Starting New Projects While Old Ones Die. Of Loneliness and Heartbreak

Ah, don’t t you just love it when blog titles promise cheery content?

 

A friend of mine and I have started recording vlogs and sending them to each other. (Private ones that aren’t really on the interwebz so don’t look.) I have always wanted a vlog but have been shy and also terrified of its implications for my job, etc. so this is kind of a great compromise. I’m so excited for it! Maybe once we start to suck less (Okay. I don’t know if she sucks; I definitely suck. She’ll send me her first vlog tomorrow. But I definitely do suck. ) and think of a good name for our vlog,  we’ll even go public!

However (There always is a however, isn’t there?) I feel a bit like I’m cheating on my blog with a vlog. Is this normal? Things that are talked about cannot necessarily be blogged about because just the act of speaking and motioning makes the topic at hand more interesting than if it were blogged about. So vlogging (in the sense of just recording and poorly-editing/not-at-all-editing a video) is easier than blogging.

Plus, once I start my new job, I’ll have limited free time, so if I have time for just one, which should I choose? I am of course accountable to my friend so I’d choose the vlog. Will my poor long-suffering blog then die out completely? How do I do this sensibly, guys? Any thoughts? I want to do both things.

On that note, I have a new job! I start on July 3rd. Stay tuned to hear about the scary misadventures of small Sindhu in large, scary law firm job!

It’s weird; I am making very few blogposts these days, and of those, a lot more of them are think-y random thought posts and very few are about books. ☹ I’m actually reading very few books and the books I read haven’t felt blog-worthy somehow. That doesn’t mean they’re bad books or anything, just that I don’t have any thing to say about them that would contribute to the discussion on them.

I don’t know why I feel like I owe an explanation about this because of all my friends, exactly one friend actually reads my blog and *he* said he likes the think-y life type posts more because he doesn’t read. As for my other followers, I don’t really know what you like, so may be let me know in the comments?

Should I diversify my blog and talk about all manner of rubbish? I feel like I could blog a lot more often then. It’s something to think about. What do you guys think?

Please comment. I really like comments.

Hoot.

SinRaowl.

 

 

Writing Dilemma– Sexuality

ATTENTION: This post contains explicit content. It talks of alternative sexuality, female sexual habits, and a woman who does not want babies. If any of this is offensive to you, please don’t read further. Also, NSFW in case you hadn’t figured already.

Hello everyone!

I am doing nanowrimo this year! For those of you who have been living under a rock, or those of you whose mummy-papa just got WiFI, nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month. This makes no sense because the event is very much international, but nanowrimo is a better acronym than innowrimo. Anyhow, the idea is that anyone who signs up for it undertakes the mad task of writing a 50,000 novel in the month of November. Third time’s the charm, one hopes, because I’ve never won nanowrimo before even though I tried in 2014 and 2015.

This year, I will be writing a novel about the world ending . I’m in the process of fleshing out an idea that came to me in a dream. Yes. You read that right. I initially intended it to be a short story but, courtesy of my imagination taking the idea for a long spin uphill on a winding road, then crashing it off a cliff and resuscitating it, bruised but unbroken, it’s now a potential novel idea.

I don’t want to give much of the plot away because spoilers. (I swear that’s the reason. It’s totally not because I have no idea what the plot really is. Totally.             -nervous laugh.-)

Now to the dilemma:

I had long since decided that all my protagonists are going to be female because I don’t understand the male psyche and I would never presume to imagine that I do. (Maybe if men waxed their legs, I could have my legs waxed like a certain bestselling author and learn everything about them, but sadly, most men don’t wax their legs. And I don’t enjoy waxing either, so that’s out.)

It also just so happens that every single one of these women pops into my head, partially formed, but determined to be androgynous in appearance and bisexual.My present protagonist Megha is no exception to this rule. We’ve just met, but it’s already deadly obvious. This still isn’t the dilemma.

NOW to the dilemma for real:

Megha is sexually promiscuous. Vociferously so. She’d slap me if I tried to tie her down. And I don’t think that this is something anyone should judge… or care. My Megha does not want to date. My Megha does not want many babies with Mr. Perfect. My Megha did not dream about her wedding day since she was a little girl. My Megha does not even want a civil union with a Mrs. Perfect. What my Megha wants is sex. And a lot of it.

My problem is this; historically, bisexuality, when acknowledged as real, has been associated with promiscuity. When I write Megha, will I be promoting sex positivity for women like I intended, or will I just end up perpetuating the stereotype? How do I avoid perpetuating the stereotype? How do I make it known that yes, Megha has a lot of sex but that’s not because she’s bisexual but because it’s fun?

Thoughts?

Tips?

Are any of you doing nanowrimo? What kind of story are you writing? Have any of you written an LGBTQ+ character before? Let me know in the comments.

Also, add me as a writing buddy on the nanowrimo website if you’re participating. I’m owlishwriter.

That’s all for today, guys.

Hoot.

–Sin

Currently Reading… An Apparently Unknown Book

I was in Delhi today for work and i had some time to kill before I had to go to the airport. So, naturally, I went to a book store.

I picked up a book called Pangea by Talaiya Safdar.From the description, it seems to be about a dystopic world set after World War III. Dystopia, science fiction, female author, South Asian author, are all my staple food, as everyone who reads this blog knows. I think that the fantasy (non-mythological) and science fiction genres are highly underrepresented in South Asia. 

Then I did what any respectable book blogger would do; I checked for the book on Goodreads to mark it as currently reading and discovered that this book has no ratings and no reviews on Goodreads! This shocks but also excites me; I will make sure to review this book after reading it and if I enjoy it, I’ll make sure it gets a bit more publicity.
I have a long flight journey ahead of me this evening and I’m glad I now have a long distraction-free agenda mapped out for my time on the plane. 
Here’s to getting excited about reviewing again after some soul-crushingly busy weeks at work! Cheers.

Hoot.

–Sin

Monday Morning Commute Thoughts

I’m currently reading The Orchard of Lost Souls by Nadifa Mohamed. It’s the story of three Somali women who lived during the Somali civil war. It’s a beautifully written book and it prompted me to talk to you about the cathartic experience that is a good book. 

The weather is beautiful and even the fact that it’s Monday and I have a long day ahead of me does not take away from the joy that good prose gives me. 

As I grow older, I realise that being a writer isn’t just a childhood dream but a real, honest longing that I can’t overcome. As this longing increases in intensity, I notice the music that the written word produces more and more each day. 

Gone are the days when I sped through books, desperate to know what happens next. Now, after coming across a particularly delightful line, I set my book down and stare at the ceiling for a while, marvelling. I wonder what humans have done to deserve the delight that is language  And I thank my lucky stars for the family and the time I was born into. I hug the book to my chest. And I smile. As long as the words I’ve read dance on my tongue and in my mind, I stay smiling. 

I may take an extra day or an extra week to finish my book at this rate. And that’s okay. As long as there exist words that send me into ecstacies, everything will always be okay. 

“Kawsar closes her eyes in embarrassment, the kisses making her skin sing” That’s the latest line from the book that I’m delighting in. In case any one is wondering. But there are several brilliant lines in the book. Read it. 
Do you prefer plot-heavy stories or language-heavy stories? What kind of language are you more comfortable navigating; flowery or simple? Have you read this book or any of Nadifa Mohamed’s other books? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

Patti Smith Tells Me What to Read

When I was a kid, before the usage of the internet was popular, I bought my books exclusively by browsing through the bookstore and picking up what looked interesting. I didn’t always buy and read books belonging to series in the right order, allowing my imagination to fill in the bits that didn’t quite make sense. But the overleaf or the last page of the book would contain the names of the other books in those series and I would keep an eye out for them. When I finally found and read the prequels of the books that I had read first, it was a cathartic experience. I’ll never regret reading my books in this strange way. But it did mean that I ended up getting stuck reading a certain author or publisher a lot.

The only reason my reading didn’t stagnate is because I tended to gravitate towards books about people that read a lot and write a lot and want to be writers or are writers, as a kid. (Whom am I kidding? I still gravitate towards such books)
In these books, there would be those treasured times when these fictional people that I felt I could relate to so much, read real books by real authors. And then I would get extremely excited and go hunt down those books. I found one of my all-time favourite children’s books, A Little Princess, this way. New books! New worlds! So magical.

To date, I adore reading books about obsessive readers and writers; about people who didn’t drop their reading habits, blaming adulthood for their default. And I adore books about writing and the writing process even more. My all-time favourite book (Spoiler alert: It may be toppled soon by a new book) Bird by Bird is about writing. And nothing– NOTHING– can beat the joy of getting book recommendations from such books even in the age of Goodreads and Booktube.

One such book that I had been reading for a while now is M Train by Patti Smith. It’s her second memoir, and it released in 2015. I took some time to get my hands on it because of Amazon’s idiocy, and it took me some more time to make myself read it because of the enormous number of unread books I have. I decided to start it over after reading about a third of it because I wanted to annotate it. After all of these obstacles keeping us apart, I finally finished reading it last morning. She reads like me, but more so; getting obsessed with authors, with stories, with the lives of the fictional people in those stories, etc. And she has made me fall in love with her and with all of the things she loves. She thinks of writing as prayer, the way I do. I feel like she just gets me.  I got so many book recommendations, so many author recommendations from her, that I felt cross-eyed. I wonder how many books I’ll own and have read by the time I’m her age.

In one part of the book, she speaks about how much she loves Mikhail Bulgakov, and I’ve had one of his books on my shelf for absolute ages and I bought another one recently. So… I’ve decided that it’s time to give this Russian writer a chance, even though I have a rubbish record of finishing Russian books. I haven’t finished anything by Tolstoy, I didn’t finish Doctor Zhivago, or anything by Gogol till date. I just think that the Russians have a style of writing that involves a hell of a lot of backstory and digression, and I’m unused to that style. Maybe once I’m accustomed to it, I’ll actually be able to read the other authors too: Especially Pasternak, because  Doctor Zhivago has such an interesting premise, which is right up my alley and I really, really want to be able to finish it.

So get tuned for two Bulgakov books in a row, and stay tuned because it’ll take me forever at the speed I’m reading these days.

What do you guys think of Patti Smith’s books? Her music? Do you like Bulgakov? Do you read any Russian literature? Tell me in the comments!

Here are my customary social media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/owlishwriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8681585-sindhu
Twitter: @sindrao22
Email: owlishreader@gmail.com
Instagram: owlishphotographer

Keeping reading, guys!

Cheers.

Hoot,

Sin

Currently Reading (Taking Weird Decisions)

Hello everyone! What are you all reading right now?
I am currently in the middle of M Train by Patti Smith. It’s a memoir, which is my favourite genre of non-fiction. It’s her second memoir after Just Kids.
I found so many quotable and lovable quotes in it that I panicked about
forgetting them. Therefore, I have decided to recommence my reading of the book and write and underline and whatever else in it since I’m never going to give this book away anyway. Yes, I know. It’s ridiculous when I already hardly get time to read but I must. I feel like I’ll really miss out on something if I don’t.
Plus, I’m seriously considering buying a hard copy of Just Kids and rereading that because I feel like the Kindle edition may not have done justice to it.
In other words, I may have lost my mind. I have reconciled myself to it though. M Train, here I come! (Again)
Has any book given you this feeling before? Do you write in books or do you abhor the practice? Have you read either Just Kids or M Train? What did you think? What do you think of Patti Smith’s music? Is her latest album any good? Let me know in the comments!

Two Careers?!

Hello Everyone!

Long hiatus I took there. Did any of you miss me? Do you of you still remember me?! Juuuust checking!

Anyway, my unplanned hiatus is part of what I want to talk to you about.

I love my new job. My boss seems to like my work, and I’m getting a lot of responsibility, and as someone who thrives under pressure, I couldn’t be happier. I’m like an old, seasoned member of the workforce already. I groan as I leave the house each morning, I count down the minutes to weekends, I love holidays, but I wouldn’t stop working if you paid me to do it. I sometimes think about work when I’m not at work(Which is a revelatory experience after my previous job where I would go out of the way to avoid thinking about work the minute I stepped into the parking lot of the office premises)  I carry a lot of work home too. I fall asleep insanely early each night. But I’m happy.

So what’s the problem, you ask? Well, I have no time to write. Some days, I have no time to think about what I even WANT to write. So I didn’t write. I did write in my journal semi-regularly about things that are on my mind but I didn’t blog. I couldn’t blog. I’ve been reading Cloud Atlas since the end of January and I still have a hundred pages left to read!

I frequently feel wistful that this aspect of my life is just falling by the wayside. I know that I want to keep reading, blogging, finish my novel, write several other novels perhaps, but I don’t want to give up on my legal career to do it.

So that brings me to the question that’s been on my mind for a few weeks now: In the way society functions for adults right now, is it even possible to be interested in two things? Is it possible to love two diverse career paths, one artistic, one not as artistic, and still do both without dying of exhaustion and sleep-deprivation?

I know of authors who worked day jobs and wrote at the same time, but those were usually very “9 to 5”, in a manner of speaking. Do you guys know of anybody who’s written and had a career? Is it even possible? Am I just not organised enough? Do writing prompts help? Should I follow one dream to the exclusion of all others? Will I fail at both jobs at this rate? What do you guys think?

One thing I want to attempt doing is setting aside a fixed time in the morning to write. But I feel so fried mentally that it’s somewhat impossible to think creatively. Give me tips, guys.

All this aside, let’s get back to the broader question at hand: We may not have strict professional guilds anymore but are our schedules alone working to ensure that one never pursues more than one passion as an adult? (Even if that passion is just making money) Can we be artists, musicians, writers without hungry eyes and a bleeding heart? Is every person who doesn’t work 60 hours a week (At either profession) doomed to fail? Is that healthy?

What do you think, everyone? Let me know in the comments! Just thinking aloud here, and you’re welcome to do the same, even if you think I’m wrong.

 

Book Review (and mini rant) |Girl Online

This is a book review of Girl Online by Zoe Sugg, but it’s mostly a rambling account of what I thought about during and after my reading of the book.

Have you guys ever bought a book with the thought, at the back of your mind, that this is a book you’re going to love to hate? Have you felt like a fool for buying it as you bought it, but also excited at all the fun you’re going to have as you bash it? This isn’t something I do often, being short on money, and being an impulsive obsessive book-buyer, but I did do it on Saturday: I bought Girl Online by Zoe Sugg because it was on a major discount after the second book in the series came out.

Well, I am generally partial to books that are written as journals, letters, emails, blogs, etc. and books about writers, as I’m sure I’ve mentioned before. This factor also contributed to my decision to buy and read this book.

I also am still young enough to be able to channel the painfully awkward, tortured teenager I was, and remember how much I would have loved a book like this one about generic, awkward teenaged girl back then. With each passing year, the thought processes in such books seem more cringe-worthy and vapid, but I’m consciously trying to avoid being that way because my thoughts were frequently dismissed when I was a teenager whose spotty face seemed like the end of the world and I don’t want to do the same.

Besides, I have this rule that I’ll never knock a book until I’ve read it, no matter how ridiculous the premise sounds or how many bad reviews it gets. For instance, I read all three of the Fifty Shades books by E.L. James and took great pleasure in despising it from a place of knowledge and experience. I was able to, on more than one occasion, give elaborate discourses on why the books are problematic. Can there really be a greater pleasure? I think not.

I actually read this book in a few hours because it’s quick moving and the language isn’t complicated. I will get to the review but first some background:

I have been righteously sulking since she announced that she was writing a book and has gotten a book deal, grumbling that she doesn’t have any talent as a writer, and that some people have all the luck, etc. This is regardless of the fact that I haven’t had the discipline to finish even a first draft of a novel.

I also felt righteously smug when it emerged that she had used a ghost writer in the writing of the book even though the ideas and the story were hers. “What else would you expect?” I thought, smirking. I then righteously ignored the pang of shame I felt about my smugness when I heard that she had had to take a hiatus from the internet because all of the negativity triggered off her anxiety.

I have seen a few of her videos and I thought (in spite of myself) that she’s adorable. However, the sort of consumerist attitude she propagates makes me uncomfortable on a very primal level. I felt alarmed when I see the amount of makeup she slathers on her face to get a ‘natural look’. It doesn’t please me to imagine young girls following her example, and ruining their body images, not to mention their skin. I felt so happy when I saw beautyvloggers like CloudyApples talk about how it can be so tempting to tweak one’s appearance and hide one’s flaws but it isn’t healthy to do that, physically, mentally, and financially.

Unfortunately, this is a hypocritical view because I do use some makeup every single day. I’ve worn kajal on my eyes nearly every day since I was 17 but I have now started wearing lipstick as well to work. And face cream and face mousse. It makes me more confident, somehow. I don’t know… I guess what I’m trying to say is that when I try to be empathetic and understanding instead of automatically judgmental, her behaviour makes sense.

People are too impatient to be empathetic, however. It’s like everyone has been desperate to have a voice and be heard all their lives, and the internet has given them this opportunity, to be exploited from the comfort of their own beds in their pajamas. What could be better? Why would anyone choose to exercise restraint which is already forced on us in every other facet of our lives. We can be snide, disrespectful, downright nasty and not even be caught. And we can say them to anyone with even a smidgeon of an online presence.

I have heard people say things about celebrities that they would think a million times before saying to someone’s face all my life. We were comfortable in the fact that the recipient would never hear us, and even if they did, they wouldn’t care, because we are like gnats to them; just as important with just as much of a voice. This culture has carried forward into the age of the internet however, and people think it’s ok to put these harsh thoughts on to VERY public forums without any concern for if the recipient even has any feelings. In fact, a lot of people seem to believe that people waive their rights to be hurt or to have feelings (among other things) when they become famous.

That’s what Zoe’s book is about, primarily. It is about an insecure teenager with anxiety disorder who comes to terms with the lack of boundaries on the internet. The storyline was fairly juvenile, and the characterisation was two-dimensional. Despite that, I liked this book for the message. I liked that it spoke about the continuing stigma attached with psychological disorders. I liked that it spoke about the trauma attached with cyber-bullying. I liked that it spoke about the right to privacy that -gasp- celebrities too are entitled to. I liked that it spoke about a new kind of celebrity who’s emerging because of blogs and youtube, the bloggers and vloggers who are even less equipped to deal with their sudden rise to fame. I thought that the token gay friend who is now in every contemporary young adult novel was fairly cliché, and yet, some of the things he said to Penny, the main character, about relationships are hauntingly similar to something a gay friend of mine said to me.

More than anything else, it was a fast-paced, happy fuzzy book, which never end of becoming favourites of mine, but which I do read every so often when I’m overwhelmed by life or even by the heavy books I usually tend to read. It left me with a smile on my face. It isn’t a fantastic book, and it certainly “literary” in terms of story, characterisation or quality of language, but I can’t help but appreciate what Zoe has tried to do in the book.

Well, there you go. I am eating crow right now. I sincerely contemplated ripping this book apart for the sake of it, because it bothered me that I enjoyed it, and it is a book that can be picked on quite easily. But I’ve decided to be honest and tell you guys that it’s a book, the sum of whose parts is greater than the parts themselves, at the end of the day. I don’t know if it’s a book I’d recommend, because it isn’t a very revelatory book in terms of the themes it explores but it was a thought-provoking reading experience because Zoe Sugg went through the things the protagonists in this book go through and I feel like I was a part of the problem. We nerds, geeks and outcasts do so love to indiscriminately hate on the “beautiful” people, don’t we? Maybe because we think they deserve it, or because we think they wouldn’t care anyway… I don’t know. But you know. Um. Catharsis. Don’t hate on someone because they enjoy the things you think are lame, shallow and mainstream.

Well… There are my two cents about cyber bullying and about this pleasant surprise of a book.
Did any of you guys read this book? What did you think? What do you think about cyber bullying and celebrity bashing? Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading and reaching the end of yet another abysmally long Sindhu-rant. You can now go back to having the nice day you were having before had a lapse in judgment and opened my post. :p
That’s all for today!
Hoot
–Sin

Posting Schedule

I’m proud to report that things are falling into place at work, and so it’s time to get this blog back into shape. To that end, I’ve decided that I’m going to post twice a week.

I will post once on Monday and once on either Thursday or Friday, depending on how busy the week is. I read a lot in November, so I have a lot of book reviews to write. There’s also going to be a lot of other content. So yes! Yay!

Erm. That’s all for today. xD

Here are my social media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/owlishwriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8681585-sindhu
Twitter: @sindrao22
Email: owlishreader@gmail.com
Instagram: owlishphotographer

Hoot.

-Sin

Life Updates

Hey guys.

You always know that when I post one of these, I haven’t written much else in a while and it is for a not so great reason. Gah, just once I’d like to post a life update because I eloped using the money I got for a book advance and decided not to use the internet on my two week vacation in Turkey. Sadly, it is not to be. So brace yourself.

I’m able to write today after a bit of a blog writing block because I feel like my life is finally coming together in the last month of the year. And also because I’m making myself write before I fall off the wagon completely. 😛

November was not a good month. I had a lot of crap going on in my life. I don’t want to get into it. It suffices to say that I felt sad. (Wow, I’m such a good and descriptive writer.) Miserable. Terrified.

I ended out skipping out on NaNoWriMo after the 10th or so day. Everybody told me not to give up, but I was too sorry for myself and in ultra-sulk mode to listen. I feel like a fool  now. I have not given up on my story though. Certainly emphatically not. In a future post, I’ll explain what it’s about.

I read a lot though; 9 books.The good news ends there. I only reviewed one. I feel really guilty about that because because there were a couple of books in there by Indian authors that I adored. I want more people to read them. I’ll try to review them soon.

This month, I’ve started a new job. I am going to try and figure things out, and then I’ll be able to start writing more again once I fall into a routine. Not just on my blog, but in life also. Expect well-meaning resolutions about the same at the start of the new year. This is the year I’ll listen most likely, because I’m having a quarter-life crisis about my writing, and I’m kind of desperately determined to make it work instead of allowing adulthood take over my life.

The most important update is the book I’m reading right now:White Teeth by Zadie Smith. 🙂 It’s hilarious and I hug it sometimes before I put it away after my lunch break.

I’ll be back to regular posting soon. I’ll even decide on a schedule since my life is more or less structured now.

What has been up with you guys? What are you reading? How do you keep writing even when you just want to sleep and watch bad TV? Because that’s what I did. TV and naps. And crying. And a lot more bad TV. Tips from people who deal with lives more maturely  than me are appreciated. 😀 COMMENTS AND MOAR COMMENTS PLEASE. 😀

Here are my social media links. I’ve been especially active on Instagram, especially with posting pictures of the apple of my eye, Terry. ❤ If you’re a dog-lover or a book-lover, my Instagram is a great destination. ^_^

zFacebook: https://www.facebook.com/owlishwriter
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/8681585-sindhu
Twitter: @sindrao22
Email: owlishreader@gmail.com
Instagram: owlishphotographer

Hoot.

Sin.