A Window to Young Minds

Short Stories by Young Writers – Book 1

AWindowToYoungMinds-Best-Short-Stories.jpgOur future depends on stories. As the world advances, literature has the ability to ground us—in our humanness, our imaginations, and our enlightenment. Fueled by the need to interpret the past, to explore the present, and to imagine the future, each generation shapes the world of books. In order to preserve this, we must have a new generation willing to share their stories. The support young writers receive is vital to whether they keep writing, and it fuels the stories yet to come.

However, this support does not always exist. Growing up in Aligarh, India, I had limited resources for sharing my writing. There was no platform for me to receive feedback or advice, and I struggled to find sincere reviewers. I kept writing, but many children do not. This problem drove me to where I am today. With the vision of supporting young writers, I started the annual Lune Spark Short Story Contest in May 2017. It is open to writers between the ages of ten and sixteen.

A Window to Young Minds is the first of the contest’s yearly anthologies, Short Stories by Young Writers. The twenty-three wonderful stories in this book are handpicked from 2017’s entries. The talent of these young writers shines in their command of storytelling and their unique take on genre—from telling a pirate love story to re-creating the Hindenburg disaster that happened on May 6, 1937, in New Jersey.

If the future depends on stories, then our future looks bright indeed.

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Wind River Movie Review & Film Summary

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Movie Plot:

After finding the body of an 18-year-old woman on an American Indian reservation in the frozen wilderness of Wyoming, a divorced federal wildlife officer helps a less experienced FBI agent to solve the mystery of teen’s rape and murder.

Cory Lambert ( Jeremy Renner), is a divorced federal wildlife officer who makes his living by killing predators that prey on the animals of the wilderness of the Indian Reservation in Wyoming. Searching for a mountain lion, he finds a frozen corpse of a young woman who was raped and killed. The woman was the best friend of Cory’s daughter, who had died in similar conditions three years ago.

As a result of this homicide, the F.B.I. sends Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen), a relatively less experienced agent, to investigate the case. Cory helps Jane in solving the mystery behind teen’s rape and murder.

The movie builds very well to a well thought climax where the bad guys responsible for the girl’s death come in the open to battle the investigators.

It’s a very well made movie that will keep the viewers on the edge of their seats right from he beginning till the end, with a consistent chill in the spine.

4.5 out of 5 stars – highly recommended.

Managing Bubbie is a powerful memoir of the Holocaust

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The depths of the human heart are fathomless. A book like this makes us realize this yet again while helping us travel in the new dimensions.

The book is a powerful memoir of a young mother braving through Nazi-occupied Europe, doing everything possible to protect her three young children from the biggest man made catastrophe in the history of mankind. On the other side, the book also pictures a stubborn Holocaust survivor who just wouldn’t follow the normal while continuing her life in the assisted living facility.

Full of struggle, love, hope, sacrifice, humor, and a miracle, the book is one of the best I have read on the Holocaust.

My 2017 Oscar Predictions

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My wife and I find Oscar Awards an exciting occasion. We talk about the great movies that have come out during the last year and discuss our take at the things that stand out.

It’s not as hard this year to predict as it was the last year or the one before. That’s because the number of good movies that came out in the past was much higher than this year.

Best Picture: La La Land

I loved Hacksaw Ridge, Monnlight & Arrival too. I find that La La Land outshines the rest for doing a tremendous job across all the aspects of movie-making.

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Best Actor: Denzel Washington, for Fences

I loved Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea. But Denzel, in my view, has given a performance that will be hard to forget for years.

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Best Actress: Emma Stone, for La La Land

Let’s just say I am super-biased for her :). Jokes apart, Emma Stone has done wonders again! Isabelle Huppert in Elle would have been my choice if Emma wasn’t in the race.

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Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali, for Moonlight

Dev Patel has come a long way — but unfortunately, I felt that Lion was a much better movie until we saw Dev Patel.

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Best Supporting Actress: Viola Davis, for Fences

If Nicole Kidman (Lion) and Michelle Williams (Manchester by the Sea) did not have such short roles in those movies, my take might have been different. I loved both of them even when their appearances were for small duration.

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Best Director: Damien Chazelle, La La Land

Do I need to say anything?

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Best Animated Feature Film: Zootopia

The movie is phenominal. A very well made animation. The DMV office scene is going to be remembered for ages. Kubo and The Two Strings & Moana are fantastic too.

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Fingers crossed for the awards tomorrow 🙂

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Note: All the images used in this post are publicly available images and none is a copyright material.

Movie Review: La La Land

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“There is something about this movie—but i am not exactly able to put my finger on it.” As I walked out of the theatre after watching the movie, I couldn’t help but remember the comment one of my colleagues had made a week ago.

He was spot on. Sometimes it’s hard to tell why you like something so much.

Two ambitious artists, two similar yet isolated dreams, two passionate lovers—so what? That’s nothing new.

The experience. That was it.

Damien Chazelle and his crew have done a tremendous job in creating an unforgettable experience for the audience. The overwhelming amount of relatability felt by the audience to the main characters’ motives and very precise dreamlike adventures in every moment to keep the audience relaxed yet excited—were the two main ingredients that made this movie a savory dish.

Emma Stone is surely aging like a fine wine. When you thought she just gave her best performance, she comes up with a better one—truly a genius.

A review of this movie couldn’t possibly be complete without talkign about the end.

So what’s special or controversial about the end?

Was it completely unanticipated? No.

Was it abrupt? Yes.

Did it do good to the movie? Absolutely, yes.

Why so? It’s like a thoroughly marvelous ride that you thought was over until the last few seconds proved you wrong.

The Fundamentals of Creative Writing

(The script of the talk I delivered on Feb 5th, 2017, to the students of Lady Shri Ram college during Tarang 2017, LSR’s annual cultural festival. Thanks, LSR Tarang, for having me!)

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Update (Jan 01, 2018)

I am truly humbled by people who reached out to me conveying how useful this post was for them. Also, a large number of you wanted this in a sharable book format. I am pleased to let you know know that the post is now available in a eBook format. A link could be found below (or click on the book cover on the right).

 

On Writing Wonderfully: The Craft of Creative Fiction Writing

Happy writing and reading.

Pawan Mishra