Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep. Musings from someone who sees stories everywhere.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Killing the Water

I recently interacted with Bangladesh born author Mahmud Rahman after reading his recently published collection of short stories, KILLING THE WATER (penguin). He had so many fascinating things to say, it was a tough job to pare it all down to a bare bones 800 word newspaper column. "Use the axe if you have to," he advised me, no matter how it pained my writerly heart.The published interview appears in Deccan Herald.

In a section that got edited out in the published interview, the author shares personal experiences which moulded him as a storyteller;

"I wrote all along, ever since my schooldays. But I took up narrative prose only in the mid 90s. There’s a story behind that turn. On a cold winter day in 1993, I boarded a bus to Detroit and a woman seemed to resent me taking the seat next to her. But once we began to talk, we continued for hours. A black woman from the American South, she insisted on seeking out parallels in our lives. I immediately wrote up that compelling encounter as a story. Exhilarated by the process, I took up writing workshops. At that point I exchanged emails with a new friend from a completely different background, sharing stories from our lives in an attempt to understand one another. She insisted that I paint scenes with words, to make my world come alive.
I began enjoying the ability to create fiction and play with new possibilities. Interactions with wonderful teachers and peers during my MFA from Mills College in California broadened my vistas."

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