Word of the Week #137:

Proposition

As I mentioned a few weeks back, I am currently in the process of querying, and for the first time I feel like I am actually doing a good job.

Now, for those unfamiliar with the term, querying refers to contacting literary agents and hoping they like your work enough to want to work with you.

Over the past few weeks, I have noticed that the process is eerily similar to asking a girl out.

Think about it.

Firstly, you always present yourself in the best light. You talk about yourself and what you do, and hope they like what they see.

You learn about their interests and preferences, and modify your approach to convince them how you can cater to those.

You adhere to their rules, even if you do not understand or appreciate them.

“Double-spaced manuscript? Sure! Why? Well, this is not for me to ask, is it?”

You start feeling good about yourself. Why wouldn’t you? You’re nice. You have worked hard all your life. You should have confidence in what you bring to the table.

After you have poured your heart on the page and hit the send button, however, you find every single thing you would have done differently, from that one comma before a conjunctive adverb to that shirt you wore to your high school graduation. What teenager appreciates Pink Floyd! Well, there is nothing to be done about it now.

And once you do send it, you are consumed by your curiosity. You cannot possibly just sit there and wait for a response; you have way too much on the line. Unfortunately, that is what you have to do. You cannot keep badgering them.

“Did you read it? Did you like it? Did you like me? Say, want to make this official?”

You may keep thinking that the whole day, but saying that will get you labelled a creep. You do not want that, do you?

And if, as is quite likely, maybe you get a rejection. And not even a thoughtful, well-crafted rejection that tells you what you did wrong or what you could have done better. Nothing that shows you that they respect the efforts you made. Just, “Yeah, I don’t wanna…”

Obviously, your heart sinks. You are devastated. You want to ask, “Why? Why not me? What do I lack?”

It is true. It is natural. But ask yourself this, is that the kind of men you want to be? Really, are you going to be that guy?

Surely, there could’ve been many reasons why you did not make the cut.

Maybe they’ve never seen a guy like you and don’t want to take a risk. Maybe they’ve seen too many guys like you and want something new. Maybe this is just not the right time for them. Maybe they are already with someone. Or maybe they believe you are just not ready.

All understandable reasons, you would realise.

So, what do you do now? Well, you cannot keep wallowing forever, right?

Maybe you work on yourself a little more. Understand what sets you apart, and what holds you back. Present yourself better. Maybe trim down on some of that mass around the middle.

You keep improving, and you keep looking. Because you know that once you find the right now, together you are going to build something magical.

In the end, that is what makes this endeavour worth it.

HWAITING!

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Word of the Week #136:

Hubris

The Earth is dying.

How often have you heard this line? I heard it a couple of days back, here.

It tends to pop up during debates about the environment, and the damage we have been doing to it over the past few millennia.

Now, while I agree with environmentalists on many topics, perhaps most, I do strongly disagree with this one statement.

And not only is it inaccurate, it is also quite arrogant.

Think about our body’s reaction to an infection. If a virus invades our bloodstream and tries to take over, our body will raise its temperature to make itself uninhabitable. It may cause some discomfort, it may affect some systems, but once the virus is exterminated, not only do we survive, we actually grow stronger.

That is what the Earth is experiencing right now. Being overrun by an invasive species, it is making itself less habitable to purge the infection. Some other species may be affected in the process, and life as we know it may change on the planet, but it will survive.

The Earth is not dying. If anything, it might be trying to kill us.

Our planet has survived for over 4.5 billion years, and has hosted life for the past 3.7 billion years. It has experienced dozens of mass extinction events, like the one that killed off the dinosaurs, but it has always found ways to evolve and thrive.

I think we can safely assume that the planet will survive us. Well, at least for now…

How much longer will we survive? Now that, Detective, is the right question.

 

Word of the Week #135:

Ennui

Watching the world is a part of being a writer.

Of course, one could say that it has always been a part of my personality, and one of the many things that make me naturally inclined towards this profession.

And when I do watch people, do you know what I see?

I see people leading empty lives…

Of course, not all people, and of course, not entirely empty, but the theme is clear and  tangible.

It does not surprise me, to be honest. When people spend their lives doing things they do not enjoy, and not doing things they do enjoy, there will be consequences.

Everyone seems to have these holes, and they keep trying to fill them with whatever they can find.

This is why they have to go out every weekend. This is why they have to go on trips every long weekend. This is why they have to party and get drunk every chance they get.

Now, there is nothing wrong with living your life to the fullest. However, this compulsion to find an escape from the emptiness… This is hardly living. Sounds more like running away from your life.

To be honest, it is quite tragic.

And all this for what? Some money? In the end, they don’t even make that much more than I do.

It seems silly to someone like me, but hey, I’m not known for being pragmatic, anyway…

Now, I am sure there must be someone looking at my life and thinking something similar.

“He does not have a job. He stays at home all day. Avoids people. Rarely goes out. Seldom parties. Never gets drunk. Such a sad life.”

Well, all I would like to say is that my life is full of things that I want and that matter to me.

In the end, that is enough for me.

Word of the Week #134:

Balefire

Gah! I am so tired… I’m in so much pain…

Why, you ask? I mean, I hope you do. You seem nice, after all. Okay, I’ll tell you.

Have you heard of a thing called the Halo effect?

It is basically why women forget about the pain of past pregnancies and choose to have another child.

If you think about, it is the entirety of Domino’s business strategy. The remote possibility of some remnant of a happy memory will draw a customer back is the only reason they are still in business.

Now, you see, I love playing basketball. The thrill, the joy, I can hardly put it in words. And that is basically what I am supposed to do, right?

So, anyway, I haven’t played much over the past few months. Hardly any since I hurt my knee in May, and definitely none since I moved in July. I have been back to the gym and on the court, though. Nonetheless, the feeling of a real game is not something you can ever emulate in any solo drill.

As it would turn out, I had forgotten quite a few things about the game over these months.

I am still good at making passes, which is a relief in itself, but getting into spots where I can receive passes was something with which I really struggled tonight.

And my defence, in general, was just abysmal. Like, for the first few possessions, I seemed to have no idea where to go or what to do.

Luckily, I am a quick learner, and apparently an even quicker relearner. Within half an hour, I had improved drastically in every aspect.

That is when it hit me; I had forgotten the most important thing about basketball.

It hurts… Hurts like hell… Hurts like a hundred nails being hammered into my shins… Hurts so much that I have been whining about it for the past four hours!

Gah!

Of course, it is not like that will stop me from going back, tomorrow evening.

Yeah, it will hurt, but it will be worth it.

Well… At least as long as I don’t break my knee, or my shoulder, or my ankle, or something new.

Word of the Week #133:

Porcine

Say… What do you think about bacon?

I had some a couple of hours ago, and I just could not stop thinking about it. So, as one does, I decided to write about it.

You know, there are some things over which Western pop culture tends to obsess, right?

We all know the OG, the hotdogs and the hamburgers, the pizzas and the apple pies. Now, I still love a warm slice of apple pie, especially with some sugar and cinnamon dusted on top and a scoop of smooth vanilla ice cream, and firmly believe that people who cannot appreciate a good pizza simply should not be allowed to mate.

However, the Holy Grail has always been this thin strip of fatty cured meat which, quite honestly, always seemed far too overrated. I mean, it cannot be so good that grown men would swoon over it.

Little did I know that its majesty cannot be described. It needs to be experienced first-hand to be truly appreciated.

Of course, all of this love cannot good for my heart, right? Or all of this cholesterol…

But I can’t help falling in love with you.

Word of the Week #132:

Bide

Think of a profession. Any profession.

No, I am not going to guess which one you are thinking about. That is not what I do here…

No, think of a good profession, one that you wish was yours.

Okay, turns out, I will be guessing…

I guess a common answer would be a professional athlete. That is fun, after all, right?

Well, I agree, playing for money does sound fun. But think of it this way. Is every aspect of the profession fun?

Being able to take the pressure, the weight of expectations of your fanbase may not always be fun, but some people are still better equipped to handle it than others, right? But I am not talking about the mental aspect, right now.

No, the parts that nobody would enjoy are the more mundane ones. Things like the incessant travel. Nobody wants to take a cross-country flight after every game. But, it is something you cannot avoid.

It is the same for musicians, singers, comedians and such. You have to travel before you get to perform.

Lawyers have to do lots of unglamorous things, like examining briefs and filing motions and visiting jails. It is not all courtroom drama.

Now, I don’t know what part of being a doctor is fun… I do not understand that profession, to be honest.

But, you see, that is how all professions work. You need to do some of the annoying stuff in order to do the stuff you love.

It is like eating on orange. Nobody enjoys peeling an orange. But if you like eating an orange, you have to endure peeling it.

Being a writer is the same. There are so many parts that drive me so crazy: Editing, querying, marketing, dealing with publishers… None of it is really fun.

But you are done with all that, you get to do what you really love. Just sit back, and keep writing all day.

That’s the dream, right?

Well, I look forward to the day it comes true, once again…

Of course, I remember a time when my Mom would peel the oranges for me. A convenient system, you know.

If only I could find an agent to handle all the peeling for me, now…

HWAITING!

Word of the Week #131:

Besotted

You know, books and burgers are more similar than you would expect.

Both are best enjoyed alone, which is partly why I love them.

Both get judged by their outermost layers which are meant to cover and protect the juicy stuff between.

Both have the same test of quality: If it is great, you will finish it without setting it down even once.

I had the pleasure of enjoying a burger earlier tonight which passed this test this test with flying colours.

I mean, it would have had to be pretty good for me to write about it in the first place, right?

In fact, I loved it so much that I am strongly considering going back there tomorrow afternoon and having the same burger once again.

After all, if lightning has struck a place once, it is most likely to strike there again, right?

Wait, that is not how that proverb goes… But it should, you know.

Lightning always strikes for a reason.