"A writer and nothing else: a man alone in a room with the English language, trying to get human feelings right. " ~John K. Hutchens, New York Herald Tribune, 10 September 1961

Saturday, September 15, 2007

It's not personal, right?

This article is an excellent example of what I've been mentioning time and again. Given, it is nearly two years old, but the fact that we're still facing the same problem, doesn't bode well for the next two. Talking it over with my sister, made me realize an important point: what we, the desi writers, are doing and who we're aiming for, are the intellectuals - the writers, poets, artists, playwrights, screenwriters - thinkers, and as such, aren't catering for the mainstream desi population but a very small subset.

However, I do believe, despite what the others say, that we need to up our quality. How else will we make our mark on the world wide web? I don't want to sound like one of those 'it's my way or the highway' kind of people, because that's not who I am. Part of the success of the site has to be attributed to the feedback and comments of others, which although I don't always like or agree with (it's my baby, for crying out loud! Would you like it?), I do try to incorporate if I think it helps the overall attractive quality. Within reason, so to speak.

In other news, The Jane Austen Book Club is due out next weekend. That's one I want to see, but forces me to ask the obvious: what is it with Hollywood and Jane Austen this year? We've got two films featuring the esteemed authoress in some capacity, in two very different flicks. Not having seen Anne Hathaway's representation of a young Austen in Becoming Jane, I can't pass judgment, but from the trailer I did see, her accent slipped and that's saying something. It was a two minute trailer. Now don't get me wrong - I like the actress, and I think she's talented - but appropriately conquering the Colonial accent has long been a challenge for thespians from the other side of the Atlantic. Whereas I think the ones from this side of the ocean seem to do a better job of capturing the nasal tones of the Americans, in general. And when I say "the ones from this side", I'm not including desi talent, which seems to overemphasize the r's, lose the t's and substitute them with d's, case in point: water - wader. I kid you not. As someone having lived the better part of my life in the American educational system, I can say something with complete confidence: you're missing the point.

Chowk, my prime competitor for now (it's been there a decade so obviously they've got a huge edge, and they can also be said to boast my work. What?! What better way to clobber the competition than from within enemy lines?) doesn't figure into my plans for world dominion. Our writers are by far more talented, but they've got the big wigs. Doesn't matter. We've got contacts, and might be willing to pull those strings if needed. But I think I need to remind myself that a lot of this is going to take some time. Especially since we're not really politically oriented, which is Chowk's major advantage. We cater more to the hardcore creative thinkers, so there's the "subset" theory all over again. We're the kind who go to coffee houses and cafes for the intellectual company, and less for drinking the beverage.

To that effect, there is something of a hang out in Isloo's Civil Junction, most especially their politically effusive menu. And sure, maybe somewhere down the line, you might see a Desi Writer's Lounge in the flesh grace the streets, but that's still a while away yet. So why don't we avail the resources on hand, now?

There will be a revamped site however - and there will be more columns - and something more of a magaziney feel to it. I do promise a higher level of quality if I have to handpick the pieces myself, because unlike some, I believe we've earned the right to pick and choose.

Any comments? No one comments on anything. If you keep this up, I'll start to take it personally.

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