Posted for Becca’s Sunday Trees.
Posted for Becca’s Sunday Trees.
There are so many things on my idea board at any given time. (Now that sounds amazing! No writer’s block ever!) And yet some ideas and impressions slip away, if I don’t act on them soon enough. At the time the creative spark comes to me, it feels like the next best thing to hit the literary world but some time later, the spark turns to ideas that look like hollow shells, with nothing that can fill them up and out.
If that sounds familiar, here are a few things you could do to keep the inspiration to write healthy and strong.
1. Reinforce your mood
A single piece of writing can have a particular mood. A research based article would have you in a rational frame of mind while poetry might see you whimsical and emotional.
If you are writing a hilarious piece, keep the hilarity alive in your mood, otherwise you would lose your tone.
Recently, a friend writing a story about infidelity listened to music that had a theme of being unfaithful. It was to hang on to the feeling, till the time it was spent in words.
Evoking that mood through another media fires up your brain neurons and soon new insights come running in.
2. Connect to your deeper self
Your idea came from the depths of your feelings and your soul. Now go nourish that part of yourself so that you can strengthen it and make it yours and write it. Do things that ground you.
Know what keeps you grounded. It could be surrounded by the people you love or being alone in nature. You have to find what keeps your innermost self vibrant and receptive.
3. Rekindle the feeling
Why are you writing in the first place? Are there any quotes that inspire you? Or a location? That log cabin in the hills? A piece of music or painting that reeks of creativity and the joys of right expression? Connect with them. Immerse yourself in them so that you can find the validation of writing once again.
4. Tap your subconscious
Occupy one part of your brain so that the other part can create. The perfect ways to do it would be to go on a walk or listen to music. Gardening or knitting are other ways that keep the hands occupied and the mind free to muse on other things. Doing something routine and repetitive is known to soothe the nerves and to aid in problem solving or bringing up new ideas.
5. Reshape your muse into other forms
If you have a wonderful theme that you want to explore in your writing but are unable to express it fully, try another form of expression. Move from poetry to prose. Sketch your idea. Paint it. Scult it or maybe just use play dough. Compose a song. You would find newer ways of bringing forth your idea with plenty of insights into the nature of creativity.
To keep inspiration close to you, it is important to be in the right state of mind. The ideas are always there. Half formed. Half baked. Waiting to be picked and polished.
What are the ways you keep your ideas strong and kicking?
Stupid Flowers is a wonderful collection of poetry; unconventional, irreverent and with plenty of brilliant surprises.
Brice Maiurro is a poet and writer currently residing in Denver, Colorado. He hosts a monthly poetry series called ‘Punch Drunk Poetry’. His writing has been featured locally in Suspect Press, Birdy Magazine and The Denver Post.
I had expected this poetry collection to be flippant, going by the title. But, flippant is one thing the poems are not. At various places, the poems have a depth that reflects the struggle of an intelligent mind with life choices. At other places, the poems create a psychedelic world of myriad impressions and thoughts careening around in the poet’s mind.
There are many poems that seared me deeply.
‘Color Test‘ talks of personality types, the ways people are reduced to and are judged by mere behavioral characteristics.
I liked ‘Mouseketeer‘, which succumbs to dark places in ones’ heart and yet it ends on a realistic note.
‘I am not a bottle of pills‘, is about love, friends, relationships, about life’s despairs and how to handle them.
“i am not a bottle of pills
but i love you
and if you need someone to listen
never don’t ask”
Sometimes, poems start with ‘and’ so that they feel like a continuation of a conversation.
‘Reckless‘ made me laugh at the futility of our rebellion just for the sake of it.
‘Moving Day‘ describes a physical movement and an emotional moving on, side by side.
“i packed up hope
and when there was room at the top of the box
i tossed in some doubt
to use the box to its full advantage
and i labeled the box
“brice. assorted nonsense.””
‘Whatif’ struck a chord, talking of the poet’s love for writing poetry.
‘There is Something Sad about Today and That is Ok‘, brings a feeling that there is someone out there, God or some presence that oversees us all.
‘Aquarium‘ bombards you with words, thoughts and images, bringing them together for a psychedelic experience of seeing a boy walking on water.
In ‘I blink and‘, there are infinite worlds and alternate realities that we are aware of.
‘i channel surf
the million lives I want to
In the poem, ‘Doing the dishes‘, at one moment, the poet is talking of the very ordinary act of doing dishes in the kitchen, being involved in the here and now and the next he is out of his skin, expanding and being like God, moving across space and then back to the ordinary.
In the surreal poem, ‘Date with a beautiful woman‘, I loved the juxtaposition of the emotional side of love with the bestial emotions of a werewolf of violence. That is how minds are, we realise, they turn from one to the other at the speed of thought.
In ‘3015 kalmia‘, we look for beauty in unexpected places.
“i’ve been taught to look at the mountains
the sky the trees the murals on the sides of buildings
but you reminded me how god hides
in the places you’d least expect to see her”
‘Waiting Room‘ is like a punch. It is just a little description of two men in a waiting room but the mention of death is a shock.
The poems have so many themes and the collection has a very contemporary feeling.
The style is free verse and sometimes the poems feel like prose or like conversations running around in the poet’s head. But the poems touch on many universal ideas like love, the conundrum of daily life and death.
Some of the imagery is drawn from daily life, from things as mundane as a housefly or the dresser in a room but the confusion and the anxiety are real and the insights, profound.
The cover art is different, not something you would associate with poems but then the entire collection brings in a new experience to the reader.
Read this poetry collection for a deep look into your own thoughts. Humourous, poignant and quirky, Stupid Flowers is captivating.
I rate this poetry book 4 stars.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the ebook from the author for an honest review.
Buy Stupid Flowers here.
Find it on Goodreads.
Rebecca Solnit is a San Francisco writer, historian, and activist. She is the author of twenty books about geography, community, art, politics, hope, and feminism.
Rebecca Solnit says it about writing and does not mince words. Here are a few of her inspiring thoughts on what writing is and how we can write better and from the soul.
Rebecca Solnit exhorts you to write. Quite a lot. Because it is practice and effort that leads to bad writing becoming good.
“Write what you most passionately want to write.”
“Write bad stuff because the road to good writing is made out of words and not all of them are well-arranged words.”
2. Typing it out is just a part of the writing process. Often, you think that you need to have a daily word goal. Or a weekly. You forget that writing is not just churning out words. There is a lot that goes into the strengthening of the writing muscle.
“Thinking, researching, contemplating, outlining, composing in your head and in sketches, maybe some typing, with revisions as you go, and then more revisions, deletions, emendations, additions, reflections, setting aside and returning afresh…”
3. Read aplenty, but don’t be influenced by trends. Read a lot to shape your voice and to find your influences. But, be yourself. There is no use going after what is trending and what others are writing, if it does not speak to you deeply.
“Find your own influences… Originality is partly a matter of having your own influences: read evolutionary biology textbooks or the Old Testament, find your metaphors where no one’s looking, don’t belong.”
To not belong is relieving.
4. Listen to others but know when to listen to your soul. You may have to ask for feedback on your writing. Listen to improve and to find new insights. But above all, know yourself and listen to your inner voice.
“Listen to what makes your hair stand on end, your heart melt, and your eyes go wide, what stops you in your tracks and makes you want to live, wherever it comes from, and hope that your writing can do all those things for other people.”
5. Passion and dedication endure, mere talent might not. Unless you live passionately and feel deeply and know that following your joy means obstacles and time, your talent won’t be enough.
“It starts with passion even before it starts with words.”
Dear reader, share the quotes that you find inspiring.
Through the Mist
We at Jimpify Publishing, are very happy and proud to announce the publishing of our second book, ‘Through the Mist’.
On 1st of September 2017, we are publishing our first collaborative fiction and our second book, Through the Mist. It has been a wonderful and exciting journey working with all the talented writers, right from the writing of the book till its publication.
About the Collaboration
‘Through the Mist’ is a collaborative book and an innovative venture to break a common belief and to validate an old saying.
It is a common belief that a story can be spun from only one pen. But ‘Through the Mist’ is a bouquet of stories from a bunch of authors.
The book validates that ‘A picture is worth a thousand words’ because a single photograph is the only common link to all the stories of this book.
Yes, a picture is worth a book!
‘Through the Mist’ is a collaborative fiction book that has brought together five writers from diverse backgrounds. The starting point of the stories is a picture, that has been interpreted by each of the writers differently so that the stories touch many genres and have varied characters.
What is the book About?
A reader commonly believes that an author always has control over her story. That holds true if a story has only one author. Here in this book, each of the five stories has five authors and each story is set to a different theme.
Every author has proved that they can start a story, lay twists and turns, strengthen the plot, tie up the loose ends as well as wrap up a story.
‘Through the Mist’ is a collaboration of pens, voices and experiences that brings forth seamless stories. With an exquisite cadence and rhythm, the different characters and the settings come alive.
‘A Middle Class story’ brings us Pari, the independent, headstrong girl whose parents want her to marry and settle down. Love has other views and comes unexpectedly through Rehan. In this comedy of errors, blunders pile on and the protagonists head a laugh riot.
In ‘A strange Life’, Aarya, bored with her profession and disappointed with her personal life, finds an unexpected adventure that is a little too much for her to comprehend. Can she manifest the life she has wanted to have, by reclaiming her power?
Aakash cannot forget Anavya, the love of his life. His longing turns him into a poet and he hopes and waits for her, years later. ‘Languish in Love’ is a delicate story that explores love, longing, pain.
‘The Lone Man’ is hard hitting. All John wants is to forget his wife Sarah’s death and get on with his life. But his nightmares and visions would not let go of him.
‘ Turn of the Tides‘ is set at sea and the men who have lived with the sea and loved her are the ones who fear her now. Can they conquer their dread and have the sea lose her power over them?
These stories are a surprising collection of different genres. The language is intense but the stories are crafted with incredible elegance. There are subtle twists and delightful conclusions.
The team behind this collaborative creation is :
Jithin, who provided the inspiration for the book. He blogs at www.trablogger.com
Abirami, the teenager who’s obsessed with writing and blogs at www.theobsessivewriter.com
Adhithya, the youngest teenager of the team who blogs at www.wordstuggedatheartstrings.WordPress.com
Nimitha, the writer who finds time to write between her busy work schedule. She blogs at www.nimzrevealed.WordPress.com
Rupali, the teenager studying maths and writing poems at www.literatureismyporn.WordPress.com
Sona, an avid reader and our resource person to lend any help. She blogs at www.sonaonline.WordPress.com
Aadhira, our in house editor who pushed everyone to write this book, blogs at www.aadhira.me
The authors became readers of their own stories and certified each of them to be a good read.
Here is your chance to grab the paperback of ‘Through the Mist’.
Posted for Becca’s Sunday Trees.
The title ‘Atonement‘ and the back cover of the 2001 Ian McEwan book suggests an emotional journey, a wrenching coming-of-age tale, that starts from an incident and extends well beyond it in real life ramifications and in memory.
Widely regarded as one of Ian McEwan’s best works, it was shortlisted for the 2001 Booker Prize for fiction. In 2007, the book was adapted into a BAFTA and Academy Award-winning film of the same title.
A few pages into the book and I knew this was not going to be an ordinary, swift read. The language is lyrical so that to roll over the words quickly was to let go of mini impressions that make up the larger picture. There are tiny flickers of emotions that fit the pieces of the puzzle of how our minds perceive things.
Ian McEwan’s exquisite book starts in pre war England, when war is still far from public imagination. In an idyllic country house, the lives of the people living therein and visiting are about to change irrevocably through a short, nearly invisible incident; invisible and unnoticed by everyone except the budding 13 year old writer whose verdurous imagination leads her to think of things beyond her understanding.
Briony, the youngest in the household or nearly so, if we discount her cousins, the twins, and yet the pivotal figure whose (mis) understanding of the events that unfold before her lead her to act in ways that has a lasting impact on the people she loves. Years later, she comes to a complete realisation of her actions and her suppositions and sets out to put things right.
In Briony’s atonement, fate plays a part and the journey that begins in a country house pans across the second world war, bringing the horrors of the war to the reader, in stark contrast with the placid gardens of her house.
The story begins in England, in 1935. The events of one day in summer are set out. The cast comprises of Briony, the precocious 13 year old, who is on the threshold of adulthood and literary revelation, or so she feels. Her elder sister, Cecilia is home after graduation, soaking in the glorious summer heat and wondering what to do with her life. On the same estate is Robbie, recently graduated, like Cecilia and on the cusp of an exciting life ahead that is full of possibilities. Leon, the eldest son of the household is awaited eagerly by all that evening. He is to be accompanied by the business tycoon, Paul Marshall. To the household are added the unfortunate and confused nine year old twins and their scheming, attention-seeking older sister, Lola; escaping a broken home and sent to the country to find love and care. The father, Leon’s, Cecilia’s and Briony’s, is large in his absence and we come to know of him through his wife, Emily, who nurses her migraine and her thoughts in private; in darkened rooms, with a heightened sense of understanding and prescience.
The country house sees talent, love, passion, intrigue, resignation in equal measures in the span of a day. The day unfolds through different eyes. Every character is wrapped in his/her world, musing, wondering and the stream of consciousness narrative reminds me of ‘The Lighthouse’ by Virginia Woolf. Briony, who till now has been penning down tales of love reunited, of valour and of an ideal world, stumbles upon the Stream of Consciousness way of narrative through her partial witnessing of the pivotal incidents of the day. The writer in her muses on this with a new set of eyes.
There is an undercurrent of joy in writing that Briony is aware of; she knows what stories do to her.
” ...writing stories not only involved secrecy, it also gave her all the pleasures of miniaturization. A world could be made in five pages and one that was more pleasing than a model farm. The childhood of a spoiler prince could be framed within half a page, a moonlit dash through sleepy villages was one rhythmically emphatic sentence, falling in love could be achieved in a single word-a glance. The pages of a recently finished story seemed to vibrate in her hand with all the life they contained.”
Briony is intense, with a depth of feeling that clarifies itself in her writings. She wonders,
“Was everyone really as alive as she was?… everyones’s thoughts striving in equal importance and everyone’s claim in life as intense, and everyone thinking they were unique, when no one was. One could drown in irrelevance.”
This thought process then is in some measure a portent of what is to come. Everyone is at the center of his/her universe, and yet on the whole they are like anyone else, everyone else and their lives, the entire arc of their struggle and redemption pale into insignificance or irrelevance in the bigger picture; when a measure of a life well lived is taken; when Briony in her old age is surrounded by family and the entire lifetimes are rattled off in a matter of sentences.
Part of the reason for Briony’s confusion on the fateful day is the inability to reconcile her feelings. She struggles with a ‘chaotic swarm of impressions’, the complexity of which convinces her that she is entering an ‘arena of adult emotion.’ Briony is a writer, first and foremost and she longs to set down the emotions on paper.
“What she wanted was to be lost to the unfolding of an irresistible idea, to see the black thread spooling out from the end of her scratchy silver nib and coiling into words.”
We understand, then, as to what prompted Briony to act the way she did. Emily, Briony’s mother, has a depth of understanding in the workings of the human mind. Her stoicism and acceptance of her husband’s absence, literally and figuratively and her knowledge of old age, when he would return to her for a companionable life is striking. All the more striking is her very real weakness when it comes to Lola and her vulnerability. Emily is shrewd enough to see her sister Hermione in Lola and that prevents her from complete love and attention towards her sister’s children. Emily as a mother, for that is what she is now, is wondrous. She thinks of Leon’s ‘diminishing prospects’ with a sense of clarity. Of Cecilia, Emily is dismayed that she is disappointed with her academic performance. Emily muses that Cecilia
“had no job or skill and still had a husband to find and motherhood to confront.”
Thinking about Briony, Emily regrets the
“passing of an age of eloquence.”
Already, Emily knows that her youngest is at the threshold of adulthood, struggling out of the mould of innocent, garrulous childhood. And yet, for all her understanding, Emily bows down to her prejudices when she is at the helm of decisions regarding the indictment of someone she has known for long years.
The fateful day full of unexpected events is spent, and for everyone involved, their lives change forever. The lull, the idyllic gives way to the ugly and the unexpected and soon the story moves to the battlefields of the second world war and to the weary trudge of the retreating British army through the French countryside. The horrors of the war as seen from a soldier’s eyes are presented; the disillusionment and the weariness that hides the vestiges of strength and courage. Death and terror, through Stuka attacks are so minutely described that I can visualise them to the last detail and feel the terror.
Superimposed on the war is love. War seems all encompassing; with wide swathes it takes in everything, destroying all in its wake. Love, private, ‘a lonely preoccupation’, flickers tentatively, feeding on memories and little stolen encounters, on words and on simple phrases that were uttered, on the dreams of a future and the urgency of love to uphold itself, high above the mundane. There is a tender pain of reunions, of things that might be and the wonder if the ideals of love would supercede the bleak realism of war and of life itself.
In the next part of the book, we come back to Briony’s viewpoint and her life choices. She has enrolled to be a nurse, to contribute to the war effort and to atone for her actions that fateful day when everything changed as per her thoughts and understanding. Her experiences with the sick and the dying are visceral and it shows another side of the war.
The book ends in present day England. The past is seen through Briony’s eyes, her relatives making up the carousel; the here-and-now described in delicate detail-the ordinary detail that makes up our lives; the near future, the projected and the expected turn of events described with a sense of resignation and stoicism to the wheel of existence. What captures us here are the stories within the story, the long awaited screening of Arabella, an allusion to other works of Briony and her masterpiece that has been written but that needs an opportune time for publication.
Atonement is a brilliant narrative of love, war, life. It is characterized by different hues and imagery that is both abstract and stark.