I would like to dedicate this article to all individuals who seek inspiration when they seem to hit a dead end (writer’s block). Often times, we have a project in mind that just seems impossible to accomplish. Sometimes, it’s good to explore that avenue by reaching out to professionals in that field and seek their advice. For me, writing and publishing a work of fiction or non-fiction is one of those hard to accomplish projects.
I had the opportunity to seek inspiration from a group of writers last week. Saborna Roychowdhury, my friend, who is a published author, organized this event. She is a famous author of a novel called ‘The Distance.’ It has gained worldwide recognition when it was published, and she is in the process of writing her second novel. She invited me to this event which had a structured 4-hour agenda that included tea, lunch, socialization, and of course author reading. The goal of the event was to let two authors – Amita Trasi and Leslie Contreras Schwartz present their works. This event, also gave an opportunity to remaining attendees who all have background in writing and some of whom are famous published writers themselves an opportunity to pitch their work and read some sections of their ongoing project or read a section from their completed project.
I had a wonderful experience attending this event. At the end of the event, I was inspired and looking to attend another one soon! The event started with tea and snacks and quick introductions. The first author who presented her work was Leslie Contreras Schwartz. Here is a short bio. She teaches writing workshops in poetry and personal essay at Inprint Houston and Writespace. Her poetry has appeared in Pebble Lake Review, Hermeneutic Chaos, Storyscape Literary Journal, Rust + Moth, and is forthcoming in Tinderbox Literary Journal, The Collagist and Glass: A Journal of Poetry. Her personal essays have appeared in the Huffington Post, Houston Chronicle, The Toast, Ozy, and Dame Magazine. Her first collection of poems, Fuego, was published by Saint Julian Press in March 2016. She holds an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College and a BA in English from Rice University, where she won the Academy of American Poets’ College & University Prize in 2001. She is now an instructor at University of Houston.
Leslie read a few of her poems at the writer’s meet. One of the poems was ‘The Swim to Antarctica’ a poem about Lynne Cox- the American long distance swimmer and her experiences while training for her swim to Antarctica. At the question answer session, Leslie mentioned that poetry and spontaneity don’t always work. Fuego went through 20 rounds of edits. Her writing style will move you and her collection of poems is a must read. As Alyson Ward, Houston Chronicle rightfully said:
“Leslie Contreras Schwartz doesn’t use words to smooth over life’s edges. Instead, she writes about the jagged parts directly…”
After Leslie, our second author Amita Trasi read from her book. Her novel is titled The Color of Our Sky and its English version is slated to publish on April 18. She was born and raised in Mumbai, India, has an MBA in Human Resource Management and has more than seven years professional experience working in multinational companies. She loves to travel internationally in order to understand different cultures and their history. She also regularly supports and donates to organizations that fight human trafficking. She currently lives in Houston, Texas with her husband and two cats. The Color of Our Sky is her first novel. If you would like to find out more about Amita Trasi, you can visit her website, Facebook or twitter page.
The Color of Our Sky is about two characters Tara and Mukta who were of the same age and lived in the same city but grew up in totally different surrounding and setup. Amita also introduced the topic of Devdasi tradition in this novel. At the question answer session, Amita said that she found inspiration while growing up in Mumbai, India when she noticed that lot of children who belonged to the slum area would disappear without leaving any trace. From the excerpt that Amita read, I can assure you that this is a page turner and you will enjoy The Color of Our Sky immensely. Critics have compared her writing to the likes of Khaled Hosseini.
In between these reading sessions and meaningful discussions, we enjoyed delicious lunch served by Saborna, and she also surprised us with a cake that said: “The future is worth fighting for.” The writers came from different backgrounds including performing arts, public relations, software programming, engineering, mathematics and more. The writers also represented different genres-novel, poetry, short story, young adult fiction, science fiction, blogs etc. The overall consensus was that everyone wrote because they loved to read and write. To quote Leslie: “…during difficult times, reading saved me in a lot of ways.” Writing was the common thread that brought everyone together in that room and for me, it was a one of a kind experience.
After Leslie and Amita, the remaining writers presented their projects that were in progress or a published work that they wanted to share with the group. Among the writers present, there were Dan Mayur, Helena Smith, Laurie Claypool, Mary Schelps, Enos Russell, Paige Hassall, Neeta Patwadan, Saborna Roychowdhury and myself. Everyone shared a snapshot of their ongoing project. It was interesting to see a group of authors come together and present their works with barely any similarity between their projects. Each work had a unique character, topics ranged from autobiography, science fiction, young adult fiction, human suffering, and feelings of revenge and so on. I cannot stress how much I enjoyed this meet and how inspired I felt after the day was over. The writers meet concluded with everyone leaving inspired to work even harder on their upcoming projects. I can assure you that some future bestsellers are in the making. So, here was my story, seeking inspiration from a group of writers, what is your story? Share your story of inspiration in the comments section.
I am a marketing professional with more than 10 years’ experience. I currently work as a Design QC Specialist contractor with Chevron Creative Studio. I have worked in industries such as non-profit, healthcare, oil and gas, real estate, technology, education and consumer goods.
I recently earned my MBA from the University of Houston, BAUER School of Business with a focus in Marketing Analysis. Prior to that, I earned an Associates in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Houston and Masters in English Literature from Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, India.
I was born and raised in India but now consider Houston my home. I am Membership Officer with Prospanica-Houston chapter and Director of Special Events-Marketing with American Marketing Association-Houston chapter.
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