Word of the Week #163:

Sabbath

I know, I know, it is not Friday. Or Sunday. But I have always been a bit of a Maverick, right?

You see, on most days, I work a lot. Like, a LOT. Through pain, sickness, fatigue, boredom, distractions, whatever. I get my work done, and I am proud of it.

And I am also proud of the fact that I manage to get days to do just nothing at all.

Like, literally nothing at all. 

Shower? Nope.
Lunch? Nope.
Basketball? Nope.
Dinner? Nope.
Music? Nope.
Random streaming? Nope.
Respond to a random work mail? Nope.
Hours and hours of social media? Nope.
A million thoughts swirling through my head? Nope.
Getting off my comfy bed? Nope.

This is what I call taking a day off. Like, literally off.

This is how I can prepare for another week of insanity that has become the norm in my life. 

And sometimes, this is what you need to make sense of the world: Nothing.


PS: I actually did work 9 hours, today, and counted that as nothing. I guess something is really wrong with me. But, I love it.

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Word of the Week #162:

Ocular

Normally, I pride myself at being able to work through most sorts of injuries and ailments.

Blinding headaches, incessant colds, harrowing coughs, fractured wrist, broken shoulder, dislocated fingers. I’ve seen it all. And I have worked through it all with nary a complaint.

There is, however, an exception to this rule, as there often is.

I am truly hobbled, you know, figuratively, when something happens to my eyes. That is just the nature of my work, you see.

And yet, I will maintain that I may have been slowed down, I can never truly be stopped.

I am inevitable.

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 #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!

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.