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What letter would you write? #WriteBravely

Write Tribe Day FoxToday is the fifth day of the Write Tribe Festival of Words. Yesterday’s prompt was write about a day in your (or someone else’s) life,” and today’s is ‘write a letter to someone.’

I’m going again with fiction today– this was a piece written in the form of a letter addressed to a father, a piece of flash published in the Outrider review, a magazine based out of the US.

It was written during a workshop led by author Suchen Christine Lim, many years ago, in a crowded library room filled with us, her eager fans. The prompt, of course, was to write a letter, but the letter that emerged on paper was a fictional one, which I think will one day become part of a novel. Here it is:

Write a letter to someone


Do you read or write Flash Fiction? Ever written a piece based on prompts? Written in a workshop in a crowded room? What do you have to say about ‘I’ll be your father?’ What letter would you write, if asked to do so?

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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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  • That letter…such a powerful piece of writing, thank you for sharing, and to Jacqueline, for the reblog.

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyanti – a power piece … my mother said to me she could never again be a mother to me – I’d done the full circle for her … so sad, at that time of life … cheers Hilary

  • Very powerful and evocative letter from father to son, Damyanti. Usually I think of a person becoming a parent and then wanting to not be like their parent rather than becoming their parent’s parent. In any case, I like this one and hope you use it in a book or story.
    I love flash fiction, both reading and writing. Some of them are staggeringly good, and I hope to write one myself someday. I’ve had ‘workshops’ in college-level creative writing classes (and got together with a fellow writer to produce our university’s magazine) and I attended a writer’s group a few times, but other than that, I haven’t workshopped per se.
    The letter I write would probably be based on my interest, mood, and what I’m wanting to express at that particular moment. The other day I wrote what could be considered an open letter to humanity. Sometimes, writing is for oneself alone!

  • Christy B says:

    That letter would make the great basis for a future novel, Damyanti!!

  • grumps666 says:

    Once again, I can relate to this piece on a personal level having had a stepfather take the place of my real father who died when I was only 7 years old. My Polish stepfather had fought in the Second World War and settled in England because he could never return to his native homeland for fear of imprisonment–or worse. Thus he didn’t see any of his own family ever again. His cultural upbringing and wartime experiences made him a hard man with a vicious temper. I feared and hated him in equal measure–especially when he was cruel to my mother and I lacked the physical size and strength to intervene. But it’s fair to say there were periods when he showed tenderness and love in those post-war years when the world was trying to recuperate from the atrocities and hardships of war. As time passed, more and more Polish ex-soldiers came and settled in the area and my stepfather’s circle of friends expanded and grew into a community with shared backgrounds and experiences. His increased social life caused a degree of mellowness at home, though his drinking and fist-fighting still occurred during the weekend card-playing sessions with his friends.
    Years passed, I grew up, and left home to join the military.
    Fast forward to many years later when I’d matured into a strong man, and had the capability to take revenge on my stepfather. However, as in your fictional story, time had taken its toll and my stepfather had physically declined after suffering a heart attack. Anger and revenge were not part of my character, nor my intention. Love had dissipated any negative traits in me because I’d found so much happiness in my own life. And this wizened old man, whatever his faults and shortcomings, had played a major part in making me the proud and considerate man I am today–and I love him.

  • Modern Gypsy says:

    Such a powerful, visceral letter! At the end though, forgiveness is what matters…

  • Apeksha Rao says:

    Such a powerful letter! In the end, forgiveness is what brings you peace, and ends the vicious cycle of resentment and hatred. I’m a fan of your words, D. ?

  • Sara says:

    This letter is beautiful and so visual.I’ll be a regular visitor to you blog, was directed here by Twitter!

  • Bhavya says:

    This is such a moving piece. I have no more words for you. Beautiful.

  • POWERFUL! SUch an intense work on time, old age and relationships. I was mesmerized

  • That was so beautiful and powerful. Forgiving can be healing. The best way to do the revenge and yet feel healed. Loved this letter to bits.

  • Shalzmojo says:

    Ii couldnt read this letter as its spread too widely and doesnt fit on my desktop screen. Its cutting on the sides. Also the font is very small in the letter. The share button keep popping over it, covering up the words.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Sorry about that—what browser are you using? Maybe if you click on the picture, it will show you a full screen image?

  • Rajlakshmi says:

    I don’t think I have words that could justify your work. I am moved and blown away by the sheer brilliance of your letter. And it feels amazing to read such a stunningly written piece. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks, Rajlakshmi. It was a piece written at a workshop, a son’s letter to his father. As a writer, I’m very pleased that it touched you.

  • Kala Ravi says:

    Totally blown by this eloquent piece of writing Damyanti. I would say it was almost poetic. The child becomes the father. Deep and moving.

  • Sulekha says:

    Like they say, forgiveness is the noblest revenge. The son was a bigger man than the father and he chose to do the right thing for both of them. An absolutely lovely creative writing piece.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Forgiveness does bring peace–thanks for your kind comment, Sulekha.

  • Kishor Kr says:

    That was intense… and touching… with a bit of darker side of love. Well written

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Love does have its dark side–thanks for stopping by, Kishor.

  • Shilpa Garg says:

    What a powerful letter!! Forgiveness is liberating, it not only enables the one who has wronged you to be free from the past, but it liberates you too from the past and helps you live in the present.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      That was the intent behind the story, Shilpa. Glad it got across.

  • Forgiveness rules any bitter feeling that might surface, loved the compassion you have shown in the letter. To forget or not – to forgive is godly

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      This story does approach the hard grounds of forgiveness, and ironically, the way lies through compassion. Thanks for your comment, Menaka.

  • Zainab says:

    This is a nice one Damyanti! Mine was to some sort of a drink, & looks like a nothing now!

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Zainab, please don’t be hard on yourself–you have to believe in your work. Will visit you in the evening 🙂

  • What a letter! Blunt yet loving, empowering and liberating. I enjoyed reading this.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks Jacqueline. I cheated a bit in using my fiction for the prompt. I doubt my own letter to anyone would be half as articulate. Emotions always get in the way.

  • I like this. It could have been cold and cruel and vengeful, but what a tale of love and forgiveness and compassion.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks, Holly. I try to bring in compassion in my fiction, and though it is much harder in life, I make an effort to bring it in there, too. Vengeance only brings bitterness to everyone.

  • mitchteemley says:

    A moving and insightful example of the power of forgiveness, Damyanti.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks Mitch, this story was an attempt to portray forgiveness of the most difficult sort, that of an abused child to his parent.