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.
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 Thrift Stores: Memories and Things→
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 Is blogging bad for writing?→
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 Home and the Blog→
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.
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.
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.
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 Requiem for a yellow leaf→
Over the last year and a half, my blogging dilemmas have been many. I have, I’m afraid, been able to reduce these dilemmas into neat little binaries quite without satisfactory answers. Continue reading Do bloggers have choices?→
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 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.
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 Five Ways to Think Writing Differently Online→
If you happen to watch TV at home during the holiday season, you will notice that along with festive tunes, shades of red and green, bells, parties, food, mall sales and lights, your thoughts will turn to another seasonal item on display in our culture: the romance fantasy. Continue reading Love, Romance and Escape→
It’s been quite a while for the blog now. From day one, I thought it might be necessary to have a plan for the blog. A year-and-a-half into it, I’m still planning to have a plan. What themes do I focus on? What character do I develop for the blog?
If nothing else, this plan to have a plan has made me think a lot about myself and my writing. So it’s not been all strife and missed targets but perhaps a little trimming of subject matter and presentation might help. Continue reading New Year’s Resolutions for the Blog→