Автор дарит % своей книги
каждому читателю! Купите ее, чтобы дочитать до конца.

Купить книгу

NOVEL

CHAPTER 1

So here’s a publisher who wants to publish my novel and make it a fine and flawless product, aesthetically and otherwise, complete with best quality of paper, printing, cover art and board paper.


As a writer of the novel, I should be flattered by all of this, but I’m a bit sceptic and don’t take anything on face value. Besides, it’s a bit too much for someone who had started believing himself as a failed writer. I wrote this novel in 2000, and tried to sell it for 5–6 years actively, but despite some excellent feedback from top literary agents, I found no taker for it. And now this serendipity! The publisher practically has walked on into my apartment and declares that he would like to publish my novel. He also says that he mainly publishes high-quality non-fiction and is taking on a novel for the first time in a decade.


«How come you want to buy this novel? Did you read it?» I ask him.


«I read an excerpt from it in Pedestal magazine.»


«But that was published a long time ago,» I tell him.


«I read it only just week.»


«That was the last chapter as far as I can remember. John Amen selected it.»


«And I have got a recommendation from one of your readers, a great lady with high intellect and integrity, who lives in Delhi. She says she read through the book an entire day and didn’t do a thing until she was done with it. I’ll publish this letter as a blurb.»


«Does she know me?»


«No.»


….


Exactly two days later, the publisher called me and said, «Our Proof is ready. It’s going to be a 250 page book. Where’ll I send the proof?»


At this point I e-mail my friend V Ramaswamy who has been my editor and friend for a long time. Ramaswamy is oddly a business executive (CEO) and is always flying across the world, but he is actually a literary fellow, himself a translator of repute and associated with a wide range of cultural activities. We meet two or three times a year.


He sends me a reply immediately. I can see him wildly excited at the news. Subsequently we have this chat:


«Ask your publisher to send proofs to my office. I would be correcting them on your behalf.»


«So kind of you. But have you got that much time?»


«I’ll make it anyway.»


«Do you remember you edited it and gave the novel its title?»


«Yes, of course. It was 2006. Before I started translating Subimal Misra’s work according to your suggestion. I’m so glad Shadowland is being published now -after so many years.»


«You also trimmed it down from a 83,000-odd length to just 63,000 words, and I didn’t say a word by way of a protest. You’re such a fine literary taster. I’ve yet to see any one like you.»


«So it’s final: I’m seeing your proof. I’m on a high and feel like celebrating our long literary partnership.»


So, as of now, Ramaswamy is with the proof. He has already corrected it in flat-out two days’ time. But in the process of doing it, he finds out that he didn’t do it right deleting so many chapters to just make the novel tight and smooth flowing. The novel looks lacking. So he fishes out the original version from his laptop (he’s so organized -just my opposite) and badly wants to add some chapters to the final version. He’s that serious and meticulous!


But I foresee a problem.

CHAPTER 2

So I was worried when I didn’t hear anything from Ramaswamy, my editor, during the whole day. Was he still with my MS, working crazily somewhere in a nook all by himself, forgetting his CEO duty and responsibility and other chores?


We met just about a month ago at his family house in Lake Gardens. Our friend Janam Mukherjee who teaches history at Ryerson University in Toronto was also there. We three are a wonderful group and connect on a lot of things from atheism to literature to subaltern study. Only recently Harper Collins India has published Janam’s seminal book on Bengal famine. He is now writing his first novel.


During our conversation, Ramaswamy told us he would be out of town soon. First, he would have to go to Chennai to exhibit in a trade fair. He had just concluded a consulting assignment for the Tamil Nadu Government. He would be leaving for the UK on a writing residency program and stay there for three months. While there, he would be translating a novel by Monoranjan Byapari, a richshaw-puller-turned- writer, who has garnered a lot of attention in this part of the world. Ramaswamy will also be going to exhibit in an industrial fair in Germany as a business executive.


Pretty tight schedule. How does a friend’s MS stand in this loop of multiple assignments and varied gigs?


I get an e-mail from him at 8 pm. «I’ve been working non-stop, like a possessed soul, on your proof, and then restoring the deleted parts.»


I was not surprised. Exactly what I was expecting.


But I had a remorse of sort. How absurd he was struggling out there with editing my book, and here I was sitting idly fantasizing that 1000 -odd page novel of which I have just written some 200 words.


I decided to give him some respite. I sent him the first part of this novella that I published here on Medium. I mentioned him in it, and thought he would like it.


His return e-mail reads:


thanks, i read the article.


i’m proceeding mechanically now, to restore deleted parts, towards making a judicious final selection of what to include.


I gave up. It was long into night. I went to bed, but slept very badly after a long time.


So how is this idea about writing a novella on publishing of a novel? Like a traditional novel, it would have characters, but only real, living ones, incorporated with their real names, and a conflict theme which is also real but fluid changing with time and circumstances. Like, for example, you will get here a real-time publisher (I’m not taking his name for some reason, but I’ll disclose it toward the end), me as a writer, Ramaswamy as editor and other characters that are just waiting to come in. The conflict has already arrived in the form of the editor’s efforts to add to the final version of the novel some parts which he deleted at first. Though we don’t know yet the publisher’s reaction to this addition, it can be safely assumed that he would not like it. For the simple reason that the added chapters would cost him more in terms of investment. These are cost-cutting times, folks.


,,,,,,,,,,


So, what’s your take on this?


Let me paraphrase it: Can we write a novel on an ongoing thing (here, publishing) involving real, flesh-and-blood characters in a setting of real dynamics? Of late, I find myself asking this question to anybody who has any literary leaning.


Until now, I have got just one response, and that too from Ramaswamy who is obviously an important character of this novella.


«Nice idea. Go ahead,» he says.

CHAPTER 3

Sunday morning. There’s a nice drizzle outside. I’m alone in my apartment. My wife has gone over to stay with our daughter for a week. Her absence always triggers my creativity and I get such a surge sometimes that I find myself writing day and night like crazy. Except of course those three hours in the morning when I have to attend my clinic.


So I’m now working on my latest project — a 1000-page novel of which I’ve just written 200 words so far. I usually do it on Sundays when my clinic is closed. But there is always some glitch and I have to postpone it.


But this morning I’m very determined to do some real writing.


Suddenly, the phone rings. Oh my God, I have forgotten to switch it off. I look at my phone’s screen. Hey, it’s my publisher calling. I adjust in my chair and sit up. I feel a flutter in my chest.


«Hello! Good morning.».


«Morning. Are you busy?»


«I was just writing a little.»


«Are you working on another novel?»


«Not exactly. It’s actually my penultimate project — a 1000 page novel.»


«Sorry? How many pages?»


«1000.»


«It must be worth two pieces of brick in weight and volume. Nobody in his right mind ever writes a novel that size these days.»


«It’s a very serious work, like War and Peace, I like to call it my magnum opus, and I want to pour into it all of my creativity and energy.»


«Ha. You’re writing another War and Peace then. I had a good idea of you.»


«It’s my dream, you know. I have nourished it ever since my childhood when I first wanted to be a writer.»


«Since you’re now a writer of my house, I should tell you that no one will read it. No one will publish it. Fuck the quality. As for myself, I would not even touch it, let alone read it. These days I check the weight of a MS first before I open it.»


«I get it. But it’s a meticulously designed project in which the writer dies the moment he puts down the last line of the book.»


«Is it any kind of game?»


«Oh no. It’s how I’m finally planning my death. Just think you fall dead over your keyboard as you finish your book.»


«You drive me crazy. I call you for some important business.»


«Please, please.»


«Let me start with this question: would you, as a doctor, advise anybody to gain weight?»


«Umm. It actually depends. Suppose you come to my clinic with your skinny girl-friend and I find her anemic and underweight. In this case I would advise her to gain some weight. She would definitely look more sexy with a bit more weight, and you may even come to thank me for my advice.»


«Oh shit. Let me now ask you straightaway, why do you want to add pages to your novel?»


«It’s actually not me, my editor Ramaswamy, who wants to add it.»


«Who’s the writer of the novel — you or Ramaswamy?»


«Don’t get excited. During excitement there’s lot of adrenaline secretion which actually harms our system. You should relax and hear me. The thing is, my editor deleted some chapters from the novel, which he didn’t think fit ten years ago. Now he wants to put them back in their places. Now he thinks the novel looks poorer and incomplete without them.»


«I can’t figure out the rationale behind it. The rule of the thumb is, once you discard something, you discard it for ever. No question of restoring. Is it a child’s play?»


«I admit it’s a bit unusual. But such things happen in art, you know. It’s about aesthetics. What you love today, you may not like it tomorrow.»


«But he’s doing just the opposite. What he didn’t love ten years ago, he is now loving it.»


«This too can happen. In fashion, for example, you see the return of old things.»


«Please stop. Don’t you understand that you add chapters and my cost of production shoots up?»


«I understand. But don’t you sometimes overspend to buy, say, some fancy jewellery for your girl-friend?»


He laughs at this point.


I tell him, «It’s art. you need to consider it.»


«Well, I’ll consider it for my business.»


«Thank you. I know you are a connoisseur of literature.»


«No flattery, please.Tell me how many more pages your editor wants to add?»


«Not many, I suppose.»


«I want exact number, no vague answer.»


«I need to talk to my editor.»


«Is he done with that restoration and all?»


«Yes, He started doing it on Tuesday evening, and has finished it on Saturday morning. He has worked non-stop, like a possessed man, without food, drink and sleep. Can you imagine?»


«I don’t want to imagine. He scares the shit out of me. A nightmare. Once this addition thing is over, I’m sure he will raise other issues. I’ve been in this business for two decades. I can smell trouble. I wonder why you don’t do it yourself.»


«I’m busy with this novel, you know, and he’s a very trusted friend with excellent literary tastes and acumen. Shadowland needs him, not me at this stage.»


«I’ve never seen such a weird writer like you,» he says in a miffed voice. «Anyway, I’m going to send a man to your editor this week to get those added chapters. I need to do fresh layout. I’ve to get the book out on time.»


«Thanks. So kind of you to consider those extra chapters.»


«I hope you’re now going to write that 1000-page novel now.»


He snapped the line. I also shut down my laptop.


Wow. It’s a big win for me.


I hope my publisher is not reading this novel.

CHAPTER 4

Yesterday Ramaswamy, my editor, called me at night. He talked to me for about an hour, mostly about Shadowland, about how he blundered with his first editing ten years ago and how he insists on publishing it in its original version from which he had cut out just one sentence. He seemed way too displeased with the publisher, though for the wrong reason.


As ever he was fulsome about the novel and very hopeful about its future. «It’s the great Kolkata novel written in English,» he said.


After our conversation, I was checking my mail. I saw an e-mail by Ramaswamy:


if the publisher actually said all this, i’m somewhat pained.


he doesn’t know me.


know how trustworthy i am.


once the restored bits are included — there will be no more demands, only some deletion, at most.


today is a very special day for me. It is the day on which — I finally found my field.That is Literature. Mother Literature. Ma-Mati-Manush.


Apni ki koren? — Ami Sahityo-kormi.


…..


This morning I had to reply to that e-mail.


Ramaswamy,


You have misunderstood the publisher. He has profound respect for you. I’ve found him listening in awe whenever I have recounted anythingabout you. You are to him a star, and he is simply struck with you.


What you read in my novel yesterday is purely made up. I don’t really know why and how he came across in my narrative that way. Novelists lie a lot, you know, to speak the truth. Perhaps it is a lie of that kind. The fact is, he’s a simple, honest and passionate dude. True he sometimes brags about his publishing house, but is he not bringing out wonderful books mostly by unknown authors one after another for the past few years?


I called him this morning to know about the status of our book. He says he has no problem with the original 86,000- word version. It would sure increase his cost, but he is going to publish it anyway. He’s now convinced that the 63000-word version has holes in it and could not be a substitute for the original one by any means. He remarks by the way that it’s a novel that is in the end going by republished by some big international publisher, and they would then take the credit of having published it. Would anyone remember him around that time?


As I understand from his talk, he has now surrendered to your wishes completely. He has asked you to choose a font for this work. He’s ready to send you proofs as many times as you want. He’s going to carry out your order. He tells me he’ll, this time at least, see the production of a book from the side, will not stand in the way, and will learn some tricks from you. He says that he has yet to see a high- caliber literary editor like you.


Could you still be angry with such a publisher?

CHAPTER 6

From my blog:


I’m publishing a whole novel on Medium in installments. It’s a novel about publishing of a novel. Obviously, the idea hit me in the wake of my first novel being accepted by a great publisher. Shit, I forgot to write about it here in my blog, a serious lapse on my side, but that’s me, my habit of keeping dumb when I should be actually shouting out.


Yesterday I wrote my fifth installment. And now I feel a bit exhausted. I’m a minimalist by nature, but these past few days I’ve knocked out 800 or so words regularly. This naturally takes its toll on my body and mind. I want to take a deep breath now. I need to take a second wind.


The following is a list of chapters arranged sequentially in case you’ve not read it or just want to take a look.


As a writer, I’m curious what the readers think about this novel and what their reading experience is. So, please come in with your feedback. I will appreciate them.


…..


Do you notice this blog entry becomes a short chapter of this novel?

CHAPTER 7

Another serendipity for me. And I want to celebrate it in this chapter.


In one of my wacky moments last evening, I solicited opinion about this novel from four eminent writers on Medium. They all know me well, at least from conversations I had with each of them on some issue sometime or other. But only one of them has responded so far. He is Tim Barrus, arguably the best and the most prolific writer on Medium. He hooked me the very first day I read his story. What a fascinating style! And how loaded with life-experiences! A master story teller and stylist, I thought.


Curiously, I went on to check his antecedents on Google. I read his profile on Wikipedia. And I knew I was right: he’s a writer with a big W among writers.


I’ve been reading him for about a year. I’ve this feel that Tim Barrus has kicked away his writing career for ever. Far, far away from the glitter and glamour of New York, he is now kind of self-exiled and lives in a poor corner of the world called Appalachia and works for the hapless AIDS -afflicted young boys. He now uses writing with a different perspective, but you never miss that wit and sparkle.


I’m a big fan of his hubris. «Don’t recommend my stories,» he wrote once, «don’t send me responses, I’ll not reply to them.» He is against any kind of recommend. Then he does not care about his audience. Many of us follow him, but he does not follow back anybody. That’s the rule for him. He’s the contrarian. You may not like him, but it’s impossible to ignore him.


He writes like crazy almost everyday — sometimes several posts on a single day. And each post is worth it. But I’ve a sneaking suspicion that he sometimes hates his own writing. Some days he posts just an image or video with few or no words.


So I was naturally excited when I found Tim recommending fifth and sixth installment of this novel in quick succession. Apparently, he was done with reading them. Then he mentioned me in one of his tweets. «What do you think of my novel?» I asked in my reply to his tweet, not without a bit of trepidation. No reply. Then, to my delightful surprise, the response came in by way of a pretty long story in his inimitable style.


Read it. He talks about Serendipity/5


Ilove this part: «I’ve actually planned that way. Just think of me writing the last line of my novel and falling down dead over my keyboard!»


«You mean to say you will complete it and die?»


Yes.


There is never really an end.


I cannot read my books.


I would rewrite them.


They are not your children. What a silly thing for writers to say. The book one ends, is a guide book.


No editor is a guide book.


Editors are instruments.


If that.


Editors shepherd things through.


It zips along.


I can see that. Even if you serialize electronic right, you have in no way given up book rights, or even magazine rights. Agents know all this stuff, not that they share it.


I rather like the rich Indian milieu. You have painted a very specific sense of place. You weave that through another world, and it’s medical.


A hierarchy the voice is wary of. It just gets richer.


The writer dies with what they write in pieces. A strange grief.


People in your head who will show up on various kinds of doorsteps.


I do not recommend they stay for cocktails. In fact, you might not want to open the door, and let them in. Make the butler do it.


The writer grieves and recovers.


There is a cure, and I do not recommend that either.


It would involve writing another book. You will anyway.


You have a voice. It matters.


More soon.

CHAPTER 8

When I came out of the building, I was excited in a delirious and uncontrollable way. I wanted to share the good news. I wanted to celebrate it. But the premise was kind of empty. I looked for the candidates who had appeared before me. They were all gone.


I saw a short and stout man come towards me: well-trimmed beard, lips reddened from chewing too much paan with betel nut, big red eyes, but a face that was waiting to laugh heartily at any moment.


He looked exactly like Majed uncle. Majed uncle is my father’s friend. I haven’t seen him long since. But how could he be here?


He stopped before me. «How come you’re here?»


That unmistakable baritone voice. I was pleasantly surprised.


«When did you come to India? Did you come here straight from Rajshahi? Did you come alone or with your family? Why do you wear such a dirty shirt?»


A barrage of rapid fire questions.


Before I came out with any answer, he dragged me to a sweet shop and sat me on a chair across a table from him. He was looking at me closely.


He ordered Rosogolla for us. «Why are you here?» he said.


I’m always a poor raconteur. I can’t tell a story the way I can write. And it always bothers me that I’m giving trouble to my listener. So I recounted only the important things in a minimalist way. And last of all, I was into narrating him in a little detailed way about this interview and the outcome.


«So you came here to join Bangladesh defense forces?»


«Yes.» I saw a smile in his face. It seemed to mock me.


Majed uncle is famous for his laugh. Ever since my childhood, I have identified him with this peculiar, long-drawn laugh. He laughs with his whole body in a convulsive way. The laugh starts from his belly and it spreads upwards and outwards. Then the whole body contorts in jerks with a loud ha ha ha. It’s a free, full and unrestrained laugh.


«So now you’re an officer in Bangladesh Air Force!»


Instinctively, I felt the conversation was not going in the right direction. He was actually preparing himself to bring out that famous laugh.


And he really began that belly-laugh, attracting attention from the customers and the shop-owner and even from people outside of the shop. I hung my head low in embarrassment.


He completed one cycle of laugh and said, «So you’re an Air Force officer» and then began another cycle.


«But what makes you laugh, uncle? Did I do anything wrong?»


«No, never. You’re absolutely right.» He was into yet another burst of laughter.


Then he stopped laughing, the contour of his face changed and he looked grave and dignified. I’m familiar with this face also. He is a political person, an Awami League leader, and when he wants to get across his message to anybody, he assumes this persona.


«If it were not you,» he said, «I would have slapped you in the face. You’re an idiot.»


«How am I an idiot?»


«You were doing economics in the university, and now you’re going to join Air Force. Is there any connection between economics and Air Force? Where is your consistency? Don’t you understand it’s waywardness, it’s recklessness? I never knew you’rs so crazy, foolhardy. Do we expect this from you? Everybody knows you as a brilliant student, somebody with huge potential. And you’re here to damn us.»


«I just wanted to contribute a bit to liberation struggle.»


«I don’t think it’s your informed choice. Do you know they will give you just one month’s training, only basic things, and send you to fight with sophisticated Pakistani forces. You’ll get all killed in the hands of Pakistani forces. End of the contribution.»


I was chewing on my last rosogolla. I found myself a little shaken.


«Give me that paper,» he now says in a different voice.


I bring it out of my pocket and hand it to him.


He tears it into pieces and fly them in the wind. He doesn’t laugh at all.


«So what should I do now?» I ask him.


«You’ll be living with me until I get you admitted to some reputed college in Calcutta.»

CHAPTER 10

I don’t like making a writer or a book the main character of my novel. Though I’ve been always curious about writers’ lives, (I read a lot of writer interviews in Paris Review and elsewhere), I myself don’t want to portray them. Why of all things I would expose someone of my ilk? Besides, I tend to think that most writers practically live a boring life — a life with keyboard. And the last and most important point is, it’s dangerous to write about a writer or writing. You never know when you would go off the rail and spoil the show. The irony is, I’m doing exactly what I’ve been cautiously avoiding all these years.

It was a wise decision


The protagonist of Shadowland is a young struggling doctor — me actually, years ago who got into trouble with the ruling Marxist party and the administration for a small piece of land he had bought with his hard-earned money and where he was to build up a nice home. Naturally he had turmoil in his life, but he maintained his cool and did his medical practice and all, but he was never shown writing anything except his prescriptions even for once.


«Did you notice it that I made him a doctor, not a doctor-writer?» I asked Ramaswamy, my editor, and great literary taster friend yesterday.


«It was a wise decision,» Ramaswamy said, «He was less complex that way. From my editor’s point of view, it’s way too difficult to deal with a writer in a novel.»


«So how is editing going?»


«Nearing completion, but so many days, fatigue sets in, diminishing returns.»


«I’m sorry for giving you so much trouble.»


«Do you see you’re writing away and I’m editing away?»


We laughed together noisily.


About the Tim Barrus stuff. I read it and then re-read it. Then I went to my clinic. Some points of it kept ringing in my head all the time I was examining my patients and writing prescriptions for them. Then as I was packing up to leave the clinic, I read it again on my smart phone. Tim had actually some advice for me. Writing advice. I hate writing advice. I don’t read them. Real writers never follow them. But Tim’s suggestion resonates with me. He is someone who knows anything and everything about writing and publishing, and I’m always stunned by his level of wisdom, erudition and life experiences. Finally, I decide to incorporate it — the whole response — into my novel.


So, here it’s for you. Read it slowly, pause at right places and think, then read again. Tim Barrus has an incredible capacity as a writer to overwhelm you and if you’re not alert, you may be carried away.


Death and writing.


Right upfront.


Death charges, and then comes after me.


Writers who write about writing and publishing tread a very dangerous path. Do not go down this path lightly. The path navigates itself. You are on the path. It is enough. Drama. Writers writing books on writing and publishing will attract enough drama, going to the theatre will be quite dull. Removed. Dispassionate.


In the same manner in which Camus wrote The Stranger.


Or became one.


Kolkata as place is about more than place. It cannot be avoided. Strangers in a strange land. Publishing might as well be Mars. You as the reader, WANT the writer to have his day. How fragile are we. Fragile enough.


There are books that pull me in.


There are books that charge, electrified even in repose, and go after me.


There are books that do both. This one was teasing me. Then, it came after me.


It was the word serendipity.


Luck not seeking luck. Particularly. Death. The difference between dying and dying. What is writing. Writing is the defiance of death. Writing is surrender. A one way ticket, and you will pay the price for it. Round trip. Physicians who write, of which there is a long history, get it both ways.


Balance that.


It implies the metaphoric individual, but that individual exists not in a prison awaiting death — but in a transcendent context. Fundamentally, it’s publishing that is the real death. What goes after me is Kolkata.


Just the mention of the name.


I am rarely overwhelmed by place. But Kolkata inspired me while there and depressed me and forced me to see life for what it is.


I want more Kolkata.


Life and death. Perhaps it is unfair to write about a book before you are done reading it. I should be shot on sight.


Instead, let us simply read the fucking French. No one is more transcendent unless it’s India.


In Camus’ The Stranger, Meursault (the voice) dismisses his perceived difference between execution and natural death, he must deal with the abstract concept of hope. Hope only tortures him, because it creates the false illusion that he can change the impending reality of his death. Coming down the halls with keys.


The writing life is not about hope, but writing is. The writing life is the guillotine.


I write to live. I live to write. I am punished either way.


This is a book about the writing life. Publishing is in there but like Meursault, what is it. Publishing will never acknowledge the funeral all around it. It can’t. What’s at stake is publishing.


If the British didn’t invent either the novel or the 19th Century, they should have.


The novel as a platform is not quite so novel, so put it on the Internet.


A trend. Simmering.


The «novel» becomes a character. As does death. Even death over keyboards. Keyboards are the world. Without them, we don’t get there. I would argue that the keyboard is the wheel.


Like the hot potato. One potato, two potato, three potato, four. There’s a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth because there is a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth. Take that. No, you take that. A brotherhood.


Death. No one wants responsibility for it.


The first person narrator catches the potato, and moves us along. Perhaps too quickly, I want more internal dialogue, as to outpace death. A quid pro quo. Publishing is the promised land. This comes from the British, too. Play for pay. Pay for play.


The colonies adapt. That is why they are the colonies. Kolkata at the very least gives and keeps on giving as something to write about. Place gives death a context. Kolkata and publishing is almost Graham Greene. The only thing that survives are ideas. Right or wrong. Usually wrong, but it was not an accident that — if it’s in print, it must be true — because in those days, writers were gentlemen.


Scoundrels were a separate class.


Monoranjan Byapari, a rickshaw-puller-turned-writer, is obviously authentic, too. He was a brawler. A fighter on the street. Goes to prison. Pulls a rickshaw. Writes. Mahasweta Devi, herself, gives voice to the margins. Byapari was a Naxal. This is publishing.


What is obvious is usually an illusion by degrees.


English society would be about the context — or your class — but Kolkata is the eternal individual living in a chaos that is bigger than the solar system it is a part of. This goes light years beyond empire.


Writing. Death. Place. Class. The individual as opposed to the great machine.


The great machine is bigger than publishing, and, yet, it is publishing, too. Why would someone get no sleep over what an editor thinks. Apparently. A few. Of the afflicted.


Publishers speak in Mumbojumbo. No one really knows what a publisher is talking about. Nothing and everything. At least to the writer of the fiction that is the greater truth.


I found Kolkata overwhelming. I was the one who was delirious. Kolkata is just being Kolkata.


I met boys there who knew a few of the secrets to whoring with the whores. Not as lovers or even friends but as investors. Spending sweat and money on facade. The allure was edible. I want more Kolkata because it’s in the how of a liquid place, only so far as ideas and culture are necessarily fluid — that the ground gives way.


Then, there are the writers who have to write.


Serendipity is essentially the philosophy of the absurd. Camus would be compelled to agree.


The absurd refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek meaning, otherwise known as what does a writer have to do to actually get published, and the human inability to find any. Meaning.


In this context, absurd does not mean «logically impossible,» but rather «humanly impossible.»


The universe and the human mind do not each separately cause the absurd, but rather, the absurd and absurdist arises by the contradictory nature of the two existing simultaneously.


Publishing and writing. They are not the same. The writer is the patient.


Absurd again.


In Key West, I lived on Virginia Street, and Tennessee Williams lived right around the corner next door on Duncan. We often went to Higgs beach to swim. Tennessee had a pool with a rose tattoo in tile at the bottom. But Higgs beach was the ocean, and Tennessee was one of the stronger swimmers I had ever seen.


We were walking down Dick Dock near the Casa Marina. «Serendipity.»


Tennessee stared at the horizon. He was the only person I knew who used that word.


«Luck and strangers,» he said. That was all.


Define kindness. No one can.


After his trial, Meursault only cares about escaping the «great machineryof justice» that has condemned him to death. The newspapers characterize the situation of a condemned man in terms of a «debt owed to society,» but Meursault believes the only thing that matters is the possibility of an escape to freedom.


Publishing then. Perhaps.


I want more. I want more flesh. I want to hear the great machine. With groans and grinds and so the flesh defines. Oh, so slowly.


For what are we if not what we write about. There is nothing more dangerous than writing that.


More soon. I’m reading.

CHAPTER 11

So here’s a publisher who wants to publish my novel and make it a fine and flawless product, aesthetically and otherwise, complete with best quality of paper, printing, cover art and board paper.


As a writer of the novel, I should be flattered by all of this, but I’m a bit sceptic and don’t take anything on face value. Besides, it’s a bit too much for someone who had started believing himself as a failed writer. I wrote this novel in 2000, and tried to sell it for 5–6 years actively, but despite some excellent feedback from top literary agents, I found no taker for it. And now this serendipity! The publisher practically has walked on into my apartment and declares that he would like to publish my novel. He also says that he mainly publishes high-quality non-fiction and is taking on a novel for the first time in a decade.


«How come you want to buy this novel? Did you read it?» I ask him.


«I read an excerpt from it in Pedestal magazine.»


«But that was published a long time ago,» I tell him.


«I read it only just week.»


«That was the last chapter as far as I can remember. John Amen selected it.»


«And I have got a recommendation from one of your readers, a great lady with high intellect and integrity, who lives in Delhi. She says she read through the book an entire day and didn’t do a thing until she was done with it. I’ll publish this letter as a blurb.»


«Does she know me?»


«No.»


….


Exactly two days later, the publisher called me and said, «Our Proof is ready. It’s going to be a 250 page book. Where’ll I send the proof?»


At this point I e-mail my friend V Ramaswamy who has been my editor and friend for a long time. Ramaswamy is oddly a business executive (CEO) and is always flying across the world, but he is actually a literary fellow, himself a translator of repute and associated with a wide range of cultural activities. We meet two or three times a year.


He sends me a reply immediately. I can see him wildly excited at the news. Subsequently we have this chat:


«Ask your publisher to send proofs to my office. I would be correcting them on your behalf.»


«So kind of you. But have you got that much time?»


«I’ll make it anyway.»


«Do you remember you edited it and gave the novel its title?»


«Yes, of course. It was 2006. Before I started translating Subimal Misra’s work according to your suggestion. I’m so glad Shadowland is being published now -after so many years.»


«You also trimmed it down from a 83,000-odd length to just 63,000 words, and I didn’t say a word by way of a protest. You’re such a fine literary taster. I’ve yet to see any one like you.»


«So it’s final: I’m seeing your proof. I’m on a high and feel like celebrating our long literary partnership.»


So, as of now, Ramaswamy is with the proof. He has already corrected it in flat-out two days’ time. But in the process of doing it, he finds out that he didn’t do it right deleting so many chapters to just make the novel tight and smooth flowing. The novel looks lacking. So he fishes out the original version from his laptop (he’s so organized -just my opposite) and badly wants to add some chapters to the final version. He’s that serious and meticulous!


But I foresee a problem.


Would the publisher accept any new change in my novel at this stage?

CHAPTER 13

Sunday morning. There’s a nice drizzle outside. I’m alone in my apartment. My wife has gone over to stay with our daughter for a week. Her absence always triggers my creativity and I get such a surge sometimes that I find myself writing day and night like crazy. Except of course those three hours in the morning when I have to attend my clinic.


So I’m now working on my latest project — a 1000-page novel of which I’ve just written 200 words so far. I usually do it on Sundays when my clinic is closed. But there is always some glitch and I have to postpone it.


But this morning I’m very determined to do some real writing.


Suddenly, the phone rings. Oh my God, I have forgotten to switch it off. I look at my phone’s screen. Hey, it’s my publisher calling. I adjust in my chair and sit up. I feel a flutter in my chest.


«Hello! Good morning.».


«Morning. Are you busy?»


«I was just writing a little.»


«Are you working on another novel?»


«Not exactly. It’s actually my penultimate project — a 1000 page novel.»


«Sorry? How many pages?»


«1000.»


«It must be worth two pieces of brick in weight and volume. Nobody in his right mind ever writes a novel that size these days.»


«It’s a very serious work, like War and Peace, I like to call it my magnum opus, and I want to pour into it all of my creativity and energy.»


«Ha. You’re writing another War and Peace then. I had a good idea of you.»


«It’s my dream, you know. I have nourished it ever since my childhood when I first wanted to be a writer.»


«Since you’re now a writer of my house, I should tell you that no one will read it. No one will publish it. Fuck the quality. As for myself, I would not even touch it, let alone read it. These days I check the weight of a MS first before I open it.»


«I get it. But it’s a meticulously designed project in which the writer dies the moment he puts down the last line of the book.»


«Is it any kind of game?»


«Oh no. It’s how I’m finally planning my death. Just think you fall dead over your keyboard as you finish your book.»


«You drive me crazy. I call you for some important business.»


«Please, please.»


«Let me start with this question: would you, as a doctor, advise anybody to gain weight?»


«Umm. It actually depends. Suppose you come to my clinic with your skinny girl-friend and I find her anemic and underweight. In this case I would advise her to gain some weight. She would definitely look more sexy with a bit more weight, and you may even come to thank me for my advice.»


«Oh shit. Let me now ask you straightaway, why do you want to add pages to your novel?»


«It’s actually not me, my editor Ramaswamy, who wants to add it.»


«Who’s the writer of the novel — you or Ramaswamy?»


«Don’t get excited. During excitement there’s lot of adrenaline secretion which actually harms our system. You should relax and hear me. The thing is, my editor deleted some chapters from the novel, which he didn’t think fit ten years ago. Now he wants to put them back in their places. Now he thinks the novel looks poorer and incomplete without them.»


«I can’t figure out the rationale behind it. The rule of the thumb is, once you discard something, you discard it for ever. No question of restoring. Is it a child’s play?»


«I admit it’s a bit unusual. But such things happen in art, you know. It’s about aesthetics. What you love today, you may not like it tomorrow.»


«But he’s doing just the opposite. What he didn’t love ten years ago, he is now loving it.»


«This too can happen. In fashion, for example, you see the return of old things.»


«Please stop. Don’t you understand that you add chapters and my cost of production shoots up?»


«I understand. But don’t you sometimes overspend to buy, say, some fancy jewellery for your girl-friend?»


He laughs at this point.


I tell him, «It’s art. you need to consider it.»


«Well, I’ll consider it for my business.»


«Thank you. I know you are a connoisseur of literature.»


«No flattery, please.Tell me how many more pages your editor wants to add?»


«Not many, I suppose.»


«I want exact number, no vague answer.»


«I need to talk to my editor.»


«Is he done with that restoration and all?»


«Yes, He started doing it on Tuesday evening, and has finished it on Saturday morning. He has worked non-stop, like a possessed man, without food, drink and sleep. Can you imagine?»


«I don’t want to imagine. He scares the shit out of me. A nightmare. Once this addition thing is over, I’m sure he will raise other issues. I’ve been in this business for two decades. I can smell trouble. I wonder why you don’t do it yourself.»


«I’m busy with this novel, you know, and he’s a very trusted friend with excellent literary tastes and acumen. Shadowland needs him, not me at this stage.»


«I’ve never seen such a weird writer like you,» he says in a miffed voice. «Anyway, I’m going to send a man to your editor this week to get those added chapters. I need to do fresh layout. I’ve to get the book out on time.»


«Thanks. So kind of you to consider those extra chapters.»


«I hope you’re now going to write that 1000-page novel now.»


He snapped the line. I also shut down my laptop.


Wow. It’s a big win for me.


I hope my publisher is not reading this novel.

CHAPTER 14

Yesterday Ramaswamy, my editor, called me at night. He talked to me for about an hour, mostly about Shadowland, about how he blundered with his first editing ten years ago and how he insists on publishing it in its original version from which he had cut out just one sentence. He seemed way too displeased with the publisher, though for the wrong reason.


As ever he was fulsome about the novel and very hopeful about its future. «It’s the great Kolkata novel written in English,» he said.


After our conversation, I was checking my mail. I saw an e-mail by Ramaswamy:


if the publisher actually said all this, i’m somewhat pained.


he doesn’t know me.


know how trustworthy i am.


once the restored bits are included — there will be no more demands, only some deletion, at most.


today is a very special day for me. It is the day on which — I finally found my field.That is Literature. Mother Literature. Ma-Mati-Manush.


Apni ki koren? — Ami Sahityo-kormi.


…..


This morning I had to reply to that e-mail.


Ramaswamy,


You have misunderstood the publisher. He has profound respect for you. I’ve found him listening in awe whenever I have recounted anythingabout you. You are to him a star, and he is simply struck with you.


What you read in my novel yesterday is purely made up. I don’t really know why and how he came across in my narrative that way. Novelists lie a lot, you know, to speak the truth. Perhaps it is a lie of that kind. The fact is, he’s a simple, honest and passionate dude. True he sometimes brags about his publishing house, but is he not bringing out wonderful books mostly by unknown authors one after another for the past few years?


I called him this morning to know about the status of our book. He says he has no problem with the original 86,000- word version. It would sure increase his cost, but he is going to publish it anyway. He’s now convinced that the 63000-word version has holes in it and could not be a substitute for the original one by any means. He remarks by the way that it’s a novel that is in the end going by republished by some big international publisher, and they would then take the credit of having published it. Would anyone remember him around that time?


As I understand from his talk, he has now surrendered to your wishes completely. He has asked you to choose a font for this work. He’s ready to send you proofs as many times as you want. He’s going to carry out your order. He tells me he’ll, this time at least, see the production of a book from the side, will not stand in the way, and will learn some tricks from you. He says that he has yet to see a high- caliber literary editor like you.


Could you still be angry with such a publisher?

CHAPTER 15

«And of course, they indulged in the things that men were used to doing with women since time immemorial.» — from «Shadowland», a novel, by Mrinal Bose.


(Posted by V. Ramaswamy on Facebook on August 20, 2016)


Honestly, I don’t remember having written it. It has been sixteen years since I wrote Shadowland. And I’ve forgotten most things in it. I just remember it has way too many characters — a long line of humanity with their vulnerabilities and idiosyncrasies — but I forget about them too.


So when Ramaswamy mentioned one Dr Maity in one of his recent e-mails, I found myself thinking who he could be. It’s not his real name, for sure. Then he suddenly popped up in my head in a flash.


We were great buddies years ago when we were studying medicine, in different colleges though. Even after we passed out, we were in contact for a while. Then he specialized in dermatology and made a name in a relatively small time. He is a city celebrity now. We have lost contact since long.


So I was surprised when he called me one night when I was attending a seminar in a five-star hotel some months ago. I felt incredulous at first, but when he said, do you forget me, Mrinal, I knew him immediately. But I had problem talking in that setting. The person sitting next to me was already showing signs of being disturbed. The speaker on the podium, a star of a doctor, was onto something very important. So I cut Maity short and told him I would ring back after the seminar was over.


But I forgot. I forget many things these days.


He called me again after a few days — this time at a time when I was examining a patient in my clinic. But we talked a bit this time around.

Don’t you come to the city?

«Don’t you come to the city?» he said.


«Yes, I do. Usually when there’s some seminar or CME.»


«Actually I’ve an important piece of business with you. Can you come down to my place? I can send a car if you like it.»


I smelt a rat. Why this generosity? Why does he call me so earnestly after about twenty five years? What’s the business he has with me? He has always been a schemer and has used us friends in a canny way.


«Sorry, I’m pretty busy these days. Call me some other time.»


He called me again after about a month, this time at night when I was going to take my dinner.


«I hope you’re free now. I want to talk to you.»


«How are you?»


«Fine.»


«How’s your practice?»


«Great.»


I was going to ask about his family, but held back. His first wife was a gynecologist but she died of breast cancer. Then she married a ravishing model much younger than him. She too has also left. He adopted a boy from Mother Terresa’s home. I don’t know anything about the boy.


«So, how is life?»


«fantastic.»


«Would you let me know about your important piece of business?»


«I wanted to meet you and tell it. Anyway I’m going to bring out a fashion-com-health journal soon. I’ve already hired a top editor for it. I’m now looking for some contributing writers. I remember you had a wonderful health column in a Bengal weekly in those days. I think you could be one of my writers.»


«Thanks for the offer. But I don’t write those kinds of shit now.»


«I’ll pay you.»


«I have stopped writing crap since long.»


«But they have audience.»


«Leave it. I wouldn’t write any shit now. You know I wrote them for money then.»


«You don’t need money now?»


«I’ve my practice, you know, and I have a decent income out of it.»


«So, have you stopped writing?»


«Not at all. But now I write fiction — serious fiction.»


««What are you working on now?»


«It’s a 1000-page novel.»


«Are you kidding?»


«Not really. I’ve written a bit of it. I work on it on Sundays.»


«How many pages have you written so far?»


«200 words.»


«Ha ha ha. Do you have an idea how many years it will take you to complete it if you work at this speed? Some fifteen or twenty years, I think. It’ll be time to die, given our current age.»


«I’ve actually planned that way. Just think of me writing the last line of my novel and falling down dead over my keyboard!»


«You mean to say you will complete it and die?»


«Exactly. That’s my plan.»


«Ha ha. You’re still that crazy. Have you published any of your fiction?»


«Not many. Actually I don’t send them to any magazine or whatever. I write just for the pleasure of it.»


«What’s the point?»


«There’s no point really,» I said to him.


«I think you’r more crazy now.»


Maity doesn’t know my novel is being published, and he’s a character in it. Ramaswamy, my editor, expunged him from my novel in his first edit ten years ago, but now he has brought him back. Hurray to Maity.

CHAPTER 16

From my blog:


I’m publishing a whole novel on Medium in installments. It’s a novel about publishing of a novel. Obviously, the idea hit me in the wake of my first novel being accepted by a great publisher. Shit, I forgot to write about it here in my blog, a serious lapse on my side, but that’s me, my habit of keeping dumb when I should be actually shouting out.


Yesterday I wrote my fifth installment. And now I feel a bit exhausted. I’m a minimalist by nature, but these past few days I’ve knocked out 800 or so words regularly. This naturally takes its toll on my body and mind. I want to take a deep breath now. I need to take a second wind.


The following is a list of chapters arranged sequentially in case you’ve not read it or just want to take a look.


As a writer, I’m curious what the readers think about this novel and what their reading experience is. So, please come in with your feedback. I will appreciate them.


…..


Do you notice this blog entry becomes a short chapter of this novel?

CHAPTER 17

Another serendipity for me. And I want to celebrate it in this chapter.


In one of my wacky moments last evening, I solicited opinion about this novel from four eminent writers on Medium. They all know me well, at least from conversations I had with each of them on some issue sometime or other. But only one of them has responded so far. He is Tim Barrus, arguably the best and the most prolific writer on Medium. He hooked me the very first day I read his story. What a fascinating style! And how loaded with life-experiences! A master story teller and stylist, I thought.


Curiously, I went on to check his antecedents on Google. I read his profile on Wikipedia. And I knew I was right: he’s a writer with a big W among writers.


I’ve been reading him for about a year. I’ve this feel that Tim Barrus has kicked away his writing career for ever. Far, far away from the glitter and glamour of New York, he is now kind of self-exiled and lives in a poor corner of the world called Appalachia and works for the hapless AIDS -afflicted young boys. He now uses writing with a different perspective, but you never miss that wit and sparkle.


I’m a big fan of his hubris. «Don’t recommend my stories,» he wrote once, «don’t send me responses, I’ll not reply to them.» He is against any kind of recommend. Then he does not care about his audience. Many of us follow him, but he does not follow back anybody. That’s the rule for him. He’s the contrarian. You may not like him, but it’s impossible to ignore him.


He writes like crazy almost everyday — sometimes several posts on a single day. And each post is worth it. But I’ve a sneaking suspicion that he sometimes hates his own writing. Some days he posts just an image or video with few or no words.


So I was naturally excited when I found Tim recommending fifth and sixth installment of this novel in quick succession. Apparently, he was done with reading them. Then he mentioned me in one of his tweets. «What do you think of my novel?» I asked in my reply to his tweet, not without a bit of trepidation. No reply. Then, to my delightful surprise, the response came in by way of a pretty long story in his inimitable style.


Read it. He talks about Serendipity/5


Ilove this part: «I’ve actually planned that way. Just think of me writing the last line of my novel and falling down dead over my keyboard!»


«You mean to say you will complete it and die?»


Yes.


There is never really an end.


I cannot read my books.


I would rewrite them.


They are not your children. What a silly thing for writers to say. The book one ends, is a guide book.


No editor is a guide book.


Editors are instruments.


If that.


Editors shepherd things through.


It zips along.


I can see that. Even if you serialize electronic right, you have in no way given up book rights, or even magazine rights. Agents know all this stuff, not that they share it.


I rather like the rich Indian milieu. You have painted a very specific sense of place. You weave that through another world, and it’s medical.


A hierarchy the voice is wary of. It just gets richer.


The writer dies with what they write in pieces. A strange grief.


People in your head who will show up on various kinds of doorsteps.


I do not recommend they stay for cocktails. In fact, you might not want to open the door, and let them in. Make the butler do it.


The writer grieves and recovers.


There is a cure, and I do not recommend that either.


It would involve writing another book. You will anyway.


You have a voice. It matters.


More soon.

CHAPTER 18

When I came out of the building, I was excited in a delirious and uncontrollable way. I wanted to share the good news. I wanted to celebrate it. But the premise was kind of empty. I looked for the candidates who had appeared before me. They were all gone.


I saw a short and stout man come towards me: well-trimmed beard, lips reddened from chewing too much paan with betel nut, big red eyes, but a face that was waiting to laugh heartily at any moment.


He looked exactly like Majed uncle. Majed uncle is my father’s friend. I haven’t seen him long since. But how could he be here?


He stopped before me. «How come you’re here?»


That unmistakable baritone voice. I was pleasantly surprised.


«When did you come to India? Did you come here straight from Rajshahi? Did you come alone or with your family? Why do you wear such a dirty shirt?»


A barrage of rapid fire questions.


Before I came out with any answer, he dragged me to a sweet shop and sat me on a chair across a table from him. He was looking at me closely.


He ordered Rosogolla for us. «Why are you here?» he said.


I’m always a poor raconteur. I can’t tell a story the way I can write. And it always bothers me that I’m giving trouble to my listener. So I recounted only the important things in a minimalist way. And last of all, I was into narrating him in a little detailed way about this interview and the outcome.


«So you came here to join Bangladesh defense forces?»


«Yes.» I saw a smile in his face. It seemed to mock me.


Majed uncle is famous for his laugh. Ever since my childhood, I have identified him with this peculiar, long-drawn laugh. He laughs with his whole body in a convulsive way. The laugh starts from his belly and it spreads upwards and outwards. Then the whole body contorts in jerks with a loud ha ha ha. It’s a free, full and unrestrained laugh.


«So now you’re an officer in Bangladesh Air Force!»


Instinctively, I felt the conversation was not going in the right direction. He was actually preparing himself to bring out that famous laugh.


And he really began that belly-laugh, attracting attention from the customers and the shop-owner and even from people outside of the shop. I hung my head low in embarrassment.


He completed one cycle of laugh and said, «So you’re an Air Force officer» and then began another cycle.


«But what makes you laugh, uncle? Did I do anything wrong?»


«No, never. You’re absolutely right.» He was into yet another burst of laughter.


Then he stopped laughing, the contour of his face changed and he looked grave and dignified. I’m familiar with this face also. He is a political person, an Awami League leader, and when he wants to get across his message to anybody, he assumes this persona.


«If it were not you,» he said, «I would have slapped you in the face. You’re an idiot.»


«How am I an idiot?»


«You were doing economics in the university, and now you’re going to join Air Force. Is there any connection between economics and Air Force? Where is your consistency? Don’t you understand it’s waywardness, it’s recklessness? I never knew you’rs so crazy, foolhardy. Do we expect this from you? Everybody knows you as a brilliant student, somebody with huge potential. And you’re here to damn us.»


«I just wanted to contribute a bit to liberation struggle.»


«I don’t think it’s your informed choice. Do you know they will give you just one month’s training, only basic things, and send you to fight with sophisticated Pakistani forces. You’ll get all killed in the hands of Pakistani forces. End of the contribution.»


I was chewing on my last rosogolla. I found myself a little shaken.


«Give me that paper,» he now says in a different voice.


I bring it out of my pocket and hand it to him.


He tears it into pieces and fly them in the wind. He doesn’t laugh at all.


«So what should I do now?» I ask him.


«You’ll be living with me until I get you admitted to some reputed college in Calcutta.»

CHAPTER 19

Last evening I had a weird vision, sitting in the chair in the writing corner of my tiny apartment. I saw it clearly that Tim Barrus was reading my novel out there at his hole in Appalachia. I’ve no idea about Appalachia and I don’t know how far it’s from Kolkata. But at that time the distance didn’t matter. and I could easily track down Tim through his reading.


I’m no believer in supernatural things, but this kind of thing happens to me sometimes. Some days I can tell you beforehand who among my patients would come to my clinic today. It’s of course absurd and unbelievable. May be it’s some kind of prescience. I’ve tasted it many times myself secretly. Let me elaborate. Suppose for some reason I think of a patient in the morning, and you would not believe, when I reach my clinic, I find him sitting there right in my clinic. It gives me goose bumps. How is it possible? Is it any power? If it is, it’s an evil power. I never indulge in it. And I’m never comfortable with such experiences. I’m also very careful to never share it with anybody.


So anyway I saw Tim Barrus was reading through my novel. He seemed like an abstract figure, not his exact self. He was reading from a laptop. It must be the first chapter. From here he would move over to the second chapter, then to the third to the fourth. He had already done with the fifth, sixth and possibly the seventh chapter. I knew he would complete it somehow. I clearly saw once again he was reading it carefully like a serious reader or critic. I felt he would surely be writing about this reading experience.


My phone gets a ping. Is it any new e-mail or message?


I open it and hey, here’s a tweet from Tim Barrus. He mentions «publishing of a novel» in his tweet. I get goose bumps. Exactly like the way when I see the patient in my clinic, who I thought about in the morning.


So, I thought, Tim’s done with the first chapter. Has he recommended it? I check out my stats. Yes, he has recommended it. But I’m not thrilled. As if it was something I knew would happen.


Tim’s second tweet follows soon after. He has highlighted from the second part: Manoranjan Byapari, a richshaw puller-turned-writer, who has garnered a lot of attention in this part of the world. So he’s done with the second chapter too.


I keep watching Tim. He’s into third chapter and possibly the fourth as well. Exactly after three hours I get two tweets almost together.


In the first tweet he mentions me, highlighting: «I hope my publisher is notreading this novel.» It’s from the third chapter.


In the second tweet I get him highlighting: «Novelists lie a lot, you know, to speak the truth.» It’s from fourth chapter.


Tim is done with the reading.


At this time I see him mulling something. He leans over the keyboard and starts pounding the keys in a casual but thoughtful way.


But I’m feeling sleepy. I have to go to bed now. Sleep has a way of seizing me at the right hour and I surrender to it without any resistance. «The baby is asleep,» I hear my wife shouting jocularly. Sleep for me is like a brief spell of death. I taste death everyday.


I always rise early in the morning. This is the time when my curmudgeonly wife gets to sleep after his long fight for sleep. I use this time to type some solid words. It’s my warm-up for the day.


Today I check out my mail first. Is there any mail from Medium? Has Tim responded? Yes, it’s there — a long response. But I decide not to open it right now. It’s Tim Barrus’ writing and I must have some preparation for reading it.

CHAPTER 20

I don’t like making a writer or a book the main character of my novel. Though I’ve been always curious about writers’ lives, (I read a lot of writer interviews in Paris Review and elsewhere), I myself don’t want to portray them. Why of all things I would expose someone of my ilk? Besides, I tend to think that most writers practically live a boring life — a life with keyboard. And the last and most important point is, it’s dangerous to write about a writer or writing. You never know when you would go off the rail and spoil the show. The irony is, I’m doing exactly what I’ve been cautiously avoiding all these years.


The protagonist of Shadowland is a young struggling doctor — me actually, years ago who got into trouble with the ruling Marxist party and the administration for a small piece of land he had bought with his hard-earned money and where he was to build up a nice home. Naturally he had turmoil in his life, but he maintained his cool and did his medical practice and all, but he was never shown writing anything except his prescriptions even for once.


«Did you notice it that I made him a doctor, not a doctor-writer?» I asked Ramaswamy, my editor, and great literary taster friend yesterday.


«It was a wise decision,» Ramaswamy said, «He was less complex that way. From my editor’s point of view, it’s way too difficult to deal with a writer in a novel.»


«So how is editing going?»


«Nearing completion, but so many days, fatigue sets in, diminishing returns.»


«I’m sorry for giving you so much trouble.»


«Do you see you’re writing away and I’m editing away?»


We laughed together noisily.


About the Tim Barrus stuff. I read it and then re-read it. Then I went to my clinic. Some points of it kept ringing in my head all the time I was examining my patients and writing prescriptions for them. Then as I was packing up to leave the clinic, I read it again on my smart phone. Tim had actually some advice for me. Writing advice. I hate writing advice. I don’t read them. Real writers never follow them. But Tim’s suggestion resonates with me. He is someone who knows anything and everything about writing and publishing, and I’m always stunned by his level of wisdom, erudition and life experiences. Finally, I decide to incorporate it — the whole response — into my novel.


So, here it’s for you. Read it slowly, pause at right places and think, then read again. Tim Barrus has an incredible capacity as a writer to overwhelm you and if you’re not alert, you may be carried away.


Death and writing.


Right upfront.


Death charges, and then comes after me.


Writers who write about writing and publishing tread a very dangerous path. Do not go down this path lightly. The path navigates itself. You are on the path. It is enough. Drama. Writers writing books on writing and publishing will attract enough drama, going to the theatre will be quite dull. Removed. Dispassionate.


In the same manner in which Camus wrote The Stranger.


Or became one.


Kolkata as place is about more than place. It cannot be avoided. Strangers in a strange land. Publishing might as well be Mars. You as the reader, WANT the writer to have his day. How fragile are we. Fragile enough.


There are books that pull me in.


There are books that charge, electrified even in repose, and go after me.


There are books that do both. This one was teasing me. Then, it came after me.


It was the word serendipity.


Luck not seeking luck. Particularly. Death. The difference between dying and dying. What is writing. Writing is the defiance of death. Writing is surrender. A one way ticket, and you will pay the price for it. Round trip. Physicians who write, of which there is a long history, get it both ways.


Balance that.


It implies the metaphoric individual, but that individual exists not in a prison awaiting death — but in a transcendent context. Fundamentally, it’s publishing that is the real death. What goes after me is Kolkata.


Just the mention of the name.


I am rarely overwhelmed by place. But Kolkata inspired me while there and depressed me and forced me to see life for what it is.


I want more Kolkata.


Life and death. Perhaps it is unfair to write about a book before you are done reading it. I should be shot on sight.


Instead, let us simply read the fucking French. No one is more transcendent unless it’s India.


In Camus’ The Stranger, Meursault (the voice) dismisses his perceived difference between execution and natural death, he must deal with the abstract concept of hope. Hope only tortures him, because it creates the false illusion that he can change the impending reality of his death. Coming down the halls with keys.


The writing life is not about hope, but writing is. The writing life is the guillotine.


I write to live. I live to write. I am punished either way.


This is a book about the writing life. Publishing is in there but like Meursault, what is it. Publishing will never acknowledge the funeral all around it. It can’t. What’s at stake is publishing.


If the British didn’t invent either the novel or the 19th Century, they should have.


The novel as a platform is not quite so novel, so put it on the Internet.


A trend. Simmering.


The «novel» becomes a character. As does death. Even death over keyboards. Keyboards are the world. Without them, we don’t get there. I would argue that the keyboard is the wheel.


Like the hot potato. One potato, two potato, three potato, four. There’s a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth because there is a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth. Take that. No, you take that. A brotherhood.


Death. No one wants responsibility for it.


The first person narrator catches the potato, and moves us along. Perhaps too quickly, I want more internal dialogue, as to outpace death. A quid pro quo. Publishing is the promised land. This comes from the British, too. Play for pay. Pay for play.


The colonies adapt. That is why they are the colonies. Kolkata at the very least gives and keeps on giving as something to write about. Place gives death a context. Kolkata and publishing is almost Graham Greene. The only thing that survives are ideas. Right or wrong. Usually wrong, but it was not an accident that — if it’s in print, it must be true — because in those days, writers were gentlemen.


Scoundrels were a separate class.


Monoranjan Byapari, a rickshaw-puller-turned-writer, is obviously authentic, too. He was a brawler. A fighter on the street. Goes to prison. Pulls a rickshaw. Writes. Mahasweta Devi, herself, gives voice to the margins. Byapari was a Naxal. This is publishing.


What is obvious is usually an illusion by degrees.


English society would be about the context — or your class — but Kolkata is the eternal individual living in a chaos that is bigger than the solar system it is a part of. This goes light years beyond empire.


Writing. Death. Place. Class. The individual as opposed to the great machine.


The great machine is bigger than publishing, and, yet, it is publishing, too. Why would someone get no sleep over what an editor thinks. Apparently. A few. Of the afflicted.


Publishers speak in Mumbojumbo. No one really knows what a publisher is talking about. Nothing and everything. At least to the writer of the fiction that is the greater truth.


I found Kolkata overwhelming. I was the one who was delirious. Kolkata is just being Kolkata.


I met boys there who knew a few of the secrets to whoring with the whores. Not as lovers or even friends but as investors. Spending sweat and money on facade. The allure was edible. I want more Kolkata because it’s in the how of a liquid place, only so far as ideas and culture are necessarily fluid — that the ground gives way.


Then, there are the writers who have to write.


Serendipity is essentially the philosophy of the absurd. Camus would be compelled to agree.


The absurd refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek meaning, otherwise known as what does a writer have to do to actually get published, and the human inability to find any. Meaning.


In this context, absurd does not mean «logically impossible,» but rather «humanly impossible.»


The universe and the human mind do not each separately cause the absurd, but rather, the absurd and absurdist arises by the contradictory nature of the two existing simultaneously.


Publishing and writing. They are not the same. The writer is the patient.


Absurd again.


In Key West, I lived on Virginia Street, and Tennessee Williams lived right around the corner next door on Duncan. We often went to Higgs beach to swim. Tennessee had a pool with a rose tattoo in tile at the bottom. But Higgs beach was the ocean, and Tennessee was one of the stronger swimmers I had ever seen.


We were walking down Dick Dock near the Casa Marina. «Serendipity.»


Tennessee stared at the horizon. He was the only person I knew who used that word.


«Luck and strangers,» he said. That was all.


Define kindness. No one can.


After his trial, Meursault only cares about escaping the «great machineryof justice» that has condemned him to death. The newspapers characterize the situation of a condemned man in terms of a «debt owed to society,» but Meursault believes the only thing that matters is the possibility of an escape to freedom.


Publishing then. Perhaps.


I want more. I want more flesh. I want to hear the great machine. With groans and grinds and so the flesh defines. Oh, so slowly.


For what are we if not what we write about. There is nothing more dangerous than writing that.


More soon. I’m reading.


I don’t like making a writer or a book the main character of my novel. Though I’ve been always curious about writers’ lives, (I read a lot of writer interviews in Paris Review and elsewhere), I myself don’t want to portray them. Why of all things I would expose someone of my ilk? Besides, I tend to think that most writers practically live a boring life — a life with keyboard. And the last and most important point is, it’s dangerous to write about a writer or writing. You never know when you would go off the rail and spoil the show. The irony is, I’m doing exactly what I’ve been cautiously avoiding all these years.


The protagonist of Shadowland is a young struggling doctor — me actually, years ago who got into trouble with the ruling Marxist party and the administration for a small piece of land he had bought with his hard-earned money and where he was to build up a nice home. Naturally he had turmoil in his life, but he maintained his cool and did his medical practice and all, but he was never shown writing anything except his prescriptions even for once.


«Did you notice it that I made him a doctor, not a doctor-writer?» I asked Ramaswamy, my editor, and great literary taster friend yesterday.


«It was a wise decision,» Ramaswamy said, «He was less complex that way. From my editor’s point of view, it’s way too difficult to deal with a writer in a novel.»


«So how is editing going?»


«Nearing completion, but so many days, fatigue sets in, diminishing returns.»


«I’m sorry for giving you so much trouble.»


«Do you see you’re writing away and I’m editing away?»


We laughed together noisily.


About the Tim Barrus stuff. I read it and then re-read it. Then I went to my clinic. Some points of it kept ringing in my head all the time I was examining my patients and writing prescriptions for them. Then as I was packing up to leave the clinic, I read it again on my smart phone. Tim had actually some advice for me. Writing advice. I hate writing advice. I don’t read them. Real writers never follow them. But Tim’s suggestion resonates with me. He is someone who knows anything and everything about writing and publishing, and I’m always stunned by his level of wisdom, erudition and life experiences. Finally, I decide to incorporate it — the whole response — into my novel.


So, here it’s for you. Read it slowly, pause at right places and think, then read again. Tim Barrus has an incredible capacity as a writer to overwhelm you and if you’re not alert, you may be carried away.


Death and writing.


Right upfront.


Death charges, and then comes after me.


Writers who write about writing and publishing tread a very dangerous path. Do not go down this path lightly. The path navigates itself. You are on the path. It is enough. Drama. Writers writing books on writing and publishing will attract enough drama, going to the theatre will be quite dull. Removed. Dispassionate.


In the same manner in which Camus wrote The Stranger.


Or became one.


Kolkata as place is about more than place. It cannot be avoided. Strangers in a strange land. Publishing might as well be Mars. You as the reader, WANT the writer to have his day. How fragile are we. Fragile enough.


There are books that pull me in.


There are books that charge, electrified even in repose, and go after me.


There are books that do both. This one was teasing me. Then, it came after me.


It was the word serendipity.


Luck not seeking luck. Particularly. Death. The difference between dying and dying. What is writing. Writing is the defiance of death. Writing is surrender. A one way ticket, and you will pay the price for it. Round trip. Physicians who write, of which there is a long history, get it both ways.


Balance that.


It implies the metaphoric individual, but that individual exists not in a prison awaiting death — but in a transcendent context. Fundamentally, it’s publishing that is the real death. What goes after me is Kolkata.


Just the mention of the name.


I am rarely overwhelmed by place. But Kolkata inspired me while there and depressed me and forced me to see life for what it is.


I want more Kolkata.


Life and death. Perhaps it is unfair to write about a book before you are done reading it. I should be shot on sight.


Instead, let us simply read the fucking French. No one is more transcendent unless it’s India.


In Camus’ The Stranger, Meursault (the voice) dismisses his perceived difference between execution and natural death, he must deal with the abstract concept of hope. Hope only tortures him, because it creates the false illusion that he can change the impending reality of his death. Coming down the halls with keys.


The writing life is not about hope, but writing is. The writing life is the guillotine.


I write to live. I live to write. I am punished either way.


This is a book about the writing life. Publishing is in there but like Meursault, what is it. Publishing will never acknowledge the funeral all around it. It can’t. What’s at stake is publishing.


If the British didn’t invent either the novel or the 19th Century, they should have.


The novel as a platform is not quite so novel, so put it on the Internet.


A trend. Simmering.


The «novel» becomes a character. As does death. Even death over keyboards. Keyboards are the world. Without them, we don’t get there. I would argue that the keyboard is the wheel.


Like the hot potato. One potato, two potato, three potato, four. There’s a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth because there is a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth. Take that. No, you take that. A brotherhood.


Death. No one wants responsibility for it.


The first person narrator catches the potato, and moves us along. Perhaps too quickly, I want more internal dialogue, as to outpace death. A quid pro quo. Publishing is the promised land. This comes from the British, too. Play for pay. Pay for play.


The colonies adapt. That is why they are the colonies. Kolkata at the very least gives and keeps on giving as something to write about. Place gives death a context. Kolkata and publishing is almost Graham Greene. The only thing that survives are ideas. Right or wrong. Usually wrong, but it was not an accident that — if it’s in print, it must be true — because in those days, writers were gentlemen.


Scoundrels were a separate class.


Monoranjan Byapari, a rickshaw-puller-turned-writer, is obviously authentic, too. He was a brawler. A fighter on the street. Goes to prison. Pulls a rickshaw. Writes. Mahasweta Devi, herself, gives voice to the margins. Byapari was a Naxal. This is publishing.


What is obvious is usually an illusion by degrees.


English society would be about the context — or your class — but Kolkata is the eternal individual living in a chaos that is bigger than the solar system it is a part of. This goes light years beyond empire.


Writing. Death. Place. Class. The individual as opposed to the great machine.


The great machine is bigger than publishing, and, yet, it is publishing, too. Why would someone get no sleep over what an editor thinks. Apparently. A few. Of the afflicted.


Publishers speak in Mumbojumbo. No one really knows what a publisher is talking about. Nothing and everything. At least to the writer of the fiction that is the greater truth.


I found Kolkata overwhelming. I was the one who was delirious. Kolkata is just being Kolkata.


I met boys there who knew a few of the secrets to whoring with the whores. Not as lovers or even friends but as investors. Spending sweat and money on facade. The allure was edible. I want more Kolkata because it’s in the how of a liquid place, only so far as ideas and culture are necessarily fluid — that the ground gives way.


Then, there are the writers who have to write.


Serendipity is essentially the philosophy of the absurd. Camus would be compelled to agree.


The absurd refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek meaning, otherwise known as what does a writer have to do to actually get published, and the human inability to find any. Meaning.


In this context, absurd does not mean «logically impossible,» but rather «humanly impossible.»


The universe and the human mind do not each separately cause the absurd, but rather, the absurd and absurdist arises by the contradictory nature of the two existing simultaneously.


Publishing and writing. They are not the same. The writer is the patient.


Absurd again.


In Key West, I lived on Virginia Street, and Tennessee Williams lived right around the corner next door on Duncan. We often went to Higgs beach to swim. Tennessee had a pool with a rose tattoo in tile at the bottom. But Higgs beach was the ocean, and Tennessee was one of the stronger swimmers I had ever seen.


We were walking down Dick Dock near the Casa Marina. «Serendipity.»


Tennessee stared at the horizon. He was the only person I knew who used that word.


«Luck and strangers,» he said. That was all.


Define kindness. No one can.


After his trial, Meursault only cares about escaping the «great machineryof justice» that has condemned him to death. The newspapers characterize the situation of a condemned man in terms of a «debt owed to society,» but Meursault believes the only thing that matters is the possibility of an escape to freedom.


Publishing then. Perhaps.


I want more. I want more flesh. I want to hear the great machine. With groans and grinds and so the flesh defines. Oh, so slowly.


For what are we if not what we write about. There is nothing more dangerous than writing that.


More soon. I’m reading.


I don’t like making a writer or a book the main character of my novel. Though I’ve been always curious about writers’ lives, (I read a lot of writer interviews in Paris Review and elsewhere), I myself don’t want to portray them. Why of all things I would expose someone of my ilk? Besides, I tend to think that most writers practically live a boring life — a life with keyboard. And the last and most important point is, it’s dangerous to write about a writer or writing. You never know when you would go off the rail and spoil the show. The irony is, I’m doing exactly what I’ve been cautiously avoiding all these years.


The protagonist of Shadowland is a young struggling doctor — me actually, years ago who got into trouble with the ruling Marxist party and the administration for a small piece of land he had bought with his hard-earned money and where he was to build up a nice home. Naturally he had turmoil in his life, but he maintained his cool and did his medical practice and all, but he was never shown writing anything except his prescriptions even for once.


«Did you notice it that I made him a doctor, not a doctor-writer?» I asked Ramaswamy, my editor, and great literary taster friend yesterday.


«It was a wise decision,» Ramaswamy said, «He was less complex that way. From my editor’s point of view, it’s way too difficult to deal with a writer in a novel.»


«So how is editing going?»


«Nearing completion, but so many days, fatigue sets in, diminishing returns.»


«I’m sorry for giving you so much trouble.»


«Do you see you’re writing away and I’m editing away?»


We laughed together noisily.


About the Tim Barrus stuff. I read it and then re-read it. Then I went to my clinic. Some points of it kept ringing in my head all the time I was examining my patients and writing prescriptions for them. Then as I was packing up to leave the clinic, I read it again on my smart phone. Tim had actually some advice for me. Writing advice. I hate writing advice. I don’t read them. Real writers never follow them. But Tim’s suggestion resonates with me. He is someone who knows anything and everything about writing and publishing, and I’m always stunned by his level of wisdom, erudition and life experiences. Finally, I decide to incorporate it — the whole response — into my novel.


So, here it’s for you. Read it slowly, pause at right places and think, then read again. Tim Barrus has an incredible capacity as a writer to overwhelm you and if you’re not alert, you may be carried away.


Death and writing.


Right upfront.


Death charges, and then comes after me.


Writers who write about writing and publishing tread a very dangerous path. Do not go down this path lightly. The path navigates itself. You are on the path. It is enough. Drama. Writers writing books on writing and publishing will attract enough drama, going to the theatre will be quite dull. Removed. Dispassionate.


In the same manner in which Camus wrote The Stranger.


Or became one.


Kolkata as place is about more than place. It cannot be avoided. Strangers in a strange land. Publishing might as well be Mars. You as the reader, WANT the writer to have his day. How fragile are we. Fragile enough.


There are books that pull me in.


There are books that charge, electrified even in repose, and go after me.


There are books that do both. This one was teasing me. Then, it came after me.


It was the word serendipity.


Luck not seeking luck. Particularly. Death. The difference between dying and dying. What is writing. Writing is the defiance of death. Writing is surrender. A one way ticket, and you will pay the price for it. Round trip. Physicians who write, of which there is a long history, get it both ways.


Balance that.


It implies the metaphoric individual, but that individual exists not in a prison awaiting death — but in a transcendent context. Fundamentally, it’s publishing that is the real death. What goes after me is Kolkata.


Just the mention of the name.


I am rarely overwhelmed by place. But Kolkata inspired me while there and depressed me and forced me to see life for what it is.


I want more Kolkata.


Life and death. Perhaps it is unfair to write about a book before you are done reading it. I should be shot on sight.


Instead, let us simply read the fucking French. No one is more transcendent unless it’s India.


In Camus’ The Stranger, Meursault (the voice) dismisses his perceived difference between execution and natural death, he must deal with the abstract concept of hope. Hope only tortures him, because it creates the false illusion that he can change the impending reality of his death. Coming down the halls with keys.


The writing life is not about hope, but writing is. The writing life is the guillotine.


I write to live. I live to write. I am punished either way.


This is a book about the writing life. Publishing is in there but like Meursault, what is it. Publishing will never acknowledge the funeral all around it. It can’t. What’s at stake is publishing.


If the British didn’t invent either the novel or the 19th Century, they should have.


The novel as a platform is not quite so novel, so put it on the Internet.


A trend. Simmering.


The «novel» becomes a character. As does death. Even death over keyboards. Keyboards are the world. Without them, we don’t get there. I would argue that the keyboard is the wheel.


Like the hot potato. One potato, two potato, three potato, four. There’s a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth because there is a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth. Take that. No, you take that. A brotherhood.


Death. No one wants responsibility for it.


The first person narrator catches the potato, and moves us along. Perhaps too quickly, I want more internal dialogue, as to outpace death. A quid pro quo. Publishing is the promised land. This comes from the British, too. Play for pay. Pay for play.


The colonies adapt. That is why they are the colonies. Kolkata at the very least gives and keeps on giving as something to write about. Place gives death a context. Kolkata and publishing is almost Graham Greene. The only thing that survives are ideas. Right or wrong. Usually wrong, but it was not an accident that — if it’s in print, it must be true — because in those days, writers were gentlemen.


Scoundrels were a separate class.


Monoranjan Byapari, a rickshaw-puller-turned-writer, is obviously authentic, too. He was a brawler. A fighter on the street. Goes to prison. Pulls a rickshaw. Writes. Mahasweta Devi, herself, gives voice to the margins. Byapari was a Naxal. This is publishing.


What is obvious is usually an illusion by degrees.


English society would be about the context — or your class — but Kolkata is the eternal individual living in a chaos that is bigger than the solar system it is a part of. This goes light years beyond empire.


Writing. Death. Place. Class. The individual as opposed to the great machine.


The great machine is bigger than publishing, and, yet, it is publishing, too. Why would someone get no sleep over what an editor thinks. Apparently. A few. Of the afflicted.


Publishers speak in Mumbojumbo. No one really knows what a publisher is talking about. Nothing and everything. At least to the writer of the fiction that is the greater truth.


I found Kolkata overwhelming. I was the one who was delirious. Kolkata is just being Kolkata.


I met boys there who knew a few of the secrets to whoring with the whores. Not as lovers or even friends but as investors. Spending sweat and money on facade. The allure was edible. I want more Kolkata because it’s in the how of a liquid place, only so far as ideas and culture are necessarily fluid — that the ground gives way.


Then, there are the writers who have to write.


Serendipity is essentially the philosophy of the absurd. Camus would be compelled to agree.


The absurd refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek meaning, otherwise known as what does a writer have to do to actually get published, and the human inability to find any. Meaning.


In this context, absurd does not mean «logically impossible,» but rather «humanly impossible.»


The universe and the human mind do not each separately cause the absurd, but rather, the absurd and absurdist arises by the contradictory nature of the two existing simultaneously.


Publishing and writing. They are not the same. The writer is the patient.


Absurd again.


In Key West, I lived on Virginia Street, and Tennessee Williams lived right around the corner next door on Duncan. We often went to Higgs beach to swim. Tennessee had a pool with a rose tattoo in tile at the bottom. But Higgs beach was the ocean, and Tennessee was one of the stronger swimmers I had ever seen.


We were walking down Dick Dock near the Casa Marina. «Serendipity.»


Tennessee stared at the horizon. He was the only person I knew who used that word.


«Luck and strangers,» he said. That was all.


Define kindness. No one can.


After his trial, Meursault only cares about escaping the «great machineryof justice» that has condemned him to death. The newspapers characterize the situation of a condemned man in terms of a «debt owed to society,» but Meursault believes the only thing that matters is the possibility of an escape to freedom.


Publishing then. Perhaps.


I want more. I want more flesh. I want to hear the great machine. With groans and grinds and so the flesh defines. Oh, so slowly.


For what are we if not what we write about. There is nothing more dangerous than writing that.


More soon. I’m reading.


I don’t like making a writer or a book the main character of my novel. Though I’ve been always curious about writers’ lives, (I read a lot of writer interviews in Paris Review and elsewhere), I myself don’t want to portray them. Why of all things I would expose someone of my ilk? Besides, I tend to think that most writers practically live a boring life — a life with keyboard. And the last and most important point is, it’s dangerous to write about a writer or writing. You never know when you would go off the rail and spoil the show. The irony is, I’m doing exactly what I’ve been cautiously avoiding all these years.


The protagonist of Shadowland is a young struggling doctor — me actually, years ago who got into trouble with the ruling Marxist party and the administration for a small piece of land he had bought with his hard-earned money and where he was to build up a nice home. Naturally he had turmoil in his life, but he maintained his cool and did his medical practice and all, but he was never shown writing anything except his prescriptions even for once.


«Did you notice it that I made him a doctor, not a doctor-writer?» I asked Ramaswamy, my editor, and great literary taster friend yesterday.


«It was a wise decision,» Ramaswamy said, «He was less complex that way. From my editor’s point of view, it’s way too difficult to deal with a writer in a novel.»


«So how is editing going?»


«Nearing completion, but so many days, fatigue sets in, diminishing returns.»


«I’m sorry for giving you so much trouble.»


«Do you see you’re writing away and I’m editing away?»


We laughed together noisily.


About the Tim Barrus stuff. I read it and then re-read it. Then I went to my clinic. Some points of it kept ringing in my head all the time I was examining my patients and writing prescriptions for them. Then as I was packing up to leave the clinic, I read it again on my smart phone. Tim had actually some advice for me. Writing advice. I hate writing advice. I don’t read them. Real writers never follow them. But Tim’s suggestion resonates with me. He is someone who knows anything and everything about writing and publishing, and I’m always stunned by his level of wisdom, erudition and life experiences. Finally, I decide to incorporate it — the whole response — into my novel.


So, here it’s for you. Read it slowly, pause at right places and think, then read again. Tim Barrus has an incredible capacity as a writer to overwhelm you and if you’re not alert, you may be carried away.


Death and writing.


Right upfront.


Death charges, and then comes after me.


Writers who write about writing and publishing tread a very dangerous path. Do not go down this path lightly. The path navigates itself. You are on the path. It is enough. Drama. Writers writing books on writing and publishing will attract enough drama, going to the theatre will be quite dull. Removed. Dispassionate.


In the same manner in which Camus wrote The Stranger.


Or became one.


Kolkata as place is about more than place. It cannot be avoided. Strangers in a strange land. Publishing might as well be Mars. You as the reader, WANT the writer to have his day. How fragile are we. Fragile enough.


There are books that pull me in.


There are books that charge, electrified even in repose, and go after me.


There are books that do both. This one was teasing me. Then, it came after me.


It was the word serendipity.


Luck not seeking luck. Particularly. Death. The difference between dying and dying. What is writing. Writing is the defiance of death. Writing is surrender. A one way ticket, and you will pay the price for it. Round trip. Physicians who write, of which there is a long history, get it both ways.


Balance that.


It implies the metaphoric individual, but that individual exists not in a prison awaiting death — but in a transcendent context. Fundamentally, it’s publishing that is the real death. What goes after me is Kolkata.


Just the mention of the name.


I am rarely overwhelmed by place. But Kolkata inspired me while there and depressed me and forced me to see life for what it is.


I want more Kolkata.


Life and death. Perhaps it is unfair to write about a book before you are done reading it. I should be shot on sight.


Instead, let us simply read the fucking French. No one is more transcendent unless it’s India.


In Camus’ The Stranger, Meursault (the voice) dismisses his perceived difference between execution and natural death, he must deal with the abstract concept of hope. Hope only tortures him, because it creates the false illusion that he can change the impending reality of his death. Coming down the halls with keys.


The writing life is not about hope, but writing is. The writing life is the guillotine.


I write to live. I live to write. I am punished either way.


This is a book about the writing life. Publishing is in there but like Meursault, what is it. Publishing will never acknowledge the funeral all around it. It can’t. What’s at stake is publishing.


If the British didn’t invent either the novel or the 19th Century, they should have.


The novel as a platform is not quite so novel, so put it on the Internet.


A trend. Simmering.


The «novel» becomes a character. As does death. Even death over keyboards. Keyboards are the world. Without them, we don’t get there. I would argue that the keyboard is the wheel.


Like the hot potato. One potato, two potato, three potato, four. There’s a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth because there is a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth. Take that. No, you take that. A brotherhood.


Death. No one wants responsibility for it.


The first person narrator catches the potato, and moves us along. Perhaps too quickly, I want more internal dialogue, as to outpace death. A quid pro quo. Publishing is the promised land. This comes from the British, too. Play for pay. Pay for play.


The colonies adapt. That is why they are the colonies. Kolkata at the very least gives and keeps on giving as something to write about. Place gives death a context. Kolkata and publishing is almost Graham Greene. The only thing that survives are ideas. Right or wrong. Usually wrong, but it was not an accident that — if it’s in print, it must be true — because in those days, writers were gentlemen.


Scoundrels were a separate class.


Monoranjan Byapari, a rickshaw-puller-turned-writer, is obviously authentic, too. He was a brawler. A fighter on the street. Goes to prison. Pulls a rickshaw. Writes. Mahasweta Devi, herself, gives voice to the margins. Byapari was a Naxal. This is publishing.


What is obvious is usually an illusion by degrees.


English society would be about the context — or your class — but Kolkata is the eternal individual living in a chaos that is bigger than the solar system it is a part of. This goes light years beyond empire.


Writing. Death. Place. Class. The individual as opposed to the great machine.


The great machine is bigger than publishing, and, yet, it is publishing, too. Why would someone get no sleep over what an editor thinks. Apparently. A few. Of the afflicted.


Publishers speak in Mumbojumbo. No one really knows what a publisher is talking about. Nothing and everything. At least to the writer of the fiction that is the greater truth.


I found Kolkata overwhelming. I was the one who was delirious. Kolkata is just being Kolkata.


I met boys there who knew a few of the secrets to whoring with the whores. Not as lovers or even friends but as investors. Spending sweat and money on facade. The allure was edible. I want more Kolkata because it’s in the how of a liquid place, only so far as ideas and culture are necessarily fluid — that the ground gives way.


Then, there are the writers who have to write.


Serendipity is essentially the philosophy of the absurd. Camus would be compelled to agree.


The absurd refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek meaning, otherwise known as what does a writer have to do to actually get published, and the human inability to find any. Meaning.


In this context, absurd does not mean «logically impossible,» but rather «humanly impossible.»


The universe and the human mind do not each separately cause the absurd, but rather, the absurd and absurdist arises by the contradictory nature of the two existing simultaneously.


Publishing and writing. They are not the same. The writer is the patient.


Absurd again.


In Key West, I lived on Virginia Street, and Tennessee Williams lived right around the corner next door on Duncan. We often went to Higgs beach to swim. Tennessee had a pool with a rose tattoo in tile at the bottom. But Higgs beach was the ocean, and Tennessee was one of the stronger swimmers I had ever seen.


We were walking down Dick Dock near the Casa Marina. «Serendipity.»


Tennessee stared at the horizon. He was the only person I knew who used that word.


«Luck and strangers,» he said. That was all.


Define kindness. No one can.


After his trial, Meursault only cares about escaping the «great machineryof justice» that has condemned him to death. The newspapers characterize the situation of a condemned man in terms of a «debt owed to society,» but Meursault believes the only thing that matters is the possibility of an escape to freedom.


Publishing then. Perhaps.


I want more. I want more flesh. I want to hear the great machine. With groans and grinds and so the flesh defines. Oh, so slowly.


For what are we if not what we write about. There is nothing more dangerous than writing that.


More soon. I’m reading.


I don’t like making a writer or a book the main character of my novel. Though I’ve been always curious about writers’ lives, (I read a lot of writer interviews in Paris Review and elsewhere), I myself don’t want to portray them. Why of all things I would expose someone of my ilk? Besides, I tend to think that most writers practically live a boring life — a life with keyboard. And the last and most important point is, it’s dangerous to write about a writer or writing. You never know when you would go off the rail and spoil the show. The irony is, I’m doing exactly what I’ve been cautiously avoiding all these years.


The protagonist of Shadowland is a young struggling doctor — me actually, years ago who got into trouble with the ruling Marxist party and the administration for a small piece of land he had bought with his hard-earned money and where he was to build up a nice home. Naturally he had turmoil in his life, but he maintained his cool and did his medical practice and all, but he was never shown writing anything except his prescriptions even for once.


«Did you notice it that I made him a doctor, not a doctor-writer?» I asked Ramaswamy, my editor, and great literary taster friend yesterday.


«It was a wise decision,» Ramaswamy said, «He was less complex that way. From my editor’s point of view, it’s way too difficult to deal with a writer in a novel.»


«So how is editing going?»


«Nearing completion, but so many days, fatigue sets in, diminishing returns.»


«I’m sorry for giving you so much trouble.»


«Do you see you’re writing away and I’m editing away?»


We laughed together noisily.


About the Tim Barrus stuff. I read it and then re-read it. Then I went to my clinic. Some points of it kept ringing in my head all the time I was examining my patients and writing prescriptions for them. Then as I was packing up to leave the clinic, I read it again on my smart phone. Tim had actually some advice for me. Writing advice. I hate writing advice. I don’t read them. Real writers never follow them. But Tim’s suggestion resonates with me. He is someone who knows anything and everything about writing and publishing, and I’m always stunned by his level of wisdom, erudition and life experiences. Finally, I decide to incorporate it — the whole response — into my novel.


So, here it’s for you. Read it slowly, pause at right places and think, then read again. Tim Barrus has an incredible capacity as a writer to overwhelm you and if you’re not alert, you may be carried away.


Death and writing.


Right upfront.


Death charges, and then comes after me.


Writers who write about writing and publishing tread a very dangerous path. Do not go down this path lightly. The path navigates itself. You are on the path. It is enough. Drama. Writers writing books on writing and publishing will attract enough drama, going to the theatre will be quite dull. Removed. Dispassionate.


In the same manner in which Camus wrote The Stranger.


Or became one.


Kolkata as place is about more than place. It cannot be avoided. Strangers in a strange land. Publishing might as well be Mars. You as the reader, WANT the writer to have his day. How fragile are we. Fragile enough.


There are books that pull me in.


There are books that charge, electrified even in repose, and go after me.


There are books that do both. This one was teasing me. Then, it came after me.


It was the word serendipity.


Luck not seeking luck. Particularly. Death. The difference between dying and dying. What is writing. Writing is the defiance of death. Writing is surrender. A one way ticket, and you will pay the price for it. Round trip. Physicians who write, of which there is a long history, get it both ways.


Balance that.


It implies the metaphoric individual, but that individual exists not in a prison awaiting death — but in a transcendent context. Fundamentally, it’s publishing that is the real death. What goes after me is Kolkata.


Just the mention of the name.


I am rarely overwhelmed by place. But Kolkata inspired me while there and depressed me and forced me to see life for what it is.


I want more Kolkata.


Life and death. Perhaps it is unfair to write about a book before you are done reading it. I should be shot on sight.


Instead, let us simply read the fucking French. No one is more transcendent unless it’s India.


In Camus’ The Stranger, Meursault (the voice) dismisses his perceived difference between execution and natural death, he must deal with the abstract concept of hope. Hope only tortures him, because it creates the false illusion that he can change the impending reality of his death. Coming down the halls with keys.


The writing life is not about hope, but writing is. The writing life is the guillotine.


I write to live. I live to write. I am punished either way.


This is a book about the writing life. Publishing is in there but like Meursault, what is it. Publishing will never acknowledge the funeral all around it. It can’t. What’s at stake is publishing.


If the British didn’t invent either the novel or the 19th Century, they should have.


The novel as a platform is not quite so novel, so put it on the Internet.


A trend. Simmering.


The «novel» becomes a character. As does death. Even death over keyboards. Keyboards are the world. Without them, we don’t get there. I would argue that the keyboard is the wheel.


Like the hot potato. One potato, two potato, three potato, four. There’s a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth because there is a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth. Take that. No, you take that. A brotherhood.


Death. No one wants responsibility for it.


The first person narrator catches the potato, and moves us along. Perhaps too quickly, I want more internal dialogue, as to outpace death. A quid pro quo. Publishing is the promised land. This comes from the British, too. Play for pay. Pay for play.


The colonies adapt. That is why they are the colonies. Kolkata at the very least gives and keeps on giving as something to write about. Place gives death a context. Kolkata and publishing is almost Graham Greene. The only thing that survives are ideas. Right or wrong. Usually wrong, but it was not an accident that — if it’s in print, it must be true — because in those days, writers were gentlemen.


Scoundrels were a separate class.


Monoranjan Byapari, a rickshaw-puller-turned-writer, is obviously authentic, too. He was a brawler. A fighter on the street. Goes to prison. Pulls a rickshaw. Writes. Mahasweta Devi, herself, gives voice to the margins. Byapari was a Naxal. This is publishing.


What is obvious is usually an illusion by degrees.


English society would be about the context — or your class — but Kolkata is the eternal individual living in a chaos that is bigger than the solar system it is a part of. This goes light years beyond empire.


Writing. Death. Place. Class. The individual as opposed to the great machine.


The great machine is bigger than publishing, and, yet, it is publishing, too. Why would someone get no sleep over what an editor thinks. Apparently. A few. Of the afflicted.


Publishers speak in Mumbojumbo. No one really knows what a publisher is talking about. Nothing and everything. At least to the writer of the fiction that is the greater truth.


I found Kolkata overwhelming. I was the one who was delirious. Kolkata is just being Kolkata.


I met boys there who knew a few of the secrets to whoring with the whores. Not as lovers or even friends but as investors. Spending sweat and money on facade. The allure was edible. I want more Kolkata because it’s in the how of a liquid place, only so far as ideas and culture are necessarily fluid — that the ground gives way.


Then, there are the writers who have to write.


Serendipity is essentially the philosophy of the absurd. Camus would be compelled to agree.


The absurd refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek meaning, otherwise known as what does a writer have to do to actually get published, and the human inability to find any. Meaning.


In this context, absurd does not mean «logically impossible,» but rather «humanly impossible.»


The universe and the human mind do not each separately cause the absurd, but rather, the absurd and absurdist arises by the contradictory nature of the two existing simultaneously.


Publishing and writing. They are not the same. The writer is the patient.


Absurd again.


In Key West, I lived on Virginia Street, and Tennessee Williams lived right around the corner next door on Duncan. We often went to Higgs beach to swim. Tennessee had a pool with a rose tattoo in tile at the bottom. But Higgs beach was the ocean, and Tennessee was one of the stronger swimmers I had ever seen.


We were walking down Dick Dock near the Casa Marina. «Serendipity.»


Tennessee stared at the horizon. He was the only person I knew who used that word.


«Luck and strangers,» he said. That was all.


Define kindness. No one can.


After his trial, Meursault only cares about escaping the «great machineryof justice» that has condemned him to death. The newspapers characterize the situation of a condemned man in terms of a «debt owed to society,» but Meursault believes the only thing that matters is the possibility of an escape to freedom.


Publishing then. Perhaps.


I want more. I want more flesh. I want to hear the great machine. With groans and grinds and so the flesh defines. Oh, so slowly.


For what are we if not what we write about. There is nothing more dangerous than writing that.


More soon. I’m reading.


I don’t like making a writer or a book the main character of my novel. Though I’ve been always curious about writers’ lives, (I read a lot of writer interviews in Paris Review and elsewhere), I myself don’t want to portray them. Why of all things I would expose someone of my ilk? Besides, I tend to think that most writers practically live a boring life — a life with keyboard. And the last and most important point is, it’s dangerous to write about a writer or writing. You never know when you would go off the rail and spoil the show. The irony is, I’m doing exactly what I’ve been cautiously avoiding all these years.


The protagonist of Shadowland is a young struggling doctor — me actually, years ago who got into trouble with the ruling Marxist party and the administration for a small piece of land he had bought with his hard-earned money and where he was to build up a nice home. Naturally he had turmoil in his life, but he maintained his cool and did his medical practice and all, but he was never shown writing anything except his prescriptions even for once.


«Did you notice it that I made him a doctor, not a doctor-writer?» I asked Ramaswamy, my editor, and great literary taster friend yesterday.


«It was a wise decision,» Ramaswamy said, «He was less complex that way. From my editor’s point of view, it’s way too difficult to deal with a writer in a novel.»


«So how is editing going?»


«Nearing completion, but so many days, fatigue sets in, diminishing returns.»


«I’m sorry for giving you so much trouble.»


«Do you see you’re writing away and I’m editing away?»


We laughed together noisily.


About the Tim Barrus stuff. I read it and then re-read it. Then I went to my clinic. Some points of it kept ringing in my head all the time I was examining my patients and writing prescriptions for them. Then as I was packing up to leave the clinic, I read it again on my smart phone. Tim had actually some advice for me. Writing advice. I hate writing advice. I don’t read them. Real writers never follow them. But Tim’s suggestion resonates with me. He is someone who knows anything and everything about writing and publishing, and I’m always stunned by his level of wisdom, erudition and life experiences. Finally, I decide to incorporate it — the whole response — into my novel.


So, here it’s for you. Read it slowly, pause at right places and think, then read again. Tim Barrus has an incredible capacity as a writer to overwhelm you and if you’re not alert, you may be carried away.


Death and writing.


Right upfront.


Death charges, and then comes after me.


Writers who write about writing and publishing tread a very dangerous path. Do not go down this path lightly. The path navigates itself. You are on the path. It is enough. Drama. Writers writing books on writing and publishing will attract enough drama, going to the theatre will be quite dull. Removed. Dispassionate.


In the same manner in which Camus wrote The Stranger.


Or became one.


Kolkata as place is about more than place. It cannot be avoided. Strangers in a strange land. Publishing might as well be Mars. You as the reader, WANT the writer to have his day. How fragile are we. Fragile enough.


There are books that pull me in.


There are books that charge, electrified even in repose, and go after me.


There are books that do both. This one was teasing me. Then, it came after me.


It was the word serendipity.


Luck not seeking luck. Particularly. Death. The difference between dying and dying. What is writing. Writing is the defiance of death. Writing is surrender. A one way ticket, and you will pay the price for it. Round trip. Physicians who write, of which there is a long history, get it both ways.


Balance that.


It implies the metaphoric individual, but that individual exists not in a prison awaiting death — but in a transcendent context. Fundamentally, it’s publishing that is the real death. What goes after me is Kolkata.


Just the mention of the name.


I am rarely overwhelmed by place. But Kolkata inspired me while there and depressed me and forced me to see life for what it is.


I want more Kolkata.


Life and death. Perhaps it is unfair to write about a book before you are done reading it. I should be shot on sight.


Instead, let us simply read the fucking French. No one is more transcendent unless it’s India.


In Camus’ The Stranger, Meursault (the voice) dismisses his perceived difference between execution and natural death, he must deal with the abstract concept of hope. Hope only tortures him, because it creates the false illusion that he can change the impending reality of his death. Coming down the halls with keys.


The writing life is not about hope, but writing is. The writing life is the guillotine.


I write to live. I live to write. I am punished either way.


This is a book about the writing life. Publishing is in there but like Meursault, what is it. Publishing will never acknowledge the funeral all around it. It can’t. What’s at stake is publishing.


If the British didn’t invent either the novel or the 19th Century, they should have.


The novel as a platform is not quite so novel, so put it on the Internet.


A trend. Simmering.


The «novel» becomes a character. As does death. Even death over keyboards. Keyboards are the world. Without them, we don’t get there. I would argue that the keyboard is the wheel.


Like the hot potato. One potato, two potato, three potato, four. There’s a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth because there is a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth. Take that. No, you take that. A brotherhood.


Death. No one wants responsibility for it.


The first person narrator catches the potato, and moves us along. Perhaps too quickly, I want more internal dialogue, as to outpace death. A quid pro quo. Publishing is the promised land. This comes from the British, too. Play for pay. Pay for play.


The colonies adapt. That is why they are the colonies. Kolkata at the very least gives and keeps on giving as something to write about. Place gives death a context. Kolkata and publishing is almost Graham Greene. The only thing that survives are ideas. Right or wrong. Usually wrong, but it was not an accident that — if it’s in print, it must be true — because in those days, writers were gentlemen.


Scoundrels were a separate class.


Monoranjan Byapari, a rickshaw-puller-turned-writer, is obviously authentic, too. He was a brawler. A fighter on the street. Goes to prison. Pulls a rickshaw. Writes. Mahasweta Devi, herself, gives voice to the margins. Byapari was a Naxal. This is publishing.


What is obvious is usually an illusion by degrees.


English society would be about the context — or your class — but Kolkata is the eternal individual living in a chaos that is bigger than the solar system it is a part of. This goes light years beyond empire.


Writing. Death. Place. Class. The individual as opposed to the great machine.


The great machine is bigger than publishing, and, yet, it is publishing, too. Why would someone get no sleep over what an editor thinks. Apparently. A few. Of the afflicted.


Publishers speak in Mumbojumbo. No one really knows what a publisher is talking about. Nothing and everything. At least to the writer of the fiction that is the greater truth.


I found Kolkata overwhelming. I was the one who was delirious. Kolkata is just being Kolkata.


I met boys there who knew a few of the secrets to whoring with the whores. Not as lovers or even friends but as investors. Spending sweat and money on facade. The allure was edible. I want more Kolkata because it’s in the how of a liquid place, only so far as ideas and culture are necessarily fluid — that the ground gives way.


Then, there are the writers who have to write.


Serendipity is essentially the philosophy of the absurd. Camus would be compelled to agree.


The absurd refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek meaning, otherwise known as what does a writer have to do to actually get published, and the human inability to find any. Meaning.


In this context, absurd does not mean «logically impossible,» but rather «humanly impossible.»


The universe and the human mind do not each separately cause the absurd, but rather, the absurd and absurdist arises by the contradictory nature of the two existing simultaneously.


Publishing and writing. They are not the same. The writer is the patient.


Absurd again.


In Key West, I lived on Virginia Street, and Tennessee Williams lived right around the corner next door on Duncan. We often went to Higgs beach to swim. Tennessee had a pool with a rose tattoo in tile at the bottom. But Higgs beach was the ocean, and Tennessee was one of the stronger swimmers I had ever seen.


We were walking down Dick Dock near the Casa Marina. «Serendipity.»


Tennessee stared at the horizon. He was the only person I knew who used that word.


«Luck and strangers,» he said. That was all.


Define kindness. No one can.


After his trial, Meursault only cares about escaping the «great machineryof justice» that has condemned him to death. The newspapers characterize the situation of a condemned man in terms of a «debt owed to society,» but Meursault believes the only thing that matters is the possibility of an escape to freedom.


Publishing then. Perhaps.


I want more. I want more flesh. I want to hear the great machine. With groans and grinds and so the flesh defines. Oh, so slowly.


For what are we if not what we write about. There is nothing more dangerous than writing that.


More soon. I’m reading.


I don’t like making a writer or a book the main character of my novel. Though I’ve been always curious about writers’ lives, (I read a lot of writer interviews in Paris Review and elsewhere), I myself don’t want to portray them. Why of all things I would expose someone of my ilk? Besides, I tend to think that most writers practically live a boring life — a life with keyboard. And the last and most important point is, it’s dangerous to write about a writer or writing. You never know when you would go off the rail and spoil the show. The irony is, I’m doing exactly what I’ve been cautiously avoiding all these years.


The protagonist of Shadowland is a young struggling doctor — me actually, years ago who got into trouble with the ruling Marxist party and the administration for a small piece of land he had bought with his hard-earned money and where he was to build up a nice home. Naturally he had turmoil in his life, but he maintained his cool and did his medical practice and all, but he was never shown writing anything except his prescriptions even for once.


«Did you notice it that I made him a doctor, not a doctor-writer?» I asked Ramaswamy, my editor, and great literary taster friend yesterday.


«It was a wise decision,» Ramaswamy said, «He was less complex that way. From my editor’s point of view, it’s way too difficult to deal with a writer in a novel.»


«So how is editing going?»


«Nearing completion, but so many days, fatigue sets in, diminishing returns.»


«I’m sorry for giving you so much trouble.»


«Do you see you’re writing away and I’m editing away?»


We laughed together noisily.


About the Tim Barrus stuff. I read it and then re-read it. Then I went to my clinic. Some points of it kept ringing in my head all the time I was examining my patients and writing prescriptions for them. Then as I was packing up to leave the clinic, I read it again on my smart phone. Tim had actually some advice for me. Writing advice. I hate writing advice. I don’t read them. Real writers never follow them. But Tim’s suggestion resonates with me. He is someone who knows anything and everything about writing and publishing, and I’m always stunned by his level of wisdom, erudition and life experiences. Finally, I decide to incorporate it — the whole response — into my novel.


So, here it’s for you. Read it slowly, pause at right places and think, then read again. Tim Barrus has an incredible capacity as a writer to overwhelm you and if you’re not alert, you may be carried away.


Death and writing.


Right upfront.


Death charges, and then comes after me.


Writers who write about writing and publishing tread a very dangerous path. Do not go down this path lightly. The path navigates itself. You are on the path. It is enough. Drama. Writers writing books on writing and publishing will attract enough drama, going to the theatre will be quite dull. Removed. Dispassionate.


In the same manner in which Camus wrote The Stranger.


Or became one.


Kolkata as place is about more than place. It cannot be avoided. Strangers in a strange land. Publishing might as well be Mars. You as the reader, WANT the writer to have his day. How fragile are we. Fragile enough.


There are books that pull me in.


There are books that charge, electrified even in repose, and go after me.


There are books that do both. This one was teasing me. Then, it came after me.


It was the word serendipity.


Luck not seeking luck. Particularly. Death. The difference between dying and dying. What is writing. Writing is the defiance of death. Writing is surrender. A one way ticket, and you will pay the price for it. Round trip. Physicians who write, of which there is a long history, get it both ways.


Balance that.


It implies the metaphoric individual, but that individual exists not in a prison awaiting death — but in a transcendent context. Fundamentally, it’s publishing that is the real death. What goes after me is Kolkata.


Just the mention of the name.


I am rarely overwhelmed by place. But Kolkata inspired me while there and depressed me and forced me to see life for what it is.


I want more Kolkata.


Life and death. Perhaps it is unfair to write about a book before you are done reading it. I should be shot on sight.


Instead, let us simply read the fucking French. No one is more transcendent unless it’s India.


In Camus’ The Stranger, Meursault (the voice) dismisses his perceived difference between execution and natural death, he must deal with the abstract concept of hope. Hope only tortures him, because it creates the false illusion that he can change the impending reality of his death. Coming down the halls with keys.


The writing life is not about hope, but writing is. The writing life is the guillotine.


I write to live. I live to write. I am punished either way.


This is a book about the writing life. Publishing is in there but like Meursault, what is it. Publishing will never acknowledge the funeral all around it. It can’t. What’s at stake is publishing.


If the British didn’t invent either the novel or the 19th Century, they should have.


The novel as a platform is not quite so novel, so put it on the Internet.


A trend. Simmering.


The «novel» becomes a character. As does death. Even death over keyboards. Keyboards are the world. Without them, we don’t get there. I would argue that the keyboard is the wheel.


Like the hot potato. One potato, two potato, three potato, four. There’s a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth because there is a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth. Take that. No, you take that. A brotherhood.


Death. No one wants responsibility for it.


The first person narrator catches the potato, and moves us along. Perhaps too quickly, I want more internal dialogue, as to outpace death. A quid pro quo. Publishing is the promised land. This comes from the British, too. Play for pay. Pay for play.


The colonies adapt. That is why they are the colonies. Kolkata at the very least gives and keeps on giving as something to write about. Place gives death a context. Kolkata and publishing is almost Graham Greene. The only thing that survives are ideas. Right or wrong. Usually wrong, but it was not an accident that — if it’s in print, it must be true — because in those days, writers were gentlemen.


Scoundrels were a separate class.


Monoranjan Byapari, a rickshaw-puller-turned-writer, is obviously authentic, too. He was a brawler. A fighter on the street. Goes to prison. Pulls a rickshaw. Writes. Mahasweta Devi, herself, gives voice to the margins. Byapari was a Naxal. This is publishing.


What is obvious is usually an illusion by degrees.


English society would be about the context — or your class — but Kolkata is the eternal individual living in a chaos that is bigger than the solar system it is a part of. This goes light years beyond empire.


Writing. Death. Place. Class. The individual as opposed to the great machine.


The great machine is bigger than publishing, and, yet, it is publishing, too. Why would someone get no sleep over what an editor thinks. Apparently. A few. Of the afflicted.


Publishers speak in Mumbojumbo. No one really knows what a publisher is talking about. Nothing and everything. At least to the writer of the fiction that is the greater truth.


I found Kolkata overwhelming. I was the one who was delirious. Kolkata is just being Kolkata.


I met boys there who knew a few of the secrets to whoring with the whores. Not as lovers or even friends but as investors. Spending sweat and money on facade. The allure was edible. I want more Kolkata because it’s in the how of a liquid place, only so far as ideas and culture are necessarily fluid — that the ground gives way.


Then, there are the writers who have to write.


Serendipity is essentially the philosophy of the absurd. Camus would be compelled to agree.


The absurd refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek meaning, otherwise known as what does a writer have to do to actually get published, and the human inability to find any. Meaning.


In this context, absurd does not mean «logically impossible,» but rather «humanly impossible.»


The universe and the human mind do not each separately cause the absurd, but rather, the absurd and absurdist arises by the contradictory nature of the two existing simultaneously.


Publishing and writing. They are not the same. The writer is the patient.


Absurd again.


In Key West, I lived on Virginia Street, and Tennessee Williams lived right around the corner next door on Duncan. We often went to Higgs beach to swim. Tennessee had a pool with a rose tattoo in tile at the bottom. But Higgs beach was the ocean, and Tennessee was one of the stronger swimmers I had ever seen.


We were walking down Dick Dock near the Casa Marina. «Serendipity.»


Tennessee stared at the horizon. He was the only person I knew who used that word.


«Luck and strangers,» he said. That was all.


Define kindness. No one can.


After his trial, Meursault only cares about escaping the «great machineryof justice» that has condemned him to death. The newspapers characterize the situation of a condemned man in terms of a «debt owed to society,» but Meursault believes the only thing that matters is the possibility of an escape to freedom.


Publishing then. Perhaps.


I want more. I want more flesh. I want to hear the great machine. With groans and grinds and so the flesh defines. Oh, so slowly.


For what are we if not what we write about. There is nothing more dangerous than writing that.


More soon. I’m reading.


I don’t like making a writer or a book the main character of my novel. Though I’ve been always curious about writers’ lives, (I read a lot of writer interviews in Paris Review and elsewhere), I myself don’t want to portray them. Why of all things I would expose someone of my ilk? Besides, I tend to think that most writers practically live a boring life — a life with keyboard. And the last and most important point is, it’s dangerous to write about a writer or writing. You never know when you would go off the rail and spoil the show. The irony is, I’m doing exactly what I’ve been cautiously avoiding all these years.


The protagonist of Shadowland is a young struggling doctor — me actually, years ago who got into trouble with the ruling Marxist party and the administration for a small piece of land he had bought with his hard-earned money and where he was to build up a nice home. Naturally he had turmoil in his life, but he maintained his cool and did his medical practice and all, but he was never shown writing anything except his prescriptions even for once.


«Did you notice it that I made him a doctor, not a doctor-writer?» I asked Ramaswamy, my editor, and great literary taster friend yesterday.


«It was a wise decision,» Ramaswamy said, «He was less complex that way. From my editor’s point of view, it’s way too difficult to deal with a writer in a novel.»


«So how is editing going?»


«Nearing completion, but so many days, fatigue sets in, diminishing returns.»


«I’m sorry for giving you so much trouble.»


«Do you see you’re writing away and I’m editing away?»


We laughed together noisily.


About the Tim Barrus stuff. I read it and then re-read it. Then I went to my clinic. Some points of it kept ringing in my head all the time I was examining my patients and writing prescriptions for them. Then as I was packing up to leave the clinic, I read it again on my smart phone. Tim had actually some advice for me. Writing advice. I hate writing advice. I don’t read them. Real writers never follow them. But Tim’s suggestion resonates with me. He is someone who knows anything and everything about writing and publishing, and I’m always stunned by his level of wisdom, erudition and life experiences. Finally, I decide to incorporate it — the whole response — into my novel.


So, here it’s for you. Read it slowly, pause at right places and think, then read again. Tim Barrus has an incredible capacity as a writer to overwhelm you and if you’re not alert, you may be carried away.


Death and writing.


Right upfront.


Death charges, and then comes after me.


Writers who write about writing and publishing tread a very dangerous path. Do not go down this path lightly. The path navigates itself. You are on the path. It is enough. Drama. Writers writing books on writing and publishing will attract enough drama, going to the theatre will be quite dull. Removed. Dispassionate.


In the same manner in which Camus wrote The Stranger.


Or became one.


Kolkata as place is about more than place. It cannot be avoided. Strangers in a strange land. Publishing might as well be Mars. You as the reader, WANT the writer to have his day. How fragile are we. Fragile enough.


There are books that pull me in.


There are books that charge, electrified even in repose, and go after me.


There are books that do both. This one was teasing me. Then, it came after me.


It was the word serendipity.


Luck not seeking luck. Particularly. Death. The difference between dying and dying. What is writing. Writing is the defiance of death. Writing is surrender. A one way ticket, and you will pay the price for it. Round trip. Physicians who write, of which there is a long history, get it both ways.


Balance that.


It implies the metaphoric individual, but that individual exists not in a prison awaiting death — but in a transcendent context. Fundamentally, it’s publishing that is the real death. What goes after me is Kolkata.


Just the mention of the name.


I am rarely overwhelmed by place. But Kolkata inspired me while there and depressed me and forced me to see life for what it is.


I want more Kolkata.


Life and death. Perhaps it is unfair to write about a book before you are done reading it. I should be shot on sight.


Instead, let us simply read the fucking French. No one is more transcendent unless it’s India.


In Camus’ The Stranger, Meursault (the voice) dismisses his perceived difference between execution and natural death, he must deal with the abstract concept of hope. Hope only tortures him, because it creates the false illusion that he can change the impending reality of his death. Coming down the halls with keys.


The writing life is not about hope, but writing is. The writing life is the guillotine.


I write to live. I live to write. I am punished either way.


This is a book about the writing life. Publishing is in there but like Meursault, what is it. Publishing will never acknowledge the funeral all around it. It can’t. What’s at stake is publishing.


If the British didn’t invent either the novel or the 19th Century, they should have.


The novel as a platform is not quite so novel, so put it on the Internet.


A trend. Simmering.


The «novel» becomes a character. As does death. Even death over keyboards. Keyboards are the world. Without them, we don’t get there. I would argue that the keyboard is the wheel.


Like the hot potato. One potato, two potato, three potato, four. There’s a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth because there is a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth. Take that. No, you take that. A brotherhood.


Death. No one wants responsibility for it.


The first person narrator catches the potato, and moves us along. Perhaps too quickly, I want more internal dialogue, as to outpace death. A quid pro quo. Publishing is the promised land. This comes from the British, too. Play for pay. Pay for play.


The colonies adapt. That is why they are the colonies. Kolkata at the very least gives and keeps on giving as something to write about. Place gives death a context. Kolkata and publishing is almost Graham Greene. The only thing that survives are ideas. Right or wrong. Usually wrong, but it was not an accident that — if it’s in print, it must be true — because in those days, writers were gentlemen.


Scoundrels were a separate class.


Monoranjan Byapari, a rickshaw-puller-turned-writer, is obviously authentic, too. He was a brawler. A fighter on the street. Goes to prison. Pulls a rickshaw. Writes. Mahasweta Devi, herself, gives voice to the margins. Byapari was a Naxal. This is publishing.


What is obvious is usually an illusion by degrees.


English society would be about the context — or your class — but Kolkata is the eternal individual living in a chaos that is bigger than the solar system it is a part of. This goes light years beyond empire.


Writing. Death. Place. Class. The individual as opposed to the great machine.


The great machine is bigger than publishing, and, yet, it is publishing, too. Why would someone get no sleep over what an editor thinks. Apparently. A few. Of the afflicted.


Publishers speak in Mumbojumbo. No one really knows what a publisher is talking about. Nothing and everything. At least to the writer of the fiction that is the greater truth.


I found Kolkata overwhelming. I was the one who was delirious. Kolkata is just being Kolkata.


I met boys there who knew a few of the secrets to whoring with the whores. Not as lovers or even friends but as investors. Spending sweat and money on facade. The allure was edible. I want more Kolkata because it’s in the how of a liquid place, only so far as ideas and culture are necessarily fluid — that the ground gives way.


Then, there are the writers who have to write.


Serendipity is essentially the philosophy of the absurd. Camus would be compelled to agree.


The absurd refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek meaning, otherwise known as what does a writer have to do to actually get published, and the human inability to find any. Meaning.


In this context, absurd does not mean «logically impossible,» but rather «humanly impossible.»


The universe and the human mind do not each separately cause the absurd, but rather, the absurd and absurdist arises by the contradictory nature of the two existing simultaneously.


Publishing and writing. They are not the same. The writer is the patient.


Absurd again.


In Key West, I lived on Virginia Street, and Tennessee Williams lived right around the corner next door on Duncan. We often went to Higgs beach to swim. Tennessee had a pool with a rose tattoo in tile at the bottom. But Higgs beach was the ocean, and Tennessee was one of the stronger swimmers I had ever seen.


We were walking down Dick Dock near the Casa Marina. «Serendipity.»


Tennessee stared at the horizon. He was the only person I knew who used that word.


«Luck and strangers,» he said. That was all.


Define kindness. No one can.


After his trial, Meursault only cares about escaping the «great machineryof justice» that has condemned him to death. The newspapers characterize the situation of a condemned man in terms of a «debt owed to society,» but Meursault believes the only thing that matters is the possibility of an escape to freedom.


Publishing then. Perhaps.


I want more. I want more flesh. I want to hear the great machine. With groans and grinds and so the flesh defines. Oh, so slowly.


For what are we if not what we write about. There is nothing more dangerous than writing that.


More soon. I’m reading.


I don’t like making a writer or a book the main character of my novel. Though I’ve been always curious about writers’ lives, (I read a lot of writer interviews in Paris Review and elsewhere), I myself don’t want to portray them. Why of all things I would expose someone of my ilk? Besides, I tend to think that most writers practically live a boring life — a life with keyboard. And the last and most important point is, it’s dangerous to write about a writer or writing. You never know when you would go off the rail and spoil the show. The irony is, I’m doing exactly what I’ve been cautiously avoiding all these years.


The protagonist of Shadowland is a young struggling doctor — me actually, years ago who got into trouble with the ruling Marxist party and the administration for a small piece of land he had bought with his hard-earned money and where he was to build up a nice home. Naturally he had turmoil in his life, but he maintained his cool and did his medical practice and all, but he was never shown writing anything except his prescriptions even for once.


«Did you notice it that I made him a doctor, not a doctor-writer?» I asked Ramaswamy, my editor, and great literary taster friend yesterday.


«It was a wise decision,» Ramaswamy said, «He was less complex that way. From my editor’s point of view, it’s way too difficult to deal with a writer in a novel.»


«So how is editing going?»


«Nearing completion, but so many days, fatigue sets in, diminishing returns.»


«I’m sorry for giving you so much trouble.»


«Do you see you’re writing away and I’m editing away?»


We laughed together noisily.


About the Tim Barrus stuff. I read it and then re-read it. Then I went to my clinic. Some points of it kept ringing in my head all the time I was examining my patients and writing prescriptions for them. Then as I was packing up to leave the clinic, I read it again on my smart phone. Tim had actually some advice for me. Writing advice. I hate writing advice. I don’t read them. Real writers never follow them. But Tim’s suggestion resonates with me. He is someone who knows anything and everything about writing and publishing, and I’m always stunned by his level of wisdom, erudition and life experiences. Finally, I decide to incorporate it — the whole response — into my novel.


So, here it’s for you. Read it slowly, pause at right places and think, then read again. Tim Barrus has an incredible capacity as a writer to overwhelm you and if you’re not alert, you may be carried away.


Death and writing.


Right upfront.


Death charges, and then comes after me.


Writers who write about writing and publishing tread a very dangerous path. Do not go down this path lightly. The path navigates itself. You are on the path. It is enough. Drama. Writers writing books on writing and publishing will attract enough drama, going to the theatre will be quite dull. Removed. Dispassionate.


In the same manner in which Camus wrote The Stranger.


Or became one.


Kolkata as place is about more than place. It cannot be avoided. Strangers in a strange land. Publishing might as well be Mars. You as the reader, WANT the writer to have his day. How fragile are we. Fragile enough.


There are books that pull me in.


There are books that charge, electrified even in repose, and go after me.


There are books that do both. This one was teasing me. Then, it came after me.


It was the word serendipity.


Luck not seeking luck. Particularly. Death. The difference between dying and dying. What is writing. Writing is the defiance of death. Writing is surrender. A one way ticket, and you will pay the price for it. Round trip. Physicians who write, of which there is a long history, get it both ways.


Balance that.


It implies the metaphoric individual, but that individual exists not in a prison awaiting death — but in a transcendent context. Fundamentally, it’s publishing that is the real death. What goes after me is Kolkata.


Just the mention of the name.


I am rarely overwhelmed by place. But Kolkata inspired me while there and depressed me and forced me to see life for what it is.


I want more Kolkata.


Life and death. Perhaps it is unfair to write about a book before you are done reading it. I should be shot on sight.


Instead, let us simply read the fucking French. No one is more transcendent unless it’s India.


In Camus’ The Stranger, Meursault (the voice) dismisses his perceived difference between execution and natural death, he must deal with the abstract concept of hope. Hope only tortures him, because it creates the false illusion that he can change the impending reality of his death. Coming down the halls with keys.


The writing life is not about hope, but writing is. The writing life is the guillotine.


I write to live. I live to write. I am punished either way.


This is a book about the writing life. Publishing is in there but like Meursault, what is it. Publishing will never acknowledge the funeral all around it. It can’t. What’s at stake is publishing.


If the British didn’t invent either the novel or the 19th Century, they should have.


The novel as a platform is not quite so novel, so put it on the Internet.


A trend. Simmering.


The «novel» becomes a character. As does death. Even death over keyboards. Keyboards are the world. Without them, we don’t get there. I would argue that the keyboard is the wheel.


Like the hot potato. One potato, two potato, three potato, four. There’s a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth because there is a lot of lobbing manuscripts back and forth. Take that. No, you take that. A brotherhood.


Death. No one wants responsibility for it.


The first person narrator catches the potato, and moves us along. Perhaps too quickly, I want more internal dialogue, as to outpace death. A quid pro quo. Publishing is the promised land. This comes from the British, too. Play for pay. Pay for play.


The colonies adapt. That is why they are the colonies. Kolkata at the very least gives and keeps on giving as something to write about. Place gives death a context. Kolkata and publishing is almost Graham Greene. The only thing that survives are ideas. Right or wrong. Usually wrong, but it was not an accident that — if it’s in print, it must be true — because in those days, writers were gentlemen.


Scoundrels were a separate class.


Monoranjan Byapari, a rickshaw-puller-turned-writer, is obviously authentic, too. He was a brawler. A fighter on the street. Goes to prison. Pulls a rickshaw. Writes. Mahasweta Devi, herself, gives voice to the margins. Byapari was a Naxal. This is publishing.


What is obvious is usually an illusion by degrees.


English society would be about the context — or your class — but Kolkata is the eternal individual living in a chaos that is bigger than the solar system it is a part of. This goes light years beyond empire.


Writing. Death. Place. Class. The individual as opposed to the great machine.


The great machine is bigger than publishing, and, yet, it is publishing, too. Why would someone get no sleep over what an editor thinks. Apparently. A few. Of the afflicted.


Publishers speak in Mumbojumbo. No one really knows what a publisher is talking about. Nothing and everything. At least to the writer of the fiction that is the greater truth.


I found Kolkata overwhelming. I was the one who was delirious. Kolkata is just being Kolkata.


I met boys there who knew a few of the secrets to whoring with the whores. Not as lovers or even friends but as investors. Spending sweat and money on facade. The allure was edible. I want more Kolkata because it’s in the how of a liquid place, only so far as ideas and culture are necessarily fluid — that the ground gives way.


Then, there are the writers who have to write.


Serendipity is essentially the philosophy of the absurd. Camus would be compelled to agree.


The absurd refers to the conflict between the human tendency to seek meaning, otherwise known as what does a writer have to do to actually get published, and the human inability to find any. Meaning.


In this context, absurd does not mean «logically impossible,» but rather «humanly impossible.»


The universe and the human mind do not each separately cause the absurd, but rather, the absurd and absurdist arises by the contradictory nature of the two existing simultaneously.


Publishing and writing. They are not the same. The writer is the patient.


Absurd again.


In Key West, I lived on Virginia Street, and Tennessee Williams lived right around the corner next door on Duncan. We often went to Higgs beach to swim. Tennessee had a pool with a rose tattoo in tile at the bottom. But Higgs beach was the ocean, and Tennessee was one of the stronger swimmers I had ever seen.


We were walking down Dick Dock near the Casa Marina. «Serendipity.»


Tennessee stared at the horizon. He was the only person I knew who used that word.


«Luck and strangers,» he said. That was all.


Define kindness. No one can.


After his trial, Meursault only cares about escaping the «great machineryof justice» that has condemned him to death. The newspapers characterize the situation of a condemned man in terms of a «debt owed to society,» but Meursault believes the only thing that matters is the possibility of an escape to freedom.


Publishing then. Perhaps.


I want more. I want more flesh. I want to hear the great machine. With groans and grinds and so the flesh defines. Oh, so slowly.


For what are we if not what we write about. There is nothing more dangerous than writing that.


More soon. I’m reading.


I don’t like making a writer or a book the main character of my novel. Though I’ve been always curious about writers’ lives, (I read a lot of writer interviews in Paris Review and elsewhere), I myself don’t want to portray them. Why of all things I would expose someone of my ilk? Besides, I tend to think that most writers practically live a boring life — a life with keyboard. And the last and most important point is, it’s dangerous to write about a writer or writing. You never know when you would go off the rail and spoil the show. The irony is, I’m doing exactly what I’ve been cautiously avoiding all these years.


The protagonist of Shadowland is a young struggling doctor — me actually, years ago who got into trouble with the ruling Marxist party and the administration for a small piece of land he had bought with his hard-earned money and where he was to build up a nice home. Naturally he had turmoil in his life, but he maintained his cool and did his medical practice and all, but he was never shown writing anything except his prescriptions even for once.


«Did you notice it that I made him a doctor, not a doctor-writer?» I asked Ramaswamy, my editor, and great literary taster friend yesterday.


«It was a wise decision,» Ramaswamy said, «He was less complex that way. From my editor’s point of view, it’s way too difficult to deal with a writer in a novel.»


«So how is editing going?»


«Nearing completion, but so many days, fatigue sets in, diminishing returns.»


«I’m sorry for giving you so much trouble.»


«Do you see you’re writing away and I’m editing away?»


We laughed together noisily.


About the Tim Barrus stuff. I read it and then re-read it. Then I went to my clinic. Some points of it kept ringing in my head all the time I was examining my patients and writing prescriptions for them. Then as I was packing up to leave the clinic, I read it again on my smart phone. Tim had actually some advice for me. Writing advice. I hate writing advice. I don’t read them. Real writers never follow them. But Tim’s suggestion resonates with me. He is someone who knows anything and everything about writing and publishing, and I’m always stunned by his level of wisdom, erudition and life experiences. Finally, I decide to incorporate it — the whole response — into my novel.


So, here it’s for you. Read it slowly, pause at right places and think, then read again. Tim Barrus has an incredible capacity as a writer to overwhelm you and if you’re not alert, you may be carried away.


Death and writing.


Right upfront.


Death charges, and then comes after me.


Writers who write about writing and publishing tread a very dangerous path. Do not go down this path lightly. The path navigates itself. You are on the path. It is enough. Drama. Writers writing books on writing and publishing will attract enough drama, going to the theatre will be quite dull. Removed. Dispassionate.


In the same manner in which Camus wrote The Stranger.


Or became one.


Kolkata as place is about more than place. It cannot be avoided. Strangers in a strange land. Publishing might as well be Mars. You as the reader, WANT the writer to have his day. How fragile are we. Fragile enough.


There are books that pull me in.


There are books that charge, electrified even in repose, and go after me.


There are books that do both. This one was teasing me. Then, it came after me.


It was the word serendipity.


Luck not seeking luck. Particularly. Death. The difference between dying and dying. What is writing. Writing is the defiance of death. Writing is surrender. A one way ticket, and you will pay the price for it. Round trip. Physicians who write, of which there is a long history, get it both ways.


Balance that.


It implies the metaphoric individual, but that individual exists not in a prison awaiting death — but in a transcendent context. Fundamentally, it’s publishing that is the real death. What goes after me is Kolkata.


Just the mention of the name.


I am rarely overwhelmed by place. But Kolkata inspired me while there and depressed me and forced me to see life for what it is.


I want more Kolkata.


Life and death. Perhaps it is unfair to write about a book before you are done reading it. I should be shot on sight.


Instead, let us simply read the fucking French. No one is more transcendent unless it’s India.


In Camus’ The Stranger, Meursault (the voice) dismisses his perceived difference between execution and natural death, he must deal with the abstract concept of hope. Hope only tortures him, because it creates the false illusion that he can change the impending reality of his death. Coming down the halls with keys.


The writing life is not about hope, but writing is. The writing life is the guillotine.


I write to live. I live to write. I am punished either way.


Вы прочитали бесплатные % книги. Купите ее, чтобы дочитать до конца!

Купить книгу