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To do or Not to do…

I know that almost everybody on the blog site is talking about this and I know I am just adding to pantheon of writers who are working themselves up for “the event”. Yes I am talking about NaNoWriMo that begins in November 2012.

I missed the bus last year….I discovered NaNoWriMo in December 2011!(Go figure!…Duh! No I was not sleeping, but many become aware kind of late in life!) What was I doing before that….don’t ask!

Anyway, I am trying to mentally prepare myself for this one month of” literary abandon” as the website states. Having said that, I have like a million butterflies in my tummy…

  • Should I really undertake something like this? I hate failures and need perfection and in such circumstances am wondering if participating in the event such a good idea.
  • NaNoWriMo veterans tell me that I should abandon all other pursuits this one month – no reading of book, no catching up with friends, no laundry and preferably learning to cook with one and type with the other…..I can do all this and more; but what the hell do I do about my job?????!!!! There is absolutely no getting away from the fact I work in a high stress environment where time literally means money….I mean I work in the financial services!!!  So there are deadlines after deadlines and each month is crucial and the business target needs to be met!
  • Whatever I write ends up having a lot of history, so I end up spending a lot of time reading up! The NaNoWriMo veterans again tell me that I should just write the story and not worry about the details…..the only problem no matter what plot I think of, the details make up the story!! Uggh!!
  • Then of course is the daunting fact that I never managed to finish my “the novel” – you know the epic novel, the one which would be held as the novel of 21st century, you know my “East of Eden” yada yada yada! I could not finish this mammoth work though I started working on 2 years ago; what’s the chance I finish writing anything else in one month??!!!!

So here I stand… varying from my chirpy blah blah self and wonder “To do or not to do”! I know it’s not the end of the world if I do not finish 50,000 words at the end of November; I know this is not about any prize money or awards and I think that is what is making me jittery! This is for me …..this to prove to myself that yes I can write and write and see the end of what I imagine in my mind. Like many before me I realize that what we imagine and what we put down on paper are wholly different and I am thirsting to see if what I see in my mind’s eye will turn out that way on paper.

But will I persevere? Or all that is mundane and every day in my daily life takes over as it does and obliterates what I really want to do. But that again I guess would be my choice!

The month of November is then my philosopher’s stone to see if I can survive in my artistic endeavors and become a more accomplished writer! This then is “The month”!

The most wonderful season of them all…..

I love the autumn season!

It heralds so many wonderful things –

  • The winter season (if you are a December baby like me and cannot bear the summer….you will know what I mean!)
  • The festive season (Have you seen how most of the festivals all over the world, somehow tend to be around the Fall-Winter period?)
  • Most importantly, it’s Vacation Time (Especially the December holidays!!!!)
  • The creepy crawlies all hibernate
  • My hair does not look plastered to my scalp (summers with humidity)

So really….what’s there not to love about this season?

I love the feeling of getting up in the morning and wrapping up with a light sweater and warming my hands around a hot cup of tea, as I smell the wood fire in the air and see beyond the hills (remember I live in an apartment cut off from the city, whose only saving grace is the view!) the rising morning mist! Compare this to getting up in Summer, where you are drenched in sweat and everything is sticky and you just want to laze because, all your energy has been sucked out by the unrelenting and unremitting heat! Yuck!! I am sure you get the picture!

This is the time to explore, to rekindle old forgotten passions and go out and greet the world! It is the season of beauty, charm and outdoors – time for picnics and excursions! It’s a time to close old chapters and plan for new beginnings. It’s a time for harvest and celebrations!

I know I am waxing eloquent, but since this is such a lovely time, that I can go on and on about it! But then I think, there is somebody who has already done this in far more beautiful terms than I can ever fathom…..so I will just let Mr Keats do the talking –

Ode to Autumn by John Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o’erbrimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep
Steady thy laden head across a brook;
Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, –
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing, and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

Do let me know what your favorites/plans for this season!

Romancing the Regents….

I am not particularly fond of romance novels. Leaving historical romances apart….I mean that’s history at the very least. But romances as a genre make me want to barf. Even in my teens, I had serious problems with all the clichéd Mills and Boon and Silhouette romances and could not ever finish a Danielle Steel….all the sugar made me sick! (See my previous post)The only novels I was able to read through with equanimity were Judith McNaught’s Perfect and A Kingdom of Dreams. The former had a murder mystery woven into the love story and the second one was a historical romance set in the conflict years between England and Scotland of Henry VI rule.  So there…..

However during my late teen and I mean LATE teens, a friend of mine introduced me to Georgette Heyer and I fell for it…..I become a sucker for Regency Romance!

I think the process started long back when I read, yes, my bible of all sensible advice – Pride and Prejudice. The country side, the curricles, the balls and the Sprig muslin wearing Elizabeth Bennett and the dashing Mr Fitzwilliam Darcy all created such splendorous world of quiet and peace without being tedious and away from the everyday humdrum, that it was natural that  I fall in love with The Grand Sophy!

Having declared my undying love for Regency Romaces, I must point out that I am kind of choosy in this passion. Give me the traditional romance of Georgette Heyer any day. The plots are concrete, the characters believable and the repartee downright funny! The emphasis is on the plot and there is extensive research that goes into the details of the social mores and customs of 19th century England. That’s why I think Ms Heyer was absolutely marvelous – she managed all of these while making you laugh out loud and go back to her books again and again!

Then there is a whole different world of what I call “wannabe” romance writers! I mean they set their plots in the Regency times, but that’s where it ends. The characters all act/talk/conduct themselves more in 21st century fashion than those of the bygone days of Regency.  The plots are ridiculous and the conversations are anything but funny and sugary syrupy nature of affairs between the principal protagonists makes you want to lay off chocolate for the rest of your life! Case to the point – Julia Quinn’s Brighter than the Sun. I am sure Ms Quinn is very talented and erudite but I did expect more from a Harvard/Radcliffe protégé! The tale begins promisingly enough with a marriage of convenience between the Earl of Billington and Eleanor Lyndon and the sabotages that follow the marriage in the domestic affairs of the Countess and the Earl. But that is all there is to it. I read nearly 300 pages of sheer idiotism where the Earl did nothing but lust after his wife and while the Countess went in a tizzy every time the Earl kissed her, interspersed with how much the Countess was loved by her tenants and how the Earl though not expressing his feelings was gentle, kindhearted Squire, despite carrying a reputation of a rake! Yuck and a thousand times yuck!!! How very clichéd and I am an unqualified dolt for not only buying this book, but also actually reading it through! Where is my barf bag????!!!!

I know there are authors besides Ms Heyer who actually do put a more realistic spin on their regency pieces – Mary Balogh’s heroines are mostly fallen women or Carla Kelly, who explores the ravishes of the Napoleonic war on the lives of ordinary men and women. I do understand and appreciate that many readers do not prefer to read of about the more harsher and maybe real aspects of life in their fiction, after all many of us do resort to books to get away from our everyday realities! What I do have a problem is while I am all for a fairy tale romance, can we please , please include some sense and true fun into them!!! Ms Heyer, we so miss you!

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