Today we have Anupam Patra, author of Promises of a Firefly with us.
Anupam was born and raised in the millennium city of Cuttack in Odisha. He finished his schooling and graduation while growing up in the thousand- year-old city’s narrow lanes and ambient warmth. In spite of the necessity of having to pursue science and then law for a career, his love for art has always shone the light of his soul. He used to teach and has worked as a banker prior to taking up public service as his profession. An avid lover of all forms of art, he confesses to find comfort in telling stories. Let’s know more about him and talk to him about his book and writing journey.
Welcome to our Blog Anupam
Tell us about yourself. Who is Anupam Patra apart from an author of ‘Promises of a Firefly’?
I was born and raised in Cuttack, Odisha. I finished my schooling and graduation there. Studied science and then law for a career. I love the study and the profession of law, but if I were to tell you the truth, it was always actually arts that I wanted to pursue. I’ve tried to hold onto it in whatever shape and form that I can. When I am not working, I am reading, writing or watching cinema. If you wish to know me as a person, then the following lines by J.L. Borges may help you.
“They speak of humanity. My humanity is in feeling we are all voices of the same poverty.
They speak of homeland. My homeland is the rhythm of a guitar, a few portraits,
An old sword, the willow grove’s visible prayer as evening falls.
Time is living me. More silent than my shadow,
I pass through the loftily covetous multitude.
They are indispensable, singular, worthy of tomorrow.
My name is someone and anyone.
I walk slowly, like one who comes from so far away he doesn’t expect to arrive.”
What inspires you to write a book?
The things I experience watching the lives of others around me, the voices within me – they all push me to write stories.
Did you always want to write a book?
I had never thought of writing a book. Till I met Mahua Ray Das, a phenomenal artist herself, who on our very first meeting decided to push me towards that goal. She was cynical about my writing but gentle in her guidance, even when I was hostile to her suggestions. She set my sail on that course. She stuck around, never let the boat rock. To ensure it never drowned, she herself got on the boat and took a lonely, neurotic, journey with me. It was not easy. I was constantly mired with problems but she never gave up, even when I was forcing her to. Her contributions for this book are immense. The journey for this book began with her eliciting a promise from me in a small book café in Bhubaneswar in August 2015, the promise that I’ll give her a book of my own one day.
What is your earliest memory of writing?
I remember discovering a fondness for writing when I was in the twelfth standard. It was during this time that I read a lot of novels and fell in love with the beauty of written words. It didn’t take me long thereafter to attempt writing my own stuff.
How much writing a book has changed you?
When a writer is able to catch the tone of his characters in ink, and everything is flowing out smoothly from his pen, it is the most complete he will ever feel. But when it doesn’t happen that way, there is barely anything he can forgive in this world. Then there would be work and health conditions and lack of imagination and all sorts of things that would make me want to shut everything for once and for all. I don’t know about others but for me, writing is walking down an untaken road where there are equal chances of confronting delight and despair. But you brave that chance because you want to bring to life moments you think deserve to be experienced by your readers. When you’re penning those mistakes, regrets, hopes and love your characters find on pages, you are creating experience, and you cannot create any without letting it touch you. I have always only written in one method, one hand dipped in ink and the other in shades of life. It’s a fulfilling endeavour. And for all that it is worth, you evolve in the end. You evolve because at the completion of any struggle, there is some evolution that is bound to happen.
Your book has eleven stories. Which is that one story you feel most connected and why?
All the stories are close to me. But it is the title story that I connect with a lot. It is plotted around actual events.
How do you deal with writer’s Block?
It is terrible when I can’t write. Honestly speaking, I struggle a lot when the block happens. I have no clue how to deal with it. I guess one just has to let it have its way. After all, there’s never any point in forcing oneself to write.
Any writing project you are currently working on?
There are a few things on my mind but I haven’t actually begun working on any of it.
Which author do you admire most and why?
The works of Richard Flanagan inspire me. Out of all his works, The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Gould’s Book of Fish have left a lasting impression on me. I also admire the writings of Haruki Murakami. Norwegian Wood is my all time favourite.
Any advice for aspiring writers?
I am a beginner and therefore not actually in a position to give advices. But I believe that every person trying to write should write with honesty. There is no good or bad writing as long as you can bring out the voice within you truthfully on paper.
Final words for the readers of ‘Promises of a Firefly’?
About the book, I’ll say this. Since the book was published, I’ve been asked about its theme. I’d like to say that the stories in Promises of a firefly are not light tales or have cheerful narratives for they intend to show us our boundaries regardless of the occasional heroics life affords us. Now, that is not necessarily tragedy. It could be something as simple as truth. Some of these truths, we are likely to have seen or heard around us. And as one of my readers told me over e-mail, there is this element of hope that can be found if the stories are read carefully. I want readers to find out for themselves. And if they are able to remember the stories, recall their moments when they are not holding my book – that would be a great thing for the storyteller in me.
Buy this Book Here: Amazon
Read Review of Proimises of a firefly Here
Connect to him:
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/anupam.patra.7
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35524980