Have You Tried Writing First Thing in the Morning?


Each morning I wake up fresh from dreaming and spill it out on the blank page, coloring it with emotions, anguish and joy, be as it may, with no direction, purpose or censorship.

Frequently called the morning pages, it is a warmup practice adopted by many fiction writers. I sometimes fill the notebook with nonsense. Actually, most times. But amid the gibberish, I sometimes find gems, kernels of stories, or characters.

Have you ever tried writing first thing in the morning before you’ve really woken up properly? Or like I asked in my other blog, have you ever written in the dark?

How far have you come, and does it matter?


“Always concentrate on how far you have come, rather than how far you have left to go. The difference in how easy it seems will amaze you.”
Heidi Johnson

Is success relevant?

Is success relevant?

I don’t know if I agree with this advice. When I look back, the amount I could fall scares me. I’d rather just keep going, breath by breath, each step of the mountain I’m given to climb.

The thought of scaling up to the top scares me too, because it is so lonely up there. And isn’t it better to just keep climbing and have something to look forward to?

When it comes to my writing, I’d rather just keep plugging away at it, taking each day as it comes. Success is irrelevant. The agony and ecstasy of having written is enough.

Would I have to eat my words some day?

Is success important to you? If yes, what would you do to get there, and what would you do once you’ve reached your destination?

If success isn’t important, why not?

Kartar Singh on Hunger Strike


Kartar Singh has stopped eating.

He swims up to me when I try to feed him, looks at the food, and then looks up at me with his beady eyes, as if to say, What, you think I’m going to eat this crap? You have another think coming!

Kartar Singh the beady Betta Fish

Betta Fish on Hunger strike

I’ve tried all kinds of food good for his kind, but he turns his tail at them, and flashes in indignation. The water parameters are fine so I can only try and imagine what is wrong with him.

I’m told Betta fish are moody, can go for days without food, and given my experience with thoroughly spoilt Bettas before, I’m holding on to that.

Or, our Kartar Singh has figured out the Gandhian way of protest, because the only change in his life so far has been the trip to my study desk... and now that he is back home in his own aquarium, he has taken to sulking behind the leaves.

He’s also ignored the mirror all of yesterday (beware the Betta who ignores the mirror, this indicates he means business). Maybe his charter of demands includes a room with a view of books, and the Singaporean skyline from the window.

I’m tempted to take a picture of the view from my study desk and paste it behind his aquarium. How would he know the difference? He is a fish, after all.

But something tells me that with a name like Kartar Singh, he might be on to me.

A-Z challenge: Have I thanked you yet??


April has been the A-Z challenge month for me. I invested quite a bit of myself in it, and like I said in my yesterday’s Reflection post, I have the organizers to thank for giving my muse a huge boost.

But I also need  to thank some of the most consistent and kind commenters on my A-Z posts, without whom I would have fizzled out about halfway down the challenge. They provided extraordinary word-prompts for my flash pieces, and were unfailing in their generous support.

So, here goes, in no particular order:

Marian Allen : She sent me some lovely prompts, and made some super-awesome comments!

Petra Hefner : I loved her positive posts and her equally positive comments.

Nutschell: Another blogger whose posts made an impression on me, and who always left me exciting comments.

Nicole/MadlabPost :  Always patient and kind on twitter and on the blog. I’m so happy to have met a blog-friend like her.

Dafeenah: A genuine, emotional  writer, and a generous commenter.

Bornstoryteller: He wrote an entire story in the A-Z challenge. And I have seldom had a more encouraging and consistent commenter.

PencilGirl : Every blog should have a commenter like her, for the sheer number of smilies and the genuine warmth of feeling :)

Patricia : Her first A-Z post floored me, and we have been in touch on blog and twitter ever since.

Christina Majaski : She is a straightforward girl with an awesome blogging voice, which is why her admiring comments meant so much more.

Joy : I don’t know if Joy remembers, but we used to visit each other’s blog two years ago when this blog was new, and have now re-connected thru A-Z. She has been very very generous with both her prompts and comments.

Corinne O’Flynn : I found her via the #atozchallenge via twitter, and have loved interacting with her on the blog and twitter.

Claire Goverts : I used a great many of Claire’s prompts and can never thank her enough. She is ever so sweet on twitter too.

Anna Tan: She wrote fiction for the A-Z, and lovely to talk to, both on my blog and twitter.

Talli Roland: One firecracker of a woman, who is all fun and laughter, yet also a fount of support and kindness….a prolific commenter and a joy on twitter.

India Drummond: I don’t know how she coped with A-Z despite going on a blog tour and sundry other things in April, but she did. She even found time to comment on my posts.

Alex and Lee: I met them via A-Z, and remain in awe of how they took the time to stop by my blog. Often. Despite organizing the challenge. Amazing.

I’m sure I’m missing out others who I need to thank, but I’m racing this post close to midnight and hope to make up for my errors by next week….I’ll visit and personally thank as many people as I can.

A few non-A-Z bloggers who used to be my friends before and supported me through A-Z:

Gladys Hobson : When Gladys comments, it makes my day. She cheered me on through much of A-Z, and I love her for that.

Indigo: An amazing writer who edits as a profession, and one of my oldest blog-friends—one I’m proud to have. She read and commented on my A-Z posts when she wasn’t doing so well.

Bronxboy55: If you mean to read one new blog this year and stop, make it this one. Awesome writer, humanitarian, humorist. His comments made the difference between posting and not posting on A-Z a few times, just at the points I was about to give up.

Thanks to each and every one of the bloggers mentioned above, and to all the others who visited, and took the time to comment. I’m grateful.

As I said yesterday, I’m going to work on an e-book, a Kindle short  (if research confirms it is the best fit for such a small book) based on the flash pieces I did on the A-Z. I haven’t decided on a title yet, and need to edit, cull out and sort all the pieces  before I can call it a manuscript.

It would be an interesting experiment, because the manuscript would be very  short, and not very suitable for traditional publication.

We’ll see.

Hope to receive words of advice from any and all A-Zers who have followed my work through the challenge.

Signing off on my last official A-Z post, till next April! Happy blogging, everyone.

The A-Z Reflections Mega Post


When I signed up for the A-Z challenge , I was the 15th participant. I had no idea of how big it was last year, and certainly no forewarning of how mammoth it would become this year.

The one thing I knew, however, was that it would be tough.

Tough for a blogger like me, that is. I’ve never really posted everyday despite the name and intention of the this blog , Daily (w)rite.

Before I started the challenge I didn’t know I would do all fiction, maybe fiction a day or two somewhere, but not All the posts!

But on an impulse I decided to ask for prompts for the challenge, based on which I would write flash pieces, and once I got the first few prompts and had written the first few pieces,  I knew it had to be fiction. Throughout. I was having way too much fun, and I love a good challenge.

Thanks to the comments that flooded/trickled in each day, I managed to hang in there and now have 24 flash pieces (I combined two letters, twice). It did take a bit of courage, to write a new piece and send it out into the world each day, but it also gave me a lot of confidence.

I know most of the comments were kind for the sake of kindness, but even I can’t deny that some of the commenters on some of the posts seem to have really liked the stories, and meant every word of what they said.

I hope to do a collection of these, in an e-book format, and Arlee Bird  and a few others think it might be a good idea. I’ll cull some of the stories, which did not work, to my mind, and replace them with others I’ve written before or will write afresh.

As to visiting other blogs, I have to admit I did not visit all the blogs that participated. I knew I couldn’t do it and go on with my normal life, which is a little crazy at the moment, with a new home and a host of other things.

So I visited all the the posts at #atozchallenge on Twitter, created a Twitter newspaper of links. I visited, or tried my very best to visit, everyone who visited and commented. I visited others from the links on the comments they left on blogs I was already visiting.

After I discovered a few links on the main list at the host blogs and found they led nowhere or were not continuing with the challenge, I largely ignored the list, though I must have visited at least 30 blogs each day.

I’ll do a separate post for tomorrow, to especially thank all those who commented on my A-Z posts and to mention some of the A-Z posts/ blogs I really liked.

For today I want to thank the organisers:

Arlee Bird (Tossing It Out) ,

Jeffrey Beesler’s (World of the Scribe),

Alex J. Cavanaugh (Alex J. Cavanaugh) ,

Jen Daiker ( Unedited),

Candace Ganger (The Misadventures in Candyland) ,

Karen J Gowen  (Coming Down the Mountain) ,

Talli Roland ,

Stephen Tremp (Breakthrough Blogs )

The challenge increased the number of people who subscribe to my blog, the number of visits and commenters.

But the best thing it did was give me a shot in the arm, that I could produce fiction somewhat consistently, some of it  not half bad.

So, Thank You to all the organisers, and hope to take part in the A-Z again next year!

A-Z: W is for Wonder, X for X-ray


Writing prompt: WONDER, X-RAY

Provided by: Nicole , a fellow A-Z challenge participant. Please visit her excellent blog.

Genre: Fiction

———

I wonder sometimes if I’m as dirty on the inside as I feel on the outside.

But the X-ray shows I’m merely broken.

My forearm has hairline fractures in two places, the doctor says, and I might have torn a bicep tendon. My bones have joined back earlier in other places, and look almost straight.

You want to tell me what happened, the doctor says, it is not natural for young bones to break so easy. Are you sure you fell on your hand? For a second I believe I can stay here for all time, in this room chilled with air-conditioning that smells a little of painkiller gels and alcohol. I’m tempted to tell her. The doctor reminds me of my mother, or what I think I remember of her before she died. But you can’t remember all that much at four.

Then I catch Dad’s eyes across the glass door. I swear he can hear each word from his blue chair outside the doctor’s office.

As I get my arm fixed up, I feel those eyes boring in, the eyes that make me dirty.

On my way out the doctor hands me the X-ray, taking her time about it. I take one last look at my bones, and then feel a small card under the stiff, thick X-ray as I shove it into the brown hospital envelope she gives me.

Call me anytime, she says, but I do not nod. I slip the card in my pocket without looking at it, clutch the envelope, and walk out to my Dad.

Tonight I think I’ll call her. If he does not find the card first.

———

I’m tweeting A to Z posts at #atozchallenge  There is also the A to Z Challenge Daily with links to Tweeted A-Z posts over the last 24 hours.
Thanks and shout-outs to organisers Arlee Bird (Tossing It Out) , Jeffrey Beesler’s (World of the Scribe),  Alex J. Cavanaugh (Alex J. Cavanaugh) , Jen Daiker ( Unedited), Candace Ganger (The Misadventures in Candyland) , Karen J Gowen  (Coming Down the Mountain) , Talli Roland ,  Stephen Tremp (Breakthrough Blogs )

S for Sacrilege


Sacrilege, writing prompt

S is for Sacrilege

Writing prompt: SACRILEGE

Provided by:  Joy fellow participant of the A to Z challenge.Visit her! Please PLEASE leave me prompts if you haven’t already! :)  I need prompts for T, U and V most desperately!!

———————–

Today is the day the rain on the window sill at night would bring fear, and loathing, and pleading for mercy. But not to me, for once.

It will stop her breath in her lungs, the words in her mouth,  the bile in her stomach, and the slaps and kicks she has marked me with, my mother.

That word seems an alien thing. Mother. I have seen bitches take care of their puppies inside the drain under the culvert. She feeds them when they whine, licks them clean, and nuzzles them from time to time.

But not ours. Today when I came back from school, I saw the same welts on my baby brother’s back that I always see on mine in the bathroom mirror. She must have been in one of her drunken rages. Even grown men are scared of her now, of who she becomes when her nostrils flare and her eyes shrink, and from her neck a slow red creeps up to her face.

I have no father, and my uncle, his brother, is the Father at the church. Sacrilege he would call it, wait for God to smite her.  I’ll remind her again of her duties, he’ll say, have Faith, my son. But my baby brother is six. My sister, three. They will not live long if she lives, and I cannot wait for God much longer.

I’m fourteen, my ankles and wrists are too long and bony for my clothes, but it is up to me to be the man.

Without her, I’ll have a family. Without her, the world would be a better place. If it is Sacrilege, so be it.

Tonight is the night I’ll stop her.

—————-

I’m tweeting A to Z posts at #atozchallenge  There is also the A to Z Challenge Daily with links to Tweeted A-Z posts over the last 24 hours.
Thanks and shout-outs to organisers Arlee Bird (Tossing It Out) , Jeffrey Beesler’s (World of the Scribe),  Alex J. Cavanaugh (Alex J. Cavanaugh) , Jen Daiker ( Unedited), Candace Ganger (The Misadventures in Candyland) , Karen J Gowen  (Coming Down the Mountain) , Talli Roland ,  Stephen Tremp (Breakthrough Blogs )