And December Will Come Spinning ….!

No! No! I cannot and I mean I CANNOT take on more projects! The Classic Club Spin#4 is way too much for a plate that already has so much and spilling over. Besides the Classic Club spin batting rate in favor of the books I selected is only 33%. I did not like re-reading Madame Bovary by Gustav Flaubert, but became a re-convert to Charles Dickens after revisiting Great Expectations; but again lost my way with George Elliot’s Middlemarch! There are enough reasons to shy away from this event and I will! I have will power! I do!

Oh! Heck! No I do not have will power! The devil in my mind points out that I have to read this through November and December and that by December my plate will be practically empty. Besides I have two weeks of vacation coming up, so what the hell? Go for it says the devil and I willingly jump into the deep blue sea.

Here goeth the list –

  1. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  2. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
  3. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  4. Wives and Daughter by Elizabeth Gaskell
  5. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
  6. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
  7. Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
  8. Emma by Jane Austen
  9. King Solomon’s Mines by Henry Rider Haggard
  10. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
  11. Framley Parsonage by Anthony Trollope
  12. The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope
  13. A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen
  14. The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
  15. The Moonstone by Willie Collins
  16. The War of the Worlds by H.G.Wells
  17. Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions by Edwin A. Abbott
  18. The Way of All Flesh by Samuel Butler
  19. The Grand Babylon by Arnold Bennett
  20. Around the World in 80 days by Jules Verne

The list is primarily more or less the same, however because it’s December and Christmas and I have had an officially a lousy 2013, I have decided to make myself a little present via the list. I have included books I want to read and have never read as well as books I read long ago and wanted to revisit but never did; but taken off all the books that I dread reading or did not like reading it the first time round – yes! I know! Like before I may lose out an opportunity to rediscover and love an author /book because of my prejudices, but there is always 2014 to set forth for new brave adventures. In the meanwhile, the holidays are coming and I will indulge myself just this time round!

In the society of Friends and other such mortals…..

As a child I was very lonely and did not make too many friends; in fact I downright hated going out and the thought of party – any party whether my own or my parents filled me with foreboding. I absolutely hated the social gatherings that my parents organized or attended. I was bored out of my senses and the constant feeling of inferiority, did not help in my making friends with the very small number of kids from my age group.  As it is, I was born very late to my parents and most of their friends had kids who were more than 10 odd years older to me, making me feel even odder. I think I was the only kid who ever went to dinner parties with her books….my only get away from being forced into companionship of much older or much dumber companions. Anyway, I grew up hating socializing and swearing to become a misanthrope and never troubling with company of anyone!  That is what I though until I went away to college ……

And surprise surprise……I was suddenly a social butterfly, albeit an intellectual butterfly, who chose to go to only selective dance through the night parties, but hell, I had a choice to pick any I wanted and what’s more, I was always flooded with invitations! (I am not going to dwell on why this change happened!! I do not know and one day I have enough money, I will have a psychologist go over my case and post his diagnosis on the blog!)

rmon664lThings did not change as I got myself a job and moved in with my best friend. Despite her being a more or less confirmed and declared recluse, our house over the weekend bursts with friends and going outs etc etc. She does not per se like so many people coming over, including Mr Soulmate (she does not approve of him….like I do not approve of her men and we both think we can do much better and deserve so much better and all the nine yards! Sound familiar?), but she has developed a certain amount of tolerance from being forced to attend the gatherings that I organize and has even deigned to become friends with some of my friends.

As for me….I love it! I love being surrounded by people, especially friends who make me laugh and are completely crazy! I love surprise visits even at 4:00 am in the morning when I have read for hours and am about to drop off and suddenly the bell rings and I open the door to see some of my closest friends giggling and screaming surprise!! I love breaking out the drinks and cooking impromptu Spanish omelets (I defy you to find Spanish omelets of the type I make anywhere!!!!) and instant noodles for food and then settling down to talk for hours broken only by interludes for more food.

corp friends.It’s not like all my close friends have the same level of intellect or same literary interests.  I have one set that can talk about books, music and Renoir for hours and they have nothing in common with the other set who embody the very core of corporate life style – dining out, spas etc; but the thing is that each of these sets are such fun in their own way that the two parts of me – the writer and project manager is equally entertained and refreshed by these gatherings! And at the end of the day, all the conversations moves in the same order regardless of the set – intelligent, argumentative, food breaks, witty, silly and then just funny…..a testimony to friendship; in the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson “It is one of the blessings of old friends that you can afford to be stupid with them.”

The one year old….

Happy blogoversary to me!!!!!

Celebrations

I did it…I scrapped and grind my teeth and grumbled many a times, but I managed to complete one year of blogging!

I know I was not always regular and I know my initial resolution of blogging every day came down to blogging only on the weekends, but somehow I managed to survive and get here!

A big yay to me…..but more importantly to all my readers who not only took the time out to read my nonsense, but also comment, like and in some cases follow. You have no idea how encouraging it was to see the star/comment icon highlighted on the stats page every time I accessed the site. Thank you for helping me get on, especially during the very low phases of my writing adventures. (Like when your work has been rejected by the 1845th publisher!)  It an honor and privilege to be read by all of you.

And while I am at it – I would also like to take a moment and thank three absolutely brilliant, talented and inspirational bloggers whose writing/reading/cooking adventures have entertained me, made me read more and basically put me in complete awe of them…..I write relatively diligently, because, they stand out like shining examples!

A huge round of thank you to –

Eggton

Stefanie

12kilroy

And because this is a time to celebrate and be thankful and feel victorious (Yes! I know I am being vain!), I for once take a back seat (which means I shut up!) and let one of the most brilliant poets of all time, describe what I feel…..

‘Tis so much joy! ‘Tis so much joy! by Emily Dickinson

‘Tis so much joy! ‘Tis so much joy!
If I should fail, what poverty!
And yet, as poor as I,
Have ventured all upon a throw!
Have gained! Yes! Hesitated so —
This side the Victory!

Life is but Life! And Death, but Death!
Bliss is, but Bliss, and Breath but Breath!
And if indeed I fail,
At least, to know the worst, is sweet!
Defeat means nothing but Defeat,
No drearier, can befall!

And if I gain! Oh Gun at Sea!
Oh Bells, that in the Steeples be!
At first, repeat it slow!
For Heaven is a different thing,
Conjectured, and waked sudden in —
And might extinguish me!

The Natural and The Practised….

I was at a social gathering last night and I started talking to someone about …you have guessed it – books! Now he began reading at an adult age and spoke about how he struggled initially with reading the simplest volumes and how by disciplining himself into reading a bit every day, he had finally developed an interest and a habit of books, so that it flew much more naturally now. He then made an observation, having heard about my obsessions with books from common friends, that how I must have never struggled with forcing myself to read or even knowing what to read when depending on my moods and preferences, while he himself went through this cathartic process of trying to inculcate this habit at a much older age!

This conversation kind of got me thinking – yes its true, not only for me, but I am sure about a lot of voracious readers, that we never struggled to read; nor did we have to switch our alarms on and force ourselves to read until it rang and more importantly, some authors/books, well we did not really “discover”, they were always in our ambit and unconsciously part of our inheritance!

I had mentioned this earlier, but it’s true that my earliest memories are of my father, reading out to me and somewhere down the line, his fingers stopped moving over the words and instead, I began to read for myself. I do not know when that happened, but I do know it happened at a very early age. When this gentleman last night made a statement that for the likes of me, we must have read our first books when we were 8-9 years old, it made me realize that actually, I must have read my first book, albeit a fairy tale with very simple words, at a much younger age….actually way before being 8!

So, how did all of this begin?

readingI am frankly not sure; the same gentleman said that when he has kids, he will like my father, start reading out to them from the very beginning so that they do not really have to struggle to appreciate such pleasure; he said like my father, he will ease them into books! I think he may have summed it up accurately – my father did ease me into books! I have always been surrounded by books and from an early age was always told that when all else failed, books would be there for my company. As an only child, to parents who worked full time, this was one of life truths.  Despite my adult bearings of gregariousness and being extremely social, as a child, I was quiet and an introvert and forever struggled to make friends – in those very lonely years of childhood and early young adulthood, my comfort, support and friends were the books that my parents stacked the house with. I remember looking forward to Saturdays, not because my parents will be at home, but because, without fail, my father would take me to this one book shop that he and later I had fraternized over the years and allow me to pick two books as a rewards for some task I did in the week.  Those two books would then sustain me through the long hours in a lonely rambling house, through the week, while my parents managed their professions. I am not sure if those books that were bought were bribes or gifts of guilt, but the point to be noted is that I was never given any other gifts like clothes or toys, but books. Was it because my parents, especially my father loved reading or was it because he knew that I loved reading? I am not sure – it could have been an amalgamation of both, but the key factor here is, I always looked upon the process of my becoming a reader as a natural progression; however until last night, I had not really thought about the factors and circumstances that enabled and encouraged this progression.

Does this make me a more dedicated or a more comfortable reader than the gentleman who developed this habit as an adult? I am not sure – his ability to read and appreciate something as a connoisseur is no less; he is quite aware of what constitutes a bad writing versus beauty of words or tenacity of plots. While he may have not read all the classics, which many of us have, but  because he kind of went through the ocean of literature, before settling down to a genre that he considers his own, his range of reading, albeit very modern, is also very vast and extremely interesting. Finally and more importantly, he now has a hunger for the time that he lost as a youth on books, and now reads so voraciously that he might put some of us “natural” readers to shame.

So does it really matter how or at what age you begin reading? Does it really matter if your father bought your first book or you bought one yourself, especially when it comes to appreciating good works? Does it matter if you timed yourself or read through the night? Is there really a something called a good reader like a good writer? And like a good writer, do you have to practice reading to appreciate it or does it always come naturally to you? And really does it matter if one had to practice reading to become a voracious reader, as long as he enjoys the habit and finds solace in it?

Poetry and Ballets in Russian Winters

So I picked this book while browsing randomly through Goodreads listopia and am I glad I got my hands on this one!

Daphne Kalotay’s Russian Winter is beautiful, historically rich, and lyrical with one of the most unusual characters in modern fiction – Nina!  The book begins with the auction of the jewels including some famous amber’s of the world-renowned ballerina Nina Revskaya. Now extremely ill and crippled, Nina is selling the jewels she had gathered all her life in an effort to close a chapter in her life that began in Stalinist Russia more than half a century ago. However, her past cannot be buried, as her life, love and its eventual betray reverberate in modern-day Boston, where she now resides and into the life of Grigori Solodin, a professor, who believes that the jewels that Nina is selling holds the key to his own past.

russian-winterNow for the great parts of the novel – Nina Revskaya is one of the best characters that I have come across in current friction. She is a beautiful and extremely successful ballerina, whose character portrayal comes more through her actions and interactions with others than what she says. Daphne Kalotay departs from cliché by not only making her central character very human – she falls in love, has close friendships and does have petty jealousies and is capable of overcoming those jealousies to do something kind. She is not better than an average human, and like all average humans, she is capable of making a gross error and then rectifying the same. What is wonderful and completely to the credit of the author is the fact that though the principal character is completely nonpolitical and distances herself as much as possible from the going ons of Stalinist Russia, the author still manages to convey a strong sense of the life and times in that nation, at the peak of its secret police’s power.  What is really wonderful is way, the author describes the simple daily rituals of the common man in a police state – whether it’s a watery dinner in a state-run restaurant, or the state poet buying a Russian make car or the simple pleasures of a writer’s community in the Ural mountains. The book is lyrical – it gives some of the most vivid and capturing description of white Moscow and the country’s rural beauty. The tale is interspersed with some lovely poetry on love and nature and I cannot stop myself from quoting the lines that moved me the most –

Black velvet night, pinned wide and high

By pinprick stars. Faces under moonlight.

Faint echoes float atop the river.

Our reckless splashes toss them here and there.

How very young we were, one floating year ago.

Wet tresses draped our ears.

And in the air, the hum of crickets chanting

Apologies we could not, did not, hear.

Gone, gone, the forest’s past perfection:

Patchwork shade, pine needle carpet,

Ocher-resin drops of sun. The air

Hums….Unseen, the nightingale, too late,

Thrums its stubborn sing-caught somewhere

Between the deep black water and the sky.

The story initially does test your attention, but from page 70+ or so, the pace picks up and you are hooked. It blends smoothly out of 1950’s Moscow and modern-day Boston, without jarring the reader. The end is unusual and after a long time, I have read something that goes beyond the obvious and ordinary.

There are some flaws in the tale as well – the character of Drew Brooke. The only thing I can say is why? I mean why did we have to create her at all; at least as a  principal character….Cynthia could have served the purpose of bridging and there would have been less confusion in the reader’s mind about why this poor little rich girl is the way she is!!! Even the story of her grandparents kind of hangs in the air and somehow I could not find closure to that tale. Then there are the obvious clichés – the brutal and lecherous Russian Secret Police, the blessings of capitalism versus socialism etc. Having said this, the cliché’s are minimal and she does have some of the principal make some original and interesting observations about Socialist Russia.

I would strongly recommend getting a copy if you want a good yarn which can also be called literature, without going round and round in surreal literary jargon! Compliments to Daphne Kalotay for writing such a wonderful book!

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”!

A philosphical debate on man’s fate & the diadatics on action leading to equal and opposite reaction…aka Phew….saved by the bell!

There are some things that are simply fortuitous and in the very hackneyed way, one can say that whatever happens happens for the best. (Hang on! I will get to the particulars after I spend some time on general rhetoric’s) I am strong adherent of this school of thought, though as God be my witness, I am sorely tempted in abandoning this principle of goodwill and sanguine hope many a times. In fact, there are a couple of incidents in my life about which, I am still waiting to find out what this best is/was???? But then, such things do happen that kind of restore your faith and make you realize (albeit kicking and screaming) that there are greater forces at work between heaven and earth and there is a reason behind almost every action.

Now for the particulars –

I realize that I have been off the blog for some time and it is kind of hilarious, when on my Aug 1 post, I claimed that I was writing more this year. However, irony aside, I do believe now that there are some matters that one should never talk about because that invariably leads to tempting the faith! For instance, last year, my mother was getting her house renovated and while clearing the house for the carpenters and decorators to work on, she came to realize that she had over the years collected a huge amount of crockery and cutlery. I do mean huge and not just you more than general, but something to the effect of 77 serving trays!!!! She called me and said that she had no idea when or how she bought so much of stuff and there was a sneaking pride in her voice, when she said that my aunt (a very weird woman who is actually obsessed with material gains) also could not rival her sets. I know I am resorting to clichés, but sometimes they do have a lot of truth in them – in my mother’s case pride did come before a fall!! After the renovation was done, she went for a small vacation with her sisters and yes….the inevitable did happen! Her house was broken into and among the various items that were stolen were her prized crockeries including 52 of her 77 serving trays! My mother is now adjusting to the life of simple living and high thinking while spending hours practicing how to keep her mouth shut!

You know how they say, that as time passes by, daughter’s become more like their mothers! Well there is a lot of truth in that as well! Having philosophized and lectured my mother about her lack of circumspect  and failure at being humble, I declare to the world, that yes…I am indeed writing more! So the fates decide, that this mother daughter pair are really thick-headed and they SO NEED A LESSON! Therefore one fine evening, I come back from work, make myself a cup of coffee and sit down to write. My guilt conscience was at its paroxysm, because, I had not touched my novel in more than 2 months and I was determined to make up for my slackness. I switched on the laptop and then DISASTER stuck!

My system had crashed. I do not know when and I do not know how, but it had crashed. All my files, notes, music…everything was wiped off from the damm system. After getting hysterical and hyperventilating for nearly 3 hours, during which my flat mate tried all recovery recipes from smelling salts to chocolate ice cream, I called the system repair guy. He gave the laptop back to me last night with a I-have-no-idea-what-you-did-but-there-is-nothing-I-can-do look. Oh! Wail! Oh! Horror! Why has the Lord forsaken me???

So what’s bright side, you ask??? Well, music and photographs I can recover…..thanks to iPods and Picassa. But more importantly the writing….well remember, how I said that I had not written in well over two months, well …..the last cut that I wrote, I had mailed it to a perspective publisher….so ITS ALL SAFE….in my Gmail. All my short stories are uploaded on Goodreads and thank the blog…well you know is a web-based portal……so really….no loss!!!! While I was bemoaning the fact that for 8 weeks, I was neglecting my craft, there seems to be a greater plan at work. Had I written in those weeks, after sending the work so far to the publisher, all would have been lost! For whatever reasons, not writing during that time was definitely fortunate incident!

Hence, enlightenment came to me and I decide –

  1. Keep my trap shut…especially if I am doing good stuff.
  2.  Hang in there…there is a reason behind all that happens, even if it’s not apparent immediately.
  3. Get a backup for your system….do not save everything on your desktop!

The1/2+ Milestone……

So 8 months down the line, I thought it’s a good time to retrospect about what I had planned for 2012 and take stock of things. I know 8 months are neither here or there…I mean its way beyond the mid mark and a little too early to review the P&L of the year. But then if I want to start, I want to start whenever I am inspired….I mean who says that resolutions have to be made in the year or I cannot start all over half down the year????

Anyhow, below is the checklist that I had made for myself somewhere around 30th December 2011 –

  1. Earn more
  2. Lose weight
  3. Write rigorously and get  published
  4. Compatible partnerships
  5. Save and cut debts

Now let’s do the report card bit –

  1. Earn more – I did, but then I kind of spent all of it, so no gain and no loss
  2. Lose weight – Nope, but then I do have a target to lose 90 pounds in next 3 months (have reasons!!) so this one I might make it!
  3. Write rigorously and get published – Well I am writing a lot more this year and while there have been conversations, I am yet to get published
  4. Compatible partnerships – The dicey one….I mean I am in that no man’s land of being single and in a relationship and not committed (ships passing through the night kind of deal, except this is the longest passage ever!)…er…don’t ask!
  5. Save and cut debts –Miserably failed…no reduction in debts and definitely no savings either!

Overall I think I am hovering around 50% mark, (yes I know I am taking a highly optimistic view of my efforts, but then I do have to stay motivated, so 50% makes me feel good!) but there is still a long way to go. Therefore I start afresh again today, so that at the end of the year, I would have touched at least the 75% mark….I mean there will be uncontrollable factors like when do I get a good publisher (but until then I can keep writing and improving my craft) and of course the relationship bit is more dependent on him than me (I know there are people who take control of their drifting relationships and a friend of mine tells me it’s very easy to manage him, but I ain’t like that!)  But the others items can and should be achieved….so here’s to renewed vigor and effort in achieving my goals!

As part of the off with the old and on with the new campaign, I have decided to give up on my old theme for the blog…I was kind of sick of the pink/mauve whirls and go in for a more minimalistic approach. The panel photo for the uninitiated is Van Gogh’s Parisian Novels Yellow Books (1887). I love Van Gogh and his dedication to his art (though unlike him, I would want fame while I am alive and kicking) and of course, this particular work encompasses books (my most precious possession) and is set in bright hues…making this work one of my all-time favorites and I have decided to share the joy via the blog! My contents however will not change (Yes! I will continue to bore you with historical fiction), but I hope my writing improves….so do feel free to let me know if I am gone up in scale from February to August or do you think I have taken a downturn (Shudder! Shudder! Horror!) …Either way, I do plan to plod on….so once again…join me in the journey!

Saturday Nights and the Ds…..

I spent last night, i.e. the Saturday night in the most clichéd form possible! Went drinking then dancing and then again drinking and then again dancing followed by more drinking and finally an early morning breakfast! I am told this way of spending the Saturday night shows that one has a life – a social life! I just have a small question – as an after effect when I spend the whole of Sunday at home warding of the debaucheries of the previous night …trust meat that point I know that no life is better than that life!!!!! Of course, one doesn’t really complain when one is actually committing the debaucheries, because all said and done it’s a lot of fun, at least for that moment of time. One thinks of the Latin proverb -“It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend, one’s present or future thirst, the excellence of the wine, or any other reason.” and raises a toast to it and one more and may be one more! The consequences are all hazy in the alcohol incensed fumes of future……so tomorrow shall never come!

Anyhow, I am not writing to debate out the pro and cons of wild night outs, but rather to share my varied and bemused reactions to clubs/discotheques. Even while the world was dancing the night out around me, I know I had to come back and write about this!!

So after drinking for like 3 straight hours, we went to this “in” club at the very heart of the city. This is like my umpteenth visit to this place and I still have to figure out why it so high in the “places to be in” list. The alcohol is alright but way overpriced. The food is …well palatable, but then who goes to a night club to eat. The music is….well for somebody who really digs dancing……well want to stop dancing and go sit in a corner and nurse my LIT. Then comes the people part of the whole deal…let’s get to that part.

Since this is the place “to see and to be seen with”, the entire world descends there. So I begin with the hep and cool, who were the most amazing clothes, have reserved tables and get waited on hand and foot. In a weird autocratic system, no body dances with their women, but they can go and grope anyone they care to in whatever form/shape/size as long as they are of the female disposition. Then there are the “want to be seen so that can show off to friends”. I find this variety mostly among women than among men. They wear the shortest of dresses and tallest of heels and are distinctly uncomfortable in the attire and do not have any fun, since they are so physically uncomfortable; but you will never find them confessing the same. Oh! No! They just had a “fab” time…..what the hell is fab anyway? Then of course there are the usual frustrated lot – both men and women. The men will go around pushing themselves on to you no matter how much you try to protect yourself. But at least the club bouncers are always on the alert for such creatures and in my limited night clubbing experience have always taken care of these gropers. But what about this whole lot of frustrated…let me rephrase desperate women???? So I went in a gang of 8, four guys and us four girls. At one point, two of my guy friends were just standing in the corner, drinking and generally enjoying, when suddenly this scantily clad persona came crashing into both of them and started gyrating…well gyrating…you know what I mean!! My poor boys……they did not know how to handle this loose cannon. Until one of her friends came and took her away, those two were literally cornered! Then there is this group, who seem to find a challenge in finding private spaces to display their affection and insist that the entire world should witness their love – at least physical if not spiritual! Shudder! Shudder! Ugh! Finally there would be this shy group of men/women who come looking for a good time and a possible dance partner….they will come quietly and shyly and ask if you wanted to dance….when you are already dancing with somebody!

After all of this and the bad music, is it any surprise that I spent a significant part of the clubbing portion of the night, hardly dancing and nursing one LIT after the other. The result of those LITs I keenly feel today…..the sins of the past shall visit us tomorrow…..sigh sigh! Groan! Groan! In the words of one the greatest philosophers of the modern times ….”Alcohol is the cause and the solution to many of life’s problems.” Homer Simpson

Perfection, Blocks and Blogs

For the last couple of days, I have been suffering from what is referred to in a clichéd manner as “The Writer’s Block”!  I want to understand why something that sounds so bloody positive should actually mean a dead end! I mean the idea of a writer’s block should conjure images of 1920’s Paris and the roaring twenties and the Jazz age of Fitzgerald and Ezra Pound. Or it should represent some hill side (or if you prefer a beach side; give me mountains over the sea any day; but then that’s me!) where a writing community meets every year to discuss and develop the “next break through literature”. Better yet, it could refer to a journal, a la, the New Yorker, where all the post-modernist/post colonialists/post realists/post whatever genre is in vogue now publish their posts! (Pun intended). Instead, it actually refers to my sitting in front of the laptop, staring at the blank word doc and twiddling my thumbs, while I drink endless cups of tea! (The way things are going I will soon have to graduate to drinking something stronger!)

Wikipedia (I only go to the best for reference) lists that Writer’s block can be a result of various factors working in combination or independently and includes but not limited to –

  • Creative problems where the author does not have any inspiration and may think that he has conceived a project far beyond his capabilities – My response – I am very much inspired and the narcissist that I am, I am convinced nothing is beyond me except a 10 mile marathon (Physical activity is not my forte; maybe I have a condition called Physical Block or something!)
  • Awareness of an audience can also be a deterrent for the writer and stifle his creative capabilities – My Response – Narcissist argument holds good here  again; what I will write, the world will love (Yes! I know I need to come down from my cloud 9 zone to avoid nose bleeds!)
  • Writer’s personal life may impact his writing capacity – physical illness, depression, financial constraints. – My response – Physically I am fine (I do not consider my inability to run a 10 mile a thon, a serious ailment) Depression – Nope again!  Financial Constrain – Well, that has been my condition ever since I have finished university and is now practically my best friend residing with me and my flatmate!

So after much rumination, I have come to the conclusion, that I have a unique writer’s block condition that no one has experienced before – I cannot think of a absolutely spectacular, stunningly innovative and brilliantly conceived plot, that will be handed down to posterity as the by-word of all matrimony where my male protagonist proposes marriage to my female protagonist.  I know Margret Atwood has said that if she waited for perfection she would never get a word written, but in all honesty, I cannot conceive a believable plot where my hero can propose marriage in an era of chaperoned girls and conservative morality. That’s my dilemma….I am inspired, I am aware of my audience and I am not suffering from any physical or mental ill health! (Unless you consider my eccentricity as a sure sign of madness!)  I just cannot seem to get past this chapter!

Again, per Wikipedia, the cure to writer’s block lies in –

  • Group Discussion – My flatmate alone has suffered enough through my novel high and lows (again! Pun intended and yes it’s a bad pun, but concentrate – I am suffering from lack of creativity) and I refuse to subject the rest of the world with it – I mean if I start breaking down the plot for one and all, where is novelty of the book?
  • Journals – What will I write in the journal that I cannot write in the book? I know the plot; I know the outline, it’s the detail I am struggling with! Ugh! Ugh! In fact this thought made me feel like a goat! (Don’t despair, I will explain, I am suffering from creative disability not correlating inability – Sue Grafton made a very pertinent observation on writers and ideas – “I carry a notebook with me everywhere. But that’s only the first step. Ideas are easy. It’s the execution of ideas that really separates the sheep from the goats.”)
  • List Making – List of all the innovative proposals through ages? Who is the author of this work again- the whole wide world or moi?
  • Free Writing – Well, that’s why I began this blog because per Julia Cameron  (again Wikipedia) Morning pages, which are three pages of writing without any intention of writing for any purpose, helps stimulate cognitive functions of the brain. I thought this was eminently sensible, so the blog.

But woe is me…my condition is bad……I still have absolutely no idea how to make my protagonist propose marriage!!!!!!!