Writing in Himachal Pradesh

India is cold.  Exceedingly cold.

Self knows that whenever she thinks of India now, she will remember:

  • Shivering in Dharamsala (and there was even a power outage, self’s first night in the Snow Crest Inn!  One of the brothers who run the inn told her that was nothing:  last year, they had no electricity and no heat for twelve days)
  • Shivering in Bir

At the same time, self will also remember:

  • Working on “The Peacock” in her little cottage in The Colonel’s Resort, and staying up late at night to write.
  • Starting a new story in Dharamsala and getting it up to 8 pages in Bir.

She doesn’t know why it is, but traveling, instead of being a distraction, focuses her mind to a razor point.

The books self brought with her on this India trip were:  James McBride’s Song Yet Sung (great) and Owen Sheer’s Resistance (sad).  The Colonel’s wife, during the road trip to Amritsar, was curious about Resistance.  When self pointed to the author’s photo and said, “Isn’t he good-looking?”  the Colonel’s wife responded with, “I have a cousin who looks like that.”

Self thinks that she has seen the most gorgeous specimens of physical beauty —  of both genders —  in India.  While Freida Pinto (of “Slumdog Millionaire”) is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful actresses in the current American cinema, Indian villages are filled with young women who can certainly give Pinto a run for the money.  Self’s just saying.

The Colonel remarked that he would see self’s room lights burning all night.  That was because self was over-stimulated to such a degree that she could not stop reading and/or writing.

Two days after getting back, self went hard at her World War II novel.

She still needs to get back to those Smithsonian people, about the event in April, for which they are flying her to Washington, DC.

She still needs to revise her mail-order bride story (appearing this July from Vagabondage Press)

She got a slew of rejections while in India.  Another rejection came yesterday (from Epoch:  She sent them a science fiction story, they sent it back in a matter of weeks — BWAH HA HA HA!)  Today, there was an e-mail (form) rejection from Boston Review (Say, is that the one where Junot Diaz is an editor?  Self thinks it is).  She also found out (yesterday) that her story “Ginseng” will be included in a new Philippine anthology that will focus on the querida (mistress).  She was kinda hoping the editors would take “Tagaytay,” as it’s a newer story, but the Villain in that story was a sleazy Ateneo professor and self knows in real life there are no sleazy Ateneo professors.  On the other hand, just because self has not personally made the acquaintance of a sleazy Ateneo professor doesn’t mean that these types do not exist!

She decides to steel herself against submitting to a short story collection contest.  She never knows which of her stories belong together —  She’s written tons of them, but still has no idea how a collection is constructed.  So, unless she figures this out sometime, she will refrain from joining further contests, for it will only lead to feelings of futility.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.


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