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The Magic Diary: How an Indian journalist brings storytellers of world togetherIndia Blooms News Service
They had not met each other before and knew little about each other’s culture when they started off. But soon, surprise was replaced with respect, impatience with empathy and the outcome: A Pocketful of Dreams.
Well, it all began with a unique initiative of storytelling, spearheaded and curated by an Indian, Jayalasksmi Sengupta, a New Delhi based journalist and editor in a publishing house, who says the journey of the storytellers of "The Magic Diary" project, which started in June 2015, is a remarkable one.
"When 35 students of us from a writing course came together to form a global storytelling community over cyberspace, we had no idea we about to start a movement: a unique collaborative adventure of unifying people across all boundaries," says Sengupta, Project Designer and Curator.
Over a period of time, the group expanded to include 15 more eager writers, some veteran authors as well, to produce a collection of their work in three volumes, as e-books on Amazon. The profit from sales has been pledged to promote literacy across the developing nations. “We wanted to create awareness of the fact that despite all man-made boundaries we are all one and can work together meaningfully towards the benefitting others, “says Sengupta.
Today, the Magic Diary project stands for this unifying spirit. The spark that started with a handful of storytellers, who trusted in a dream is a glorious success today. The project has been recognised as a heart-warming people’s project by several illustrious people since then. Tim Wilson, honourable MP and former Human Rights Commissioner from Australia congratulated the team for their effort. Dr Denise Comer from Duke University has likewise supported the initiative. Several writers were her students from a writing course that she had conducted.
According to Sengupta they are a lucky generation that saw the huge wide world shrink into a global village and, thanks to the many significant inventions found learning more fun than ever. "We know we are a privileged lot, and so our foremost gratitude goes to those who helped us come together, work together, and in the end made our voice heard all over cyberspace."
The project that shaped up over two years has been an intensively interactive and participative project where all members contributed to its build up in some ways or the other. “They lend their expertise, their valuable time, and more importantly their unstinted support to create magic out of a nebulous idea.”
Since the project was inspired by the structure of a massive open online courses (MOOC), it was designed meticulously on those lines with utmost care given to the process of peer learning and reviewing. Every idea, article, and story in this book was discussed with suggestions to rewrite them before the final submission was made.
This collaborative effort saw participation from all over the world. A remarkable artist, Pat Southern-Pearce from UK created the covers. The representative countries include USA, Canada, Russia, England, Ireland, Scotland, Italy, France, Belgium, Hungary, Denmark Armenia, Romania, Russia, Iran, Morocco, Zambia, Egypt, South Africa, Mauritius, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia, China and Japan.
"Over the months that we worked together, deliberating, planning, writing, and rewriting, we progressed and grew not just as writers, and professionals, but also as good friends, respectful of our differences," says Sengupta.
"The Magic Diary was conceived as a timeless journey through the world. It stands as an example of positive, healing, creative force that can move mountains," says Sengupta. Nurtured in an environment of gratitude and encouragement, the Magic Diary project is a rare example of universal brotherhood and a roadmap to world cooperation. The growing community looks forward to taking this constructive, transcontinental movement forward and spreading the loving energy of creative harmony.
The website: https://magicdiary2017.wordpress.com/