Friday, April 15, 2011

An Hour at a Book Launch

Yesterday I sat through a book launch for the first time. It was the launch of a collection of short stories – Under the Urban Tree – contributed by a group of wannabe writers as part of their writing workshop conducted by Ireeboot, an institute which offers crash courses on variety of topics. I was not directly invited to the launch; a friend forwarded the invite to me and I decided to go. The invite said it would host an interactive discussion between the audience, the contributors and the editor of the short stories.

The contributing authors were an interesting mix of individuals of varied age groups, the youngest was a 11th standard student and the oldest had a head full of grey hears. Their stories took a year to find a publisher.

I have always taken writing courses with a pinch of salt. Some years back, I did a mass communication course, which has a more definite professional nature than a creative writing workshop, and didn’t think it made a great impact on my writing, although I came to know a lot about the industry and certainly found some of the faculties very encouraging.

I have not heard established authors, some of whom are workshop products themselves, speak very highly of writing workshops. However, Anita Desai, who has been teaching creative writing for many years in the US, in an interview, concurred with my views. She said they don’t teach you how to write but throw you into the right atmosphere where you meet other writers and can exchange ideas.

Some good insights came through the interaction at the launch. The editor said good writing is all about narrowing the difference between what you think and what you write. Some 15 years back, when she had started writing, her thoughts used to take a very different shape when translated into written words, she said. 15 years of “trying to write” has narrowed that gap.

“How to cope with the disappointment of seeing that your published work is very different from what you originally wrote?” a lady from the audience asked. Editors should not change anything without the approval of the author, the editor countered.

But editors at newspapers and magazines have to meet deadlines, so they can’t get back to the author, the grey-haired writer informed.

I didn’t ask any question but enjoyed the interaction.


Being Pramoda... said...

Good to attend such functions.. we get to know the writers attachment with his writings as well..;)

JanieSeventeen said...

Hi Indra
I absolutely agree that workshops cannot teach you to write but that they are a great tool in providing focus and allowing you to take your writing seriously. The networking possibilities and industry knowledge are invaluable - indeed, the writing group I belong to provides inspiration and a link to others who take their writing seriously, too.

Ellen said...

I certainly would love to sit through a workshop like that. A lot of sensible stuff one can pick out from the interaction going back and forth.

While we're on the subject of writing, I must say that you write well. Easy and natural, no jarring manner of expression that ofttimes with lesser works could bog down the reading and the reader. Your work flows --- and that is good.

Keep writing, Indra. We only can get better with each piece written well. Bless you and your loved ones.

indrablog said...

Thanks Pramoda, as always.

Hi Janie,
Yes, they can't teach you writing but can certainly put you in touch with other writers and you can be in write company.

Hi Elen,
You are too encouraging. You just make my day. Thank you so much.

Ellen said...

Hi Indra,

Got a message for you in my blog. Take care. May God bless you with his grace peace and love.


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