Reading: Shall We Sing About The Starman, Ziggy?

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I did a reading! It was only my second ever public reading and it was really fun. The South Asian Women’s COllective put of a call for “erotic works” by South Asian women. I saw the call ONE DAY before deadline (because of COURSE!) but luckily, I already had the perfect piece to send to them. in July last year I wrote this little flash fiction thing that I called “Shall We Sing About the Starman, Ziggy?”. I guess I was listening to a LOT of Bowie at the time. I was also (and still am) deeply intrigued by stories about female sexuality from a female perspective. This was my attempt at writing that.

More than anything else, “Shall We Sing About the Starman, Ziggy?” is my ode to oral sex. =D

You can read it here. There’s also pictures of me reading. Some of my favourite friends came <3 I was freaking out hours before the reading because a) I was FIRST and b) I wasn’t sure how I felt about reading as a performance art. But it turned out great! I met lots of amazing South Asian writers and felt very inspired by their work.

Here’s an excerpt of the piece. Go to SAWCC to read the whole thing:

It must be some kind of sweet, sticky suck because that’s how you taste after
you taste me. Agreed, that’s second-hand information and it probably tastes tart or
maybe a little bitter, a little old, a little less like cherry pop. It doesn’t really matter. What
matters is that I like watching it drip off your fingers and into your mouth.

PS: There’s a typo (my fault) in the piece online. The last word of the first paragraph should read ‘pubis’ not ‘pubic’. Totes my fault. I sent them the piece for publication in August when I was super extra major jet lagged.

My newsletter: TL;DR

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This isn’t about comics. It’s about news from South Asia. If you want to skip the long story, just go see it here (and SUBSCRIBE!): http://eepurl.com/O1K79

What is TL;DR?
TL;DR is internet speak for ‘Too Long; Didn’t Read’.

Why is TL;DR a thing I do?
I spend a lot of time commuting to and from work. I spend most of that time reading, and mostly reading the news. My friends, on the other hand, don’t have the time to keep up with the news. Especially my South Asian friends in the US and elsewhere. So, I created TL;DR so that the next time they go see their cousins or desi friends they too can sound up-to-date on what’s going on in the motherlands. =D

Is it only South Asian news?
Yes. I’m not even touching South Asians in the US. Just straight South Asia. If you want news about the diaspora in the US, check out The Aerogram.

Wait- wth is “South Asia”?
South Asia refers to the following countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Burma, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

It’s a one woman show right now, so it’s full of typos and stuff. I’m also working full time, so I basically collect stories through the week and speed write it all down in one day.

And yes, it’s free. Don’t worry. I don’t even have a ‘Donate’ button.

Comics: Culturestrike’s ‘Liberty For All’

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I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking and researching gender lately, both as part of my current job and my personal interest. I’ve also been really really interested in creating and reading comics that have a social message and/or are educational. Part of this interest also lies in the fact that I’m more interested in how people learn in informal environments. Importantly, how can we use comics to talk about issues that people face today? 

So my interest was immediately piqued when I came across ‘Liberty for All’- a comic series by Julio Salgado and Tina Vasquez about LGBTQIA issues at Culture Strike. It tells the story of Liberty-an undocumented queer person of colour. The comic deals with all sorts of issues: immigration, feminism, queerness and race are the obvious. Check it out here

To me, as a cis-gendered hetero person of colour, this comic is sort of a soft introduction to issues faced by the queer/trans/non-cis community. It’s funny and what I like more though is the sometimes intellectual conversations Liberty has about these issues. 

I can see this comic being used as a teaching tool to open debate and create dialogue. I’d love to read more of these sustained and regular strips that attack important modern issues. Like, where’s the comic strip that debates feminism? I’m sure it’s buried on the internet somewhere. I just have to find it! 

 

Comic: Gender Tapas from Groooonk!

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I found this quirky little comic via ObservationDeck.

Two gender ambiguous people go out to Brian’s Binary for dinner and find that they kinda like some stuff from the menu but want to mix it up. It’s really a clever way to discuss the concept of gender flexibility and the fact that we all possess, like or aspire to traits that are considered traditionally male or traditionally female.

Comics: A comic for the visually impaired

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I came across this on my twitter feed a whole ago and thought it was pretty cool. Phillip Meyer, an interaction designer, has designed a comic book in braille for the visually impaired. The narrative- a love story – appears fairly straightforward and Meyer points out that the story is not the focal point as much as the design itself. Essentially, he asked the question: Is it possible to create comics in Braille? And if so, what would these look like?

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Like a true designer, he sought out advice from his target audience to learn how readers experience Braille and decipher the possible syntax for Braille comics. The result: a project called ‘Life‘. On his site, he takes care to assert that the project is just an “experiment” and that it is not the only way to approach “sequential tactile storytelling”.

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Comics: Alan Moore and Best of 2012

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It has been a while since I posted on comics. I’m no longer covering the indie-comics scene in India BUT these two links were too cool to not post.

1. Alan Moore made a film and released it for free because he’s awesome like that and he likes to stick it to Hollywood. <3 It’s called Jimmy’s End.

2. Maria Popova of Brain Pickings links us to the best graphic novels of 2012. The list is here. It’s heavy with a lot of adaptations. I’m not the hugest fan of that even though I get it- it will introduce a whole new generation of readers to old classics etc etc. However, the second book on the list sounds gorgeous:

Building Stories by Chis Ware. I WANT THIS SO BAD. It’s a graphic narrative about three tenants in a Chicago apartment building: an elderly gentleman, a warring married couple and an amputee. Ware is redefining what a comic can look like. This “book” is more a collection of pamphlets, booklets and something that resembles a board game. Unfortunately, it’s out of stock at Amazon but when it’s back in stock, it will be mine.

Right now I’m reading: Habibi by Craig Thompson. It may be the most beautiful book I’ve ever held in my hands. I won’t describe it. Click the link for asynopsis and here are some pages:

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In awesome news, I won first prize in Talk Magazine’s short story competition! I’ve never won ANYTHING in my LIFE before so this is supermadexciting for me.

So, the story is about a young girl junkie navigating the streets of Bangalore looking for her next fix. It’s pretty gritty. As usual because it’s a story about heroin abuse, it may not be suitable for ALL audiences.

It appears also that I have made the damn cover of this magazine which is like totally rad. After the last couple of weeks I’ve had (what with losing my entire life to Hurricane Sandy- we were part of the unfortunate lot that got flooded out of our apartment pretty bad and after being ‘homeless’ for 20 days, we signed a new lease on a new apartment yesterday, so whew!)… anyway, given all that bullshit, all of this is making me smile.

The magazine is based out of Bangalore. If you’re in India- go buy it!!! It’s only Rs. 10/-

Or read it online here.

Below is an excerpt:

“Frequently, I’d buy half a gram only to find that it had been hastily cut with unknown crystals, sugar, pharmaceuticals and, according to rumour, even mosquito coil ash. There was an ever-revolving door of dealers who came to meet me with this questionable stash. They all gave me the same story, “Kareem’s gone mad.” A scramble for power ensued and, if rumours are to be believed, Kareem was thrown out of his own hovel. Where he went crawling to was anybody’s guess.

Unfortunately, these small-time dealers possessed neither Kareem’s business sense nor his charisma when it came to dealing with the Law. Dealers started to disappear only to re-appear as four lines of a story in the crime section of newspapers: “Man caught with 1.5 kg of heroin at Michaelpalya” – that sort of stuff.

The business of being a junkie was becoming extremely hard. Whenever I’d find my dealers missing or see their guilty mug shots peering out at me from a newspaper, I’d take a trip down to Shivajinagar.”