Word of the Week #189:

Ruminate

So, I have been thinking a lot about myself.

Surprising, eh? 

Well, to be specific, I was thinking about what I want from my life and how far I am from my goals in each aspect. I realised that random, unfocused thinking would lead to no results. I needed a system.

Thus, I did what I do best: I turned abstract thoughts and ideas into numbers.

Screenshot 2019-11-04 at 10.28.45 PM.png

Looks pretty, right?

I don’t want to propagate the “Lonely Writer Guy” trope. This was really just the status at that very moment. Matters of the heart can change rapidly, and with little warning.

Money is good. I have as much as I could want, right now.

The rest, well, is a work in progress.

It is interesting, right? And helpful, too. Already, I have begun incorporating significant changes in my life based on this assessment.

I have completely transformed my exercise schedule and my diet. I have begun taking better care of my hair and my eyes.

I know what I want, and I go get it.

I wonder if everyone can do this. 

Word of the Week #188:

Verisimilitude

So, I love basketball. I think I have mentioned that a couple of times, here and there.

Still, despite my efforts over the past few years, there are some major deficiencies in my game; and those are quite obvious too, considering my lack of height, athleticism, and any actual training.

  • My jump shot is unreliable
  • My defence is weak against bigger, stronger, faster guys
  • My ball handling is sufficient but by no means stellar
  • I cannot dunk, but just how many normal people can, right?

So what would a guy like me do to live out his NBA fantasies? Why, he’d buy a video games that lets him do it, of course.

And, for the first time in my life, I have both an up-to-date gaming device and enough disposable income to buy the latest game less than a week after it released. 

It was everything I ever wanted… Pretty exciting, right? Right? WRONG!

Turns out, the wise men and women at the gaming company decided to make the game more realistic, whatever that is supposed to mean.

So, now, we cannot make players who are really tall but can also shoot extremely well, although guys like that do exist in real life.

We cannot make guys who are too tall as well as too fast, although guys like that do exist in real life.

We cannot make guys can be excellent at every aspect of the game, although guys like that do exist in real life.

So, basically, you can never create a player worthy of being considered the greatest of all time. I don’t why I thought that was the very point of a video game…

What do I do now? I have to sculpt a player with balanced stats who can be fun to play with. A jack-of-all-trades kind of guy who could be useful in every situation. And, I thought I had done a good job until I realised my specific set of weaknesses:

  • My jump shot is unreliable
  • My defence is weak against bigger, stronger, faster guys, in a league full of big, strong, fast guys
  • My ball handling is sufficient but by no means stellar
  • I cannot dunk, in a league where a lot of guys can dunk

That just makes me sad…

But, as I kept playing, I realised that despite these weaknesses, I was doing pretty well.

Within one season in game time, I was the most important player on my team, and my stats were pretty good. And yet, I was actually pretty much me.

So, in a way, it was almost like I am in the NBA, which is pretty awesome in itself.

I guess that is the point of a video game…

Word of the Week #187:

Lateral

One of the many interesting things about my hair is that I can change their parting upon whim.

And, apparently, not every person can do that.

There have, however, been extensive periods of time when I have preferred one parting, changing it only after several months or even years. 

Most recently, I changed it last week after a period of almost two years.

Now, in the past, I did not think much of it. I am a whimsical guy, after all. I can change my hair whenever I want to.

However, there is something that has recently come to my attention that may make me look at things a little differently.

You see, I have always been distinctly aware of how asymmetrical our faces tend to be. Just try to flip a photo of yours, and the difference is often stark. But, again, I didn’t think much of it.

However, I have recently learned that the facial expressions of each side of our face are controlled by the opposite hemisphere of the brain. Now, these opposite hemispheres also have different other specialisations.

Brain Hemispheres

This means that if you are enjoying a beautiful piece of art, the stimulus will be processed by the right side of your brain, and your reaction would be more prominent on the left side of your face.

So, what does this imply?

This implies that, throughout our lives, we grow up associating certain sides of our faces to certain facets of our lives. We certainly would not notice this, but there are times when we prefer to sit on side particular side of a particular person or view them from a particular angle.

Throughout history, artists have preferred to focus more on the subject’s left side, even more so if the subject is female.

And, as we associate it with others, we do so with our reflections in the mirror as well. We want to focus on certain aspects of our being at certain points in our lives.

Right now, I have two very different jobs: one entirely analytical, mechanical, and learned, and another entirely creative, imaginative, and intuitive. My focus on either can vary significantly, depending on my mood. 

The way I part my hair could be an indication of much more than a whim. It could indicate a switch in my professional priorities and herald the beginning of a whole new era.

However, being left-handed, my hemispheres are not well defined, so which era  this is supposed to be is not something I can tell.

But what I can tell is that, just one week into it, I already want to flip my hair again.

As I said, I can be pretty whimsical.

Word of the Week #171:

Efficacious

“That field has no scope.”

How often have we heard that when we say we want to devote our lives to studying and practising the arts, be it writing or singing or painting or dancing?

Last week, we spoke about how the scope of traditional fields like engineering are grossly overrated in our society, and we tried to analyse the reasons why.

Tonight, let us look at the scope fields like writing do offer but are often grossly underestimated in our society, often for the same reasons.

Writing is fun. But is it really a profession? Is it feasible to think you can get paid to write?

Well, what if I tell you that I do get paid to do just that? And I get paid plenty, if I may say so…

So, let us ask ourselves, how did I end up here?

Am I particularly gifted? Well, that’s debatable.
Am I very rich? Nah, but I did have enough support to never have to worry.
Did I receive any specific training? Nope. None.

Then what did I do to reach financial stability while pursuing, and really focusing on, my artistic passions?

The answer is stupidly simple: I worked really hard for a really long time.

For five and a half years, I kept work on my craft, with no pay and little appreciation from beyond my inner circle, slowly but surely improving at what I do, spreading my roots in the industry, and seeking out opportunities wherever I could find them.

That’s hardly any more time than what most people spend on college and stuff, right? At least my route was totally worth it.

Tell me, how can a writer make money?

The first and most obvious would be by publishing books. But as any writer would tell you, the investment in that is extremely high, and the rate of success is exceeding low. Of course, that is no reason to not do it.

Essentially, one could say that it is the most likely to be artistically rewarding, and the least likely to be financially rewarding. And as we go further down this list, the former will continue to decrease, while the latter continues to increase.

If you want to make easy money as an author, one can try to write non-fiction books that highlight certain individuals or organisations. Co-authoring an autobiography can make you a lot of money.

Of course, you could also make some money by publishing articles in successful magazine or newspapers, or you can monetise your own blog.

Or, you can write for advertisers. That’s where Salman Rushdie started his career.

Or, you can write for TV or movies or, heck, even video games. Sidney Sheldon started his career in TV.

Or, you can find all sorts of jobs that require writers, from PR to content writing to creating subtitles. Really, the opportunities are endless.

And if all else fails, you can always work as an editor. As long as there are writers in the world and AI is not yet entirely up to speed, there will always be jobs for editors.

So, keep working, keep learning, and keep looking for opportunities. Your success might not be guaranteed, but that can be said about anything you try.

In the end, if you have spent every waking moment of your entire life in a passionate pursuit of your dreams, would that not count as a success?

Word of the Week #14:

Publicity

Yes… The one word that makes even the best of us cringe…

And, of course, when I say us, I refer to writers, artists, and other such creative souls…

And we are, in general, not the most extroverted members of the society. We tend to devote all of our time and energy to our craft. Mundane terms like sales and revenue are beneath us. So this aversion does seem quite natural…

And basically, we just tend to be a special kind of crazy. Continue reading Word of the Week #14: