I recently bought myself a Kindle Paperwhite. Really, it’s nothing like paper and a little too white for my liking. I have noticed that it grins plenty; and often times I feel as though the page has just sprung out of the dentist’s chair with a new coat of enamel. I was the first among my friends to make this shift and naturally played the part of an ostracized renegade: ‘And what of that new book smell? the scent of an infinitely long summer? ’ I miss it indeed; but that was where the problem lay in the first place – that I couldn’t afford to smell a new book as often as I wanted to, buying paperbacks the way I did. I think I’ll resign myself to smelling things like rain, or the beach; things that come cheap for now.
Moving forward from the realm of reading to that of writing: It was George Saunders (in conversation with BOMB magazine) who spoke about swimming away from convenience while developing your plot. This in mind, I’d like to address a certain convenient disease that has been making the rounds in our submissions pile: the epidemic schizophrenia. It appears more often than any other single disorder, kind of car, food item or name of character. I do understand the sentiment behind the affliction though – that beautiful dissolution of spheres, surrendering to ether. But I wonder if aren’t missing the elegance between the real and the unreal shooting for a disorder like that, which ironically, is all about dancing on a needle point.
Having said something as authoritative as that, I’d like to touch upon the subject of our relationship with those we reject here at the magazine. It’s hard to discard a story or a poem. It would be wrong and evil if it weren’t hard. I always end up feeling dictatorial and brash after rejecting anything, much like critiquing the work of a friend; you end up with a bad taste in your mouth. Thankfully, though, it’s as satisfying when you send an acceptance note.
We have two writers in fiction this time: Michelle D’Costa brings to us her first attempt at writing Sci-fi with ‘We are not alone’. We couldn’t be happier at having this opportunity to fund and recognize her curiosity (and also be able to follow through with our oath of publishing genre fiction). For those who aren’t fans of Sci-fi, I assure you the slope is kind and gentle.
On the other page, we have Vidya Panicker. Her story, away from the aplomb of fantasy, is rooted in the dreary. ‘An Ordinary man’ sits by the deathbed of a boorish drunkard.
Once again, we have more poetry this issue than we have short fiction. Garima Pura, our Poetry Editor comments: Chelsea Harlan’s ‘Cootie Catcher’ is a band of assorted memories from her time in ‘rural Appalachian Virginia’. Priya Vashishth in her poem ‘The Buried Yarn’ addresses the warmth of a close relationship by hatching it in the comfort of the woods. And finally, Saddiq Dzukogi draws a parllel between loniliness and survival in his poem ‘Out of a corner’.
At this juncture we at TBR feel obliged to tell you that our efforts to fly to the Edgar Allan Poe house in Baltimore have fallen through, much like our search for the river Sarayu. We are, however ,looking into the possibility of visiting Charles Dickens’ Bleak House and perhaps spending a winter there reading for stories and poems. We’ll be sure to let you know how this turns out.