Tag Archives: flash fiction

A November evening that led to The Unpublished City

The Unpublished City line-up

The Unpublished City (Toronto: BookThug, 2017).

Where to begin? Some things, I believe, happen for a purpose, a reason. Happenstance, I like to think. Se-ren-di-pi-ty.

Last November, I had the privilege of being a part of a small group of writers sharing living room space with Dionne Brand. Discussing our current projects, our aspirations, our roadblocks. It wasn’t the best time in my life, but I am glad I made space for that evening. Something about that evening and its conversations opened a floodgate in (the writer) me. I came away, alive.

Line-up

17 of us (minus Katheryn Wabegijig) being introduced by Dionne Brand, Harbourfront Centre, 22nd June 2017. Photo: Catherine Coreno/@cthrn_c, from Twitter.

A part of the privilege came with knowing Phoebe Wang, who has been/is/and possibly will be nothing short of invincible when it comes to creating a much needed community for BIPOC writers. I don’t say this lightly. I don’t say this because I have come to value her friendship. I say this because it’s true. Because very few can do as much as Phoebe does in filling the much needed gap in the Toronto lit scene when it comes to recognizing multiplicity of identities; or, as it’s more easily understood, creating a space for “diversity” to thrive.

And so it was my knowing of Phoebe that led to that evening in November, and that evening that led to an opportunity to submit to an anthology curated by Dionne Brand, The Unpublished City. The anthology is an initiative of IFOA (International Festival of Literary Authors)/ Toronto Lit Up to promote diverse writing in Toronto. The anthology features 18 writers from the Greater Toronto Area.

I have a short flash fiction piece in it, “Mars in Scorpio”, a piece just shy of 600 words. It was the first creative piece I wrote this year. It was the first piece I wrote in a long time. It was the first piece of fiction that poured out of me. I credit it to that evening in November. (I also credit it to my partner who suggested I use a personal story to write this one, and the more I say about how lucky I am to have someone like him, it will never be enough. It is also happenstance in so many ways, our meeting, our being together, but that’s another story for another time.)

5 questions with IFOA

Self explanatory.

Now, almost six months into this year, I have more such pieces since. Pieces that have similarly poured out me. My friend, Heather Olaveson, says, they were waiting. All I needed was a push.

Here’s a toast to that November evening.

My five questions about writing with IFOA can be read here.

A little something on the anthology in Quill and Quire can be read here.

The anthology is available through BookThug here.

Doyali and I.

Before the event at Harbourfront Centre. With Doyali Islam, whose poem “43rd Parallel” is also in The Unpublished City. June 22 2017.

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Becoming Chikni Chameli in 3 Steps

I encountered Chikni Chameli in the December of 2011, mid afternoon at the Calcutta airport, waiting to board a flight to Indore. I was on my way to a friend’s cousin’s wedding. The overhead televisions kept blaring the annoying music of the item song, in sync with its provocative lyrics and gestures. Men and women alike had their eyes glued to the rhythms of Katrina Kaif’s thumkas and chest thrusts.

Fast forward to December 2013. Calcutta, again. 2 am. I am hunched over my laptop, seeking inspiration to finish my final assignment for Carolyn Smart’s fiction workshop class. Write a flash fiction piece, under 500 words. There are no parameters, except for the word limit.

I finally find inspiration , through another writer I admire. And, a stream of unconsciousness. Who knows where inspiration really comes from?

Several drafts, and a few rejections later, my piece sees the light of day.

My short fiction, “Becoming Chikni Chameli in 3 Steps,” is up at Matrix Magazine. You can read it here. It is a part of their trans issue, edited by Lucas Crawford.

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The Scar

Cartoon by Bruce Eric Kaplan, New Yorker

Sometimes, it is the most unusual that is the most attractive.

My flash fiction piece, “The Scar” (audio), is in 4’33” Magazine. Hear me read it here (check out # 56). P.S. It may not play properly on Google Chrome.

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At First Sight

I am not a believer of love-at-first-sight BS. Lust, perhaps.

How can you love someone you just met?

But stranger things have happened, I am told. Cynics have been converted into believers, and then reconverted into cynics.

Or maybe, I am just sick of writing sad stories.

My short short, “Dance Off” (in One Forty Ficton), was written in a moment of weakness. My first ever attempt at happy endings. Read it here.

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A Dreamer’s Dream

Dreams are for dreamers. Sometimes, they don’t come true.

My shortest short fiction to date (it’s exactly 3 lines long!), “Dreamer,” is now in One Forty Fiction. Read it here.

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Boys will be Boys

Challenging the oft-(mis)used adage.

My flash fiction, “Boys will be Boys,” is in Map Literary’s launch issue. Read it here.

(Oh, and guess what? I am featured alongside Diane Glancy. I read her novel, Pushing the Bear (1996), for one of my third year English undergraduate classes. Stunned into silence is what I am.)

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The Love Game

DISCLAIMER: If you are expecting gooey declarations of undying love, mush, butterflies in your stomach or happy endings, this is not it.

Love is cheap. As disposable as toilet paper. Even underwear has a longer shelf life.

Everyone wants to be in love. Liars, all. What they are really after is the idea of being in love. It’s a game, really. The Love Game.

My flash fiction, “The Love Game,” was published by Daily Love today (you can read it here). I don’t know why. There is nothing love(ly) about it.

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