I've learnt a lot over the years workshopping my stories in Zoetrope Studios and the IWW. In the course of exchanging critiques and writing tips, I've found a few special friends . We've never met in person, but that has never been a barrier. Some of them are like family now, and I'm fortunate to have them around. Announce a new publication, and workshop members cheer you on. Air your frustrations when those rejection notes pile up, and friends motivate you to never give up.
Sometimes friends return after a long absence to share disconcerting news. I felt so sad when Deepa wrote in to say;
"our home along with all other buildings in our area for a 20 km stretch -- homes, shops, hospital, schools, temples, bank, industries, etc. is going to be demolished in 2007 as the govt. has decided they want to expand the highway! This would displace over 100,000 people and render at least another 100, 000 unemployed apart from breaking up families as some have to stay on in the area due to the jobs while others have to move.
And there are moments of pure fun like when Beth returned up after years, now as the happy mother of a baby girl. We plunged into a critique exchange and a heated discussion on a shared passion for hot chilies. We use a lot of the stuff , call them chilies or mirchi in Hindi. In my own mother tongue, Bengali, they're called 'lanka', not as in Sri Lanka, but well...A Chili by any other name is just as fiery.
Beth tells me about her home, New Mexico, "where chile is not just a food, it's a way of life... When Green Chile Season rolls around (September usually), everyone buys their big bushel sacks full of chile and spends an afternoon roasting them on the grill, drinking beer, and eating bits of roasted green chile rolled in tortillas. The smell is amazing and the whole harvesting season is something everyone looks forward to all year long.
In New Mexico, "chili" refers to the stew-like concoction of beef, beans, onions, spices, etc.
More than you ever wanted to know about New Mexico chile! Can you tell I'm passionate about it? "
This is how we share stories, and discover newer ones.