[ Issue 7 / November 2013]
Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
While writing this on an autumn morning in downtown Delhi, I’m trying to recall at what point Open Road Review became a necessity. They were two big reasons at the time. One, I was overwhelmed by the number of unsuccessful writers wanting to publish their work. There were—and are—dozens of literary journals out there and I understand everything that is written can’t be published. But what pained me was the routine orphaning of publishable work by writers for want of space. Two, south Asia in general and India in particular, had, to represent the local literary flavor, journals that one could count on fingertips—it remains less than a dozen to this day to the best of my knowledge. These reasons gave birth to what you are reading now.
The satisfying part is that Open Road Review, two years later, is thriving. The visitor hits have crossed the two million mark and our feedback mechanism with the readers has allowed us to evolve over time. So far we have published 90 writers and artists from over a dozen nationalities, a few paid. Since the journal is not supported by any organization—corporate or government—and it remains sans advertisement—the expenses are borne in-house.
Issue 7 includes 4 short fiction pieces, 1 creative nonfiction, 5 poetry ones and 1 artwork by Amit Majumder, a mixed medium, in which he has used ink, ballpoint pen, wax crayons and watercolor to a mesmerizing effect.
About the fiction selection, Shanti Perez, the fiction editor, says, the stories delve into worlds vast in time and space, from Henry F. Tonn’s one-sided dialogue of Moulin Rouge dancer “La Goulue” in the story “La Goulue’s Last Interview”, to the present tense in Austin Eichelberger’s flash piece “Predatory Behavior”, when premonitions of betrayal overcome Mister Dowing as he leads a group of students on safari in Africa. Athena Montel contrasts with sensory details, shattering the fourth wall of the theatrical realm in her second person piece “Stagecraft”, which involves readers in a play of vivid drama. In “The Intervention” we have a Bud with award-winning author Tendai Huchu’s narrator Simba as he digests the commentary of fellow immigrants who have gathered to advise a troubled young couple, while simultaneously watching the group’s reactions to televised Zimbabwean elections.
In the creative nonfiction category, Rasheeqa Ahmad’s piece, with it narrative clarity and provocation, refreshes our minds of the human ugliness that craves for entertainment through animal torture.
In poetry, according to Vaughan Gunson, Vinita Agrawal's poem contains memorable images fused with the rhythm of the words; there's a precision that captures the reader in the "sea of time". Similar in style is Rizwqab Akhtar's poem, which evokes a scene through contracted descriptions and allusions; the poem has a great first line: "Puddles are kings". John Davis's poem is memorable for the moving story it tells, rather than complex imagery or syntax, but the language, for example, in the line "It was the year of poop and pee or shit and piss" still packs a considered punch. Aaron Robertson's 'Antithesis' is a spiky petulant piece, with the rhythm of a litany. While Manjul Bajaj's poem is a long sensuous celebration of Pablo Neruda's poetry and physical love; there's nothing immoderate about this earthly-poem.
See you in 2014. Until then, keep writing, reading and smiling.
New Delhi, India
Peter Bernard by Rasheeqa Ahmad
Sea of Time by Vinita Agrawal (India)
Lifelong by John Davis (United States)
Rain-script: Lahore 2013 by Rizwan Akhtar (Pakistan)
Antithesis by Aaron Robertson (New Zealand)
Channeling Pablo Neruda by Manjul Bajaj (India)
Mixed Medium artwork by Amit Majumder