Guest Post – Beryl Belsky
As a professional editor for over 30 years I’ve always envied writers. But it was only a few years ago that I began writing myself – blogs. Blogs are an ideal tool for shy writers to express themselves since they can expose themselves as much or as little as they like. I began with two blogs, one The Asia Connection (featured in the Links section), and the other, Faces of Tennis.
Now retired, I am a graduate in East Asian studies (Japanese) and political science from the Australian National University, and worked as an editor in an academic institution for over 30 years. I was born in Eire, grew up in Australia, and currently live in Israel.
A Certain Kind of Freedom: The Birth of a Book
I run a website called The Writer’s Drawer, an intercultural, literary showcase for all genres of writing and all levels. The Writer’s Drawer was launched in February 2012, and because I offer editing support for submissions I quickly began receiving essays and stories from non-native speakers of English.
After about a year, I realized that some of the material I was posting at the website was very good and deserved a wider readership. Several riveting stories had come in, as well as some fascinating essays from writers living in various parts of the world, such as Iran, India and Vietnam. Some of the poetry was also good, although I don’t consider myself an expert on poetry; I go more by instinct. It occurred to me, then, that I would be doing some of the writers a service if I published an anthology of their work.
I posted the concept for the anthology at the website and on various social media, with a deadline for submissions. And, indeed, several more outstanding stories and poems came in, which I knew immediately should be published in the book. The selection process continued for a few weeks after the deadline until I had lined up 33 writers and their work (after getting their permission, of course).
I decided to call the anthology A Certain Kind of Freedom: Stories and Poems from The Writer’s Drawer. Why “A Certain Kind of Freedom”? Because it is the title story of the book and also because it can be understood as “freedom to write.”
Divided into broad sections of Short Fiction, Stories from Life and Poetry, the book includes pieces from Malaysia, Vietnam, India, Iran, Pakistan, Liberia, Israel, Switzerland, Australia, England, the USA, and Canada, among others. Some of the Stories from Life, in particular, give some fascinating glimpses into countries and cultures most of us know little about: a girls’ day out, for example, in Iran, or the fate of a woman in India who was prevented from living in the marital home of her new husband after the family discovered her secret.
On the other hand, other stories and essays focus on universal themes: a mother from Israel, for example, expresses her feelings of disappointment and sadness after the break-up of her late-30s daughter and her partner.
I published the book at Amazon’s CreateSpace, but did not do all the self-publishing process by myself. For example, I hired a professional to design the cover and format it.
The Writer’s Drawer: http://www.thewritersdrawer.net/
A Certain Kind Of Freedom – Review