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Broken Shadows eBook Buying Links

Broken Shadows is now live across platforms ranging from Kindle to Kobo.

Broken Shadows is a collection of 12 abstract micro fiction stories which explore the sighs and sorrows of the deepest self. Joy peeks shyly from the shadows, while healing takes center-stage.

If you’ve ever been hurt, ever felt bewildered by the world, ever felt it was all just too much, this is the book for you.

I’m delighted to say that in this one week, since release day, Broken Shadows has received some praise! Such as on this goodreads review and this blog review.

Want a taste before trying? There’s a free PDF preview available for download.

Click here for the first two stories!

And finally—

Here’s where you can get the Broken Shadows eBook:

Amazon (Kindle: will redirect to your local amazon store) : getBook.at/BrokenShadows

Apple (iBooks / iTunes : Might only work for the US) : https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1095198226

Kobo (International link) : https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/broken-shadows-6

Nook (Barnes & Noble : Might only work for the US) : http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/broken-shadows-r…/1123563604

I’d love to hear what you felt when you read Broken Shadows!

Just shoot me a mail at radhika (at) radhikamukherjee (dot) com

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Going, Going, Gone…

The bell had tolled, the pleasantly plump lady has sung her siren song, the bird is ready to fly free from her cage!

This site is all ready to move!

The data has been exported, a few themes shortlisted and hosting arranged for.

It’s going to be a photo-poet-dream site!

Sign-up quick for my newsletter! That way you can be part of the unveiling and we can stay in touch!

Just click here!

Want to stay connected on WordPress?

Follow me on my other blog: Light Under Shadow!

Au revoir sweet friend!

It’s Moving Time!

This website and blog, radhikamukherjee.com is moving! Away from WordPress hosting and perhaps even the WordPress community, to set up boldly in the uncharted waters of the World Wide Web!

The reason for the move is two-fold

a) The one-year contract with WordPress is running out.

b) At this stage of my writing career, with one book out and more on the way, I need more functionality from a website. Namely the ability to sell my book/s directly to readers. This applies to photographs as well.

So around the end of May 2016 or the first week of June 2016, my blog posts will no longer appear in your reader or be accessible through tags to the larger wordpress community.

And I am a bit sad about that!

The wordpress community has been so supportive, so generous, that this anxious writer could not possibly have survived the last couple of years without all the ‘likes’ and comments and to and fros.

If you want to keep in touch with my writing-dreaming-photographing journey, I invite you to two venues.

The first is my newsletter, which I currently send out once a month, at the beginning of the month, but which will include important announcements.

You can check out the first edition of the newsletter, right here: Radhika’s Mega May Missive

And Sign-Up Here!

The second way is through WordPress itself. If you scoot over to my Light Under Shadow poetry and photography blog, I promise to post on that blog around once a week.

So there you have it, a change is coming and it’s amazing! I hope to see you there with me! 🙂

An Invitation To Join My Email Newsletter

Tomorrow is going to be awesome! It’s an extra-special day in my life and I am going to send out my very first email newsletter.

It feels amazing to be starting on this new, more personal medium of communication with my friends and readers.

You’re going to be a part of this cooler-than-cool trip, right? I promise to cherish and keep your email address safe!

If you sign-up, every month, you’ll receive a long newsletter chock-full of amazingness!

You’ll get links to the best of my online publications. A behind the scenes look at how my books and other creative projects are evolving. I’ll be sharing the vital creative lessons I’m learning on the way to fulfilling my dreams. You’ll receive first notification of all news. And lots of freebies and exclusive content, that comes straight from the soul! You’ll even be able to weigh-in with your thoughts and opinions.

Sounds good?

Sign-up right now!

And if you do, you’ll also find out why 2nd of May is so extra-special for me! 🙂

Here’s the link again!

Talk tomorrow!

A Fabulous 5-Star Professional Review For Broken Shadows

You won’t believe what happened!

Broken Shadows, my new book of abstract, poetic micro fiction got a 5 STAR professional review!!  This is a review from Reader’s Favorite, a professional reviewing service.

It’s so cool!

I’m totally floored by the sensitivity with which the reviewer Sarah Stuart had read and reviewed Broken Shadows!

Check out the review on the Reader’s Favorite site!

5star-shiny-web

I’m quoting the text here for you as well:

Broken Shadows (Shadow Stories Book 2) is a collection of twelve short stories of varying lengths. The author, Radhika Mukherjee, recommends reading each with a break in between to allow time for assimilation of the meaning; they have a central thread – isolation and discovery – but each presents a very different aspect of her chosen theme. It encompasses isolation as a result of being alone, of a mind deprived, and of the soul, discovery of self, of pain, of loneliness, and the solitary, shadowy essence of one’s own identity. The stories go beyond gender and ethnicity, giving the whole collection a remarkable and rare universal appeal.

Broken Shadows (Shadow Stories Book 2) is like no other anthology I have ever read. Radhika Mukherjee has a very distinct voice that challenges the reader to think, to feel, to be. Intrigued by “Translucent,” I read on, slowly: it is necessary to pause between each narrative. Without contact with the internet, the world, even a rose is enviable; it has all that it needs, whilst “Pain” is more than agony. Suffering debilitating, disabling, pain hurts most in what it takes away from life: independence, the ability to survive alone. Each of these poetic tales has merit and readers will have their own favourites. Mine is “Cold”, the story of a daughter, wife, and mother no longer needed, abandoned to live on the streets. Appalling, frightening, and yet lit with the colour of autumn by sparks leaping from the flames of a blazing fire. I recommend Broken Shadows unreservedly.

Isn’t it a wonderful review?

I’m sure you want to check it out Broken Shadows now?

Broken Shadows is available in eBook form, only for $0.99 / INR 49 at various eBook outlets.

Buy Broken Shadows from: Amazon

Buy Broken Shadows from: Apple iBooks

Buy Broken Shadows from: Kobo

Buy Broken Shadows from: Nook (Barnes & Noble)

Add on: Goodreads

Hope Broken Shadows illuminates your day!

The Radiant Reviews Of Broken Shadows

Broken Shadows, the book of micro fiction, with its 12 intense, abstract stories, I released last month, has garnered a few wonderful reviews! 🙂

Broken Shadows

Two reviews especially, are reviews I could only dream of as a writer. It is as if the shards of my soul I put out there into the world met their perfectly resonating complements in these two readers.

The first review I’d like to bring to your attention is by Saket Suresh. The main review is hosted on his blog Love, Life & Happiness and can only be described as an explosion of empathy and generosity!

To quote from the review:

“If one has picked up this book in passing, by the time one reads the first page of the first chapter, a perfumed, heavenly sense envelopes the reader. To me the most lovely prose is the one which melts into poetry. It is bit more handsome than poetry, less delicate, but as beautiful and as accurate. Radhika effortlessly attains that which essentially evidences the effort that would have gone into it, not visible to the reader.”

Read the full review!

Happy Dance!!

The second review which made me break into another happy dance is by Ankur Surin. You can check out his lovely blog here. His review was posted on the Goodreads page of Broken Shadows and he just ‘got’ it, you know? It was amazing!

To quote the part of the review that just blew my mind:

“I call the characters ‘selves’ because I could identify with a couple of the ‘selves’ and I am sure other readers will share the same experience. One of the reasons for this easy identification is that the selves are grounded in reality. They are like the-everyday-us, doing everyday things and going through daily torment. Yet the stories manage to rise above the mundane and connect with the ethereal.”

Read the full review!

After such stellar recommendations, I hope you’ll check out the book?

You can read the first two stories by clicking on this link.

Here are all the buying links:

(Broken Shadows is available in eBook form only.)

Buy Broken Shadows from: Amazon

Buy Broken Shadows from: Apple iBooks

Buy Broken Shadows from: Kobo

Buy Broken Shadows from: Nook (Barnes & Noble)

Add on: Goodreads

Thank you! 🙂

It Is Release Day! Broken Shadows Is Live!

Broken Shadows, a collection of 12 intense, artistic Shadow Stories,  has officially been released on Amazon in all territories!

Here the link: getBook.at/BrokenShadows

IT'S ALIVE!!-2

And it’s received a rave review!

It is such a happy release day!! I’ve literally been alternately dazed and dancing all over the house.

Let me share the introduction to the book with you:

Introduction to Broken Shadows

Broken Shadows is my second collection of Shadow Stories. The first collection was Our Particular Shadows, published initially in 2013. The Shadow Stories are a form of ephemeral storytelling that seemed to arise of its own volition, and which bypass light and dark to explore the shadowy regions of the deepest self.
Each story, which ranges between 500 to 1000 words, features an unnamed protagonist, to whom you can assign the gender of your choosing. Told in the voice of the central characters, the stories in Broken Shadows trace the trajectory of intensely personal, significant moments.
It is the self speaking to and for itself – no mediation, no subterfuge. Just a questing mind seeking to understand itself and the world. Sometimes, even hidden from itself; balanced on the cusp of a glimmer of truth.
These stories, though short, are by no means an easy-breezy read. There are layers of experience packed into single phrases, which are redolent with connotation and scope for interpretation. You may find that more than one reading is required to ‘get’ the form and format of this genre of stories. When you do, there are rewards galore!

***

I hope you will take a look at Broken Shadows!

 

Last Chance To Read ‘Broken Shadows’ For Free!

Hey there!

I’ve just uploaded my new book of short stories, Broken Shadows to Amazon! I am psyched!

And while we wait for the book to go live on Amazon and then other platforms, I am offering you a chance to read it, completely free!

The offer is valid this the end of day, today, 20th March 2016!

Just click here to get the book!

Here’s the full book cover:

Broken Shadows Cover_social media

Here’s the blurb:

Do you break out of the shadows or do you let the shadows break you?

That’s the central question explored in Broken Shadows.

Broken Shadows is a collection of 12 tiny, intense tales of isolation and discovery. Told in fluid, direct, ungendered, abstract prose, these stories are depictions of the self’s deepest, most painful, most vulnerable moments, along with its fledgling triumphs.

Told through the protagonist’s intensely personal, idiosyncratic (interior) monologue, the moments are arranged thematically. You read about the essentially solitary, shadowy essence of the self as it navigates pain, war, art, homelessness, addiction, betrayal, etc. along with the intransigence of its own nature.

Going beyond gender, beyond ethnicity, these snapshots of ephemeral moments are an exercise in understanding the universal through the specific.

It’s all about merging into a fleeting, shadowy moment and tracing how it turns on itself.

Immerse yourself in intensely executed, abstract written art!

And if you liked the book and wanted to post a review or spread the word, I would be totally over the moon!

Sounds good?

Here’s the reading application form link again!

Book Cover Reveal : Broken Shadows

Paparapaaa!

Presenting! The book cover for Broken Shadows (coming soon to an ebook store near you)!

These tiny, intense tales of isolation are sure to wring unexpected emotion from you. Which is exactly the sense we have tried to convey in the book cover, a depiction of the solitary self as it faces its shadows.

Will the shadows break our protagonists or will they break the shadows?

That’s the central question of Broken Shadows.

Here is the book cover:

Broken Shadows Cover_social media

What do you think?

Please let me know in the comments!

Stay connected with the release by subscribing to my Newsletter or add Broken Shadows on Goodreads.

Announcing My New Short Story Collection: Broken Shadows

Sometimes, healing comes only through brokenness.

That’s the main theme of my new collection of short fiction, Broken Shadows.

These are 12 short tales in Broken Shadows, linked in pairs, which explore how survival, destruction, depression, creativity, technology, etc. affects the core of the self. A picture emerges of the deepest self as it wages a battle for itself.

These are all journeys into exploring the essential ‘I’ as it navigates the world in fear, hurt, love and hope.

This is a follow up in terms of style and substance to my first collection, Our Particular Shadows, and two more books are planned in this series of Shadow Stories.

So Our Particular Shadows was Shadow Stories #1, while Broken Shadows is Shadow Stories #2.

For Broken Shadows, I selected carefully from all the stories I had written over the past six months and then arranged them just so. The stories flow from question to question and provide the echoes of an answer.

I am so looking forward to you reading them!

The release date is set tentatively for March 2016.

Would you like to read and review Broken Shadows?

This is for online reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

If yes, I can send across a free PDF copy of the manuscript to you via e-mail. And I’ll let you know when the book is live so you can post your reviews on the sites.

What you do say?

Yes?

Yes!

I knew it, you’re the coolest!

Just fill in the google form given in the link below and I’ll contact you in a jiffy:

Click Here!

See you on the other side! 🙂

 

Vital Creativity Lessons from The Artist’s Way

The Artist’s Way: Essential Reading For Artists Seeking Creative Recovery!

Way 1

Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way is the best and most helpful book on creativity and creative recovery that I have read. (And I’ve read quite a few in the last year, trying to recover what I lost along the way.)

As a bonus, The Artist’s Way is also a workbook, which helps you make the leap from blocked, wounded creative to one coming into their intrinsic power of being happily, gloriously creative.

I read about the phenomenon of this book many times, before I actually bought it. What made me buy it? Author Deborah Cooke described the two main tools of The Artist’s Way in a blog post and it seemed to make a weird sort of sense to me.

When Amazon finally delivered the book, I was feeling like I was a decent place creatively. And I was in such a hurry to show progress, that I read the introduction and the first two chapters and decided to only focus on the two main tools: the morning pages and maybe attempt a few artist dates.

This was the first iteration.

I turned the morning pages into ‘anytime’ pages and just scribbled and scribbled. Going well over the 3 page limit on most days. My hair-trigger temper improved, fears quietened down; my writing became looser but flowed easier. I settled more deeply into the idea of being a creative being and writer.

The inevitable implosions followed. Julia does warn us that in the course of following The Artist’s Way, as you heal and course-correct, you can expect a few fireworks.

So, I picked up the book again: the second iteration.

This time, to read through and through. Julia’s words now made even more sense. What she describes in the book was exactly what had happened with me while doing the morning pages! This second time, I did a few of the exercises but mainly just read, absorbed her gentle wisdom, her permission to find that essential, creative me.

I continue to do the morning pages. However, I managed just about 3-4 artist’s dates in all this time – around four months or so.

In these four months I have filled four notebooks with my (almost) daily scribbles, exhausted countless pens, and emerged calmer, softer, stronger and more in tune with the voice inside that sings.

This is what I learned in my two-time immersion in Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way:

Creative Recovery

way 2

If you have been discouraged as a child or have been forced to be ‘practical’ or have been unable to pursue your creativity for financial reasons or even out of deep insecurities; those impediments have left a wound on you. When creative people are not able to express their creativity, they hurt. And while you work on reversing the blocks and getting back to your core creativity, you need to realise that you are in creative recovery and need to be kind to yourself.

Be patient. You are forging a new you.

The path will resemble waves rather than an upward incline. And as mentioned above, might even bring with it a few squalls and tsunamis.

Creativity is Play

play

You have to allow yourself to play, to let what you are creating feel light as froth and as joyful as a blown bubble. Treating creativity as heavy-duty ‘work’ as found in an office, bound by productivity – might be fairly counter-productive.

I had a day when my writing for Rackety and the Beauty Spell felt like flying! I then proceeded to get totally shocked at myself, started to doubt the quality of the writing and promptly shut down for a few days. Though better now, I still need to get that soaring flight of fancy back.

No Uniform Day

way 4

There will be good days and bad days. Days when you will make art and days when you will need to rest and reflect. Don’t let the lack of ‘output’ impact you negatively as a creative being. Remember, you are in recovery, and need to be gentle with yourself.

Be a soothing presence within the maelstrom of the self.

Filling the Well

way 5

Nurturing the inner artist child or as Julia calls it, ‘filling the well’ is perhaps your most important responsibility, especially while in creative recovery. Immerse yourself in a rich array of nourishing inspiration – sights, sounds, smells, tastes. The more delicious the better! This in part is what the artist date is about.

My favorites are: taking flower-photography sun-walks, going to the movies, going to the bookstore and reading books. Traveling and taking a holiday are also great for recharging the well!

What are your favorites?

The Essential Morning Pages

way 6

The morning pages are a journaling tool. You write three pages of longhand in the morning, ideally before doing anything else. You write to clear your mind, to connect more deeply to yourself, and to discharge your silly, angry, irritated feelings into a safe space.

And let me tell you, the morning pages certainly worked for me! In a way that my earlier, more casual journaling had not. This is a more mindful practice.

I’ve been doing them for months and even when nothing else gets done, when I’m in a soggy, squelchy, muddy mood, I dive into the strong, lighted-up reassurance of the pages. Which are to me ‘anytime’ pages. I pour out all my froth and fury and clarify, clarify, clarify. It’s great therapy. And I get a mental tick-mark for getting them done too!

Morning Pages For Writers

way 7

For writers, having the pages to pour yourself into, is an amazing gift. Here is a place to just be you, in words. There is no need for style or artifice. No worries about publishable merit. There is no audience. You can just be. And be as narcissistic as you need to be. What a huge relief, right?

You get kudos for just filling pages, for messing around, for just being with words. It’s amazing and freeing and ultimately – healing.

Bad Art

way 8

Creative people like doing things well. They like creating things with beauty, impact and resonance. However, when you are in creative recovery or transitioning to a different sphere of the creative journey – that might not be possible. Such thinking might in fact, be harmful. What we need to get more comfortable with, counter-intuitively enough, is bad or blurry art. ‘Bad’ to our perfectionist eyes that is.

Give yourself permission to play in the mud, to make a glorious mess, before the masterpiece inevitably emerges.

Self-Care

way 9

You will need to work on yourself as much as you need to work on your art to effect a proper creative recovery. This is years of grime being washed away from the mirror of your creative spirit. Take the time to do it right.

Then it will shine! Then we have lift off!

That Abundant Feeling

way 10

A belief in abundance is essential. Call out to abundant inspiration, abundant opportunities and an abundant audience.

Make the pie bigger. There’s enough and more for everyone.

A Deeper Connect

way 11

You’ll get an urge to deepen your learning, especially knowledge of your craft, once you embark on this 12-week journey.

I got back my ability to read with stillness and absorption though this process.

Do It Your Way

way 12_2

You need not follow the book exactly to reap the benefits of The Artist’s Way. A DIY approach works very well too.

Look at me, I’ve done two laps and will soon go around for a third, when I feel in need of healing again.

The third iteration will be the one in which I plan to follow absolutely everything in the book. Each set of weekly exercises, the affirmations, the artist dates, etc. And all through I will continue with the morning-anytime pages.

Healing Has To Continue

way 13

Creative recovery, creative healing and making art are all part of an artist’s creative process. Once the blocks shift a bit, art evolves out of the pain, out of the recovery and out of the healing spirit. And it shines brightest from a recovered artist.

So our work is essentially to strive and to continue the healing process.

We are artists, we are stronger as well as more fragile than most, we need to take care of ourselves, always.

And then, as Neil Gaiman said: ‘Make good art!’

way 14

~~~*~~~

For more discussions on creativity and inspiration, fresh fiction and soulful poetry, sign-up for:

 

(Image credits: Pixabay.)

(Image of The Artist’s Way book: Radhika Mukherjee)

 

 

 

Celebrating Bloggers: 3 Amazing Posts of Mountains and Snow

Winter seems to be on its way out where I live. There is a little zing in the afternoon sun, the air is milder. One can almost taste the spring, lurking a little shy, in the wings of the weather. So I thought, why not pay homage to old man winter through a few amazing blog posts on snow and craggy mountains and the sheer delight of the cool mountain air!

1.

This post will make you fall in love with winter. A fairyland experience, this post.

A Love Letter to the Norwegian Winter

By Trini Lind

2.

Breathtaking photos! Like a glimpse of the divine… (Overall, a magical blog of a girl fulfilling her dream of travel, writing and photographing. She may in fact be my Yoda.)

My Mt. Everest

By Kirsten Smith

3.

A real-life mountain climbing experience with rich detail and loads of photos!

Japan Travel – Climbing and Conquering Mt. Fuji

By Hilton

~~*~~

Enjoy! 🙂

And please click to subscribe to my monthly newsletter! 🙂

Photo credit: Pixabay.com

An Ideal Writing Afternoon

To sit, in the afternoons, in a secluded pavement cafe, beside a sleepy street, sip chocolate hot or cold, or even green tea and – write…

The sunlight will dapple welcomingly all around and fall slantwise on my lightly ruled notebook, lighting up the words written with my pilot pen.

Passersby ambling along will look at my rapt expression and smile – indulgently. They’ll nod to one another and say, ‘Writer at work!’

For I will be clad in artist’s clothes – long skirt, gypsy top and lots of bangles and open wind-worried hair. Dark kajal will line my eyes, bringing depth and mystery to my glance.

There will be an ease to my walk, a swing in my laugh. I will be relaxed and elated and ready to share the ecstasy trapped inside.

A cocoon of inspiration will form over me and I will beam beatifically, lost in imagination, and just write.

Actual fiction!

And soul stories.

And poems.

Ah!

Waiting [Flash Fiction]

The liminal space – the twilight vale where anything can happen…

Here lies good; here – the possibility of such horror…

And here I stand, hand on the mirror, asking my reflection to give me some answers. In this endless waiting, these seconds ticking past threaten to shatter me with their chiming.

What then, does one do? Just go about normal life? Not stop at all? Not ponder or pray? Is there anything to do but wait?

Seems like years of waiting, just waiting. Hideous waiting!

Time piled on time. It seems as if I am seated on an open clay stove full of hot, spitting coals, shackled and muffled – totally trapped.

There was a time when I thought, I’ll have at least one space of happy calm. That some stretch of this life will be one of light. I kept trying to walk towards it. Sometimes, I even thought, ‘I’m running, running towards a better life!’

Just then I’d get the message for the next catastrophe.

I had hardly even recovered from the previous crisis when here comes a new one! Not quite here, but rumbling its arrival notes like a big old thundercloud, throwing out sparks.

I’ve prepared. A few practical details have been arranged. Contingencies put in place.

Still, nothing will be enough, not for this one. It seems that disaster will have its way, this time.

What is this disaster? It might not be so bad? Give me the details! : I can hear coming from the ether.

It’s one of those things. Horrible probably only to me, insignificant to the world. Still, I can barely restrain my screams.

My feelings, as dictated by PTSD, have shut down. There’s just this lingering headache that will not be banished. It’s as if my brain’s swollen and is slowly setting fire to itself. Creeping flames of pain shoot down my spine, explode in the middle of my brain, till I cannot keep my eyes open…

Maybe some herbal tea will help? The activity will help me focus on something else at least.

Ah! A little breath enters my lungs with the aroma of dried rose petals and holy basil steeping in hot water. The mellow sunniness of the honey fills me with warmth, helps with the shivers. My hands seem to be shaking a little less.

Let’s see, to maintain sanity, what do I need now?

To stop thinking about it. To relax. To sleep.

But it’s 4 am, and I’ve been wrestling with my waiting, wasting grief for hours. Every muscle is tense, vibrating in panic.

Where is sleep? Nowhere that I can find.

The cicadas though, just listen to the cicadas and the frogs with their merry chatter. No matter if my world is destroyed, their music will still ring on.

‘There’s music everywhere,’ she said. ‘You just have to be still and listen.’

I heard today, the night music of the hidden creatures, so close to the heart of the world…

I need the cold air—

Oh! That feels good.

A warm soothing drink and the fresh, rain-laden air, smelling of earth and pine and dawn-hope.

And there a sprinkling of shy stars, misted over, that light up infinity.

And here I am, infinitely small, with my infinitely small problems, letting them storm up my whole world.

Wouldn’t it be nice to be a tree? Stand still for an eternity? Or a cloud, to float carefree awhile. Especially a happy, ephemeral rainbow!

It’s like the night breeze brought back echoes of my younger self to me…

‘And what would that self have done in my place?’

Music – the answer floats to me.

Music.

It feels right somehow.

I search for an instrumental classical piece, sink into the sofa, pop on the headphones and simply listen.

The crawling, wriggling, searing thoughts slowly slither away. The music claims my attention, as it weaves a melody intricate and optimistic and so—

Oblivion creeps up softly.

Sleep at last, even while waiting.

 

~~*~~

Image Credit: Pixabay

Eavesdropping, Observing, Writing In Cafes

Words free-flowing in the real world, that I had only read before, ‘Workshopped’, ‘freelancer economy’, ‘you must give me your card…’ – a couple of solopreneurs meeting at the coffee shop I’m trying to work in.

The tiniest, cutest Korean mother-daughter duo waiting at the cash counter. (They ordered a fluffy pink icing donut.)

 A few laptops, a ‘premium’ photographer and a few sets of friends on a girl’s afternoon out.

My back is not to the wall, as I prefer, but at least I’m seated at the extreme left of the café, after changing seats twice, by the glass wall overlooking the street. There’s a curious mix of comfort and discomfort built and baked into this experience.

There’s the glare from the truncated sun, there’s all these voices, booms from the kitchen, the clatter of cutlery, phones ringing, friends giggling with each other. Maybe lunch-time was not ideal to come to a café-restaurant?

The quieter, more open bookstore café, my usual haunt, has become a bit boring though. Seems to be a stultifying sameness there today. Still, I always got something or the other done. Something original I mean. It has some positive writerly vibes. Must be all those books nearby. But I wish the café space was actually closer to the book shelves, not at the entrance, parallel to the cash counter, tucked under the stairs.

I’m not at all hungry or even thirsty. What’s the protocol though, is a mug of green tea enough recompense for the time you spend here, the space you occupy? This is after all, a commercial establishment. So do you have to eat even if you’re not hungry? Also, why are there so few non-caffeinated drinks to be found anywhere? A warm drink with no sugar, no caffeine, no lactose – that’s what I actually need.

Why don’t cafés double up as juice bars? With healthful options like, ginger, wheatgrass, acai, tulsi, etc.? And why don’t they make more salads? They should also mandatorily have a library section, like Pink Butter has. A writer friend in Australia actually goes to write in her local public library. Which sounds just ideal, right?

Today was supposed to be a day trip day, in this startling sun that we’re having in the winter cool. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. This bright, in what is supposed to be winter, is a gift from the universe. You keep your snow, upper latitudes, give me this delicious winter sun. I’ll take the glare headache in stride.

So I thought at 8 am – Day Trip! But there were so many logistics to manage, so many unknowns, that baby steps were what was actually achievable. So, in this first day of me deciding to live my actual life, I settled for breakfast out – pancakes or bust! That didn’t work out either. It’s cruel to drag one’s tired husband to pancakes at 9 am. So we had a big (boring) breakfast at home.

It’s only then that we set out, to buy office Secret Santa presents. I of course, got me a little something, the most adorable Tweety Bird, but I also helped! I was so useful at picking out the actual present I tell you. I pointed it out and everything!

So now here I am, at our occasional weekend hangout, nursing my green tea and actually longing for my study. I’ve set up everything just right there. I even wrote a little – typed actually – before scurrying off to get ready. It seemed like just the right energies had converged.

Would it be a shame to just up and run away? Go home to my desk? Where I can get something of worth done. Or is this longing an illusion, another of my mind’s ways of putting off writing original fiction? Caught as I am, in a process of constant dissipation of fear and resistance. All part of creative recovery they tell me…

A bit of a waste of a bright day, to go to the dark indoors. When what I actually want is just the bright in my life. (The me, mine life.) To gather these fiery energies to permeate my stilled separate self. To fly in fire…

The universe, it has spoken. Notwithstanding fears, notwithstanding base practicality, I am for the life fecund and free. Just to spin my stories is all.

It is required that I free fall. That I let go of the illusion, the utter falsity of the ‘sensible’ persona I had adopted. Just to let go, that’s my job right now. In this space that become less crowded, a bit quieter, it seems almost possible.

Here, there are people being friends and acquaintances and having actual conversations! That’s worth being near for a while. If only to infuse more life into my made up worlds.

Actually, this is kind of like being at the long forgotten office desk. Since pen and paper are right there, and nothing else, especially not the internet, one can just scribble away. Write in flow.

Not literature yet, but things resembling usable pieces.

Even this blog post is a boon, right?

~~*~~

 (Photo Copyright: Radhika Mukherjee)

Wishes for 2016!

Happy New Year, dear friends! 🙂

How special are you going to make 2016?

These are my 2016 wishes:

For The World:

  • Peace and empathy between each of us and all nations
  • Forests and seas protected and marine, plant and animal life improved exponentially.
  • A sense of joy pervading us all, as part of world culture.

For Writers:

  • May more and more people read, and read our books/stories/poems/articles!
  • May traditional publishing value writers more and more.
  • May self-publishing become an even stronger career path for the entrepreneurial.

 For My Writing:

  • To consolidate the progress made and finally finish and release Rackety and the Beauty Spell.
  • To release 4 books in 2016, comprising poetry, short stories and novel/s.
  • To continue to work steadily to execute my stable of ideas.

Bonus Wish: That I find some readers! 🙂

Wish you the most wonderful, joyful, blissful, fulfilling 2016!! Make it your best ever year!!

And please plant at least one tree in 2016!

What’s your dearest wish for 2016?

The Gifts The Universe Has Given Me

At the end of this year, 2015 – a transformative year – in this season of gifts, I’d like to share with you, in the spirit of SONO GRATA (Italian for: I am grateful*), the gifts that permeate my life.

So, Universe: Hello. Namaste. I would like to thank you for:

My Ma

My Nikhil

Books and stories and their writers. Oh so many writers am I unbelievably grateful for! (Special shout out to Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.)

Poetry

Music

This mind of mine

The ability to laugh and smile

The ability to cry

Empathy

The unbelievable joy of the act of writing

The sky, clouds, sunsets and sunrises

Trees

Flowers

The power and beauty of the cycle of nature

Human ingenuity and creativity

Acts of giving and kindness

Those essential conversations – digital and tangible

The internet

Blogging and other bloggers: have kept me going for so many years

That feeling that people care about you

The ancient wisdom of India, native Americans, Japan…

All the struggles I have ever faced: family, financial, emotional, creative – it is through fire that one smelts the pure ore

Babies, all babies – human, animal, plant. Babies remind us of a purer state of being, they make us smile and laugh and make our hearts expand. That’s magic!

Stuffed toys: they make me smile

Sketching and coloring: strangely therapeutic

My trusty old Dell laptop, still going strong after 4 years; notwithstanding a keyboard and battery change.

Loose sheaves of paper, my numerous notebooks, Evernote, MS Word, Pages, pilot pens, drawing pencils: so important for the working writer.

My study (a.k.a. the spare bedroom), with my tiny desk and chair, an armchair and shelves of books.

Photography: is like little presents of beauty and meaning the world gives you through the lens.

The numerous talented photographers on 500px, 1px, Instagram and WordPress whose works light up my day.

The generous photographers at Unsplash and Pixabay who provide their photos so freely and where I go to when I don’t have an appropriate photo of my own.

The activists who fight to make the world a better place. They need help, support and compatriots and I hope very soon to contribute more myself.

The organic farming movement and the availability of some organic produce at least. (It’s not that much more expensive to eat organic, here in India.)

The folks who are fighting to protect forests and conserve habitats. The folks planting trees.

The brave hearts who protect animals against poaching.

Virtuous cycles: we need to always aim to create virtuous cycles.

For being a woman: I think I am finally beginning to understand what it means and to celebrate my quiet, flowing strength.

For being born a woman in this time and in this country.

For India: there is so much depth here, so much potential. It both breaks and lights up my heart, this country.

My beaches: Juhu Beach in Mumbai for special memories. Goa beaches for feeling like infinite home.

My mountains: The high Himalayan mountains are a place of ecstasy for me. I will always feel like running away to Kurseong where I spent some magical childhood years.

My cities:

Kolkata, where I feel radiant and strong.

Mumbai, where I feel active and energetic.

Pune, for quiet pleasures, contemplation and lots of fresh air!

For art, debate, sport: anything that keeps us off the path of violence and war.

Meditation: though I am a beginner, it brings me a measure of peace, calm, connectedness and flow.

Dance! 🙂

~*~

What would you like to thank the universe for today?

I would be honored if you shared it with me!

Thanks!

~*~

Thank you for listening! This was my last post for 2015.

Happy holidays! Wish you also a very Happy New Year for 2016!

In 2016, let’s promote peace and harmony.

Let’s plant many, many trees.

And laugh, let’s laugh a lot! Okay?

~*~

 

*[Hat Tip: Elizabeth Gilbert]

Celebrating Bloggers: 3 Amazing Short Poems

This is a poetrypressed post, in which I celebrate three poets who wrote three short poems that moved me, made me think or made me smile.

Probably best read accompanied by a piece of cake and a hot drink?

1.

A simple, joyful poem that makes you fall back in love with life.

I Would Love

By/On: Spanishwoods

2.

Beautiful, inventive words which make such music, musically.

Disharmony

By/On: Putting the Dog to Sleep

3.

Clever and delightful all at the same time.

Time Climbs Over The Fence

By / On: Meadowpatch

 

Enjoy! 🙂

 

Translucent

There is no shape to the feeling that has gripped me, no name. It is sensations and currents rippling through me, bringing one moment a tear, then a smile. A hummingness courses through my mind. At the day’s very end, just this one thing seems to tether me to humanity.

Each day I go into the studio alone, leaving my life alone, and from beyond the silence, beyond the darkness behind the eyes, summon swirling shapes and bright lights and etch them on the blank canvas.

Vast stretches of cosmicness, pure and radiant look back at me. Remote, calm, intense.

Do you think they see me?

Do they know how far I seem to travel in these hours in which I wield the brush? Do they realize that I am becoming translucent, more insubstantial, with each sunset day? Disappearing into the void…

Can you see through me into the cold?

Could you come get me?

Bring me a candle perhaps?

Maybe share a cup of tea?

 

The Great Crab Warrior Of Davy Jones

Crab Warrior
The Great Crab Warrior Of Davy Jones (By Radhika Mukherjee)

Here’s another one of my fantastical ‘soul sketches’.

I find they are a great warming up activity for writing: meditative and absorbing; creative, yet not too taxing.

They are my version of adult coloring books, where I first sketch the shape and then fill in the outline with soft pencil. When finished, this one looked to me to belong squarely on the Flying Dutchman!

I really like the whimsy of it, that I can never quite predict what the final shape will resemble. It’s kind of like cloud-shape watching, in reverse. A very happy retreat into childhood territory.

Also amazing to me is the intense grotesquery of these shapes and figures. After watching these spring from my hands I will never be surprised at any alien who visits earth, I tell you! 😉