Thursday, February 24, 2011
I have been thinking of the name Thumbelina-Charit. Charit, is, of course, the biographical genre, and I always think, there is an eulogizing content to it. That's why I like this name. At least for now. Not only are the Bengali post-independence femininity made small, and thumblike, those very small women are eulogized, legitimized, glorified in the national imageries, allegories, everyday patriarchal discourses and practices. So, since it's a book on silenced women, women who participate in their own silencing in multiple ways, the pain of growing up as the daughter of a silenced mother, I think, it makes a lot of sense.
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
I desperately needed to clean the refrigerator. Hence, this one.
Onions (I used pearl onions, around 8. But others would do too.)
Tomato (1, finely chopped)
Garlic (four cloves, finely chopped)
Green chili (1, slit in the middle)
Red Chili Powder
Frozen mixed veggies (anything else will do too)
Heat butter in a skillet.
Temper it with cumin seeds, turmeric,salt, coriander powder, red chili powder, paprika.
Let the spices sizzle.
Pour in minced garlic, tomato, green chili, onion pieces.
Let everything mix together into a mush.
Throw in the pepperonis.
Then the de-frosted veggies.
Let everything mix thoroughly.
Throw in the rice. Let it mix with everything, fry them together a little bit. (I did it for around 7 mins.)
Pour some water. Cover the skillet.
As always, I don't really keep a record of the portions. I do whatever my eyes suggest. But the result wasn't bad at all!
Friday, February 18, 2011
I had been shrinking from writing about girls who embark upon intellectual quests in my stories, who look upon reading and writing as their primary forms of connection to the world. Rini was smart, and had intellectual quests, but what I wrote about was primarily about getting to occupy a space which has been reserved for men. So, there is an intellectual quest in the narrative, but that wasn't what the story focused on. Similarly, Toi wasn't a big reader. Bindudi's story had a completely different dimension, and of course, Pipli stories were very different in their themes and textures. I am wondering, is it that I am scared of exploring intellect as a site of feminine coming-of-age in my stories? Am I scared of finding these stories too autobiographical? Am I scared of being called pretentious? And I think, the answers are yes. But now that I have dissected this, I need to address it. So, I am thinking of making that reading-writing theme more explicit in the Teesta story. Once I begin to revise it, that is. Teesta has speaking impediments, great. That is why she depends more on the written word to express herself. I don't know how the actual writing will turn out, but it does seem to be an interesting possibility right now. But before that, I will have to finish laying out the event structure, the plot structure of the story. Let's see!
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Here's a secret about writing successful fictional characters ("success" here meaning that which connects with readers): They should be broken. No good story ever came from someone being just fine and super-competent. If you think it did, and this is a main character we're talking about, look at that person again: Were they just fine and super-competent and pretending not to notice the chaos around them? Were they these things at the expense of something else? If so, guess what? Still broken.
We need this. It's an essential part of character, which makes it an essential part of drama, possibly THE most essential or at least primary part. Look at how many of Shakespeare's characters fall into this category. (Spoiler alert: All of them.) Lear, Othello, Macbeth, Hamlet, Romeo, Juliet, Caesar, and so on: prideful, myopic, covetous, self-involved bunch of motherfuckers.
I am not someone who writes about flawless characters. Long before I have attended this workshop, or any other creative writing workshop, I knew great stories emerge from representing the fucked-upness of the characters involved. Although, I didn't always put it this way: broken, or broken-ness was not a term I used. But I have been aware of it on an intuitive, instinctive level. However, as I have been trying to write about a story set in the aftermath of December 6, 1992, I have been wondering--there isn't one version of broken-ness is this world. In fact, there are many many many. My biggest problem is, I do not have a language yet to write in stories and poems the broken-ness of the people who inhabit my world. I don't know for sure, but possibly this is the biggest struggle that every writer has to go through? To evolve a language which will succeed to represent the specific kind of broken-ness of his/her world? All I can say is, I am still groping in the dark!