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Issue #1 - It’s been a while…

Divya Vartika
Divya Vartika
If you are wondering who am I and what am I doing in your inbox, then let me (re) introduce myself.
My name is Divya Vartika. I write short stories, book reviews and other random stuff on my website, You might have signed up on my website or after reading one of my books.
I am sending out this newsletter after exactly one year of hiatus. So if you signed up after 30th April 2020, this might be the first time you are hearing from me. 
Last year had been difficult for everyone. Things are not getting any better this year either. 
For a long time, I struggled to write or do anything else. Hence the absence of newsletters. I was waiting for things to go back to normal. But now I have accepted that “normal” doesn’t exist anymore. Situations will change, but they won’t go back to how they used to be. 
So last few months, I have been focusing on building some order inside my mind. There is not much I can do about the chaos that is happening outside. But the chaos inside my mind can be tamed. This chaos can be turned into some order. 
Writing has always helped me find order, and at the same time writing is the first thing that gets impacted by any chaos. 
I thought of restarting this newsletter to bring some calm to my mind, and at the same time, I am hoping that this newsletter will bring you some sweet distraction.
One disclaimer is needed at this point. I am using a new mailing service and in general trying a bunch of new things. So for few weeks, there might be some changes in the newsletter while I find my groove and get settled in this new format. 
Hopefully, you will continue enjoying the journey with me.
Now let’s move on to some interesting things I came across recently.
The Wandering Earth by Liu Cixin
I read this short story on Kindle Unlimited. The story is about a future civilization that is escaping an exploding Sun by moving the Earth itself. The story is very futuristic and seems like something we can not relate to at first. But as we continue reading the story and start getting to know the characters, we realize that human emotions are the same no matter the time or the place. The fears and the hopes do not change that much. It’s a good read if you are looking for some short sci-fi read.
The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
I read this book in almost one sitting. We often wonder how our life would have turned out to be if we chose a different path maybe a decade ago. We wonder and we imagine and we crave a different life. That life is always painted as a better life. But is it always the case? 
Well, these are the things that are discussed in this book. I do not want to give any spoilers and but if you are looking for some easy and fast pace reading, then do check out this book. 
The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu
I have been reading a lot of short stories lately. This is another collection of short stories available on Kindle Unlimited. I listen to a lot of story podcasts (at least I used to). I love LeVar Burton Reads mainly because of his voice. I heard this story on that podcast and it just got stuck in my head. It was a combination of the words and the voice that created such a vivid image in my mind which stayed with me.
Even if you don’t want to read the book, I would suggest that you check out the podcast. It’s really good.
"The Paper Menagerie" by Ken Liu - LeVar Burton Reads | Podcast on Spotify
I have a love-hate relationship with Skillshare, and that is clear by my account activities. I would subscribe to it for several years and then end my subscription for next year and then again sign up for two weeks’ trial. I am still not sure if I want to subscribe or not.
Anyway, I took two classes recently. First was a Procreate class by Brenda Becker. I loved her style, and her tutorials were super easy and fun to follow.
Create Sketchy Doodles in Procreate | Brenda Bakker | Skillshare
The other one was a productivity class by Ali Abdaal. While I have seen many productivity gurus focus on different tools and apps, Ali focuses on the mindset. It just made more sense to me. I like to be productive and understanding the underlying concepts are helping.
Productivity Masterclass - Principles and Tools to Boost Your Productivity | Ali Abdaal | Skillshare
Talking about Productivity, I had a rather productive week writing-wise at least.
I wrote the following two posts on my website. Apart from them, I managed to outline my next book. The outline is far from being done, but I am happy at the stage it is right now. 
My Inner Critic - Shystoryteller
Procreate Design Set - April 2021 - Shystoryteller
That’s all for this week. See you soon.
Divya Vartika
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Divya Vartika
Divya Vartika @Divyavartika

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