Kinship of Words


Separated by seas, connected by literature

I had promised to write about James and our long distance impromptu poetry collaboration for Duets.  Today’s post is an introduction to a genius who has always kept a low profile.  It is also a prelude to the post on Duets and how we collaborated on it. I will post it in a few weeks. Waiting for my print copies to arrive.

I don’t know how to begin telling you about James. I thought it would be easy for me to just talk about mentors, writing experiences, friendships, publishing of my books, our friendship across time and space etc etc but when I am actually here I am unable to find words. What do you say, how do you explain an elusive person who is too modest and shy to talk about himself and his achievements ( which he calls”little things I did”? How do you explain a bond that goes beyond the boundaries of all distances, physical or mental?

I was rather annoyed that he did not write much about himself on the back cover of our collaborative book of poems ‘Duets’. I knew he won’t share his photograph in any case even after my relentless nagging. After a lot of discussion I decided to write about him here. People needed to know who’s the other poet behind the beautiful work we have created and how it came about. They need to know his literary background, “the things he did”. Nag nag nag .. and finally I got him to send me a list of his published works etc. I am pretty sure there is much more but I will draw a line and respect his privacy at this point. I am glad he opened up a bit. If you know James Goddard this is a huge achievement on my part.. hahaha..

I met James on Facebook via some mutual friend in 2012. He was not sharing much of his writings on his timeline but his monochrome photographs were so utterly gorgeous they could draw anyone to explore more. His visits to India and the magnificent photos were the connecting dots and with time our friendship grew stronger. We did have our fights, disagreements, arguments but in the end what emerged was a stronger bond. There is an immense love and respect I have for him not just for being my guide and publisher but also for being such a selfless, caring confidante and friend. He has listened to me and lifted me out of some of the darkest periods of my struggle. Listening is a dying art and not once he made me feel uncomfortable. He has a big role to play in my personal growth too.

James’s gracious presence, life experience and unbiased attitude continues to fill me with the energy I need as I battle my personal issues. Over the period of time he introduced me to other genres, writers, helped me polish my writing. Not just poetry but fiction too. I was also fascinated by his extensive travels in India, Middle East and Europe that he undertook in pursuit of photographs of ordinary people and interesting places. Here was a guy so talented and creative with great sense of humor and passion for life ready to help me with all he had. I felt blessed. As he began to share short stories, ditties, poems  or “little pieces” as he called them I realized what a brilliant writer he was. each of us were hooked to every word he wrote and waited with baited breath for the next one to be posted on his timeline on FB. A little birdie told me his interest in Science Fiction began at the age of twelve. Writing good stuff comes so effortlessly to him.

As day went by I felt encouraged to write more, write better, to explore new ideas, to send my work for online publication and then began another phase of my journey as a published author. A step forward from where Kris has brought me with his care and support of four years. He’s still around if I need him.

If you love my writing then you should know that it is the product of hours and hours of patient guidance and hard work irrespective of time and distance. I was as eager to learn as he was to teach though he may not call it teaching. A nudge in the right direction perhaps, “just suggestions”. Always there without being intrusive. Never culling my true voice. I think this is what laid the foundation for Duets.

I couldn’t have dreamed of getting my poems and short fiction published in print if James had not edited and published them. I owe them to him. You can see my LBP Author Page here

I am linking his profile here so that you can read his work that’s been posted on his TL and notes. Check his albums for some stunning photographs. His love of monochrome photography started with his first camera and he still firmly believes that only black and white images can bring out the beauty of the mundane. His photographs have been featured in the arts and literature annual, The Zaporogue , edited by Seb Doubinsky; Invierno: A Cantata of Spain in Winter(John Lewis) and on several book covers. James was born in Bournemouth, a university town and resort on the south coast of England, lived in London for a short time and now lives with his 10,000 plus books and three cameras in Driffield, a small East Yorkshire town.

I could go on telling you about our association if I had enough space here but I want you to discover his genius through his writings and photography. I request his friends, associates and co writers/editors to pitch in and provide more information in the comments.

Social media has its assets too. Its not always intrusive and addictive in a negative manner. For me Facebook was like a virtual home where we were all connected yet there was were spaces between us. That important space which we all need to evolve. It played a part in my learning, my friendships, my mental and emotional health and perhaps to a large extent finding myself. It is true and we’ll talk about it sometime. The writer friends tribe that I am part of now is all via FB. Each one a gem. I have written about many of them in my earlier posts.

I am posting a list of James’s work that I could gather by stalking various pages, sites and pushing him to reveal some facts. Do look up these links or books on Google as I do not have all the links to lead you to them.

JAMES GODDARD 

  • Published the first attempt at a bibliography of the fiction of J. G. Ballard. It was called  J. G. Ballard: a Bibliography 
  • Edited and published the SF fanzine Cypher (early 1970s) attracting contributions from many well-known writers including Brian Aldiss, Kingsley Amis, J. G. Ballard and James Blish. Cypher was the first fanzine to receive an element of Arts Council funding, via Southern Arts. 
  • A short interview with Ballard is published on the Ballard page of British Library Website
  • Published some poems—in an obscure publication, titles forgotten
  • Published a short story in the magazine of the Leeds University Science Fiction Society—title forgotten
  • Short Fiction A Dish of Devils in  Science Fantasy July – August 1964
  • Contributed three of the major themed articles to The Visual Encyclopaedia of Science Fiction  edited by Brian Ash (Pan Books, 1977 in paperback, Triune Books, 1978 in hardcover) . The articles were titled – Cities & Cultures, Sex & Taboos, Cataclysms & Dooms.
  • Co-edited with Interzone editor David Pringle, the J. G. Ballard festschrift  G. Ballard: the First Twenty Years (Bran’s Head Books)
  • Contributed articles and author interviews to the magazine Science Fiction Monthly and was also instrumental in acquiring several works of fiction for that magazine. Here is one link 
  • Read and advised on science fiction for Fontana Paperbacks
  • With others set up Kerosina Publications, published limited edition books by prominent science fiction writers including Brian Aldiss, John Brunner, Philip K. Dick, Gene Wolfe and Lucius Shepard
  • Acted as British secretary to the UK chapter of World SF for several years during the same period and also edited the World SF Newsletter.
  • Worked as a bookseller specializing in science fiction for some years
  • Worked as a freelance book editor for a number of publishers
  • Set up and managed the website of author Brian Aldiss
  • Wrote a ‘remembrance’ of author Keith Roberts which was published in the UK, USA, Japan and several other countries
  • Set up and managed the website of author Ian R. MacLeod
  • Established the small publisher Leaky Boot Press and, with Seb Doubinsky, Weirdo Magnet which publishes what Seb calls “New Edge” literature, that could be defined as provocative, mind-bending and outside genre.
  • Photographs of Spain included in the book Invierno – A Cantata of Spain in Winter photographs by John Lewis, Patricia Lewis & James Goddard
  • Subject of an ‘appreciation’ (for photography) by Marcia Marquez Rambourg in the French language online journal La Revue des Resources
  • Published stories and photographs in Le Zaparogue edited by Seb Doubinsky
  • Published poems and photographs in online journal The Arabesques Review
  • Set up online photography portfolio
  • Published a story in Silence is White (Weirdo Magnet), an anthology edited by Chris Kelso
  • Compiled a book of his own short stories, Dolls, as yet unpublished
  • Published a book of collaborative poems, Duets (Leaky Boot Press), with New Delhi based poet Tikuli
  • Collaborated with Canadian singer/lyricist John Lyle in this beautiful song. You can see some of James’s photographs’s here.
  • You can find James Goddard’s contribution of actual Ballard documents from his extensive collection, a total of 56 pages of Ballard’s handwritten text, interview corrections, lists and more from JGB’s intense and experimental late 1960s and 1970s in Rick McGrath’s The J.G.Ballard Book.
  • Cover Art – The Roads (2005) ,The Dead Orchards (2006)
  • There are some more of his essays and reviews that were published but I am unable to track the links.

He is an avid collector of science fiction first editions by a select group of authors. He is also a master of truism 😀 ( that is something no one else knows I am sure.. hahaha) I am tempted to disclose more but perhaps I can leave it for some other time. He is such a fun person to be with. If you live in those part you may sometimes find him hanging around The Butcher’s Dog Pub enjoying his beer.

I write this with deep affection and respect. I am not reading it again to edit or improve. Ours is friendship I cherish and hope it flourishes in the coming years. I also hope we see some of his recent individual work published and read.

I always tell him that the World of British Science Fiction needs to recognize and honour him for all the brilliant contribution. I hope that day comes soon.

We are already thinking of Duets 2 and many other things. Meanwhile do read him and you can thank me later.  Support his independent publishing project Leaky Boot Press. Buy the excellent books they have published. The link to the website is provided above and you can also find them all on amazon.

You can order Duet, Collection of Chaos and Wayfaring from any online book vendor.

For those in Australia Book Depository is a better option. They have free delivery too.

 

 

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From Cyber mom to Super Cyber Mom


When my 78-year-old mom joined Orkut last year and Facebook this year, we celebrated it in a grand way, three generations were bridging distances virtually and literally.   😀

My mom is one great enthusiast for exploring new arenas and learning a thing each day. The boys were only too happy to welcome and add their super cool grandma on FB. She too moved ahead of just emailing her old and new found friends, family and acquaintances by connecting them on social networking sites. Though not yet net savvy she took that first step and learned the ropes of chatting, adding applications and expressing herself in 140 characters.

She would call me to update her profile, check on the updates etc when her health wold not let to log in for long time. I was only too happy to see her connected with her students who are themselves grandmas now, family members and relatives she has not met for a while and make new pals. With child like exuberance she would tell me who approached her and commented on her profile or album. I smiled and thanked the cyber world for filling in the empty spaces in her life.

Though a prolific reader and a person who loves to go out and have a ball as long as life permits, whose love for travel took her to countries she longed all her life to visit, she still felt lonely and left out after my dad passed away four years back. Internet brought some more sunshine into her life. I even urged her to start a blog and write about her experience.

Ours is a family of incurable netaddicts 🙂 . Eight years back I started my affair with internet and there was no looking back. When my younger one introduced me to Hi5 five years back , it changed my life. I always wanted to have friends across the globe and this was the thing for me . One desktop and three people who constantly wanted to stay connected with their virtual friends, life was tough.

Then we made shifts and organised our time.  Being online was not just about social networking and chatting on Orkut, Facebook, Hi5, My space etc but also about music downloads, playing games together, exploring new things on google and visiting all those wonderful places we all wanted to see. To read poetry, stories and articles.

I got introduced to blogging by a friend on Orkut where I was part of a wonderful forum called FPR ( Forty Plus and Rocking). This forum became my world for a long time. Music, games, friends, discussions on threads, my life revolved around the beautiful friends I made there. We met in real world too, had organised meets and some friendships found a special place in my heart.  I never felt that a few years ago we never knew each other. The virtual world brought us closer in real world too.

Each one of them enriched my life in some special way, bringing in a lot of joy n love.

In Rabindranath Tagore’s words,” Depth of friendship does not depend on length of acquaintance”.

It was  experience of  lifetime,  helping me to open up and voice  my thoughts, meet new people and get out of the cocoon I had lived in for years.

One of the most satisfying things that happened to me is, finally gaining the ability to de-clutter my relationships. I have been able to get to a point in which I have learned to distinguish friendships that drag me down emotionally and I am able to check myself before they cast their dark shadows over me. Have decided to set my boundaries and stick to them.

Today, both my shyness and diffidence have reduced substantially, my self-confidence has increased, which amazes me too and I know my negative and positive traits inside out.  Am better equipped to deal with situations than before and take the correct decision when needed.  I listen to my inner and do what my heart feel right.

Blogging gave me the platform I needed. Three years back when I made my blogger account I never dreamt I would reach where I am now.

My boys on one hand were happy that I had something to keep me involved and keep off their back but on the other hand realized that I was 24/7 online costing  them breakfast, lunch and dinner.

They called me cyber mom. They said they could not recognize me unless they saw the back of  my head in the glow from the back-light of  my computer screen! 😀

Blogging opened a whole new world for me. It was where I could unleash my creative energy, rant,  give voice to my most intimate thought in the form of stories, poems and also express my concern about the social issues close to my heart.

Social networking and joining sites like IndiBlogger , blogadda , Twitter , LinkedIn and many others helped me to connect to other bloggers and helped me improve and network. I am thankful to all these sites for making me a part of their world.

Twitter gives me the same adrenaline rush as blogging. It is an amazing feeling when you can be yourself , have a long list of followers, connect with celebs, politicians and anybody who interests you. Expressing oneself and sharing views, links has brought us tweeps closers. It’s fun  and at the same time helpful professionally too .

My blog on WordPress  is where I write regularly but I also write for other sites too. Helium gave me good opportunity to read and write with some of the finest writers but unfortunately they closed doors on Indian writers.

Over the last two years I got two of my poems published in an anthology, wrote for online journals, won third place in a mother’s day contest by a popular site Indusladies and became part of groups which helped me improve my writing skills. There is still a long way to go and I am a relentless learner.

Most of my learning of social networking and internet usage comes from my boys who love that they have a “cool” mom and it feels wonderful to be a part of their world and include them in mine. We are  like best buddies and share everything.. well almost everything 😉

I interact with many of their friends online and they feel free to connect with me without any inhibition. There is no moral policing and spying on them and they know the meaning of freedom and the correct way to use it. The boys taught me practically everything I needed to know and rest I discovered with time. Some of my seasoned blogger friends were helpful in promoting my work and giving sound advice.

Recently I got promoted from Cyber mom to Super Cyber mom.

lol. It really amused me when kids thought I should pass my title to granny now that she too is becoming net savvy.

Being online has not much affected me in adverse way as I found a way to connect to what I wanted to do. Virtual friendships brought back the joy of having pen pals as a child. It also filled in the lonely aspect of my life. It helped me realize my worth in more than one ways.

Social networking and blogging both proved therapeutic for me. To be tech savvy helped me connect better with my brats and I think we communicate better now.

Recently both my sons started blogging and it really pleased me at least it was better than romancing the pretty little things on Facebook 🙂

Well being a cool Cyber mom feels good. We all are on same social networking sites, never interfere in each other’s space and still connect wonderfully.

It’s been eight year on net and 2 years of serious blogging and I feel happy being where I am.

My other writing links include :

associatedcontent Profile

spinning a yarn

Mnemosyne Feature

Blog Fan Page on FB

The Smoking Book

Poem feature on Troubadour 21

Now that we have all graduated to mobile networking I wonder where we all are going to be in the coming years but one thing is su being net savvy is a boon. As the boys grow older and move away to their own world I think I will have something good to combat the empty nest syndrome. Blogging is cathartic and writing about issues that concern our society to create awareness is my aim apart from creative writing.

I thank my readers for making my blog a success and helping me in every possible way. I thank all the blog promotional sites that I am part of  for making me part of their family.  I want to tell all my virtual friends that each one of them is precious and am glad they came into my life and enriched it in some way .

Has it taken me away from the real world?

No, I still find time to meet friends, read, go out with family and do my stuff. For someone who does not have much social interaction as such internet is a great way to connect. A treasure trove of information, I log on many a time to explore and read about things which I wont find otherwise.

Monday Ramblings


why do I want to put up a rant post? Because it will save me the trouble of loading a morphine gun and injecting into myself or others. I feel that ranting helps , it is therapeutic and it is my blog so it is no direct assault. Things have been brewing up and there is a raging storm within which needs an outlet.. so here I go ..

I am on the road to sanity. Actually I think I have found my star and its light has reached my soul. lighting a spark of new life in a new me.

Some people say why do you give so much importance to a virtual world damn it and I say well even the world we call real is so unreal at times that I prefer the virtual one. Sometimes that too sucks and this is an effort to make things right in both my worlds.

Well the point is that since I made my account on that godforsaken site Orkut, I turned into a emo kid, always falling into some drama in virtual life.Now you may say what has that got to do with the site , it is your personal problem. Deal with it .. but no it has everything to do with the site.

I have been on many social networking sites and this was the first time I realized how a virtual and real world gets mixed up to churn our the most unpalatable combo.

It all started at the insistence of a friend and I must admit I really freaked out about all the friends I made and the communities I joined ..It seemed like fun.. I was looking for an escape root and here it was offering me a whole new world. I loved uploading pix, videos etc and made a cool 250 + friends. they wrote testimonials showered compliments and what not.

Then came the chit chat, mails etc and slowly I was devoured by the big fishes seeking spices from my life story. I am amazed how my chats were lifted to be passed around, mails copied and forwarded. words twisted and presented in a totally different way. I guess these people should be given a doctorate in this field. Even posting harmless musings on the forum I was part of proved fatal. Imbeciles all, I tell ya .

It really is not worth talking about it except it turned me into a lunatic, the only thing I did was wear my emotions on my sleeves and get back stabbed by people I presumed were “real” friends. I wonder how much time people devote to snooping around other peoples lives or maybe it is the favorite of most of the people on these sites.

Every one there has a story to share and if you are a soft target then you are done they invade your privacy like termites and make you hollow by taking out every little secret you never thought you will ever disclose to anyone..

It reminds me of the song

sab kuch seekha humne na seekhi hoshiyari ,
such hai dunita walon ke hum hain anadi

I guess I too never understood all the drama behind the scene till I got severally kicked on my butt. The pain was so intense that it reached my heart and shattered it..

It took me some time to understand what had hit me but now that I know, am out of it for good. The account on orkut stay for those very few who actually contributed to my learning in some way or the other. Lately I cleared the chaff from the grain and decided to move back to my faithful Facebook where no one intruded into anyone else’s space.

Even otherwise I find that FB is for sane site and not packed with juveniles.

Anyways ..I am through with those sleazy friend requests and superficial morons.. Half of the men there are looking for a spicy time pass and the women are out of Ekta Kapoor’s family sagas.Not my kind of stuff anymore. Those who matter are still there on FB and I guess my blogs are a better way to spend time than indulge in such things.

I did find some great friends there who motivated me to write and find a niche in my life and I am grateful to them along with those who rubbed me the wrong way and in that process taught me some very important lessons of life and survival in this mean world. Now with my lessons learned I am out of the mess and happy.

Another thing that irritates me no ends is the mobile addiction

..uuuuffff

The less I say about it the better. A decade ago we managed easily without a cell phone but now .. life depends solely on that. I have seen people getting glittery if they do not get a call or a msg daily ..loosing their sleep over it. I have been through that and given it up before it turned me into a nincompoop.

Recently I went for a get together I found some of my friends completely engrossed in their own world of smsz, it seemed that no one else existed apart from them and their precious toy. I told one if he found his mobile friends more interesting than us and he mumbled something about his son wanting to know something.

Embarrassed, he decided to keep the phone on silently and quietly peeped at regular intervals to check if someone had sent a msg. Later we came to know that four times he cut the incoming call afraid to pick it up from under my eagle eyes. lolz It was just too much.

The jerk held on to the stupid thing through out the whole party and most of his time was buried in the phone. Such is our addiction for technology.

It is not just using the mobile but a continuous blabbering about the latest models, features, colors, ring tones, camera etc. and what not as if that’s the only survival tool left on this planet. Now with internet available on cells it has worsened the scenario. you tweet, blog, email, interact from the cell, not wanting your privacy to be trespassed you treasures your cell phone as if it was the life support device of some sort.

Look around and you fill find those mobile phone addicts all over. On the road, in the pubs, schools, colleges even hospitals where the damn thing is banned. Will you believe if I told you that a friend’s dad lost his life because the resident doc was busy pacifying his GF. He kept talking on the bloody phone while the poor old man waited for him in ICU. I wonder if the son filed a case against the doctor or not?

WTF I said.. each one to his own .. I too have a phone but am not married to it for God’s Sake. It sure is a god damn headache.

I am in a nasty mood today so those who do not want to be sucked into the whirlpool, keep off.

I guess letting off my steam has made me lighter and the cobwebs are no longer there in my tiny little head…

Gosh I feel so nice ..actually do not feel like posting it now .. but will do for some reasons .. 🙂 am evil, insane and a little twisted i guess but aren’t we all in our own way …

I WON !!!!! YAY!!!! A Thank You Hug to All


The feeling is yet to sink in. 😀 .. After weeks of networking I finally made it to the top three and won the third place in the Mother’s Day blog Contest organized by IndusLadies.

Here is my entry which got me the prize

I Am What I Am Mamma Thanks To You(Indus Ladies mother’s day blog contest entry)

This entry got the maximum number of blog comments and was picked up by BlogAdda as

Spicy Saturday pick

I thank BlogAdda for the recognition it gave me as a blogger.

It was an out n out networking competition and many prolific writers participated in it. Some entries did not reach the top ten or top three due to lack of proper networking but they do deserve a special mention here .

Pal of Crocodile Tales

Ugich Konitari Guppa
are the two which really were awesome posts and deserved to win .

I would like to Thank IndusLadies, Ritu ( my friend, mentor and organizer of the contest), all those wonderful friends who voted for me, my kids and their friends who did major chunk of networking for me, Indiblogger and other communities,My firends ,communities on social networking sites like like Facebook, Orkut which supported me all through and most of all My Mother without whose love and unconditional support this would not have been possible.

A perfect mother’s Day gift for me 🙂

So here is a PKJ to everyone (pyar ki jhappi)

Thank you and Cheers!!!!!!!!!

Time now to celebrate 😀