Word of the Week #221:

Contrition

People often ask me what I do all day.

Okay, not often. More like, occasionally.

Anyway, I don’t usually have a real answer. I don’t have a schedule, per se. I just do what I like.

Still, what does a day look like in my life?

Well, let’s take a look.

12:00 PM

Awaken by a call. Client asks if I can take a new project and complete it in 24 hours.
“Of course, I can! Sure thing!”

12:02 PM

Go back to sleep.

4:14 PM

Actually wake up.

4:16 PM

Send confirmation to client without actually reading the whole email or checking the attachments.

4:20 PM

Freshen up.

4:40 PM

Think about working out.

5:30 PM

Actually start working out.

6:15 PM

Finish working out.

6:30 PM

Finally catch your breath.

6:31 PM

Think about taking a shower before getting distracted by a text.

6:56 PM

Actually shower.

7:13 PM

Walk out of the shower.

7:20 PM

Have dinner. 
“Dinner”? “Lunch”? Whatever.

7:40 PM

Consider getting started on the project.

7:41 PM

Decide to start at 8:00

7:42 PM

Chat.

8:00 PM

Realise you don’t want to start working yet. 

Reconsider.

8:03 PM

Decide to really start at 9:00.

8:04 PM

Continue chatting.

9:00 PM

Check the attachment in the email and realise you are not going to enjoy this project.
Whine.
“Nah! I don’t wanna do this!”

9:08 PM

Play video games for an hour.

11:20 PM

Realise it has been more than an hour.

11:21 PM

Decide to really, really start at midnight.

11:22 PM

Tell everyone you have decided to really, really start at midnight.

12:00 AM

Play video games for an hour.

5:28 AM

“Is that sunlight? Son of a—”

5:30 AM

Open a 98 page document.

5:40 AM

Finish reading the 98 page document.

5:41 AM

Get started on your task.

5:55 AM

Finish your task.

6:00 AM

Check once and submit.

6:01 AM

Go down for breakfast.
“Breakfast”? “Dinner”? Whatever.

6:02 AM

Realise that society’s definitions have no hold on you.

6:08 AM

Eat scrambled eggs.

6:11 AM

Lie in bed and watch anime.

10:00 AM

Turn the laptop off and go to bed with zero regrets.

That’s the way, uh-huh, uh-huh, I like it…

Du du du du du du du du du… Du du du du du du du du du… 

 

Word of the Week #186:

Ingeminate

Repetition.

Is it good or bad? How much of it is too much? 

When I find a song I love, I will listen to it on loop for literally weeks or months. Never change. Never tire.

If you ask me which was the book I last read, my answer would often be the same: Perhaps Wuthering Heights, or one of my Agatha Christie favourites. 

That doesn’t mean I haven’t read anything since I read those, but that I read it again, and I shall continue to do so.

I have a few favourite movies and series. I can often be found rewatching them. Within those, I have a few favourite scenes, and there are times when I just want to watch those, nando mo, nando mo.

Is there benefit to trying new things and expanding your horizons? Absolutely, and, while reluctant, I am not averse to that. It is like travelling. It adds to one’s life.

However, what I gain from reading the same book, or watching the same series, or singing the same song, a hundred time cannot be gained by reading a hundred books, or watching a hundred series, or singing a hundred songs, once.

The pleasure of completely immersing yourself in something, absorbing every ounce of its essence, and watching it become a part of your being is irreplaceable.

The pages of your favourite book, the scenes of your favourite series, the bars of your favourite song, the lips of your favourite girl—all hold a piece of your heart and tell you where you belong.

That is home.

As much as I may travel, I have to come home…

Word of the Week #160:

Remunerative

I think I have spoken a lot about how excruciating editing can be, right?

“While writing is like a joyful release, editing is a prison where the bars are my former intentions and the abusive warden my own neuroticism.”
― Tiffany Madison

This is what I mentioned way back

Well, these are the problems that arise when you are editing your own work. Editing words that someone else wrote is an entirely different scenario.

It almost feels like walking into a field full of weeds, a machete in each hand, and just swinging with gay abandon!

Like, getting paid to find fault in someone else’s work. That’s the dream, right?

And if there aren’t too many faults? Why, that is just a walk through a field. Nobody minds that, right? Especially if you are getting paid for it.

So, remember: Writing as a passion is great. Much admirable. But as a profession, editing is far more fruitful.

Word of the Week #155:

Esse

Last week, we tried to answer an important question that people tend to ask us: Why do we write?

But there is another question, one that is arguably far more important, that comes to mind that one must try to answer.

Why do we live?

In a way, I am glad it does not come to my mind too often, for there is no simple answer I can offer.

Should life be more than the mechanical execution of our mundane routines, the fulfilment of our fundamental needs? Should life be more than just a checklist that we have to complete before we run out of time?

Should life have some sort of meaning or purpose? Should we need a reason to get off the bed every morning besides our bladders?

What about us artistic types who live in our own world and are unencumbered, at least relatively, by the mundane? Do we live to write? Or do we write to live? Are the two mutually exclusive?

Well, the later is absolutely true for me, and I believe Stephen King would agree.

“Life isn’t a support system for art. It’s the other way around.”

Stephen King

So, why do we live?

Does our life, our existence, make a significant impact on the grand scheme of things to warrant the effort we have to exert on a daily basis?

Directly, probably not.

The simple truth is that too few of us will achieve greatness in our lifetimes. And even if we do, that too is fleeting.

Every year, over 60 players join the NBA; so far, only 111 players have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. 111 players in almost 70 years… And I would be surprised if you can name 5 of those players who were inducted before your parents were born. Hell, I would be surprised if you could name one.

Too few. Too fleeting.

Not every scientist will be the next Newton. Not every writer will be the next Shakespeare. And I highly doubt that too many carpenters can claim to be the next Jesus.

But you can definitely earn a footnote in someone else’s discovery that changes life on this planet, and possibly beyond. You can always hope your stories inspire one child to see the world in a different light. And you can absolutely provide someone the comfort of a cosy armchair after a long, hard day.

If you think about it, we are the grand scheme of things, and it is a cumulation of every single thought, word and action of every single being that creates the world as we know it.

Life must, therefore, contain within itself the potential to change everything in the entire universe. And possibly beyond…

But that is the answer to a different question altogether.

The question remains, why do we live?

My answer is actually quite simple. ‘Cause it is all we know.

Word of the Week #154:

Bohemian

Why do you write? 

As writers, we have all been asked this question, have we not?

In interviews, in queries, in casual conversation, we have always been asked this question.

And more often than not, we would respond with some words that make some sound like the perfect combination of an artist and a scholar. That is how we want to be seen, right? That is what benefits us. 

Why do I write? 

The answer is actually quite simple. I write because I do not know what else to do.

I have long believed that in humans, and perhaps in all sentient beings, along with an ability to understand arises a desire to be understood.

Some among us may be blessed with souls that are lucid. Clear. 
Some are cursed with darkness and discord.
But if you dive into the deepest of our depths, you will see that it does all make some sense.

So, why do I write? 

Why do I write ten thousand words and pray ‘t be worth the price?
To see a method to this madness, ten words would not suffice.

Word of the Week #149:

Ambience

As a writer, I often get the opportunity to converse with readers and learn what they like or dislike in books.

Over the past few years, too many of the readers I encountered are of an unusually impatient variety. 

They have neither the temperament to endure the few pages, and occasionally chapters, of descriptive background a good book might need before the plot takes over, nor do they have the ability to appreciate the mood that needs to be bolstered by the seemingly insignificant details in the background of the story.

These are the kind of people who think Edgar Allan Poe is dull and Agatha Christie is slow. Well, not that Christie isn’t slow, but that is part of her charm.

It may seem odd, but I believe this impatience is borne out of mental lethargy. Minds that have been benumbed by decades of cinematic indulgence.

Think about it. If I want to talk about a secluded cabin in the woods, it would take me hundreds of words to make the reader understand the extent and limits of its seclusion. In contrast, a movie can do that in a single still, and cover the cabin, the woods, the weather, the sky, everything you could want and more. 

After all, they are not stupid to say that a picture is worth a thousand words.

But in a book, there are only words. And this is exactly why we need thousands of them to tell our story.

If only each reader could differentiate the subtitles of a movie from a book…