Sending out an SOS: The A to Z challenge!

A-Z Challenge: Writing based on the letters of the alphabet

A-Z Challenge

I was just moaning about how I need a kickstart, and I forgot that way back in February, I gave myself one for April! I am participating in the A to Z challenge.

As its chief organiser says:

The premise of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge is to post something on your blog every day in April except for Sundays.  In doing this you will have 26 blog posts–one for each letter of the alphabet.   Each day you will theme your post according to a letter of the alphabet.

You will only be limited by your own imagination in this challenge.  There is an unlimited universe of possibilities.  You can post essays, short pieces of fiction, poetry, recipes, travel sketches, or anything else you would like to write about.  You don’t have to be a writer to do this.  You can post photos, including samples of your own art or craftwork.    Everyone who blogs can post from A to Z.

At last count 776 bloggers had signed up, and I’m sure some of my small but delightful band of readers  are on the list as well. Go sign up if you like, it’ll be fun!

Now for the part where I need your help:

I thought it’d be fun if the words I used (based on the letters of the alphabet) came from someone other than me, because then they would be challenging writing prompts. I plan for some of the posts to be fiction, some short essays, others just plain old having-fun-nonsense.

So, please toss me a word in the comments. Any word that is your favorite, or that you think will be challenging for me to write on. If you’re a fellow A to Z blogger, please feel free to chip in if you feel like it!

I’d appreciate words beginning with all sorts of alphabets, and only in English. Other language words widely used by English speakers are okay too.

If you’re on twitter, you can tweet me the word @damyantig. Or mail it to me at meringue dot p at gmail dot com.

When I do a post on a particular word, I’ll link to the blogger who suggested that word, and why it grabbed me by the throat and made me write.

The challenge begins on April 1st, so this is an SOS!

Turning People into Story-fodder

Yesterday, at the check-out queue at my local grocery shop, I saw the basket sitting at the check-out counter in front of mine: microwavable pizza, microwavable sausage rolls, microwavable dinners piled one on top of the other, readymade sachets of coffee, with a measly packet of tomatoes peeking from the bottom. Lousy housewife, I said to myself.

I looked up to find a man whose shoulder-length blonde hair clung to his pate in desperation. He had a wilted beard, clothes that seemed to like the floor better than his body, downcast eyes.

I turned back at my basket piled with vegetables, wholemeal  pita bread, with ingredients for hummus and salad, and felt bad. I wanted to invite him home to dinner. That way, I told myself I could also find out who he was, his story, why he stood at a high-end grocery store in heartland Singapore, buying microwavable dinners. Did he have a family? What sort of job?

He paid his bill of 23.45 in one dollar coins and smaller change, from a zip-lock bag.

He moved on, and as the girl at the counter beeped each of my purchases and put them in packs for me to carry, I was filled with self-loathing. Instead of staying with my first impulse of sympathy, I had felt a writer’s curiosity. In my mind,  I had reduced the man to fodder for stories.

On my walk back home, I realised I did this all the time. I saw a man walk past, gangly, not young, nor yet old, with a face that would be the casting dream for a horror movie, deep-set reddish eyes, and a face that had been punched from his left jaw to right, and remained frozen that way. I chalked him up as someone I could write about, and turned back to observe his walk. A limp, not unlike that of aliens in movies like Men in Black.

I realised this is what I do, have always done, even before I was a writer: wonder about people, make up stories about them. Too late to change that now.

As I unlocked my door thumping down the grocery bags, I knew I was ok as long as I was not deliberately writing/publishing something as a personal vendetta against someone. Characters can only be borrowed from life and they’re true Frankensteins, with body parts and characteristics borrowed from various sources. As long as I had a worthwhile story, I had every right as a writer to be curious. And yes, the first impulse of empathy and compassion? As a writer I can’t afford to lose that either.

If turning people into story-fodder is sin, I’m willing to live with that.

Me, myself and the Internet

Arti from Ripple Effects asked an interesting question in a comment on my last post Back to Blogland:

I’m very curious to know how you felt during this tech-free hiatus, loss of connections, or the opposite: more autonomous and independent?

Well, I have a confession to make: At the end of each day, I glanced through my mails on my iPhone, using 3G, so I wasn’t completely disconnected.

Theoretically, if I were super-committed, I could have used the slug-like slow connection to catch up with my blogs, make posts even. But being me,  I fell asleep long before I could muster the patience to do it.

That said, however, I was surprised I didn’t miss the internet too bad. Perhaps because I was busy, engaged with demanding non-internet projects. But the whole thing has left me quite empowered: it has cut through the fog of Facebook, Twitter, Blogging and surfing that I sometimes cloak myself in.

But I’m still struggling to get back to reading, most of all to writing, let’s see how that goes. For the moment there are too many things to do in a day, and not enough time to sit my butt down.

That will change, I hope. Soon.

Back to Blogland

I lost internet connection for a while.

Okay, let’s not be mysterious. I was relocating.

I got internet back 3 days ago, but it is funny how when you’re exhausted your pen dries up. I tried, and failed, repeatedly, to write a post yesterday, and the day before.

Catching up with pending emails today, and for once, not running around trying to get things organised. That will change in the next hour or so, but for the moment I can force myself to type out a few lines.

In the meanwhile, I got a few concerned comments from treasured blog-friends, and I can’t say how grateful I am for them. Some days all you want to do is whinge, and let someone tell you it is all going to turn out all right.

I’m a whinge-r by nature, so I carefully monitor my behavior, and try to whinge less, or not at all. That is not to say I do not appreciate sympathy and good wishes when I get them. I do. I’m thankful.

I’ll get back to more regular posting here and on Amlokiblogs starting this week, and hopefully scrawl out a few writing-prompt pieces.

Thanks for staying with me, for commenting, and being my friends even when I’ve done so little to deserve it. I love you all :)

Blog hiatus- without Internet

No internet, no time and no energy for the last ten days. And it will be that way for the next ten.

So, a forced hiatus. Though I’d give anything to be down and writing all the time, not doing much of that either. But I keep telling myself I’m going through a good kind of stress: a positive one, because only good is going come out of all this.

Transitions are never easy, and I’m going to get through this one! In the meanwhile, will keep writing in my head till I can put pen to paper.

See you all in another 10 days, and then it will be time for much-needed blog-browsing! So long ! :)

Help: The story won’t tell itself!

I write a morning piece almost everyday. Some of them I draft here in the WordPress window, hammering pieces out in 10 minutes.

But for the last 3 days (make that 4), I’ve been struggling with a piece of 600 words. I’m  on to the 7th draft, and after feedback from quite a few non-writing, and a few writing buddies, I think I might just be nearing the final draft.

I wrote the first piece in 10 minutes, then realised the plot was unclear. Once I had juggled the plot and the character into place, I lost the heartbeat of the first draft. So, it was back to the drawing-board, of course.

Now, waiting for the verdict with bated breath: my latest and most favourite/ useful reader is going through the piece as we I blog.

Wish I could have posted it here and thrown it open for opinions, but alas, that is no to be.

Send me some luck, folks. Maybe a few prayers,  a shot of tequila?