February 22, 2019
by Neelima
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Visual Friday: Diverse Women Writers – Marjane Satrapi

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February 21, 2019
by Neelima
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Small Presses and Prizes @ Link Wanderlust

There are lots of lessons to learn from publication, especially if a book has been inside your body for years and then one day sees the light of day. It is a birth.

Paul Harding took five years to write his manuscript and another five to get it published. He wasn’t the sort to get dejected about rejections- he merely ‘rejected the rejection letters’ and focused on the craft instead.

“Writing and its integrity took on more and more of the qualities I loved most about reading books: solitude, quiet, introspection, the unparalleled and gracious sense of my imagination firing and filling with beauty.

I studied and practiced how to bring aesthetic pressure to bear on the English language to describe experience. That led to paying finer and more sustained attention to the experience of experience, of consciousness, really, in order to compose better and better descriptions of it—like being in an icy, brittle barn at dusk, cold and tired and smelling the hay and hearing an owl in the loft and finding your father weeping in an empty stall.”

Harding’s reminiscing on his Pulitzer prize win is a win for small presses and ‘the people who care very, very passionately and fiercely about books’.

Read When a Very Small Press Wins a Pulitzer.

books on bookshelf

February 20, 2019
by Neelima
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That’s the Word for It- Ebullient

An ebullient person is someone who is bubbling with excitement. This adjective originates from the Latin bullire, which means to bubble out. Ebullient also has an archaic meaning which refers to the roiling of a boiling liquid.

Here are some examples of the word found in literature:

“To the Kathakali Man these stories are his children and his childhood. He has grown up within them. They are the house he was raised in, the meadows he played in. They are his windows and his way of seeing. So when he tells a story, he handles it as he would a child of his own. He teases it. He punishes it. He sends it up like a bubble. He wrestles it to the ground and lets it go again. He laughs at it because he loves it. He can fly you across whole worlds in minutes, he can stop for hours to examine a wilting leaf. Or play with a sleeping monkey’s tail. He can turn effortlessly from the carnage of war into the felicity of a woman washing her hair in a mountain stream. From the crafty ebullience of a rakshasa with a new idea into a gossipy Malayali with a scandal to spread. From the sensuousness of a woman with a baby at her breast into the seductive mischief of Krishna’s smile. He can reveal the nugget of sorrow that happiness contains. The hidden fish of shame in a sea of glory.”
― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

 

“Time and again I, too, have felt so full of luminous torrents that I could burst – burst with forms much more beautiful than those which are put up in frames and sold for a stinking fortune. And I, too, said nothing, showed nothing; I didn’t open my mouth, I didn’t repaint my half of the world. I was ashamed. I was afraid, and I swallowed my shame and my fear. I said to myself: You are mad! What’s the meaning of these waves, these floods, these outbursts? Where is the ebullient, infinite woman who, immersed as she was in her naiveté, kept in the dark about herself, led into self-disdain by the great arm of parental-conjugal phallocentrism, hasn’t been ashamed of her strength?”
Hélène Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa

February 19, 2019
by Neelima
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Readers can’t Digest-Week 219 (13-Feb to 19-Feb)

1. Swansea University announces ‘decolonised’ English course

the goldbergs GIF by TV Land

2. Meghan Markle cookbook scoops André Simon Award

happy meghan markle GIF by Wimbledon

3. Sandra Cisneros to receive PEN/Nabokov Award for international literature

rhyming leonardo dicaprio GIF

4. Novelist Rosamunde Pilcher dies, aged 94

5. Paddington TV series with Whishaw in production

chef cooking GIF by Paddington Bear

 

 

Visual Friday: Diverse Women Writers – Denise Chávez

February 15, 2019 by Neelima | 0 comments

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February 14, 2019
by Neelima
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Checking Channels: Ways of Seeing with John Berger

Ways of Seeing is a four-part BBC documentary by writer John Berger and producer Mike Dibb. It was broadcast in 1972 and was later adapted into a book of the same name. Says Wikipedia “The series was intended as a response to Kenneth Clark’s Civilisation series, which represents a more traditionalist view of the Western artistic and cultural canon, and the series and book criticize traditional Western cultural aesthetics by raising questions about hidden ideologies in visual images.”

An artist or anyone involved in the creative arts would do well to watch this series. In part 1, Berger talks about the consequences of the reproduction of art. Being able to view art in those days in a postcard or as a print changed the meaning of the picture. Where you viewed the picture became every bit as important as what the picture was about. In part 2, Berger speaks about the nude and how women have been depicted in Western painting – his views are progressive and his discussion with several women speakers adds value to his arguments. Everything has changed, what with the #metoo movement, and yet nothing really has even today as the problems that riled women in the 1970s continue to raise their heads today. In part 3, Berger discusses how oil painting flourished because it represented wealth and luxury while in truth this image was the direct outcome of colonization and exploitation. In part 4, Berger examines what he calls publicity images or advertisements and draws parallels between oil paintings and magazine pictures. His observations are relevant in the mania of social media excess we have today. Advertisements are aspirational; they promise you a dream and in a democracy where envy is the norm, the dream is more valuable than the reality. He speaks of the inadequacy of the magazine format- the stories of refugees on a page are followed by advertisements of products on the next. Even now, there are so many horrendous fissures as we scroll down social media pages! The series may seem a little outmoded today but the value of Berger’s content remains hard to match in this age of excess.

winter olympics team usa wow GIF by Team USA

February 13, 2019
by Neelima
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That’s the Word for It- Onomastic

Onomastics refers to the broad science of naming be it toponomastics (the study of place names) or anthroponomastics (the study of personal names). Why onamastics? It’s useful in data mining. Onomasticians study the process of naming of persons and places in myth, literature and film too.

There are names of places that are lived in and not and names for streets, roads and water bodies. Cities are named after kings or politicians, planets are named after mythical characters, and people are named after their parents. Naming conventions differ from country to country- sometimes the family name appears first as in Chinese or the place name appears first as it does in some Keralite names. Naming can be a personal business; in many cultures around the world naming ceremonies exist. Naming can also be a political exercise especially when the names of cities are changed.

I dug around to find how this word has been used and it isn’t used much at all unless you are talking linguistics. Except here in this article which describes Charles Dickens’s prowess when it comes to naming his characters.

“Allow me to introduce Mr Plornishmaroontigoonter. Lord Podsnap, Count Smorltork, and Sir Clupkins Clogwog. Not to mention the dowager Lady Snuphanuph. As for Serjeant Buzfuz, Miss Snevellicci, Mrs. Wrymug, and the Porkenhams… who the dickens are all these people? Why do they have such weird names?

They are the best of names, they are the worst of names, from an age of onomastic wisdom and hypocoristic foolishness, an epoch of… well you get the picture. You may recognize this raggle-taggle cast of minor characters, in all their rich variety, as stemming from the fevered imaginings of one Charles Dickens.”

 

February 12, 2019
by Neelima
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Readers can’t Digest-Week 218 (6-Feb to 12-Feb)

1. British Library’s collection of obscene writing goes online

today show GIF by South Park

2. School bus driver goes viral for stocking her bus with books

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3. Wellcome book prize: gender and identity dominate 2019 longlist

the goldbergs erica goldberg GIF by TV Land

4. Bestselling author of The Woman in the Window ‘lied about having cancer’

bates motel liar GIF by A&E

5. Wales’ International Dylan Thomas Prize Announces Its 2019 Longlist

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Visual Friday: Diverse Women Writers – Kamala Das/ Kamala Surraiya

February 8, 2019 by Neelima | 0 comments

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February 7, 2019
by Neelima
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Judging a Story @ Link Wanderlust

Being a short story judge puts you in a position of advantage when it comes to talking about judging a manuscript. Markovits believes that there is a method behind story writing and that it can be taught, contrary to the vague mysteries that the plot engineer called the writer propounds.

“Well, it’s not that different from judging an English essay. There are objective criticisms you can make, you can point stuff out, but how you decide to rate or value the things done well, how much you penalise the things done less well—it’s a semi-random choice. It’s also hard to distinguish from the exercise of deep prejudice.”
In fact, he breaks down the process using the American football metaphor and explains that what makes a story interesting is the complexity of the plot, the many unexpected diversions it could take and the wisdom entailed in those meanderings.

dismissed episode 2 GIF