(That was my headline yesterday till I deleted the post on purpose. I don’t know why I did that, but here’s the post, anyway, starting with a definition and an email. Context is everything!)
Fiction: A literary work based on the imagination and not necessarily on fact
Fabrication: a deliberately false or improbable account
Have you ever thought of writing fiction? Do you write fiction?
I would definitely be interested in discussing any fiction ideas that you may have.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
I’d say my news of the week is that I met a book publisher.
(Also witnessed: little boys picking up goris at Khan Market but never mind that just now)
So, back to my big news – I met the publisher midweek, and it went well, thank you. I know I impressed her because she laughed at all my jokes (can't go wrong with self-deprecation). They’re interested, I’m excited, and it’s all good. I would love to give you details, but like a good Hindu, I don’t want to jinx a good thing -- nazar mat lagao and all that
I have to admit though, that it was quite a kick for them to approach me, and not the other way around. Sure, I would have one day gulped pride and eventually gone up to them with a possibly lame ass manuscript put together without a careful second read, but this way was so much better!
Sitting at the reception, though, in what I hoped was a ‘writerly-enough’ look, I was privileged to feel first hand, the challenge it is to look professional when brain functioning is at its foggiest but insides are shrieking woohoo!
But then having composed myself, (as is essentially for these things to go off smoothly), I sat there ogling at newly-released books on display and wondered whether I should take the shades off my head. It also struck me how very stupid I would look if I whipped out my mirror and started darkening the kajal in my eyes just as she would walk in. Anyhow, receptionist punctured thought bubble and told me to go right in.
We meet at the door, commissioning editor lady and I. She’s young too. And I flash my warmest, most sincere smile at her. (If I already like her, it’s because I’m grateful she thinks I am competent enough with words to arrange for a meeting with me to take this further. Honest.)
Having said our hi-hellos, she took me into a tiny room that overlooked the cramped parking lot where my poor car was being rolled about in neutral. Neither said a word for the first few seconds. Then she inhaled and shot me a sooo, tell me! And I soo, told her. We talked for nearly 45 minutes, along the way discovering some common acquaintances. That’s the thing with
All this jabbering in spite of the fact that my father had called earlier to give me a little ‘chin up, kiddo’ pep talk, and had advised me let her do most of the talking. That didn’t happen. Rewind -- like I said, I was jabbering. Couldn’t help it; how often do publishers call asking if you’ve ever thought about writing fiction, anyway? And if I would have later told her that, listen, bhai, I’m really a reserved extrovert; she would have again thought ha ha, funny girl.
So anyway, I pushed towards her an A4 size print out of some last-minute crap I had typed while in office. It was supposed to be a synopsis of something or the other, but seemed more like eight paragraphs of faff. Evidently, I’m too hard on myself. She read it, liked it, and said it had a hook. I was relieved. She told me what I knew (grin), that I had that a wry touch, and that I should develop it further. I was nodding modestly now, giving out my most casual “yeaaa, I know…” vibe.
She asked me about ideas I had. I gave her three and tried hard to not to be self-conscious while pitching them. She had on that indulgent bolo bacche expression. I obviously wanted very badly for her to not be a bitchy math teacher incarnate and dismiss me with a three on ten and ‘Redo’. The universe conspired to be on my side. No redo, no number fail. She loved me. How could she not?
And so, here we are, blowing trumpets prematurely, when zero writing progress has been made since that fateful ego massage day midweek. But I guess it’s okay to be laid back for a little bit more. Soak in the heady goodness, I tell myself. That, and how I possible have my whole life to exaggerate the characters of people around and me and pass it off as a half-wild imagination. Fiction, she said... and the corridors resounded with demented laughter of an aspiring novelist!