Tuesday, 13 February 2018

MY JOURNEY INTO THE WORLD OF WRITING - IX



The long and short of it

The initial period immediately after my retirement in 2010 was hectic, what with our having to quit the Government Quarters and move into a rented apartment; I was not bored with me. (It reminds me of a famous quote in Readers Digest, way back in the early seventies. “Keep your company to yourself. If you cannot tolerate it, why inflict it on others?” Ref. OLD AGE and LONELINESS - II).

I was doing some sketching randomly and started getting bored. It was then that my second angel inspired (bullied would be a better choice of word) me into writing (Ref. MY JOURNEY INTO THE WORLD OF WRITING - II) and the rest, as they say, is history, even if a depressing one as is in my case.

I started to write.

During the period 2010-2012, “Dance of life”, “The Kidnap”, “Embers of the pyre”, “Intersections”, “Misogynist interrupted”, and “Soul mates” came out into existence, in that evolutionary not revolutionary order, albeit in our (me and my family) minds and on the hard disk. They would continue to do so - I mean, exist on the referred places - until 2014, while I got busy with the nitty-gritty of publishing them. (That is a completely different story and I shall deal with it later.)

Given our precarious pecuniary position (aah…a soul-soothing alliteration) I was looking for a “traditional” publisher, which became an obsolete practice and was unavailable, especially for a first-time author. I didn’t even know what “self-publishing” meant! It will not be a hyperbole (Please visit my “I LOVE ENGLISH” page on my Facebook profile) to say that there may be no major publishing house that I did not contact; some responded, many did not. However, the positive fallout of the process was, I learnt what “self-publishing” meant. However, the quest ended there, as self-publishing was expensive and I did not have the required money.

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The beginning of period 2012-14 once again saw me drift and slip into depression-causing inaction. My efforts for traditional publishing were not yielding any result, positive result, I mean. Then, purely by chance, I came upon an Internet advertisement on my Facebook page, that of Your Story Club.com. I gathered details of the process of submission of short stories to them. Despite having written six novels, I was unsure of dabbling in the shorter version of storytelling.

I wanted my debut, my first step into this format of storytelling to be as risk-free as it was with my first novel. A major reason for this diffidence was none of my novels had been published and consequently none of them had been read or scrutinised by editors, readers, et al. Submission for publication on this website meant that the stories would be read; they would be scrutinised by the editor and the readers!  I pondered over the matter again and again for several days. Ultimately, I decided upon the idea of putting on page some of my memorable experiences.

I called my first step into this world, “I-CON ONE”, a simple anecdote of my first experience with a conman. This was accepted, published, and read (Reads: 264 till date) by some; liked and commented upon by a couple of readers. The takeoff was anything but sensational, but it was a takeoff for me in this short-story world. That’s the long and short of it as far as I am concerned.

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I-CON TWO” and “THE INTERVIEW”, two more of my memorable experiences, followed. The former was, once again, ‘a simple anecdote of my experience with a conman’, wherein I knowingly allowed a stranger to con me, as I had explained in my story. This attracted a modest readership of 242 till date; there were no comments or ‘like’s. My writing style and the topics probably were too anaemic.

The latter was on a completely different topic, although a personal experience. Inter alia, it dwelt upon the rigours of school admissions. However, that was only the background. The main aspect, the crux was something else. How many times we find little innocent children innovating based on their limited experiences and knowledge! This story was a humorous window to look at my experience. Please read it and you will understand. This story had a better readership of 846 and a couple of likes and comments.

I take liberty with your time and patience to quote another example to support my theory. In 1970 or 1971, I was tutoring my little nephew. (It is a different matter that he is an extremely erudite individual and…grrr…an unflinching critic of my writings. He is an unseen editor of all my novels, by the way; another is my second daughter.) I had taught him some aspects of geography and maps, and a few words like “foreign”, “East Germany” and “West Germany” (yes, they were separate countries then). Sometime later, I found a paper, upon which he had practised writing what he had learnt. I had stomachache laughing at what I had read; “East Germany”, “West Germany”, “East Foreign”, “West Foreign”, etc.

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Well folks, I shall stop this post here. I shall exit my personal experiences and enter the world of short fiction in my next.

Be seeing you!

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