Do You Swim Free?

Swimming free of the hourglass

Breaking out of the Hourglass

I don’t know about other parts of my life, but when it comes to writing, I hate comfort zones.

I like to swim free, break the bounds of my aquarium.

The minute I’ve figured out a way to say something, a bit of craft or technique, I start searching for other ways. When I think I know enough about a character, I let him or her go in search of new ones.

I’ve read authors who hash the same thing over and over, who keep milking a premise or an idea till I know I don’t need to read any more of their books. I know what their next book would be about, and the next. While there is comfort in familiarity, there is no excitement. And my sedate self likes adventure when it comes to reading and writing.

Sometimes I feel like a particle of sand trapped in an hourglass, rising and falling in the same confined space– and that’s when I break out, write in a different genre, try an experimental narrative structure, read an anthology of poetry from cover to cover.

So do you like breaking out of the hourglass? Do you believe in smoking new words for a different pipe dream?

Do You #Write Down Your Dreams?

Pablo Picasso's Woman Dreaming

Living in Your Dream 

Dreams pass into the reality of action. From the actions stems the dream again; and this interdependence produces the highest form of living.

—Anais Nin

I’ve talked about living my dreams before, and lately I’ve been doing a fair bit of dreaming on the page, where dreams pass into the reality of action. Writing fiction is the best form of daydreaming, but sometimes I find my dreams at night intriguing, too.

Last night I dreamed I was a teenager again, and beside me sat a small child, who was trying to be helpful.

I was trying to give her a ride on my bike, but the pedals wouldn’t move, so I took them apart (something I would never do in real life), and then, I took the plate in which the pedals sat and thought of (what I imagined) a wonderful idea.

I would put in cake batter, shut it, and as I pedaled away, the plate would warm up and at the end of a few miles, we would have this  cake to eat!

The child helped me break the eggs, whip the batter, and stir in raisins and  walnuts. And then off we went, but instead of the cake, of course we had goo pouring down the pedals and into my shoes.

I was so upset when I woke up. All that batter gone to waste, and that disappointed child at the end of the trip.

I know I have a little girl in a current WIP who doesn’t have much good in store for her, so my subconscious is possibly trying to make her happy in its own weird way, and failing miserably. It is my book leaking into my dreams, and now the dream has leaked into my day.

What do you dream most often about? Do you write down your dreams?

Sooner or Later You Face the World

When I was told in a comment this morning that I needed penis enlargement, it woke me up. My blog is being overtaken by spam, of all things. I spammed the comment, and opened my spam folder to find 1017 gems.

Face the world

Face the world

I would have deleted the whole enchilada but I saw a comment or two from names I recognized, trapped in as well. So, I trawled through the muck, and have just about got my head into normal breathing space now. One thing is clear: I need to stop hiding, and start writing, much as I’ve begun to do on my other blog.

I wonder who these people are, the spammers? Are they pimply teenage boys and girls looking to make that extra buck? Are they aliens with 4 eyes and 16 arms? Most likely they are enterprising souls who wear designer duds and party the night away, or sit holed up in their space-console-like dens and create these vicious little programs, which run on hundreds upon thousands of unsuspecting little computers, unaware that they are soldiers of an invisible army. For some reason they believe that spewing out tonnes of ungrammatical gibberish will help their cause.

I can’t resist quoting a few here for your enjoyment. Take care, all, and hopefully, this blog is now back to regular programming.

Only possible one warning, typically start with solitary two torpedoes.
Use alcohol to permit control the slugs in your garden by fashioning the beer trap.

Clothing is one of belly ways through which you’ll want to judge a woman. All the most up-to-date fashion their very outfits tools to look at these people.

Then test it on your little brown eyes by dropping an drop into personal eye.
They have many benefits due to actually their
working components.

Usually I don’t read article on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me to take a look at and do so! Your writing taste has been amazed me. Thanks, quite nice post.

What Do You Do When You Feel a Rant Coming?

I’ve come across quite a few blogs where the owners tell us a story from a day in their life. Most of the time, it is about how miserable they are, how life sucks, how folks upset them.
I understand the need to vent, but something tells me that venting in public, and often, may just be detrimental– we’re sending out angst and negativity to the world in general– is that the sort of energy we would like to receive?

Yes, the ranters get sympathy, ‘get well soon’, and ‘feel better’, ‘hope it works out’ — and that helps soothe ruffled feathers. But for how long?

I myself have ranted, a rare once in a while, but nowadays, even when I feel like ranting, I tend to think twice.

What am I ranting about? Is there something I can do to mend the situation? If it is out of my control, will ranting help? Most of the times, I find that my rant dissipates if I give it time.I find I’d rather watch my aquarium fish instead.

Here’s a video of my old aquarium:

Reminds me I have to make videos of my new ones.

Long story short, that’s all it takes to distract the moneky-brain. Find something that soothes you and your rant need not appear in print at all.

What do you do when you feel a rant coming?

Do You Persevere?

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another.” Walter Elliott

Many times in life, I’ve been guilty of not hitting the finish line– and I’m trying to change that.

I started this year with one of the toughest things on my list of aspirations: learning how to swim. I’ve spent more than three decades being scared of water (even of a bathtub)– but last December, I decided enough was enough.

January found me at the swimming pool, terrified of dunking my head in water, choking and spluttering.

I let myself float a few times that month, gave up completely in February, dragged myself back to the pool in March, and swam my first lap– in the most ridiculous tadpole fashion, in April.

Swimming against the odds

Swimming against the odds

Today I swam a 100m lap without any distress. I may not be the most elegant swimmer in the pool, and I’m certainly the slowest, but I can make it from end of the pool to the other, and I can’t believe it.

Though a whole large chunk of the credit goes to my swimming instructor (you know who you are, and I can never thank you enough for your relentless patience!),  I feel some of it goes to my refusal to give up.

I plan to take this to all aspects of my life– whenever the urge to give up on something strikes me, I know I’m going to think of how I learned to swim.

So, when it comes to an endeavor, do you persevere? What inspires you to stick to it? When do you give up?

After it rains in Singapore

I’ve lived most of life with four seasons, so the first stay in the tropics was a revelation. In the tropics, there is the rain, and the sun—two seasons, in alternative fashion, through the day.

As I write, outside it pours, with the peal of thunders, lightning flashes. It is dark. The sky means business, you’d think. It will rain though the day and in to the night, and maybe the next morning.

Wrong. In a few minutes, the sun will laugh it all away, people would dip into swimming pools and play basketball below my apartment, the trees would gleam, and the only trace that it had ever rained would show for a while on the wet roads. And then that would be gone too.

So when it rains in my heart, no matter what country I’m in, I wait. I know that for now, raindrops pelt the glass and weep their down– the overcast skies pour down their anger, but it Will pass.

In the minutes it has taken for me to write this, the sun is out, bright and shiny, because that is what happens right after it rains in Singapore.



What is Normal?

Normal is an hourglass

What is normal?

Normalcy has many definitions— probably as many as there are people in this world.

Recently, I heard a statement: Anything or anyone can be normal no matter how bizarre or extreme, you just have to get used to it.

In some societies female infanticide is normal, in others cannibalism used to be normal, in some societies equality between men and women is normal, in others, patriarchy or matriarchy. For a thief, stealing is normal, for a priest, praying is normal.

Should we define normalcy? What are the advantages of defining it? Disadvantages? Is there something that is normal for you, and is completely abnormal for someone else?

Is ‘normalcy’ the name for ‘what we’re used to’— if not, then what is ‘Normal’?

In which I Wonder about Dead Bodies, Lessons

I spent all of today hauling dead bodies.

Ok, not hauling, but picking up.

Right, maybe I’m being a tad over-dramatic? Because the dead in this case are fish.

Tiny, and aptly named mosquito rasboras, the pink-red-black adults grow no more than 3/4 inch.

Quite a few have died since last night, though  the others don’t look sick.

As I picked up each floating, spiraling body from my 4ft aquarium, I wondered how life and death are relative…and if a life is a life, any life.

If a fish’s life is not as important as that of a human, is it merely because in the grand scheme of creation, the death of a human makes a bigger difference than that of a fish? Or any other tiny creature?

I hear that life on our planet would survive very well indeed if humans as a species turned extinct. If, on the other hand, all the bees on our planet dies out, or all the insects, life on our blue ball might be in peril.

So, death.

If my pet dog dies, I’ll be very sad. If a stray dies, not so much. If someone I love/ care for dies, I’ll be devastated. If a stranger on the other side of the world dies, it would be a blip on my screen. If it is a celebrity, I would be sadder. If the stranger is infamous, like Osama, I would be curious, but not really very sad.

So, my reaction to death varies with who/ what dies.

If I loved all the tiny rasboras in my aquarium personally, each death would kill a part of me. Seeing that they are one of many, and I have no particular bond with each of them, I just calmly get up, fish out the dead fish, and flush it.

Sadness at death is proportional to the level of attachment. Lesson learned from the dying/dead fish.

For the time being, the most immediate problem is figuring out what exactly is wrong with my aquarium.

But somewhere, I must squirrel away the lesson at the back of my head. I have lost loved ones before, and will (sadly, but inevitably) lose more. Or I might realise that it is my turn to be lost.

That would be good time to unwrap the lesson, and put it to use. Nothing can make the death of my rasboras worthwhile, but I’ll settle for a lesson.

Such is life. And death.

Death, Lessons, Fish, Life

Death, Lessons, Fish, Life

Book Launch, Reading and Writing Binge, iPad

Life is crazy

Things are crazy!

I’m quite flummoxed by how so many days slip past before I think of posting on this blog.

I’m better at posting on Amlokiblogs these days.

Even when I post here, I’m just so engrossed in my life right now, that all I can come up with is a list:

1.I’m going for my first ever book launch where I’m going to be one of the authors, for Love and Lust in Singapore.

2. This is giving me a lot of butterflies.

3. To calm said butterflies, I’m reading.

4. I’ve read at least 4 books in the past week, which is high even by my standards. One of those had 600-odd pages.

5. I’ve been gifted an iPad, so I have more unread books than ever now.

6. I’ frustrated by how I can only browse and comment on the iPad, touchscreen writing is not my forte, except in very limited amounts.

7. I’m still blogfesting like crazy.

8. All this reading, writing, blogfesting has got to me. A stubborn, niggling flu has not helped either.

9. On a more cheerful note, my betta is eating again, and is thriving. Apparently had good reason to go on a fast…it had experienced radical changes in water temperature. I live and learn.

10. I wanted to end on a happy note, so my earlier point was my last one. But it feels better to have 10 points to a list, so there.

See you peeps again when I’m feeling less crazy…