Tales on Tweet, as aptly said by the book's editor and curator Manoj Pandey, was born out of ‘chimeric ambition’.
Twitter, which is still to convince a fair share of people in India of its merits was as enigmatic as it was limited in its approach to networking. The 140-character limit, which now no longer exists, was both its feature and baggage. Pandey, an aspiring writer, took to experimenting with the format, and the very limits that meant verbosity was not an option — something most writers would feel strangled by. As he created a hashtag and started writing, embedding the sense of a story in each of his tweets; users and famous authors he tagged began responding with theirs. And thus Tales on Tweet was born as a project.
But simply taken as a token of flash-fiction, or fiction that reads as if written on a crumpled page while searching for spaces to write, the assemblage reads like a diary entry. By that it may yet be limited by the spontaneity of imagery it seeks to invoke, because sans description, the image is often black and white.
Pandey also approached Yuko Shimizu, a Japanese illustrator based out of New York, for the project. Shimizu’s illustrations lend a sense of perspective to the imagination that morphs between colours and shapes, which more than account for the colour that the language simply does not permit. The two — the tweet and Shimizu’s illustrations — juxtaposed together, open up into a meta-reality that the reader might find contesting with the reality they know best, the fallout from which can only be in the form of new ideas, new worlds, and perhaps even new tweets.
Here are five tweets from the book that quantify, to some extent, the peculiarity of the project:
Tales on Tweet is published by HarperCollins