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A group of writers got together for a writing workshop, and the anthology Escape Velocity grew out of their stories. Does it deliver what it promised?
Since I began writing, I have made many friends from the writing community, most of them bloggers. In the early days of blogging, most of us just wrote about our own lives, the experiences that we went through every day, the feelings that were important to us, the things we cared a lot about. Our everyday life defined our writing. There were hardly anyone who thought what they were writing was literature, it was the ordinary nitty-gritties of our lives.
After a while, I wanted to move into writing what we traditionally call literature, but whenever I wrote, I sounded true to myself only if I wrote from my own experiences. Any attempt at breaking away from them – because that is what I felt literature was, creating an imaginary situation, writing something from your ‘creativity’, not the unremarkable everyday things – felt unsatisfactory and contrived.
After some disastrous attempts at writing ‘imaginary’ stuff, I realised that I was actually being more expressive and creative when I write about what is my truth. My experiences. Not just those experiences that are obvious to everyone around, but more from my inner world. After all, why should anything not be real if it is happening just in my head?
That is exactly what Escape Velocity, which has been born out of a Write & Beyond 2018 workshop, is all about. The stories that are part of this anthology all have their germ in real experiences and feelings, even if some of them might seem fantastic. Most of the writers of these stories have been published for the first time in print, but there’s a finesse to all of them that pulls the reader in.
The stories in Escape Velocity are all very different, with no common theme on the surface. But as I read each one of them, savoured them, I needed to pause after each story and let it sink inside. And with each, there was something that I could take away, that made complete sense to me.
Of course, there are a among the bakers’ dozen of stories a few that I have loved more than the others. Slipping Through My Fingers by Kavita Bhashyam Jain about a mother daughter relationship and learning to let go. The Thirst by Dinakshi Arora about breaking out of a restrictive environment. Mauke ki Nazakat by Kiran Chaturvedi that is as close to a thriller that a story rooted in the mundane can be. Seeta’s Choice by Megha Consul that is about one traumatised soul finding a kindred soul in another traumatised soul. For The Love Of Likes by Anjali Gurmukhani Sharma that is about living life on social media instead of living it in reality. And of course, Between Bookends by Kasturi Patra that is closest to my heart as a lifelong bibliophile.
Pick up this anthology if you like to read slice-of-life stories in which you’ll certainly find yourself somewhere, as the foreword by Saikat Mazumdar also points out. But, beware. Because, not all that spins away is lost; not all that comes home is familiar.
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Top image via Shutterstock and book cover via Amazon
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