“If you chase anything in life chase the things that get you excited about living…” ─ Shannon L. Alder
A Hundred Quills is turning two next week. And this one is a huge personal milestone for me. From just about two readers (or followers as they are popularly called) to almost four hundred (394 at the time of writing this post) and more than two hundred posts, I think I can be kind on myself and call this a decent leap. I have also, during these years, penned my thoughts for a few online portals making several friends in the blogging world along the way. The blogging journey has opened countless new vistas for me. It has been a realm of learning and growth.
On this occasion I feel happy to share the story behind the nomenclature of this blog. Afterall, I owe it to my readers to share some details of the ‘behind the scenes’. Maybe my story resonates with you and you find a tiny bit of inspiration in there! Why I choose to do it after two long years is both special and intriguing, as you will soon discover.
Two years ago, I sent a short story titled, ‘A Hundred Quills’ for a writing competition. I had just started taking baby steps into the world of writing and was experimenting with e-magazines and their likes. The story failed to make the cut. To add a little note, it was my fifth attempt at the competition and I was already disillusioned. I thought it was time to get some expert help about my writing. After a bit of research and at the behest of a friend, I sent the story and a handful of poems for a review to someone with decent writing experience. I was warned- ‘Brace yourself, I do not mince words.’ Well, that is exactly what I was looking for. An honest opinion.
After three days I received a message for a scheduled video call to discuss my writing. I wondered why a video call! As I look back now, I think it’s always wonderful to begin in an extraordinary way.
The following Sunday at 11, I was on Skype, meeting my first ever beta reader, if I may call him so. The call went on for over two hours. While the poems received passing marks, the story didn’t quite make it. I was categorically told that there is no dearth of writers in the world and it is up to me how I choose to present my writing. I was definitely disillusioned by the ‘honest feedback’. I didn’t want to become Tagore or Dickens. Why was my writing being compared to them? It took me a few days to look at the entire episode more rationally and positively. But once there, I decided to meet the roadblocks head-on and immediately moved over to WordPress to have a place of my own where I could just write and be myself. It was then, while deciding upon a name, that I thought of ‘A Hundred Quills’, a gentle reminder to myself of how the journey began.
I often thought of sharing this part of my writing adventure on the blog but wanted the original story to accompany it. However, the story simply kept eluding me. Initially the plan was to make it the hundredth post on the blog but it took me long to be convinced about what I had written and the time didn’t seem ripe enough to present it to the world. In between I wrote several pieces of flash and went on to win writing contests, although few and far between.
I joined the IWSG in October last year and wrote my first WEP entry (Footprints) in December 2019 which was a piece of flash. It turned out to be a winning entry and since I’ve been very active and regular with the WEP submissions. I see them as an important part of my learning. I had a long desire to edit my story ‘A Hundred Quills’ for a WEP entry. This month’s prompt ‘Long Shadow’ seemed suitable for just that. Of course, several rounds of editing went into turning a 4000-word story into a flash piece of 1000 words, but should I say it was worth the effort. Fellow writers had some really kind things to say about the story, and naturally no other piece of writing in the past two years made me happier. I would love for you to visit the story here.
Coming back to milestones. I always feel that we each reach our milestones at a different time. And once there, we no longer wish to stay. At least I don’t! I wish to move on to newer destinations, explore other worlds. I have had my share of awards and claps…even jeers and failure. Reached all of those milestones pretty early in life. Maybe that is the reason for my equanimity. I’m more interested in trying out new avenues or ventures or something more… the ‘what next’ type!
And now I look at extending this approach to my writing as well. After all, we must keep on reinventing ourselves. It is time to venture out, maybe try new places for the poetry and the flash. But that isn’t to say that the blog is going anywhere. This is the place I call home and be sure to find my SOL stories or musings, the books I read, the life-lessons, even rants right here. And every time a poem makes the cut, watch out for a link in this very corner (fingers crossed). Who knows! You might discover a place for your verse as well.
Thank you for being a part of ‘A Hundred Quills’ and for patiently reading me once again. I hope you will not give up on the blog and it will continue to receive your love and support as I work to refurbish it for you.
Cheers to many more novel years of writing!
Some of my earlier and raw poetry is available on Juggernaut. If you are looking to find out more about my poetry, click on the link below. Don’t forget to leave a short review if you enjoy reading the poems!