Today on our blog we have a Q & A with writer Shrutidhora P Mohor who is a contributor to our final competition anthology, Swan Song
Can you tell us a little about your story in the Swan Song anthology?
Salt Colonies is a story which developed as a dream out of a relationship lived largely in my dreams. It is a story of an unstructured, undefined, asymmetrical relationship between a man as a mentor, and a younger woman as a learner/ devotee/ giver, the latter’s enthusiasm for love and life reflected in her passion for art as well just as the mentor’s emotional indifference towards life in general and towards her in particular is captured by his coldness for art even though he is a brilliant creator.
I have always been mesmerised by the dialectics of unequal relationships, where one partner has been a disappointed recipient, a seeker and yet a giver too, strapped in a need to give and receive at the same time.
In this story we find them located in the wilderness of a deserted sea shore, ploughing through the mystery and pathos of an uninhabited seaside, an imagery which came to me from one of my holiday trips and the beach-side restaurant quite some distance away from the main resort.
What draws you to entering writing contests?
I admit I enter international writing competitions frequently, deterred only by high entry fees, sometimes costing me 2000 INR for a single entry!
I love entering contests primarily because there is scarcely a more effective way of judging the worth of my writing and ascertaining if my writing can be counted anywhere within the perimeters of being of international standard. While it is always a good idea to compare my progress in terms of my own growth, my earlier writings with my present writings, it is also relevant to see where my writings stand vis-a-vis the writing community.
The setting of deadlines imposes a pressure in a positive way, pushing me to stay focused and engaged with my writing, which otherwise stands threatened very often by the mundaneness of my professional preoccupation.
Moreover, a contest entry is a heartening way to connect to the writing community. As we all go about submitting, encouraging each other, wishing luck to one another, sharing our disappointments and joys over the longlist and the shortlist, it makes me feel emotionally connected and gratified.
Can you share some of your favourite writing influences with us?
I am a lover of classics in all its forms—music, films, books, although I am drawn equally strongly to contemporary and post-modern forms of art as well. So, say, for example, Gone With The Wind is as much an influence as Milan Kundera whose works I devoured as a precocious teenager. I have been a particularly visually driven reader, imagining and sometimes enacting entire scenes and mouthing dialogues secretly after reading books.
Jane Austen, Guy de Maupassant, Daphne du Maurier, W Somerset Maugham, D H Lawrence as authors have moved me (I have visualised each scene vividly in my mind and been intensely scrutinising of the film versions of their books). Hence I generally ‘see’ every scene that I write.
Where can we find out more about you and your writing?
Unfortunately my author website is yet to be launched, my limited technical skills causing me to go excruciatingly slowly on it. As a poor substitute, for some time to come, we have to make do with my social media accounts on all of which I am quite active and all my publications or competition listings are posted. On Twitter my handle is @ShrutidhoraPM, on Instagram @shrutidhorap, on Facebook @Shrutidhora P Mohor.
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