What is Suprose?

Welcome to Suprose.

Why Su-prose? "Su" in Sanskrit is a prefix for "good". This is a place where we will discuss and analyze prose (with a South Asian Connection) - that which is good, awesome, excellent, and maybe rant about prose that could be better.

Whether you love prose, are a prose expert, or want to learn more about prose, or to put it simply want to have anything to do with prose, this blog is for you.

Read, interact, enjoy and share...

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Sunday, March 30, 2014

365 Days Of Inspiration!

Only time will tell where the future will lead us. All we can do is keep working towards our goal, and you will get there!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

365 Days Of Inspiration!

As long as you are tending to your rose garden, you can be rest assured that your hard work, patience and perseverance will pay off!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

365 Days Of Inspiration!

I may not be there yet, but I'm closer than I was yesterday. -Author Unknown

Remember with every step that you take, you are closer to your goal... So keep at it!

Monday, March 24, 2014

365 Days Of Inspiration!

“Understanding is the first step to acceptance, 
and only with acceptance can there be recovery.” 
― J.K. Rowling

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Tête-à-Tête With Padma Viswanathan

I first read Padma Viswanathan's fiction, when her short story Transitory Cities won The Boston Review Fiction contest in 2007. The judge, New York Times bestselling author, George Saunders called her winning entry
Photo Credit: Johnathon Williams
"... imaginative and original; the author has taken an odd and beautiful concept and expanded upon it in a daring and beautiful way. The story has a nice dramatic arc, and the final image was oddly moving, satisfying. The story has real heart, and the author seems willing to go into strange territories. The story reminds me of the work of Steven Millhauser, Aimee Bender, or Ben Marcus: using fantastic elements to get at very real emotional material. Promising and exciting work."
Her first novel, Toss of a Lemon, was much anticipated and the wait was well worth it. I could not put the book down, I enjoyed every page of it, the book was a page turner in it's entirety...

The Ever After Of Ashwin Rao which is Padma Viswanathan's second novel, launched this weekend. This fascinating read about facing ones own grief and loss centers around Ashwin Rao, an Indian psychologist who returns to Canada to do "a study of comparative grief" interviewing people who lost loved ones in  the 1985 Air India bombing.

Padma Viswanathan, a fiction writer, playwright and journalist, from Edmonton Canada, now lives with her husband and two children in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She was generous enough to take time out of her hectic book launch schedule to answer a few questions for Suprose.

Both your books are very different in nature… The first one is a more magical, traditional plot, a sweeping family saga. Tell us about your second novel?

Photo Credit: Padma Viswanathan
The Ever After of Ashwin Rao is a story within a story. Ashwin Rao is the narrator, a Canadian-trained Indian psychologist who returns to Canada in 2003 for the Air India bombing trial, but then realizes he’s far less interested in the bombers’ fate than in the victim families’. How have they fared in the long years since the 1985 bombing? He discovers that there has been no in-depth study of their lives, and so he undertakes to do one himself. What he fails to reveal to the families, for reasons he himself doesn’t fully understand, is that he, too, was bereaved in the bombing, and that his own personal and emotional life ground to a halt as a result. Then he becomes embroiled in the lives of one family, the Sethuratnams. As he becomes intimate with them, a receiver for their secrets and a conduit for their stories, Ashwin is made to reveal his own strange history. 

How different was it for you writing your first novel and your second one?

I felt both very free and very ignorant when I began the writing of my first novel, I learned a great deal, both about novels and about myself as a writer, that I applied in writing my second book. But it was also very important to me, as I began it, to allow myself the freedoms I enjoyed the first time around—to fail, to be unselfconscious, to dare in a way that I did not realize constituted daring, and to believe anything could be represented, that all of life could be evoked on the page. It was harder, because my standards had risen and because I now had a readership with expectations. But it was the only way for me to feel I was writing with integrity, to make sure I could stand behind my book, regardless of its reception.

You spent a lot of time in India researching The Toss of A Lemon. What kind of research did you do for your second novel?

While I read all available writing about the bombing before I started writing, little of my initial writing needed much research. Seth and Venkat are invented, but bear various resemblances to men I grew up with, and the novel takes place in contemporary Canada. I based the town where they live, Lohikarma, on the town where I was born: Nelson, BC. I went back there, after having worked on the novel for several years, to solidify my sense of that place as a character in the book. I also read on narrative therapy as a branch of psychological practice, to bolster my understanding of Ashwin’s working methods; on physics, because Seth is a physics professor and sees the world through that lens; and on devotion to various gurus. But the aspect of the novel on which I spent the greatest research time was the historical context for the bombing. The disaster was one link on a long chain of acts of public violence. To try to represent these on the page, accurately but from Ashwin’s point-of-view, took an enormous amount of reading and thinking and winnowing and rewriting. Ashwin is present at several of the worst incidents that precede and follow the bombing; and there are many others that I have him talk about. The struggle to make these live in a compelling way on the page, without being sensationalistic, was probably the hardest part of writing the book.

How do you normally do your research, while writing your book, or prior to working on the manuscript?

For my first novel, I did several years of research and then began. I paused for a second major research phase after much of the book was drafted, in order to answer a number of specific questions. For the second one, I began writing, and paused periodically to do research. Now, for the third book, I’ve returned to my first method. Each project dictates its own needs.

Your first book had personal influences, wherein your family provided some context, right? Are there any similar familial influences in The Ever After of Ashwin Rao?

My first novel was inspired by several threads in my family history. The Ever After of Ashwin Rao is equally personal, if very different, since it deals with an atrocity that shaped my race-consciousness (I was a teenager when the bombing happened) and my understanding of contemporary politics in both of my countries of origin, Canada and India. And then, as I have said, while all of my characters are invented, each of them feels very like the people I grew up with. Seth, especially, is like my father, uncles, and close family friends: immigrant men who are a force of generosity, equanimity, affection, in the face of the many good, bad, and deeply puzzling things that life has delivered to them. It became something of a mission, in this book, to explore that territory of grace.

When you write a novel, do you have any pet peeves/specific areas that you give extra attention?

In all my writing (except email interviews!) I must make sure that every single sentence is exactly as I intend. It’s why I’m not more prolific.

How many revisions do your manuscripts go through?

The Ever After of Ashwin Rao went through eleven. I doubt any other will conform to that exact number.

Who do you read for pleasure?

Gustave Flaubert, Salman Rushdie, Laurence Sterne, Jorge Luis Borges, Elizabeth Bishop, Virginia Woolf, Ann Marie MacDonald.

… And for motivation?

Gustave Flaubert, Salman Rushdie, Laurence Sterne, Jorge Luis Borges, Elizabeth Bishop, Virginia Woolf, Ann Marie MacDonald.

If I looked at your nightstand, what books would I find…

Stephen Greenblatt, The Swerve; Hans Christian Andersen, The Complete Stories.

Which are some of the most worn out books on your bookshelf?

Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children; Jorge Luis Borges, Ficciones; Shahrnush Parsipur, Women Without Men; Ann Marie MacDonald, Fall on Your Knees.

What’s next for you?

I’m at work on a nonfiction book about the stepmother of an old friend of mine. She was a convicted bank robber and, possibly, a murderer.

365 Days Of Inspiration!

Photo Credit: Wallsave.com

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection” 
― Gautama Buddha

Saturday, March 22, 2014

365 Days Of Inspiration!

Photo Credit: MayaAngelou.com

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ― Maya Angelou

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

365 Days Of Inspiration!

People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are.  I don't believe in circumstances.  The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can't find them, make them.  
-- G.B. Shaw, Mrs. Warren's Profession, 1893

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

365 Days Of Inspiration!

Fast company on "How To Reboot Your Day In 10 Minutes Or Less!"

You reboot your computer, you reboot your phone, you pretty much reboot everything and just continue with the tasks that are ahead of you. Take a similar approach to yourself and your day to day hurdles!

Read the article for some simple ways to step away from the stress and move on! Have any ideas of your own, feel free to share them...

Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Raging Creative Writing Debate!

The debate about training to be a writer has been ongoing. One of the latest articles was initiated by Hanif Kureishi in an article in The Guardian, saying that creative writing courses are a waste of time. Many of his students could write sentences but could not tell stories.

A week later another article was published as a response, where other leading author/teachers revealed their advice to students.

And the debate rages on, should creative writing be taught? Isn't it like any other art form and good combination of aptitude and finesse that is derived from learning and practice? Does it really have to be one or the other... What do you think?

365 Days Of Inspiration!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

365 Days Of Inspiration!

The 13 things mentally strong people avoid, is listed in a blog post on Forbes. This is a great article for many of us to read. I can guarantee you that you know almost all the things listed in this article, but it definitely helps to have someone else list this out to you....

Among my favorite "do not do's" on this list --
-- Waste time feeling sorry for yourself
-- Worry about pleasing others
-- Shy away from change
-- Waste energy on things you cannot control
-- Expect immediate results

Focus on pursuing your dream and do what needs to be done to realize it!

Friday, March 14, 2014

365 Days Of Inspiration!

There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream.  
-- Author Unknown

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

365 Days Of Inspiration!

Very simply put, failure is the stepping stone to success. An article in The Atlantic titled "The Power Of Failing" talks about how failure is the driving force behind genius.

"Thomas Edison would be so proud.
The Wizard of Menlo Park once quipped "I have not failed 10,000 times. I have successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work." Edison’s dedication to scientific approach has long been the maxim of the creative class. But even he would be pleasantly surprised at how it is now resonating within the traditionally conservative sphere of American business. Companies like Facebook -- which encourages employees to “move fast and break things” -- and Pixar -- which tells workers to “fail early and often” -- are examples of successful American companies finding that the best way to succeed is to fail, and fail repeatedly." -- The Power Of Failing, The Atlantic, March 3, 2014
What better person than Einstein to tell us it is completely OK to fail, as long as you try, try and try, till you succeed. So keep at it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

365 Days Of Inspiration!

Everyone everywhere, remember, no matter where you are from, your dreams are valid!
-- Lupita Nyong'o

Watch the full speech here. One worth watching over and over again!

Monday, March 10, 2014

365 Days Of Inspiration!

Consider the postage stamp:  its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing till it gets there.  
- Josh Billings

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

365 Days Of Inspiration!

"Bring me down
Can't nothing bring me down
My level's too high
Bring me down
Can't nothing bring me down"

-- Pharrell Williams - Happy 

(Official Music Video)