything more than a passing fancy.
We kept in touch, and by now gaining much confidence on my poetic skills, from someone of his stature apreciating them, I used to forward my latest poems to him. He was based in Mumbai then. It was when I forwarded to him two poems on Ooty and Coonoor that I had just written, and he promtly replied, “they are beautiful, but there’s no pathos in them…” that I was taken aback, disappointedly so. As in my view, they were my best poems till then, but the only ones I’d merely vividly described the Nilgiris with no added thoughts. I left those two poems the way they are, as I prefer not to tweak a piece of writing superfluously, if it’s not how I initially perceived it. But since then, I’m conscientious about even the tiniest poem I write.
In life, God blesses you in so many ways, by connecting you with people who build your confidence, teach you – how to go about walking a path he’s chosen for you. 😊

 

For The City Of Chennai.

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I’ve lived in Chennai for over eleven years now. And have always been given to understand, even before I moved here – through my regular work trips, that the city though economically progressive, tends to cling to conservative traditions.
My bold view of the city and its people as sketched in my new novel Entwined Lives, is exactly the way I saw it, only after I got married to a journalist and moved here. Yet I was apprehensive about having chosen Chennai as the novel’s location, to tell such a woman empowered tale. This was especially so after Chennai based authors, that I met at a book fest, who had no clue I had written 3 chapters of a novel based in Chennai, cribbed about how difficult it is to sell Chennai in literature. They even depicted the same by showing me that their books on Chennai had not been stocked at the fest even though they were panelists along with husband, at a discussion on Indian cities. I was obviously deeply shaken at this learning and contemplated reworking my new novel and shifting it’s location to another city. But then, that wouldn’t be me, would it! 😊 I am not one who will run away from a challenge, sacrifice my integrity, at the cost of success. But more than that, a fierce loyalty for the city that I now called home overtook me. I decided right then, that I would not only continue with the novel located in Chennai, I would make the city the primary character. Thus I depicted Chennai the way I’ve seen it in the last decade, so full of life.
Yet I continued to be worried about how the shy, reserved people of the city would take this bold depiction, especially of women, by a woman.

But this fear was till I had the opportunity to read my bold poetry to 5 of the best colleges of the city last December, at the Prakriti international poetry festival. A very senior poet from Mumbai, to get a feel of Chennai’s pulse, asked the auditorium full of students – which kind of poetry they would like and to our amazement, the shy looking, soft spoken, polite, conservatively dressed students chanted – ‘Romantic’ to the discomfort of their teachers. Though I had decided on reading poems on social issues, I happily regaled them, especially a ladies college, with a series of softly romantic poems which they blushed right through.
In one of the co-ed colleges, they kept asking so many questions on love relationships, inferred from my poems, that in openly answering them along with a young male poet, I had a good mind to request guest lectureship on the subject.
Thus equipped with all the love that I received from the youth, also the seniors and veterans via my Madras Players poetry event, in return for the love I distributed like word candies, I am confident Chennai will accept my white or bitter chocolate of thoughts in my bold novel graciously. I’ve dedicated my novel – “For the city of Chennai” 😊

PS – The details of the Prakriti poetry festival are in the link:https://shuvashreeghosh.wordpress.com/2016/11/24/international-poetry-festival-in-chennai-with-prakriti-foundation/

Photos of these events are on my facebook timeline under featured albums.

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Blurb/Storyline: Entwined Lives is the story of two attractive, independent women, Sujata Anand and Aparna Nikhil, and of their lives in fateful conjunction with each other, from loving the same man Anand, a Chennai based media baron. Sujata is married to him after college, whereas Aparna returns from Mumbai to work for Anand, from a marriage gone horribly wrong due to her husband Nikhil’s alcoholism that eventually turns fatal. She briskly works her way up, to the position of editor of the newly launched Friday supplement – a lifestyle magazine. But has Aparna earned her promotion, or is it a privileged benediction of her boyfriend? Sujata is miffed and nurturing a romantic liaison with the much older Shekhar, sets up an event management, followed by an executive search firm.
The novel perceptively charts the loves, heartbreaks, and ambitious lives, of Sujata, Aparna, Anand, and Shekhar. This is, through a trajectory of societal issues – male and increasing female alcoholism, unrecognized emotional and physical abuse, extramarital romance or sex as fallout, sexual harassment; not the least perilous – social media hoaxes, frauds, and internet financial crimes. It is an intriguing kaleidoscope of life in urban India, which holds your sight in curiosity, on what are the options these characters will exercise in the end?

‘Entwined Lives’: My 2nd Novel.

 

 

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This is the provisional cover and below is the storyline/blurb of my new novel, titled Entwined lives to be released by late August.

Entwined Lives is the story of two attractive, independent women, Sujata Anand and Aparna Nikhil, and of their lives in fateful conjunction with each other, from loving the same man Anand, a Chennai based media baron. Sujata is married to him after college, whereas Aparna returns from Mumbai to work for Anand, from a marriage gone horribly wrong due to her husband Nikhil’s alcoholism that eventually turns fatal. She briskly works her way up, to the position of editor of the newly launched Friday supplement – a lifestyle magazine. But has Aparna earned her promotion, or is it a privileged benediction of her boyfriend? Sujata is miffed and nurturing a romantic liaison with the much older Shekhar, sets up an event management, followed by an executive search firm.
The novel perceptively charts the loves, heartbreaks, and ambitious lives, of Sujata, Aparna, Anand, and Shekhar. This is, through a trajectory of societal issues – male and increasing female alcoholism, unrecognized emotional and physical abuse, extramarital romance or sex as fallout, sexual harassment; not the least perilous – social media hoaxes, frauds, and internet financial crimes. It is an intriguing kaleidoscope of life in urban India, which holds your sight in curiosity, on what are the options these characters will exercise in the end?

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I look forward to your comments and feedback on the cover and storyline, even as I  finalize them…the book is at the editing stage.

Though the plot is very simple, modern and on your face, the literary thoughts vividly conveyed in it are in the line of seriousness as my first novel and all that you’re used to reading from me.

My collection of 26 short stories titled ‘Existences’ and another of over 80 poems titled ‘Fragments’ will follow the novel in a few more months. 🙂 I just had to do this, release all simultaneously – as ever since I started to write in 2006/07 I get very opposing views on my short stories versus my poems. Some of you like my stories, but not my poems so much, others like the poems so much more than my prose. So I wanted to present something for everyone.

Well, as for those who don’t like my work…I don’t spare any thought! 🙂

Those of you who have never read my published work might hopefully have read my daily Facebook posts or blogs…I will not present you much different through my published work so you know what to expect…

It’s been an awesome amount of work, it still is, with all the editing and all else, and I look forward to your love and support as always.

Warmest regards,

Shuvashree

A Way Back Into Love

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I trusted you with all my heart

After you gave me hope we would last,

That this wasn’t just another fling

You’d expect me to brazenly indulge.

 

After my heart was worn to shreds

I risked allowing you to sew it up:

With the light I saw in your eyes –

A silent passion you emanated on touch.

 

You lent wings to my career dreams,

Assurance – with persistence I would excel,

For I had the talent and potential

 To become anyone I truly wanted.

 

How could you then break my trust?

Allow the crystal ball of my heart to collapse:

Crushing with it all our beautiful moments,

Into a Kaleidoscope of painful events!

 

I know it’s never easy for you to find words

To reflect the melody of your heart,

For you’re afraid of vulnerability:

But in lieu of fear, don’t write me off!

 

Find gold lacquer – a way back into love,

For you, callously broke the porcelain vase

That held the blossoms of our hopes:

Kintsugi can beautify it again, reflecting cracks!

 

PS:  Meaning of Kintsugi – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kintsugi

This poem is inspired by the 2007 – Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore (two of my all-time favourite actors) movie ‘Music And Lyrics’ that I just watched again on television, a couple of hours back…just scribbled this initial draft while watching the movie…

The trailer is in the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4C6sSZlVKZE

The title is inspired by this song from the movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3Ztq2hu5Kg&feature=share

 

 

 

 

 

The Twilight Sky

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White clouds float over me in the dusk sky
as if patches of cotton-wool embalming my tired mind,
above a solo bird reaching majestically for the sky,
even as a band of coconut and mango trees rustle
in the heady sea breeze – to cheer its climb,
urging me to converse with the half moon,
like the lone star romancing it tenderly –
under the blanket of the cozy grey sky.

PS: Wrote this impromptu, while as I’m still watching the romance of nature. 😃

 

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A Chennai Sunset: However hot the city is through the day, the cooling sea-breeze that tends to wrap you enticingly – after the sun is tucked away, is what makes me go outdoors to personally greet the night.

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Writing Versus Acting, and Insanity

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Writing versus Acting, and Insanity 😃: Writing fiction (a novel more than a short story) is tediously different from acting in a film, in that you have to be able to make your reader enact the scenes in their head as the director would in a film, whereas while acting you merely enact them yourself.
In both cases, you have to get into the minds and under the skin of your characters, and feel them through all your senses. You laugh with them, cry with them, love and hate with them. You become your characters completely, living in their souls or rather their souls live in you.

But in writing, you’re not only the director, but an entire film crew. You choose the location, create the setting, choose the props and above all humour and engage your actors – who in this case are your readers, with the choicest of words and analogies, so they don’t get bored, and they complete the act you direct – uptill the end of the novel, all in their minds.
😃 Little wonder, writers, especially fiction writers who delve deep into their characters psyche, seem insane. Go and provoke them while in the midst of their incomplete work, whether or not at their desk, at your own peril. As they are playing so many characters at once in their head, and are emotionally in hypersensitive mode, that you don’t know which persona might jump out and verbally scathe you!
Then they come to their senses, bring out water to dowse the fire and balm to soothe scars. 😃