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#WritingCommunity , Do You Collaborate with Artists?

Artist collaboration

Life has been shades of grey these past few weeks, and I’ve craved color and light. Here in Singapore we’ve come full circle with the pandemic: back to work from home, closed shops, restaurants, gyms and playgrounds. All I can hope is there will be no lock-downs, that I can continue with my morning walks.

Over the past weeks I connected with Mona, an artist friend from my past life, and enamored with her work, asked if we could collaborate. One of her paintings, and a small story from me.

(We experimented on Instagram. You can follow her here, and me here if you’re on that platform.)

The picture above is her painting.

Here’s my story:

Night fell like a curtain of grey flowers and song, midnight blue in her mind as she sat, eyes closed, wrapped in a red saree and a sense of déjà vu, as if it had all happened before and was likely to happen again.

Soft fell the night around her, darkness pulsing against her body, her vibrant red garb, around the sphere of light she held protected against her stomach, the small sapling that would thrive in a new dawn.

She smiled her close-lipped smile, secure in the knowledge of dawn, amused at the antics the night played around her, cajoling, tempting, adoring and chastising her in turn. Telling her she should rest a while. Set aside the white flowers of her garlands and earrings, make of them a fragrant bed, and recline a little. Rest her achy feet exhausted from the millennia of waiting.

It could not be all that hard, the night said, weaving its moonless magic, donning its cloak of the deepest blue. Rest a little, come, do not sit so straight; let the light rest, too.

When she paid it no mind, the night quit whispering and took on an urgent, menacing-velvet tone: look how vast my arms. I cannot see my feet. I have no beginning, and no end—that spark you hold can’t stand against me.

It does not have to be large, she murmured, soothing. A spark only need exist in one heart to catch in another. A sapling can seed a forest. We are not so different, you and I. We both hold light. I hold it in my hands, you hold it in absence. Come sit by me. Our friend Dawn, our beloved, the one of shadows and of light, will be here soon.

I’ve decided to be more spontaneous and put my work up oftener, warts and all. Flow and play in short fiction will hopefully help with the long work. I’ve got exciting news about that which I can’t really talk about–more on that later.

What about you? Have seen collaborations between writers and artists? Know any artists in real life? What do you think of this collaboration?

Are you part of nay online or offline book groups? Founded any? What is the experience like? Do you think online book groups are similar to those offline?My debut literary crime novel,”You Beneath Your Skin,” published by the fab team at Simon and Schuster IN is optioned to be a TV series by Endemol Shine.

It is available in India here.

Worldwide, here.

Reviews are appreciated–please get in touch if you’d like a review copy.

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Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her literary crime thriller series, the Blue Mumbai, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency. Both The Blue Bar and The Blue Monsoon were published in 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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  • Lee Lowery says:

    Beautifully done! I love to combine art with my work – I even do mock covers for short stories and poetry. I’ve really only notice collaboration with the written content in children’s book. (disregard the email – it was supposed to go here. duh.)

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thank you!

      And it is a wonderful idea to do mock covers for short stories, Lee!

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyanti and Mona – these were delightful … bringing many thoughts to the fore … it is light here now – bright with Spring greens … but dark will be back with another dawn to come …
    Collaboration inspires … loved this and look forward to more – cheers Hilary

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks so much, Hilary. Glad it resonated with you. We’re planning more in the coming months.

  • I loved this excellent descriptive story and of course the exceptional artwork illustrating. Thank you.

  • That was really beautiful.

  • shilpagupte says:

    Loved it, D!
    How about you and I collaborate some day? Your story for my artwork? Do let me know if that can be done. It will be wonderful!

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks, Shilpa–so kind of you to say.

      Yes, absolutely! Would be a delight!!

  • cleemckenzie says:

    I’ve written several short pieces collaborating with music composers. That was great fun. I think the idea of collaborating across art forms is stimulating and exciting. Great job between you and your artist friend.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Music composers? Wonderful! What was the process like?

      Thanks for your kind words, Lee.