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Writing about the enchanting Gathering

I’ve been writing about my disenchantment with books. Not that the stuff I’ve been reading hasn’t been good, quite to the contrary, but it’s been a long time since I encountered magic. Anne Enright‘s The Gathering gave me that magic. It is a bleak, almost painful book, and in parts it hurts. I’m not exaggerating when I say it sent me into a minor depression. But I had to keep going back to it, much like a child picking at scabs, making a healed wound bleed again.

I’ve moved on since to Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, which is a good antidote with all its dreamlike strangeness. I sometimes feel I should read less and see more, have more conversations, but then I’m drawn back to books by an invisible elastic cord that gives me some leeway, but pulls me back again.

Reading has somehow become an organic part of my daily routine: if I can’t find a novel, short story, or poem, I’ll find a magazine or newspaper, if I can’t find those, I’ll find a brochure, or a menu, or a manual. Failing all this I’ll go a little cuckoo in my head and snap at people. Somewhat like when I’m hungry. The minute I’m bad-tempered my hubby asks me if I’m hungry, I guess he should add ‘do you need a book?’  Reading is the best education there is for writing, so I suppose I shouldn’t be complaining.

Been writing the past few days, and two of my short pieces got put up in the local webzine, so everything is mostly on the up and up. I should be happy, “should’ being the operative word, but that’s okay too, because I find I tend to write more and write better when I have this nameless melancholy.

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.

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