Thursday, October 10, 2019

A Writer's Life for Me

By Abir

Besides writing, what else do you do? What’s on your writer’s bucket list?

What does a writer do when they aren’t writing? That sounds like the opening to a bad joke. I hadn’t really thought about it until this question was posed and made me focus on the empty, writing-deadline driven husk that is my life. So, thanks for that.


I suppose the most interesting thing I do is the bi-weekly podcast called ‘The Red Hot Chilli Writers Podcast’ that I co-host with my friend and fellow author, Vaseem Khan, who writes the Inspector Chopra series of cosy crime novels set in Mumbai, where the good Inspector Chopra is accompanied on his investigations by Ganesha, his pet baby elephant. 

We discuss, life, the arts and popular culture, as we say, all with a hint of Garam Masala – It's British-Asian take on the world. We are joined by four other friends, our regular reporters: Londoner, Ayisha Malik, the author of the wonderful ‘Sophia Khan is Not Obliged’ – which has been described as the Muslim Bridget Jones; barrister and writer, Imran Mahmood, author of the critically acclaimed novel ‘You Don’t Know Me’ which is told entirely from the point of view of a defendant’s closing statement in the dock; A.A. Dhand, a writer based in the North of England whose books feature D.I. Harry Virdee, a British-Asian detective working the gritty streets of Bradford; and crime writer turned romantic fiction author, Alex Khan, whose latest novel, ‘Bollywood Wives’ is a steamy Bonkbuster. We also have regular celebrity guests from the world of the arts and television, such as author, Ann Cleeves, and mathematician, TV presenter and all-round genius, Bobby Seagull. 

However the star of the show is actually my mum. You see we record it in her kitchen. This started out as a matter of convenience – in that she lived half-way between Vaseem’s house and mine - but now, we really just go for the food and because people want to hear less from us and more from mum. And anyway, as Asian men in our forties, we are still naturally incapable of surviving in the world without the guidance and input of our mothers. Here’s the website. Please do check out the podcast!

Other than that – well I wish I could tell you I had the talent for painting or playing a musical instrument, but I don’t. I’m pretty hopeless at all of that stuff, though I could whip you up a rather nifty Powerpoint presentation if you asked nicely. I’m in awe of writers who are also musicians, such as the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers -  a group of some of the best British crime writers: Val McDermid, Mark Billingham, Luca Veste, Stuart Neville, Doug Johnston and Chris Brookmyre, who have started their own band and play not just crime festivals but music festivals like Glastonbury. They really are excellent. It makes me sick.

So what else do I do when I’m not writing? There’s the day job – which is fantastically dull, but which has given me the opportunity to travel and meet wonderful people all over the world…but you don’t want to hear about my adventures in accounting.

Instead I’ll tell you that I spend most of my free time with my wife and kids. There’s so little downtime that every minute feels precious. Indeed my four year old boy is bothering me even as I write this. He wants to type words for you too. I’m going to let him because otherwise he won’t shut up.

Here you go:

Mi nam iz aran.

His name is Aran, by the way.

So that’s it. I don’t have a bucket list, mainly because I’d probably get depressed at all the things I’d like to do but would probably never get the chance. Still, life’s fun though.


Dietrich Kalteis said...

A podcast from your Mom's kitchen – brilliant.

joko azhari widodo said...
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