Writing Round-Up

With the changing of the clocks and November all-but upon us, it's often a time when writers make a 'new season' resolution to draw the curtains, light a candle and huddle over the laptop; get writing in a way that wasn't so welcoming during the long and warm summer evenings.If that sounds like you, then here are a few more incentives, success stories from various people and groups with which I'm involved:Writer, Jazz Shaban, is publishing her dual biography Road to Damascus, in November.  It tells the parallel stories of the lives of sisters Jigi and Suzan, raised separately, one in the UK and the other in Syria, and how they eventually get back together again.  The story is often challenging but Jazz's insights and humour bring the book alive and it reads like a gripping novel.  All the more poignant because the Syria that Suzan still lives in is changed beyond...
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Bangla Food for Dragon-Slayers

Today, 29th September is Michaelmas. I learned this equally from the wonderful Steiner School Kindergarten and late night forays of distraction into River Cottage repeats.  It’s traditionally a festival for marking the change in seasons and of gathering the harvest to provide for the winter ahead; more recently it celebrates the role of the archangel Michael as dragon-slayer.  As the long days of summer draw into the dark nights of winter, it’s apparently an opportunity to confront our own ‘inner dragons’ and finding the light and courage to see us through to spring .It got me to thinking – yes, my thought-processes are often tenuous in the extreme – about the importance food plays in nurturing, giving comfort and offering a focus for a social occasion.  It has always been the case in Bangladesh!  Never have I eaten so much, so well, and given with such generosity as I have with both friends and...
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(Bangla) Friends Reunited

Having just returned from a whirlwind summer of travel, I'm once again reminded how indebted I am to so many long-standing and new friends for their generous hospitality.  On the most recent trip this ranges from Ger and Jackie in Ireland to Jose in Washington DC and all the folks in Virginia, to Jay and Charles and Ravi, Valeria and Marla in California and to Guillermo and Dick in Vermont... And the many others who have visited and, very importantly, shared in Simon's 4th birthday!Of course, there are hundreds of others from Bangladesh - most of them mentioned here on the blog or forever remembered in the pages of A Blonde Bengali Wife - to Tanzania to New Zealand and everywhere in between that are unsung yet treasured.I can only hope that somehow and someday I manage to pay as many of you back as I can...Readers of my Bangla musings will have heard...
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Freda Runs For Bhola

Writing from sunny California, with a new cluster of people to excite/bore about Bangladesh, I've realised I'm always quite vague about where the island of Bhola actually lies - saying 'right down in the Bay of Bengal' means something to those who know the geography of SE Asia, but there are a lot of us who remain very geographically-challenged!  So here it is:The circle shows the position of Bhola's Children, the island on which it is sits is - Bhola.Our newest Trustee to make the journey is Freda Graf, and Freda is about to undertake a sponsored run (no, not actually to Bangladesh!) to help with the continuous fundraising drive.  I'm attaching the link to the official Bhola's Children website here, first, in case you'd like to support Freda, and secondly because it's a re-vamped website that's well worth a look if you haven't been there recently.And finally... if anyone has any...
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The Road to Srimangal

This month I've been thinking about fact and fiction, and especially about the point at which they merge; when something that has happened to you, the writer, is turned - by you or someone else - into a story.  The programme for the first of my Community Education classes has been 'Writing for Life', which has taken us through writing as a hobby to writing as reflection to writing as therapy... and all points in between.  It has created a lot of very personal writing that has had all the greater resonance because of that, and has highlighted a significant difference between writing the story and telling the story.  Maybe it is easier to control the writing, maybe because it is done in isolation, but once in front of an audience, there is an emotional charge that affects both the writer - and the 'hearer' - and it's a challenge for both.  A very powerful experience.This term culminated in...
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