The Green Light

The three core members of the ‘Lounge based in Islamabad, met yesterday to talk about the reading and approximately three hours later, we had a full-fledged plan chalked out for the reading series and the first in that series, in particular.

We also covered the e-zine selection policies that were placed into effect with this issue and will be further refined for Vol 4. In the future, we will be allocating 2-3 months for the publication of each issue (beginning on the day the polls end), which will in all likelihood result in about 2 issues being published each year. The decision for the process now reads thus: once the polls close and the pieces have been selected by the core membership, a deadline date will be set by which all editors must have their pieces edited and finalized respectively, by each editor, feeling that they are all up to the par. After that, all pieces will then come to me, where the next 2-3 weeks after the deadline date will be devoted to going through them all . If I feel some pieces need to be further worked on, I will contact the respective editor asking for these changes. The editor will then see about those changes. This will thereby eliminate the need to eradicate any pieces that have been edited. I do however, stand by all decisions I’ve made for Vol 3.

That said, I also feel some writers have suffered because of the lack of a 100% effort put in by their editors, and for that I sincerely apologize. With these new rules in place, this will be eradicated in future issues and I thank those who graciously received their rejection letters. It was a ridiculously hard thing for me to do, having been the recipient of one myself. But…it only makes you stronger. And I have no doubt that our members will deliver for the next issue.

There is also another event planned in the future, which will be announced after the reading which itself, is planned for the end of March. We will be calling out to our members based in Islamabad to please email in their poems for the reading, or…if they have nothing new, to choose from their old material they would like to present. The emails will be going out presently.

For the event hinted at above, we will be chalking out an extensive marketing campaign.

Again, we urge our members in Islamabad to let their friends know about the reading…the only way we can get the message out there is through word of mouth, which is about the biggest weapon we have. After this, we’ll be opening up our readership to everyone else out there. Call the first reading a test run. And, to answer another question, we will be bringing in celebrated writers and poets as our readings progress. The reason why we aren’t introducing any in the first reading, is because of organization. We need to be thoroughly organized and professional, and once we’ve done it a few times and have a thorough feel for the whole thing, we will better be able to handle it when the celebrities waltz in.

So, everything has been discussed and once a date’s been decided, I’ll post it here emailing our membership to let their friends and/or family and other relatives out there interested in readings (not restricted only to poetry), to rope ‘em in. At the end of each reading, we’ll have a sign up form to let people sign up for the next reading, giving us their names and email addresses (or other contact information).

As you can see, we’ve covered all our bases. If you’ve got any questions relating to the reading, ask away.

Reading, Reading…Wherefore Art Thou Reading?

Now that the e-zine has (finally) been published, things are moving towards holding the reading. You may have thought that with all the recent activities that it wasn’t going to happen….WRONG! When I said we were planning a reading, we were definitely planning a reading. Because everything has been stretched, pulled and pummeled into place, things have been taking a little longer than originally planned.

Since we haven’t made anything official however, I am forbidden to tell you. Once we’ve chalked down a full plan, I’ll put it here for your viewing pleasure. Until then, just wanted to give you all a heads up that the reading will take place, and it will be one among a series of readings…which may or may not stretch into Lahore & Karachi judging by the success of the ones we host in Islamabad.

The only sure way to be successful is to spread the word…to your friends and friends of friends. For now, only people we know and who know others will be allowed. Like an invite only thing…again, judging by the reception of the first one, we’ll broaden attendance for the next. We will also be holding an open floor allowing budding poets from the audience to come up and read out their stuff.

And that’s about all the details I can give you. More as and when they come to me. Meanwhile, check out the ‘zine…it’s live, published and hopefully better than before. What do you think? Weigh in below.

The Icky Stuff

In case some of you don’t know about the recent fiber optic cable cut beneath Egypt and Italy, allow me to introduce you to the facts: no internet. Or at the very least, spotty internet. What does this mean? It means the publication date’s been shoved forward. Just because I can’t do it, however, doesn’t mean the work won’t still be done…I’ll be pulling the strings while the GM (global moderator) will be doing all the hard labor. Tough job, but someone has to do it.

Naturally, because an ocean separates us coordinating times and bypassing risky schedules has put a damper on things. That being said, however, we are working around this.

The reading is still planned, any ideas any of you might have you can drop into the comments of the blog or email me personally at maryam@desiwriterslounge.net. We do appreciate the feedback you know, and contrary to legend, we don’t bite.

Promise.

It’s Official

Development, at least temporarily, is over. Thanks to our reliable representative in West Bengal, India, development has prematurely halted. As I scramble to get my thoughts and schedules together, polling for the e-zine might just be extended since we’re no longer working on a deadline. Or so it seems.

In my hunt for a new development team, I’ve decided to ditch the extra components and features for now, subject to good re-design work instead. So we’ll see how all that pans out. There will in all likelihood, be a round of further discussions and negotiations which of course, isn’t something I particularly look forward to.

But this will, however, give me a lot of time to plan out the design in detail as well as work with the designer to come up with both an effective color scheme as well as a well suited logo to our site and concept. Hopefully, something before the reading scheduled in March. We’ll need logos and color schemes on the bookmarks and banners, so…still a lot of work to be done.

I suppose the key in all this is organization and planning down to the last detail. That may have been the lesson learnt in all this. But just thought everyone should know, about the latest upheaval in running a website…since it seems, for all intents and purposes, I am the website…which in a certain light, is just plain sad.

Hopefully my next post will be a tad more hopeful.

Weekend Blues

I see Clarice has started to post…well, well! Welcome! Really, she’s given me far too much credit, but I’m so taking what I can get.

Had a hectic weekend–those who live in Pakistan know this is full on wedding season–which apparently also means you go to weddings of people you barely know but work with. Hey! Society’s the bitch we all love to hate.

Lahore was…blissfully calm. No riots, no nothing. But all that’s political talk. Let’s get on on to the real stuff.

Development progresses, albeit more slowly than I would care to admit. With e-zine publication slated for the first week of January, this is as mentioned below, going to be an excruciating two months. But, do vote…if you’re a member and if you’re not, my God! That’s just tragic…after all this!

The template (our main design) is still on the rocks with the designer not quite clear on what I want despite showing him repeat versions of what goes where. That said, having talked it over with a cousin while in the City of Food, I’ve decided to revise our current Orange/Maroon color scheme primarily because they’re both from the same family. (She’s an artist. She ought to know). I should have some workable color schemes within a few days, however. Something like Maroon/Light Blue or Orange/Gray–that sorta thing. But we’ll see how things turn out.

The Podium is still under construction, but we do have a ready made gallery which means our members will actually be able to see us! Yaay! Pictures of meetings and events and anything associated with or held under, the DesiWritersLounge.net banner. Speaking of which, although nothing has been made official yet, we’re planning on a poetry reading sometime in March in Islamabad. Not quite clear on all the details, yet but we will in all likelihood host an invitation only event for members and those people our members know. I’m looking into options for printing bookmarks with our logo, color scheme and website URL on its front and back respectively. Kudos to my artist-cousin for giving me the heads up about this option, because after all, we want people to remember us and if you don’t have some sort of remnant of the evening, our message is lost. So there’s that in the works. We might have it covered as a podcast and/or video upload for members unable to attend.

In other news, we’ve got both the event calender/bulletin board still in the works although I’ve begun to think the Nov 29th deadline will no longer hold and for me at least, it’ll be a mad scramble between work, editorship and working with the developer to prove value for money.

I think that about sums everything up.

And oh yes, I got a request from one of our new members to post on this blog…which I’ll grant, so this will become something of a medley between viewpoints, random posts and weekly updates so: Keep your eyes glued to this space.

Tales From Beyond.

Having recently seen fellow Desi Writer – Osman Khalid Butt (informally known as Obi)’s play – The Good Doctor, produced under his own theatrical production company – The Living Picture Productions; yesterday, I think I can safely say I am immensely proud of his accomplishments. It’s heartening to have seen a person’s transition from poet to writer to actor to full on playwright and director. Although there were a few things about the play that may not have sat too well with me, for instance the blaring sound which seems a permanent fixture in any play performed locally and especially at Islamabad Club; and the added fact that towards the end, each succeeding death seemed a little contrived and something of a plot device; some things like the sets (with the added touch of the family portraits) were beautiful. Down to the way the actors were dressed – very period-like – this play was the play of a perfectionist. Added to the fact that the boy in question, is just 21 years old. Kudos to you, Obi.

The DesiWritersLounge.net reconstructive surgery is set to start on November 1st, and is something I am greatly looking forward to most especially since it’s been a long time in coming.

An added thing I’m looking at now, is how to raise awareness about our site and the work we do. A desi writer (mikko on the boards, Madiha to the world) pointed out that we can begin the work by hosting poetry readings under our banner, at a local coffee spot and intellectual hang-out (Civil Junction). It is an interesting idea, and something which we can definitely run with. Her idea was to start with the classics, but I can foresee something more interesting branching up and more along the lines of what I’d planned so many years ago. Having proper readings with real people bringing in their own work and reading it aloud. I don’t have everything planned – for instance, will we recruit these people to be part of the lounge and slowly begin to post – will it be a members-only event with invitations being extended to other people and eventually starting a cult of some sort? As can be seen, things have still to be woven together. But as an idea, it has tremendous potential.

Concluding, the desi writers as a collective seem to be moving forward and after all these years, it’s a marvelous step in the right direction. Here’s to more milestones, here’s to moving forward, here’s to being heard and being inspired.

Cheers!