Monday, May 09, 2011

Tweeterature



   I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said Twitter has changed my life. Though there was a stage of disillusionment, when I proceeded to delete my account, I came right back to it; an addict.
   Day after day, I witness streams of brilliance, profundity, honesty, vanity, meanness, and sometimes plain stupidity. It is human nature, joy and misery at its best. And oh, art. Achingly beautiful art. One thing I thank Twitter a lot for, is the portal of beautiful words it has opened up for me. And people capable of such beauty. Sifting through several thousand tweets, I've chanced upon people who never cease to please. It is a joyride of poetry, stories, little victories and losses, love, wisdom, laughter and fleeting yet firm friendships. A place of endless amusement, discovery and ego-massages, and, sadly, my only excuse of a social life.
   But what I owe to Twitter the most is, what I call, Tweeterature. Laugh if you will, but I find this corny coinage a very fitting tribute to this tireless factory that produces Twitter literature. This seemingly restricting140-character limit extracts the most intense, insane kind of beauty a poet or a writer is capable of. After experimenting with micropoetry, I landed this wonderful spot called microfiction, whereby I attempted to create complete stories in a line or two. It was good, but I was left wanting. Soon I chanced upon two of my wonderful author friends on Twitter (@ramyaranee and @indianerotica) collaborating on my timeline, and conjuring up the most wonderful kind of stories, one tweet at a time. I wanted to do it too. That jugalbandi looked like so much fun. I waited for someone to follow my lead. And someone did.
     One fine morning, when I was throwing random lines at my timeline, like I usually do, a follower (who has since become a friend) called @tishman responded with a tweet that connected. I tweeted back with a third line in sequence and over the next few hours, we tweeted back and forth, and wove what became my first story collaboration on Twitter. It was exhilarating! I gathered each of our story tweets carefully later that day, and put it up on my blog. I think I was as proud and happy as the day Jishnu was born! :)
   It became something of a ritual. Each morning he or I would throw an opening line to the other, and a story would be created. We wrote 'Snatches of a Dream', 'Another time for love' and 'The raw deal'. I had never before experienced such creative challenges. It's like trying to drive a car that has two steering wheels and two drivers, who often steer in the opposite direction. Sometimes, you read each other's mind, follow a plot with a telepathic agreement, and sometimes, take off in a direction that completely stumps the other person. But not knowing what the next line of your story will be, is exciting, to say the least.
   Others caught whiff of the exhilaration, and I got my next enthusiastic co-author in @red_devil22. He slipped into the co-writer's seat with equal ease, and has been consistently writing stories with me. We have churned out a sizable number of stories yet, that include 'Knot in love', 'Crushed', 'Green love', 'A train to forever after,' 'Lovesick' and 'The reunion.' We seem to show no signs of tiring, and I hope there will be many more such wonderful collaborations. A couple of other Twitter friends played along too, and with @ShwetaKaushik was born 'Saviours', and as a deviation, @pranavvk and I co-wrote a poem called 'A change of heart'.
   Each piece of Tweeterature has come with its share of exultation and grrr. As with everything else in life, collaborative story writing is about getting your way. You are happy when your co-author follows your lead, understands your pre-set plot and plays along. When they veer off your chosen track, you, well, don't like it. But that's also where the wonderful challenge is. You then try to match up to the unexpected step, and continue with the story without losing the plot. Sometimes, just for fun, or as a mild act of vengeance, you throw them off track too. But it is these crests and troughs that make the writing experience so amazing.
   Another interesting facet is the gender of the co-author. Most of these stories have inadvertently focused on man-woman encounters/relationships, and I hate to admit that this is one classic space for stereotypes. While my repertoire of, and experience with, co-authors is really little, two things have leapt out at me. One: the men love sex; two: the women love love. I know it isn't news. But I've never before seen such a frank display of preferences. It's a place for writing out fantasies, in the shadow of characters. It is about giving vent to disappointments and expressing joy. It is about meeting our innate narcissistic needs. It's amazing really, how in writing fiction, we let out facts.

3 comments:

iambeingme said...

Twitter is good.. depends what way you choose :)

Nikhil said...

Precise and brings home the point clearly. Am sure after reading this many would be tempted to try out collab stories. A couple of observations as i said, are SO true. But heck its addictive. And if the characters are just a 'shadow' so be it. Thats what makes the stories a lil enigmatic.:)

Ree said...

I can't believe I've missed out on so many of your collaborations. You have been quite prolific, haven't you? And I'm so, so glad you have taken a medium like this and transformed it into something so refreshing.

The way you express - on Twitter as well as here - is unique. From the way you morph between handles and display photos to ideas and thoughts - it's all so bloody interesting to follow!