Freshly Pressed!

Freshly Pressed
Freshly Pressed

And I am now featured on WordPress’s Freshly Pressed! Hope this post generates some more good discussion. Do Bloggers Have Choices?

The following posts were featured in the past. Can you figure out some commonality between them?

My Blog Audience

Sounds of the Blogosphere

Characters from the Inside of Your Head

Street corner next  to Union Square.

Social Media and Sharing Reality

I was walking around West Village yesterday when I turned a corner. It was not as cold as when the polar vortex had assailed us last week. Yet it wasn’t as sunny as the day before here in Manhattan. In fact, it was pretty foggy even for a winter’s day.

The fog on a different day seen from across the Hudson.
The fog on a different day seen from across the Hudson.

The fog was making striking patterns in the sky as it swirled around the tall buildings making them look like slim black mountains or gigantic arthropods with their front feet buried in the fog and their antennae pointed towards me as they looked down from their lofty heights.

If you knew the landscape in these parts, you’d know that those antennae were really enormous cranes or pullies perched atop the terraces. The World Trade Center, the most gigantic arthropod of all, stood like the leader of the pack looking down from the foggy heavens like a creature from the myths and legends of yore.

It was a day of epic poetry about cities and civilizations and battles and  mountains and fog and about the rise and fall of civilizations past and present.

Then I turned that corner suddenly and encountered a strikingly different sight. Continue reading

Page by Frank Kovalchek - Another hand mirror reflection

The self in writing

  • When man looks into a mirror he sees himself. When man looks into a book, what does he see?
  • When man writes a book, who is he speaking to–to others or to himself?
  • Why do most people write anyway, when it isn’t a school curriculum,  a job requirement or something that provides a living?
  • Is writing  entirely an act of speaking to others? Is there any part of writing that involves listening as well?

I don’t suffer from hubris large enough to claim to have an answer to all of these questions as big and complex as they are. Speculation will only prove my amateurish ignorance within the writing community and so I’d better maintain a discreet silence here.

Writing and I

However, one thing I do know is that a lot of inexperienced writers, myself included,  view their own writing as self-expression and self-exposure of one kind or the other.

The simplest of these authors view writing as a way to gain recognition for themselves, be it to millions of readers (as a sort of alternate career dream), or to be valued by friends and family (to gain social stature) or to find value in themselves (as a means to find meaning in their lives). All worthy goals with a single underlying thread.

The self. The me. The I. Continue reading

The fog on a different day seen from across the Hudson.

Hope

I step into the tub for a shower.

Ahh.  A greyish black speck against the perfectly smooth, white surface of the tub.

I was bound to notice. Everything else was bleached clean, sparkling, sleek, shiny and fragrant. The slender faucets glinted in the recessed lighting, complexly designed yet pretty in the light that came in through the spotless, transparent shower curtains. Everything in this space was designed for perfect control from the temperature of the water to the force of the jet from the showerhead. A smell of heavy, synthetic fruit from green plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner overwhelmed the senses with promise divorcing existence from the brutal wintry day outside in its sweet entrapment.

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A speck it was indeed, quite out of place in this dazzling white cube of perfection. For the person who occupied the tub, the roof was perfectly angular in the corners, the tiles sparkled white, the tub was cleverly contoured and the plastic shower curtain sparkled.

Just like the city outside with its perfectly clean river and its hard, glittering skyline full of metallic jagged angles and spikes on a sparkling clear day brutally cold like this one.

There was no wind here in the tub. Yet the speck moved. Continue reading

Email and the Parents

bottledworder:

An old post revisited for readers old and new.

Originally posted on bottledworder:

It was probably the year 2001 and I was checking my email in a computer lab in a school in Florida trying to concentrate amidst the loud noise that the dot matrix printers were making on the aisle (which were the only printers completely free for students then although laser ones did exist).

I was checking an email that had the following subject line:

INFORMATION RECEIVED. ACTION TAKEN.

View original 1,551 more words

Of cool writer dudes

So you go to a party and are introduced to a stranger  for the first time as a writer. Said stranger moves his chair up to you and decides to be nice. “So how’s the writing coming along?” he asks. Or even better, “What’s your novel about?”

It seems to me that only writers are graced with such pleasant conversation starters.  Imagine someone wanting to make small talk at a party with a person from a different profession. “So how’s the coding coming along? “And how’s the plumbing going?” (unless you are personally invested in the results of said work) or “So how are the surgeries keeping you occupied?”or “What’s your criminal case about this week”?
Continue reading

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Thrift Stores: Memories and Things

I have this gigantic beige coat that has been lying unused a long time in my closet. It’s humongous with a gigantic aura of fake fur trimmings. It is certainly at least a size too big for me. It makes me look very well equipped for a trip to Antarctica whenever I get into it.

Because of the recent snow storms slamming the North East, I took the coat out at last a couple of times this season. I noticed that a tag  under its collar says L.L. Bean. Yet, I vividly remember the day I bought it at a store in Florida which is as far as it could be from a nice outerwear clothing store such as L.L. Bean or Burlington Coat Factory.

Having always lived in tropical climates, I was stumped a few years ago when I was due to visit Philly at the height of winter from Florida, where I lived then, for some interviews at a conference. I realized that nothing I possessed could match the kind of cold I might have to face up North. Knowing I’d never use the coat beyond the day or two, I visited the town thrift store to look for something suitable.

Image by brina_head on flickr

It was a biggish store with vast spaces full of clothes on hangers hung on rails with bright natural light coming in through the windows. Almost all the clothes there were either cotton or made of artificial silky material that hung on the hangers with slumped shoulders looking like they could be crumpled into little balls if needed. Continue reading

Is blogging bad for writing?

Do you want to become a good writer? Keep writing! Practice makes perfect.

Or does it?

Keep writing is usually the advice new writers are given to help them launch a journey onto the uncharted waters of how to write well, a practice that doesn’t usually have any proven rules of success although there’s plenty of advice going around.

I realized that as in every good thing in life, blogging too comes with its own share of pitfalls. Where there is opportunity for improvement in writing, there is also a need for tremendous caution.
Continue reading

Home and the Blog

What does my blog mean to me?

Many a time, as I’ve sat by myself at night when the sounds of the day have quietened down and noises of the night have become louder, such as that of the whooshing of the AC, or thud of the softly falling snow or rain, the zzzzzing of the ups and downs of voltage brightening or dimming the tubelight or the buzzzzz of a single mosquito trapped in the mosquito net, or the dulled sounds of boats in the fog or the frogs croaking outside with the glow worms, depending on which part of the world I am in, I’ve wondered what the blog means when the writing has or hasn’t come.  Continue reading

Of bloggers, Birbal and birds: How to make yourself heard

An old post revisited

How many of us bloggers are out there?

A mind-boggling number very hard to grapple with for sure.

Our sheer numbers  reminded me of a well known tale of Akbar and Birbal I came across recently on my flight back to the US from India. It was a version of the story in animation adapted for kids which I watched on the screen trapped in my little space in the sky.

It goes something like this: Continue reading

Commuters on a snowy day

There is nothing like sitting on a relatively empty commuter train and watching people lost in thought. And there is nothing like watching people lost in thought and seeing their thoughts grow and grow like nice little bubbles around their heads until someone comes in to take the next seat or the ticket collector comes by to burst the bubble.

Such are the kinds of thoughts even long commutes will allow shaped by constraints of place and time.

That was the nature of my train ride this morning.
Continue reading

Like vs. Silence on Social Media

I have never seen the Taj Mahal awash with moonlight on a Full Moon day. Or the Great Pyramid in the desert rising in grandeur in the yellow sands in front of me. I have never heard the lion’s roar in the wild. Nor can I remember what it must have been like to have seen the ocean for the first time.

But I can imagine what some of it must feel like.

It must be sublime. It must be spellbounding. It must be a moment so full of wonder that it must be the most difficult to express anything at all at the moment.

Now imagine that the Taj is virtual with a discreet like button next to it. Also imagine that you are a virtual tourist on your way to another site of attraction.

Would you pause a while spellbound in wonder at the beauty of it all or would you casually hit the like before moving on to the next site?
Continue reading

A great post I read this week

I chanced upon this piece by Elizabeth Gomez called My Life as an Engrish to English Translator a few days ago on the Freshly Pressed collection. I laughed hard and was touched by it and so I thought I’d share it with you. It relates a series of experiences where the writer, presumably Korean-American,  had to keep “translating” her Korean mother’s hilarious “Engrish” on numerous occasions all through her childhood. But the light touch belies the seriousness behind it all–the episodes are really about a lot more. The post reminded me a lot of Amy Tan’s Mother Tongue. Continue reading

Requiem for a yellow leaf

My way of life
Is fall’n into the sere, the yellow leaf;

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death.

It was a highly dreaded day of bitterly anticipated cold, of polar vortices and chunks of ice on the water. The Hudson had frozen over like I had never seen it before next to New York City probably because they’d been breaking the ice with machines further upstream. Continue reading

Five Ways to Think Writing Differently Online

So what did I learn through months of producing great, good, mediocre and fairy bad writing online? How has the experience been different from producing vast quantities of writing meant to be printed off the printer? How has the experience of writing online been different from traditional writing? Continue reading

easy reading is damn hard writing

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