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What Small Good Thing have You Seen in this Big, Dark World?

By 19/12/2019reading
Betta fish writing

My debut literary crime novel,”You Beneath Your Skin,” published by the fab team at Simon and Schuster IN is slowly making its way into the world.

It is available in India here.

Worldwide, here.

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

writing bestseller rankAs a writer, when your mind goes blank, you need to still keep going.

The last few weeks have been mayhem– a new town or city every new day, setbacks, workshops, book events. Been through it all, and all I can think of is a huge break from it all, but life goes on. More issues, this time on the personal front, but life and writing must both go on.

You Beneath Your Skin is a bonafide Amazon bestseller now (and there’s other good news in the offing), and that will help Project WHY and Stop Acid Attacks, but I haven’t sent out pieces for a while, and while I write this or that, I need to get back to the serious business of writing. Soon.

Today I’m sharing a piece published a long while back….

Jezebel owned a blue betta fish. She’d named him Moby Dick, hoping one day an Ahab would seek him, and find her instead.

Moby Dick swam about, flashing his colour, surfacing to check on Jezebel with his rotating eyes, begging for food from time to time. When he thought himself ignored, he curled up and moped at the bottom, behind a plastic rock and a lime green plant.

Moby Dick didn’t know Jezebel lived in a world of Picasso dreams or that she’d imagined him into being. A girl who liked appearances as much as she hated responsibility, Jezebel loved the bowl because its water never grew dirty, and the fish didn’t need feeding.

She could easily have given Moby Dick a large aquarium of his own, with a harem of betta wives, swimming in circles around floating plants, but she kept him alone, waiting.

Jezebel didn’t know she lived in someone else’s dream, a tousle-haired young man who sat chewing his pen by the window, waiting for his Muse.

He wrote about Jezebel, her betta fish, because he himself owned one. It swam around its bowl, mocking his efforts at poetry. He slammed the notebook down and went out to seek his writing friends. He needed to gripe.

He didn’t open that notebook again. Jezebel waited for Ahab. Moby Dick didn’t get fed. His scales remained bright, and their blue clashed against the lime green of the plant in Jezebel’s dreams.

I’m posting this because it went on to stand fifth among a thousand entries at the Bath Flash Fiction Award, and then was a semi-finalist in the Best Small Fictions. Thinking of it reminds me that the writing life has its ups, and I should not be concerned with its downs. You beneath Your Skin is doing well, and I’m grateful. The writing will find its way back to me as well.

As the year winds to an end, I need to find good cheer. India is in doldrums at the moment, and in all of the darkness I need to find a small good thing.

What is a good piece of news you’ve heard lately? Has writing or reading brought you joy? Has life? What little piece of goodness have you witnessed recently?


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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 next literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar, is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and was published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 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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  • Mark Murata says:

    A new city or town every day? That’s quite the publicity blitz.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      It was. I have a bit of it in January as well, and then mostly online :).

  • I loved your book, Damyanti, and am so glad that it is doing well. I have left an Amazon review of it. So proud of your writing achievements. Yes, I had an excellent news last week. Can’t reveal but it has made a huge difference.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      YAY for the good news! Hope to learn of it soon 🙂
      And thanks so much for the read and review. Really appreciate it.

  • Shalzmojo says:

    I first saw Betta fish in Kochi in a restaurant where a single fish was kept in a jar and there were several such jars. I asked the owner why not one big aquarium and then he told me about this fish. Ah!!! a loner fish that fights with its competition and he demonstrated it by putting two jars closer- instantly the two fish puffed up and agitated.

    I loved your story, so much analogy in it and thats what felt so soothing and kept the flow going. I am not surprised this won prizes at writing contests- its very well penned Damyanti. Kudos!

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Yes, the Betta Fish should never ever be kept the way it is–but the females of the species are not pretty–so the males lead horrible, isolated lives. Some of that comes across in the stories. Thanks so much for your kind words.

  • beetleypete says:

    Hi, Damyanti.
    Thanks very much for following my blog,
    You have been around ever since I started blogging, and it’s a real pleasure to know you are doing so well.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thank you for stopping by, and your comment, Pete. I get by with a little kindness from my friends.

  • Amanda says:

    Hi, Damyanti!

    Big congrats on getting published (and with worldwide distribution!). I’d love to read and review your book on my writing/editing site, I’m based in Los Angeles, but could do a digital download if that’s easier than shipping a physical copy 🙂 Thanks for letting me know if you’re interested. Hope you have a warm and happy holiday.


    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Amanda, thanks so much for reaching out and for offering to do a read and review. The book is available for free on Kindle Unlimited. Let me know if that doesn’t work for you and I’ll send you the book in a format of your choice.

  • DutchIl says:

    Thank you for sharing!!.. the good thing is technology so special people like you can use your words to bring about a brighter day for someone and this world a better place!.. 🙂

    Until we meet again..
    May dreams you hold dearest
    Be those which come true
    And the kindness you spread
    Keep returning to you.
    (Irish Saying)

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks so much, Larry. And thank you for being a bright, cheering presence in my life, supporting the book and Project WHY. We need more of you in our dark world.

  • Pam Lazos says:

    The small good thing is that doldrums or no, bad politicians or no, world polarization or no, you get up in the morning and you do your one small thing that is a way to make the world better… and they tell two friends, and they tell two friends … and someday, the world is better.
    Hang in there, Damyanti. The world needs your light. Happy solstice!!! xoxo

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      That one small thing to make the world better is what we all need to do. Thanks for who your are, Pam, and all that you do. Thank you for your support through the year.

      I owe you an email which should hit your inbox soon. 🙂

  • Rajlakshmi says:

    I love how you never waste words. Each line adds meaning to the story. No wonder it was picked among thousand of entries. Congratulations on that 😊

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks Rajlakshmi. It was also rejected about 51 times 😀 before it was commended a by a judge. 😀

  • hilarymb says:

    Hi Damyanti – there is good news out there … one of the most important is to be positive and forward thinking regardless of the circumstance … and when helping others smile at everyone – it cheers us all up … you’ve done wonders this year and publishing ‘You Beneath Your Skin’ is just brilliant … I’m so pleased for you – and for the giving the two charities will get from the book’s sales … cheers and have a peaceful time and some rest?! Hilary

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Thanks Hilary–you’re so right–there’s always good news out there. That’s why we have WATWB.

      Let’s hope the book continues to do well–it is a bestseller in India, and I’m hoping it repeats that in other territories so I can raise funds for project WHY.

  • Your writing is always engaging and compelling. What a talent you possess for challenging our thinking through your writings Damyanti and we are so fortunate to have you grace us with your work. 🙂

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      Ian, it is me who is fortunate to have readers and supporters like you. Thanks for always being there.

  • something good in this dark world that makes me smile? you. thank you for being the positive and encouraging person that you are.

    • Damyanti Biswas says:

      That is such a kind and gracious thing to say, Joseph.

      May we always find small, positive things to smile about.

  • Congratulations! That was very clever. That is the world a writer creates.

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