Showing posts from September, 2019

What it feels like to run on empty: #YouBeneathYourSkin

In the last two months, I haven't had an entire night's sleep. I'm lucky if I have five hours. No weekends. No evenings out. Almost no cooking or gardening. The worst thing? No creative writing, and almost no reading. I'm on a hamster wheel and the faster I run, the faster it spins--the book tour gig is not for sissies. I'm traveling to various cities in India with You Beneath Your Skin , attending panels and discussions and lit-fests and all throughout an inner voice that remains calm and detached keeps asking me when I plan to get back to my current WIP again. I'm fundraising for two charities I've volunteered with for a while: Project WHY and Stop Acid Attacks : all my proceeds go to them. This adds an impetus--I'm pretty sure if this was a normal book, with no causes attached to it, I would have bolted into a hidey-hole a long time ago. To de-stress and keep myself functional, I've turned to meditation--just learning to breathe and rem

On writing of difficult things: N M Browne

Sometimes I wonder why I bother. No, really. What with Climate Change and Brexit and so much depressing news, sitting at home writing stories seems a very inadequate response to the challenges of this world. I have started writing poetry too, which is even more useless; it makes no money, earns me no accolades, takes a lot of creative energy and isn’t even very good.   Though I’m a writer, I can’t claim I’m competent at communicating, not when the stakes are high, when someone is sick, bereaved, dying: I dry up. I am as much at a loss for words as if I were stranded in a foreign land without a dictionary, barely able to express the most basic level of concern and empathy.    I was particularly useless when my friend, the broadcaster, counsellor, priest, clown-magician and all round superwoman, Ruth Scott, was diagnosed with cancer.   Our friendship was hard to define. She was the kind of person who did not do small talk, so we drank a few glasses of wine and eng

PATCHING, TAILORING and even EDITING! by Enid Richemont

I am a compulsive editor, especially of picture book texts which really have to be spot-on perfect, so from time to time I check over the ones that haven't flown, to find out why, and to see if they can be improved. If I haven't checked them for ages, I feel I'm coming at them from a different place - as a very picky reader. I was once passionate about the concept, but now I'm reading it cold, with all passion spent, and I can see its flaws, often glaring, but once upon a time I was in love with this story, so can it be rescued? At present I've been re-acquainting myself with my "Little Bad King", partly because it slots into current politics, which won't interest its intended age group one whit, except for the themes of fairness, greed, and nasty people getting their come-uppance in amusing ways, none of which is age exclusive. This is how it starts: SPREAD ONE. ONCE UPON A TIME, THERE WAS A LITTLE BAD KING. HE WAS MEAN. HE WAS GREEDY, AND

Creating Beautiful Private Autobiographies and Memoirs - Andrew Crofts

I was invited for afternoon tea on a sunny afternoon by and I was intrigued enough to graciously accept. As a full-time ghostwriter I receive many enquiries from people who want their elderly parents to turn their memories into books. In most cases these books would have no commercial value but would have infinite emotional value to the parent in question, as well as to their close friends and family. There would also be the benefit for a parent, who might be feeling sidelined by old age, of being given the time to talk about themselves and their lives with someone who is asking genuinely interested questions. With most enquiries of this sort it is not worth the enquirer hiring someone like me and it would be completely pointless for them to set themselves up for rejection by the Big Five publishers, or even by any of the smaller independent publishers. The target markets for these books are sniper-sharp and narrow. So I am never quite sure where

Durga Puja in Kolkata

It is that time of the year again - when Ma Durga comes visiting with her four children (Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesh and Kartik)  to her natal home down in the plains, leaving  her husband's (Lord Shiva) abode in the Himalayas for ten days. It is a Hindu festival, particularly special to Bengalis, who celebrate it unfailingly wherever in the world they may be. However, nothing can match the native celebration in Bengal, especially in the city of Kolkata.   This will be my third Durga Puja in Kolkata after leaving the Netherlands in 2017. For a decade before that, I was always away during this time, visiting the city annually only in Christmas. The Expat Experience Honestly speaking, I didn't exactly miss Durga Puja in the Netherlands. As part of KALLOL, the Indian Bengali Association there, we celebrated it with much fanfare at Voorschoten every year; and actually did it in a way, and with an involvement, that we'd never done in Kolkata. But the expat experience

Zzzzzap! by Susan Price

"Where do your ideas come from?" is supposedly the question writers are asked most often, although the question I've probably been asked most is "How much do you earn?" or, possibly, "When are you going to write a proper book?" Maybe I should move in better circles.  I heard a new question for writers recently, while chatting with some writer friends. One was struggling with several drafts of an idea she loved but wasn't finding easy and asked, plaintively, "How do you know when what you're noodling about with is going to be finished? At what point do you know you're not wasting your time and you're working on an actual book?" We were floored for a moment. Then one of us offered the suggestion that if you could make it to, say, five thousand words on a project, that meant you were probably going to finish it. Some agreed, some disagreed. Some quibbled about the number. House, wikipedia Personally -- and this is