LISP 2nd Half 2021 Flash Fiction Finalist 'Dearest' by Gayathiri Dhevi Appathurai
- Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?
I was born in Chennai, a city in Tamilnadu, South India. I am an Engineering graduate, have been working in the Information Technology field for the past two decades. I am also an Indian Classical Carnatic vocalist, have performed in various fine arts venues in south India. My other creative pursuits are Painting and sculpting. I live with my husband in Mumbai, India.
- When and how did you get into writing?
I remember writing my first poem when I was eight years old, in Tamizh, my mother tongue. Writing has always been a part of me, growing up. A year back, I started submitting my stories to International competitions. I have been shortlisted in Bristol Short Story Prize ’21 and published in their anthology, a finalist in Oxford Flash Fiction Prize- summer ‘21, a finalist in Edinburgh Flash Fiction Prize ’22. I am absolutely thrilled to have been chosen a finalist in LISP Flash Fiction ’21. These recognitions motivate me to keep learning and honing the craft.
- How often do you write? Do you have a writing routine? And what inspires you to write?
I try to write something every day. If I am not writing a story, I would build or refine a plot, a character, their distinct qualities. I mostly write early mornings and weekends. Given my frequent travels over the years, the people I meet and places I visit around the world are constant sources of inspiration for my writing.
- How does it feel to have your work recognised?
Appreciation and recognition are great stimuli for any creative mind. It is a huge morale boost for me to see that my writing strikes a chord with readers and judges, eminent in the field.
- What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about writing a Story?
The best thing about writing a story is the endless possibilities, the freedom of narrative and words, to give life to our imagination. That, in turn, can also be challenging, especially in the short story and flash fiction forms, to deliver a story with brevity and still manage to create an impact on the reader.
- How did you come up with the idea for your LISP selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And, how long have you been working on it?
One of the prevailing news during the pandemic lockdown was the rise in domestic abuse, a subject that I have held close to my heart. My story, ‘Dearest,’ is a letter written by a wife to her abusive husband. The letter is written in an allegorical form. I wrote the first draft in one sitting. I edited it over a dozen iterations to bring it to the final version.
- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a Story?
One of the best tips I have got is to take a chance with our instincts and write it down, however minor it is. One can be experimental with ideas, plot, narrative until the story is drafted fully and be objective and critical during editing. Reading stories in the same form factor, from classics to contemporaries, helps us appreciate a wider spectrum of rich creativity and imagination.
- What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about competitions?
The recognition and validation, when chosen amongst hundreds or thousands of entries worldwide, is a great feeling. It is important to remind ourselves that rejections are part of the game, so one should keep working and reworking on stories and put them out there, enjoying the process, as much as the result.
- Lastly, do you recommend the writers give a go on LISP?
Definitely. I have been reading about the finalists and winners of LISP, their works, how they are celebrated in your forums, it is a delightful experience for everyone. I hope many more get to experience it, I hope I do too, in future.