Sudha Balagopal: June Guest of Honor
Sudha Balagopal is both, a fiction writer and a yoga teacher/practitioner. Her writing shapes the yoga instruction and her yoga practice hones her writing. In many ways the two disciplines are intertwined since they both involve drawing inward.
She is the author of a novel, A New Dawn, and two short story collections. For the past three years her focus has shifted to flash fiction. In that time, she has had over three dozen flash pieces published in various journals worldwide. Her flash has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best Small Fictions, and is listed in the Wigleaf Top 50, 2019. She won the Soul Making Contest in the flash category for 2017. More at https://sudhabalagopal.com
Good morning, everyone! It is an honor and a privilege to be with all you wonderful, mindful writers today. Thank you for this opportunity to share my thoughts on meditation, writing, journaling and the world of flash fiction!
My meditation is intimately tied to my yoga practice; yoga is often called moving meditation. It is my belief that any practice that helps you bring your attention inward, any practice that helps you focus on the ‘now’, any practice that allows you to be present, is meditation.
Our meditation today will take the form of a yin yoga practice, a quiet, reflective practice that consists of long-holding poses. Don’t worry if you have no prior yoga experience, this should be accessible to all.
The eighteen-minute video I have created features my friend Susan Lee, who was kind enough to demonstrate the poses. Her yoga is paired with my narration. Make sure you listen along for the complete experience.
Before you begin, you will need to gather a few things. If you have a mat, place it on the floor (if you don’t have one, a rug will do; for some, the bare floor will suffice). Other props you could include – a yoga block (a thick book makes a good substitute) and a blanket. Once you’ve set yourself up, click on the link to begin your meditation.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIJlhRMO4P0&feature=youtu.be (18 minutes)
I call free-writing a journaling of sorts. While I don’t ‘journal’ per se, I do plenty of free-writing. Some of it takes shape in the form of stories, while other thoughts remain just that, notions on paper. I believe every writer journals; it happens each day, every time ideas meander, every time words are put down on-screen or on paper.
My first little poem was published when I was ten years old. I still remember the four lines, the topic was ‘rain’, that I sent in to the magazine. I have not written any poetry since!
However, I have written a lot of prose. I began with short stories, which found homes and publication after some effort, and eventually I put them together into a collection. A second collection followed a few years later. Then, I decided to tackle a novel, when was published in 2016. Since then, I’ve gone small, writing exclusively flash fiction, a form that I find endlessly fascinating.
What is flash? Flash is a short, short piece of fiction with a story arc. It is not a brief scene, and nor is it static, which means the story must move. There’s an immediacy to the form which can highlight small, small moments that deliver a big impact. I find myself thinking about some flashes long after I’ve read them. Most of all, it’s in the spaces between the words where the depth of this form lies.Flash fiction can be as short as 50 words (or less) and as long as 1000 words. The best way to get a flavor for flash fiction is to check out a couple of links.
Take a look at the picture of the empty swing. How does it speak to you?
A flash piece is born from the smallest moments; a moment that contains a world within it. What moment from your childhood can you excavate from this picture? Dig up that moment, write down the emotions it evokes. Then, put down how you saw that moment, what you heard in that moment, what, if anything, did you taste in that moment, what did you touch in that moment, what did you smell? In other words, which of your senses were heightened?
From here you should have enough to craft a piece of flash fiction. Write a piece of under 750 words. Have fun crafting your flash!
Namaste, mindful writers! Thank you, again, for having me. Visit us at: