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Archive for September, 2010

There’s a definite nip in the air. Autumn, which has nudged summer to its rightful place, is here to stay; at least until it colors the world in brilliant hues and moves on to find greener pastures.

The leaves – soon to turn into mature yellows and sober reds and ochres – are preparing to part with their moorings. There’s a sense of restraint, a sense of brooding expectancy, in the air.

While I won’t say fall and winter lower my spirits, they definitely have a more subduing effect on them. And both the seasons invariably push me into a meditative mood.

My taste in reading begins to gravitate towards reflective, lyrical and dark. Think: The Gemma Doyle series by Libba Bray; The Taj Mahal Trilogy by Indu Sundaresan; The Sano Ichiro series by Laura Joh Rowland. (My sister recently suggested another candidate for this list: The Janissary Tree series by Jason Goodwin. I haven’t had a chance to dig into this treasure trove yet; I can’t wait to retire to my alcove with it.)

I begin to seek music that is more grounded and ponderous; music involving a cello or a bass. The dignified timbre of these two instruments manages to lend the exact emotions for the season. Think: Yo-yo Ma.

Some Chinese movies have made use of these instruments in their soundtrack to stunning effects: Fearless, Hero, The House of Flying Daggers, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and so on. The music strums the baser feelings — core sensibilities — inside of me.

What does Fall mean to you?

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Why Do You Choose To Write?

Writing is one of the loneliest endeavors – be it as a job or a hobby – you could undertake. However many friends you may have who also happen to write, however many critique groups you may be a part of, however many web sites you may browse for information and encouragement, at the end of the day, you are your sole motivator, cheerleader, champion and advocate.

Writing is equivalent to putting your inner-most thoughts on paper. When you write, you are essentially exposing your most vulnerable side for public perusal. And it takes courage to do that.

Writing is its own reward, definitely, but it is also hard work. It is also the kind of work that makes it hard to justify all the hours and effort you put into it. I mean, there is no guarantee that all the time, passion and effort you’re putting into a novel or story or article will definitely translate into a publishing contract, is there?

Still, many of us persist and keep forging head. Some of us wake up early in the morning, and some of us stay up late into the night. Just so our writing does not disrupt the rhythm of life around us. Just so we can let our thoughts take flight uninterruptedly. Just so the words we pen won’t be influenced by the kind of day we are experiencing. Just so it is the writing and you, with nothing else in between.

So, why is it that I choose to write?

Because, I am passionate about it.

Because, it makes me feel alive.

Because, it gives me the most healthy high possible.

And because, I can’t think of not doing it.

Why do you choose to write?

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Have you ever watched those episodes of cooking shows where they come up with recipes using ingredients that are essentially leftovers from your pantry? This post is sort of along those lines.

You see, whenever I sit down to write – especially posts for my blog – my mind starts racing in all directions, like a dog smelling bacon. But, the more rational side of me almost always reins it in (though sometimes my brain still manages to find a loophole and get in a detour or two) saying, “Stick to the topic at hand.”

Today, I thought, why not let my thoughts take charge and take me wherever they want to go and see what happens. So, this post is what happened.

Oh, by the way, does your pantry ever have a half-used tube of anchovy paste? Mine never does.  Now, how about a bottle of rice wine vinegar that has been sitting in your fridge for a long time? No, not in mine. If ever I feel like trying out recipes involving ingredients like these (read: exotic), I go grocery shopping with a specific list.

Hmm… maybe that means that I’m not the mainstream audience those shows are targeting, but I love watching cooking shows and challenges. They help me relax like nothing else (on T.V) can.

Yesterday, I saw this quote on the billboard in front of a vet’s clinic (Told you, I’m off on real tangents today!):

The only time a person gets to choose a relative is when s/he acquires a pet.

Isn’t that the truth?

Have you heard about the long-drawn drought in Australia and all the wild fires raging not only in America but also in Canada, Russia and Norway? General consensus is that we humans are wreaking havoc on Earth’s natural balance with our malicious use of resources.

These fires, droughts, floods and volcanic eruptions are nature’s way of warning us not to continue this rampage. I wonder what kind and magnitude of disaster it will take for the whole world to sit up as one and take notice and take control of this thoughtlessness?

Phew! I don’t know how well this post has worked for you guys, but boy, do I feel liberated! :-o)

How do you operate?

Is your ‘train of thought’ usually a straight-and-narrow, follow-the-track kind or is it more a detour-loving and tangent-hugging prowler?

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When I first heard a friend say the words, “Something’s gotta give” (much before the movie with that name was made), I thought that was the best way to reconcile to one’s lot in life; at least to one’s situation at that particular time in life.

I mean, it sounds funny, but isn’t that a mature way to cope and/or look at rearranging your priorities?

Just imagine someone going: “You are not able to handle all the things on your plate. Why don’t you learn to prioritize?” Won’t that get your dander up, even though – or maybe especially because – you see the truth in what s/he is saying?

If that someone had only said, “You have too many things going on. Eh, something’s gotta give!” Won’t that make it a little less aggressive and more commiserative?

Anyways, I have always liked that phrase and so here I am saying it to myself. I have been blogging twice a week for the last few months, and I really like the rhythm and outlet that that schedule provides me.

However, right now, I’m at a juncture where I need to pull back some in order to take care of some more pressing activities of the new school year.

I’ll be blogging only once a week, for the next few weeks. (I’m sure if I looked it up, one of the Murphy’s Laws of Life will say: When you prioritize, the activity that you have to cut short will be among the ones that you like doing the most. Sigh!)

On another note, Barb at CreativeBarbwire has awarded my blog with The Spotlight Award a little while ago. Thank you, Barb, for your continued support and encouragement to my blog!

If you guys haven’t had a chance to visit with Barb, you should. Her posts are full of good advice, commiserations, and wonderfully fantastical stories!

I’d like to pass this award to all those beautiful and selfless readers who keep coming back to my blog – providing me with insightful comments and a lovely sense of belonging – even though they do not have a blog themselves! Thank you!

It’s raining (and has been for a day or so) buckets here, accompanied by lashing winds. It’s green and more green everywhere I look. So precious! Especially since I already feel the bad-tempered winter – with its frigid winds and stark-naked trees – pawing the ground to make its entrance.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful week!!

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Perspective

I don’t know how much truth there is in the saying that you grow wiser as you grow older, but I definitely know of one thing that never stops changing (no, by that I don’t mean your nose which never stops growing – ack!!) as long as you live.

It is your perspective; your viewpoint. It keeps changing along with you whether you want it to or not. For better or for worse.

A few months ago, for kicks and out of curiosity, I went to some trouble and finally got hold of DVDs of a couple of movies that I used to watch again and again as a teen.

I was fully prepared to not really drown in the magic of those movies the same way that I did way back then, but I thought that I’d at least be able to enjoy a few carefree hours of strolling down memory lane.

Little did I know that I’d end up very close to tears. No, not the joyful, oh-how-much-I-missed-you tears, but fat, hot man-am-I-bored-or-what tears.

No, I’m not demeaning the feelings or the emotions I’d experienced as a pre-adult . It’s just that I’ve moved on. The over the top hair and loud clothes of the early nineties and the melodramatic, hit-over-the-head throes of first love, which meant so much to me then, have obviously lost their charm for me. (And I’m not complaining – who wants to be on that roller coaster again?! :-))

That was about movies.

Now, books.

Amazingly enough, the books – be it The Summer Adventure or a Pride and Prejudice or a Mrs. Pringle – I used to love a decade or two ago still hold the same power over me. I go back to them again and again whenever I’m in need of faithful company, and always come back from them refreshed and buoyed in spirit.

In fact, there are some books that I didn’t quite get as a kid, but when I read them again as an adult, I saw a whole new side to them.

For example, when I first read Great Expectations, I couldn’t look beyond the morbidity in the setting of the book. When I read it again as an adult, a couple of years ago, I couldn’t help but notice Dickens’s sense of humor playfully peeking through the chinks in the dark fabric of the book.

So, what makes books different from movies in this respect?

I think it’s the wings lent to your imagination when you’re reading a book. Movies are very restrictive in this sense. They definitely don’t provide the same scope for making up your own world.

Whatever it is, I can only say: “Thank God that it is so!”

Is there any book (or books) that has grown on you as you read and reread it?

And, on the flip side, are there any books that you have grown to hate over time?

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