5 Things that keep your Writing Inspiration Strong

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?

8 Things I Discovered in 8 months of writing listicles

So the year was drawing to a close and the new one was dawning and all I wanted to do was to bring a Big change in my life without it sounding like a Resolution list, because, you know, only 6% of people are able to keep their resolutions by month 4 ( I seriously don’t know what happens when that year draws to a close).

Apart from the usuals of exercising more and eating healthier and going ballistic in my career and earning potential and being kind-more to myself, I also wanted to write more. And I knew that the first few months of the year were going to be busy. So I started a list of blog ideas which brought up my dormant desire of writing list based articles. I pledged to do just that and started with Friday Listicles. It meant that I had decided to do atleast one post per week till the time I could pick up the pieces of my life and write more meaningful stuff.

I have been posting a listicle every Friday, barring one, of this year. And that one Friday when I did not post was the one week my readers heaved a sigh of relief for being spared the torture.

I started off the listicle series by talking of what they are, how I love them and how they are hated by many. After a few months of writing them, I found out that…

1. You can get lazy when you write Listicles. After all, most of the structuring has been done for you. You only need to think of a title and like a magician be able to procure points upon points related to the topic. You could do a 23 point list, with nothing to show for the points and you could do a Top 3 list, where the content takes precedence over the number.

Some weeks I was lazy, admittedly and other weeks I wrote well-thought out lists with pertinent points. The choice is yours. You can let the list get you lazy or you can focus better on the content because you don’t need to take care of the structure.

2. The endings of the lists are important too. Most often I would list out the few points of whatever I was talking about and just close the post at the last point. Through some feedback and through some intelligent reading of my own posts, I realised that the listicles needed an ending as much as a long form article does. Wrapping it up well in the end is good for the reader and good for the one writing it.

3. Listicles really are quick. Quick to peruse and quick to write. Did I really want my readers to glance and skim and leave? The better way was to keep the subheads introductory and yet not revealing everything. Through building a little intrigue I was able to hold interest (hopefully) and found that people did read the Listicles to the end.

4. But no, lists and by extension, Listicles are not dumb. I covered a little of it in point 1 and really one of the cardinal roles in writing a listicle is to not repeat yourself but I had to put it clearer. It is up to the writer to write meaningful, engaging, well researched content and elevate the form.

5. The number in the listicle heading counts. Yes, it counts because it is a number but saying ‘A few things that I found while travelling by train’ does not sound as enticing as ‘ 7 surprising things that you wish you knew about travelling in a train’. A good title counts and brings in more readers. It is not because of the number but the fact that the writer has chosen to show the unique viewpoint in the title itself.

6. Are odd numbers in the titles better than even? Frankly, I don’t know. Apparently, internet proclaims that an odd number in the title brings in more attention but to my mind it could be the equivalent of clickbait. So, let the content speak for itself rather than resorting to little gimmicks.

7. It is possible to show who you are through your listicle too. Often, it is complained that we cannot get the writer’s voice in the list but I have found that it is possible to set the tone in your listicle. It is possible to have a witty twist or a serious discussion , not at the same time of course and give the reader a glimpse of the person behind the listicle. The choice of the topic itself is a guess enough.

8. Writing a listicle need not be a sloppy job. It is not a list created out of random facts. The only lazy thing that you can allow a listicle to do is to create a structure for your article. You can write well, hold forth on anything with authority if you have researched the subject and write the in-depth articles and the high brow topics that you want to write.

A listicle need not be the bubble wrap of modern living; it could be the cushion that leads you to difficult topics gently.

This listicle is part of Friday Listicles, a weekly feature that professes our love for anything that is presented in a numbered or bulleted form, paving the way for a happy weekend.

4 Ways to Tell if You are a Writer 

Image courtsey: The Odyssey Online

Disclaimer: This post is aimed at and addressed to you, the reader. However, whenever I say ‘you’ for the reader, it can also be construed as ‘me’, the writer, because this is why the post is written: to reassure myself that I am doing alright. 
It can take (us) writers a long time to be marginally readable. There are a few who are like Gods on Earth, the ones who seem to write without effort, sitting down at their gleaming writing desks each morning, hammering out hundreds of words with scarce a pause in between and a smile on their lips. These demi Gods are a paragon of clarity and eloquence and everything that they write is lapped up by the masses and the adulating crowds… anyway, you get my point.

Then there are the mere mortals, the ordinary writers who find the writing hard, fearful and terrible. Most of what they write is through a convoluted process of agonising over the what and the how. They (Us) struggle to get the words right, the adverbs out of sight, weeding out the cliched similes and mataphors so that the masses of words are pruned into the semblance of a manicured beauty.

To add to the agony of making the writing clear is the fear of not doing it well enough. There is the issue of acceptability, both of what is being written about and the language employed. Say in a memoir, how much about something can one write? What are the things that absolutely should not be left out so as to stay relatable, even though it may mean being estranged from your aunt, the one who tattled about the family secrets in the first place.

Then, there is the problem of excrutiatingly bad ideas that somehow refuse to turn into the swans from the ugly ducklings of the first drafts. The bad first drafts just morph into bad second drafts and the rewriting seems to have little effect on the final version. Is it ever going to get any better, is what you (I) despair of. Months go by and then of course, years and the way we live our days, in desperation and trepidation seems to be the way we are going to live our lives. The mere mortals seem to lose all hopes of even sitting at the feet of the demi Gods.

In between the struggle to be the writers we (there, the ‘we’ had to come out) want to be, spewing breathtaking beauty and truths of life that have hitherto been undiscovered or let us say, not been expressed in our inimitable ways and the awareness of the clock ticking away, perhaps of our creativity and the resilience to write, there lies the little window of hope and of getting there against all odds. 

In spite of the doubts, here are a few ways to tell when you (yes, we) are a writer.

1. Daydreaming

You daydream a lot. Yes, me too. Daydreaming is built into your system and no matter what others think, it is a valid activity, to be indulged into on a daily basis. Dreaming is not a waste of time, you feel, but a way to be more creative and a way to delve into your intuitive powers. 

You would always have stories running through your head. They may be populated by wild characters or ones that do unimaginably creative things. The stories are varicolored, sensory extravaganzas that stream fast through your mind even when your are deep in other things.

You have imaginary conversations. The talk could be the people in your head or the people who are real and you rehearse the words and your reactions and their delight and how those conversations are then going to be the turning point in their lives.

The day dreams are also about you, writing away to literary abandon. There could be no greater pursuit or joy than in writing.  

2. The Written Word

It is God. Period. Anything that is ink or black scratchings on white paper or any coloured scratchings even on yellowing parchment, it can be put on a pedestal. This applies equally to cheesy love letters and drab instructions for fixing a machine.

As for you, in the presence of the written word, you are dumbstruck and you can be content in being a wallflower for the rest of your life but you want part of the glory of the word and you itch to write yourself. 

It is not about being published or about the accolades or the hallowed doors that open to a person of immense talent. It is about the joy of relentless writing, only for the sake of it. 

3. Writing on your mind

Reading and Writing are always on your mind. Indulging in one makes you want to indulge in the other. They are the yin and the yang. You swing like a pendulum between the two. There are stories that you read, that you like and they lead your mind to narratives that run around in your head. There are snippets of conversations that you hold onto for  a years because you can weave an entire tapestry of emotions around them. 

4. You hate your work

You excel at self criticism. Your Inner Critic (IC) is alive and kicking. Everything that you write is robustly rejected as being  terrible in every aspect. Your IC can mostly be found perched on your shoulder as you practice your craft. For every few sentences, the IC can be seen shaking his (or her, depending on your own gender and on the complex you have, either Oedipus or Electra) head, his expression a mask of disdain. The words you employ are met with a snigger from the IC, the flow of ideas with a grimace. Nothing you write meets the approval of the IC, even when others like what you publish.

A strong IC also means that you, the writer have a strong urge to improve your craft. 

Writers are writers, because they write. Even when no one reads them. Even when the words are not precise and the sentences are convoluted. Even when the writers digress from the story they are telling to another thread that unravels inspite of themselves, sometimes creating themes and motifs and at other times, creating a mess.

This listicle is part of Friday Listicles, a weekly feature that professes our love for anything that is presented in a numbered or bulleted form, paving the way for a happy weekend. 

4 Powerful Ways to Self Renewal

No matter at what stage of life you are, you could do with some improvement or shaking up. For those of you content with the way things are in your life now, pay heed to the ways you can keep the status quo. For those who feel that life throws up challenges faster than they can resolve or that their goals loom faster than they can be met or even that they are going nowhere with their present efforts, here are a few ways your mind can be reset, your days become more meaningful and your dreams seen closer to realization. 

1. Gratitude 

Practise Gratitude to see the best in every situation and count your blessings over and over again to get into a positive frame of mind. 

In her book, Magic, the author Rhonda Byrne shows how Gratitude has an immense power in making a person see the best in everything and everyone. It is precisely this positive bent that brings about changes in our lives that seem nothing short of miracles. 

2  Directed Questions

Harnessing the power of your brain to bring a change in focus is what can help you to succeed at a personal and professional level. Developed by the NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) Trainer, Rex Sikes in the 1990s, asking Directed Questions is a way to channelise the brain’s capabilities of looking for answers through the massive amount of data it already has. 

The technique consists of knowing what to ask the mind so that the mind goes in a positive direction and then gets the focus on the things you most want to achieve. These questions are different from making affirmations. In fact, they are supposed to be 400 times more powerful. 

3. Examine your Narrative 

There are stories we tell about ourselves to others. They may be half truths, some embellishments and some lies. They are told this way because we want to project the best of ourselves to the world. 

Then, there are the stories we tell ourselves. These are the voices in our heads. They are the ones which say how we could not follow our dreams or could not get that job or why we turned out the way we did in our lives. We all have these narratives running in our minds telling us the reasons we are not the best versions of ourselves. 

Take out some time and examine the narrative you have of yourself. If it does not work for you, it is time to change that story. 

4. Declutter 

Get rid of the things you don’t want in your life. Declutter your space and your physical surroundings. A physical declutter can do wonders in creating a sense of relief by letting go of the stress that too many things bring. 

Marie Kondo, in her book, Spark Joy says that we should keep only those things with us that spark joy. 

Extend this logic to your emotional space. Let go of situations and people that no longer work. There is no point in hanging on to things just because you have always done it that way. Evaluate your emotions. Weed out the negative ones. 

6 Awesome Tips on Writing by Stephen King 

The American author Stephen King’s book ‘On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft’ is a memoir that documents his experiences as a writer and relays his advice for aspiring writers. 

Here are 6 tips from his book that you can start following right away for your writing to be better. 

1. Read a lot and Write a Lot 

Reading is as much an investment into writing as writing itself. Reading is for you to understand the art of writing even though it is not done consciously. Yet, it is a learning process and every reader picks his own lessons. 

Good writing… teaches the learning writer about style, graceful narration, plot development, the creation of believable characters, and truth-telling.

Writing a lot, regularly and consistently, is what makes a writer confident and better. King, considered one of the most prolific writers of our time, says that he writes every day. 

2. Write simply 

Some writers have enormous vocabularies, says King, but it is alright to use simpler words. Simplicity communicates ideas better. So, you can chuck the big words and stop being pretentious… Umm that is, stop showing off. 

One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you’re maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones.

3. Pay Attention to Grammar 

It would be rather obvious that a grammatically correct text is capable of putting the correct meaning across. Some writers may argue that they could never understand the complex rules of grammar. But sentences must make rational sense. So it is important to brush up on the grammar that we all learnt in High School. 

If you can remember all the accessories that go with your best outfit, the contents of your purse, the starting lineup of the New York Yankees or the Houston Oilers, or what label “Hang On Sloopy” by The McCoys was on, you are capable of remembering the difference between a gerund (verb form used as a noun) and a par-ticiple (verb form used as an adjective).

4. Use the Active Voice 

… and avoid the passive voice in your writing. King says that the passive voice is weak ;it puts forth information in a roundabout manner and is ‘tortuous’. 

I think timid writers like them for the same reason timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe. There is no troublesome action to contend with…

5. Don’t use Adverbs 

The words that modify verbs, adjectives and other adverbs and ending in -ly are the words that a writer should avoid. You might think that you are putting in a punch when you describe things and situations with adverbs. Paradoxically, the use of adverbs tells us that the writer is not expressing clearly what he wants to communicate. The writer has not put in enough context or a backstory. King also advises that adverbs should be be avoided like the plague, especially in dialogue attribution. 

With adverbs, the writer usually tells us he or she is afraid, he/she isn’t expressing himself/herself clearly, that he or she is not getting the point or the picture across.

6. Take care of the paragraphs 

King says that writing is refined thinking and paragraphs help organize the subject matter. A basic paragraph has a topic sentence followed by support and description sentences. 

Paragraphs structure the writing and the flow. 

…the paragraph, not the sentence, is the basic unit of writing—the place where coherence begins and words stand a chance of becoming more than mere words. 

 And lastly, to inspire you furthur, Stephen King says about Writing… 

I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever. 

Friday Listicles‘, are running into their second month. It is a weekly feature that professes our love for anything that is presented in a numbered or bulleted form, paving the way for a happy weekend. 

5 ways a ‘Done List’ is better than a ‘To Do List’

What is a Done List, you might ask. To the people who swear by the usefulness of the To Do List to drive their productivity and to raise their efficiency, the mention of a Done List might come as a surprise. A Done List is the one that puts together the things you have accomplished. A To Do list helps in organization and in setting priorities and a Done List helps in inspiring and in driving productivity. 
A Done List might be considered the opposite of a To Do List in the way that it lists out the things that have been completed or the learnings that have come about in the course of a day or the brilliant ideas that have been brainstormed. But the fact is that these lists are not opposites but are complimentary. When used together, these can drive your productivity much higher. 

A To Do is Possibility and a Done is Results. Here are Five ways a Done List is the better half of a To Do List. 

1. Done Lists focus more on the things you have accomplished. This is the reason that a Done List is far more satisfying to create and behold. To Do Lists tend to be long and even when you tick off more than 70% of the items, the remaining ones point an invisible finger at you, making you feel guilty. To Do Lists generally stay incomplete. 

On the other hand, a Done List has the things, projects, goals that are all complete and it is for you to happily run down your eyes on the things that you have accomplished. 

2. Done Lists are a better tracking tool. Sure, To Do Lists put all the things that you need to accomplish in one place so that you don’t forget the little things with the larger projects but the Done List tracks what actually gets accomplished. It is a better way to know how many things really got through. This is especially required when there are a number of projects or tasks that need to be completed. Without a Done List, anything that has been finished may get buried in the deluge of tasks and you may not even realize that you are doing good and are on track for many things. 

3. Done Lists are great for productivity analysis. With the Done list you really know how much you have accomplished by looking at the things that have been completed. It helps to inspire and is useful for further planning. 

The Done Lists provide a different perspective of the Doing-game in helping with the review of the goals reached. They are motivating because the results are real. 

4. Done Lists are overwhelming in a positive way. For a To Do List, the sheer number of things that need to be done can be overwhelming. For a Done List, the number of things that have been accomplished could be positively overwhelming and boost self esteem and confidence. 

5. Done Lists complete the picture and provide a balance. The To Do List is about expectations. The Done List is about results. So, analysing the things done can lead to better planning through an evaluation of why some items don’t make it to the Done List. 

How do you manage your tasks and goals? Do you prefer making lists? 

This listicle is fourth in the series of ‘Friday Listicles‘, a weekly feature that professes our love for anything that is presented in a numbered or bulleted form, paving the way for a happy weekend. 

5 Inspirational Quotes on Writing 

1. “Write with the door closed, rewrite with the door open. Your stuff starts out being just for you, in other words, but then it goes out. Once you know what the story is and get it right—as right as you can, any-way—it belongs to anyone who wants to read it.”

-Stephen King in ‘On Writing’

I find this quote very inspiring, especially when I struggle to revise and edit, wondering what to keep and what to cross out. I understand my responsibility for my writing to be meaningful because when I share it, it is no longer mine alone. 

2. “Rereading old books that I love. I think the writing energizes and inspires me as much as it did the first time. I also watch a lot of TV. Immersing myself in other people’s stories really helps me.”

—Brandy Colbert, author of Pointe on how to defeat the writer’s block. 

There are so many times I hit it, the writer’s block. The books I love always tell me the what and how and I come back brimming with ideas, wanting to recreate the magic. 

3. “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. Or belong to the other world that is not quite this one, the world from which you send back your messages.”

– Rebecca Solnit, writer

I find this advice beautiful… Of belonging to another world because that is what I feel, when I spend too much time in my head. 

4. “Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.” 

– Charles Bukowski, poet. 

This relates to life and to disappointments and to the misery we feel occasionally. I may feel that when I am trying to write something ambitious but I always remember that I have been able to finish and that it turned out alright. 

5. “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” 

– Toni Morrison, in her Nobel lecture, 1993.

This is the only true reason that I am inspired to write. To create a measure for my life. 


Do share the writers quotes that inspire you and make you want to take up that pen right now… 

This is the third in the series of ‘Friday Listicles‘, a weekly feature that professes our love for anything that is presented in a numbered or bulleted form, paving the way for a happy weekend. 

7 Reasons Why We Love Listicles

Why is it that making lists is simply irresistible to us? From having post-its stuck to all sorts of surfaces to having scraps of paper scattered around with little reminders to having lengthy do-its that are made first thing in the morning, we have come a long way. It used to be personal; rummaging around for the lists in the recesses of our handbags or neatly folded away in our wallets. The obsession is now public; from the insufferably loud support for the BuJos… the Bullet Journals that are the superpowers when it comes to organising our thoughts, activities and destinies to the way journalism and content on the web is now arranged for consumption. 

The Internet is awash with all sorts of lists, a veritable cornucopia of the ways we love this or dislike that and the ultimate listings of the books we cannot miss and the sound tracks we ought to have on our playlists. These lists have spawned a new way of journalism, called the listicle. A listicle is the combination of the words ‘list’ and ‘article’ and is an article that is presented in the form of a bulleted or numbered list. 

Are these listicles popular? Very! Here are the reasons that find resonance with so many around the globe. 

1. Bite sized information – In today’s information overload, anything that can be read quickly, understood without much effort and digested immediately looks attractive. The listicles score high on all these counts. Not only does the title get to the point immediately but the content of the listicle is concise. There is no beating-about-the-bush, no preamble, no middle and no ending. All that the listicle wants to tell you is right there, at a glance. 

2. The Certainity Factor – The reader knows exactly what she is getting into. The listicle promises and delivers. You know what the article is about and you know how long it is going to be. At a cursory glance, you know that “12 ways to improve your Communication with your colleagues” is going to take a lot lesser time than “99 ways to train your pet”.

3. Easy Peasy – The ease is in the reading and the writing. No more extra checks for grammar and worrying about words being in context. The prose is not convoluted and there are facts, facts and possibly some more funny facts (assumptions) in the listicle. 

4. The Illusion of Completeness – after reading “78 Greatest Music Tracks of All Time ” there is no way a reader is going to read another article to see if she missed something. There is something about the listicles that make everything sound so definitive. 

5. Ticking them Off – As every self respecting List Lover would tell you, half the pleasure of list making is in the ticking off of the items ; the listicle readers can justifiably tick the ones they have read and experienced. And if they are reading of something that they know nothing about because they were led to the listicle by their morbid curiosity, then the pleasure is in mentally ticking off the points that they are reading. 

6. Stress Relief – The sky rocketing stress levels means that you need something to calm those swirling and murky thoughts in your mind. Putting down things in staccatto helps in writing out everything that is bothersome or has been around for too long to ignore now. Put down that stress on the paper or the screen and put away seeing the shrink. That is possibly what the writers of those listicles do when their editors/employers tell them to come up with a definitive and all encompassing article on something like the social etiquette. 

7. Memorisation – Easy memorisation of the organized information is one of the best benign effects reading a listicle brings ( even for the ones that you hate to read).There is no need to categorise information that has been presented in rambling paragraphs, looking for salient points and reducing the need to draw inferences from the data presented. The listicle has done it for you. Of the “19 best LBD styles”, you are bound to remember around 6. 

Now, go gorge on them. 

There are so many ways that we love the listicles. Let us count the ways. Tell me what is it about a list or a listicle that draws you to it. 

This is the first in the series of ‘Friday Listicles‘, a weekly feature that professes our love for anything that is presented in a numbered or bulleted form, paving the way for a happy weekend. 

Let Me Count the Ways 

There are two kinds of people : the ones who make lists for everything and the ones who abhor list making. I firmly belong to category one. 

I feel that lists are made not just by type As but by perfectly normal procrastinators as well. List making is in fact an art form. 

    There is plenty of poetry in making lists. Lists and poetry put together remind me of the iconic sonnet by Elizabeth Barrett Browning… How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. 
    How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
    I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
    My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
    For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
    I love thee to the level of everyday’s
    Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
    I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
    I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
    I love thee with the passion put to use
    In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
    I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
    With my lost saints – I love thee with the breath,
    Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose,
    I shall but love thee better after death. 

    Elizabeth Barrett Browning 

    Let me count the ways in which I love this sonnet. 

    • Before I was introduced to ‘Sonnets from the Portuguese ‘ the 44 sonnet sequence from which this 43rd sonnet has been taken, I read Pearl S. Buck’s short story of a plain, nondescript school teacher, leading a staid life, governed by routine. She gets a chance to play the poet Elizabeth, in a drama based on her life. Buck’s story is essentially about how a seemingly plain woman finds the wild passionate side of hers through playing that role. I loved the unpredictability of the tale as well as the astounding metamorphosis of a person. It created an aura of the great poet herself. I was intrigued by the life of the legendary poet who was widely read in her times (the sonnet was written between 1845-46 and published in 1850) and whose poetry transcends time. 
    • I am always impressed by the fact that Elizabeth wrote poetry that was deemed good by the male dominated literary society of the time. She was more popular than her husband Robert Browning, another notable poet. She conquered the male bastion of poetry, turning a very masculine poetic form to convey the feminine viewpoint. 
    • The Sonnet 43 from the Portuguese is about love, the quality of love, the sublime heights and the unfathomable depths of feeling. It is about the beloved and yet it transcends a person. 
    • There is so much maturity here. This is not merely a first crush or the fantastical musings of a love lorn person. There is romantic love which is grounded in the reality of an ‘everyday need ‘. 
    • I am always amazed by the spectrum of love presented in the sonnet. In just fourteen lines, the poet counts eleven ways in which she loves her beloved. From the poet’s ‘childhood faith’, it moves on to love beyond death. 
    • I love the idea that here is a woman expressing her love in a deeply powerful way. It is straightforward. It is philosophical. It is unapologetic. It is intellectual. The intense emotion is the most inescapable thing in her life, as is her breath. 
    • It is very comforting to read of a mature love that knows itself for what it is and knows its own power.

          Which is your favourite poem? I would love to hear from you. 

          Friday Listicles: Top 5 Literary Fixes

          Being a voracious reader, I like to read book after book, with scarce a pause in between. I can be reading up to three different books at a time. When I am full of one, or overwhelmed with the thought thread in another, I only have to turn to yet another. Good books nourish the soul.  But there are times when I need some mindless reading, or something that is not too much effort but is good reading. I call such reads my literary fixes as they fill the gap in my reading and they are light and pleasant.

          The Top 5 Literary Fixes

          Re reading Classics
          Classics are considered ‘heavy stuff’, with archaic language and difficult to follow plot line. Yet, there is nothing more comforting for me to turn to the familiar characters I have grown up with (I started reading classics at a very young age and had read many of them by the time I finished school) and relive their lives, struggles and emotions. I go down the familiar lanes, see the landscapes once again and wander the mansions. It is something I cannot do in real life, for people and places change every time I blink.

          Western Novels
          The wild, wild west attracts me like nothing else and because the uncertain, danger ridden, pistol toting, knife wielding characters always live on the edge, it is a perfect antidote to my staid lifestyle. Any time, I pick up a Louis L’Amour book and follow the protagonist across the deserts or on mountain trails, I come back rejuvenated.

          Travel Literature
          The Lonely Planet magazines are my best friend. They are always perched on my shelf just within reach. I pore over the articles and the magnificent photographs and sigh and dream. Well, some day….

          Romance
          The girl is lovely, simple, sincere and the guy is rich, arrogant and seemingly too good for her. Yet, ‘feelings’ develop and they inch towards a commitment. The key words are ‘simple’, ‘feelings’ and ‘inch’. These are the features of the romance novels I like. Yes, Barbara Cartland, Georgette Heyer…. They are old world and so am I. But, sometimes, books like Twilight seem too interesting and… delicious!

          Good Housekeeping
          This is the last but definitely not the least. Any time, I am fed up of the chores, the endless running about, the loooong list of things to be accomplished, I plonk down in a comfortable chair and check out the online version of Good Housekeeping magazine. The pristine houses and beauty of living spaces makes me forget my own shabby surroundings, badly in need of dusting. In my mind, I an repainting the kitchen cabinets a gorgeous red and getting the perfect floral centerpiece.

          I would love to hear from you, my readers, about your literary fixes.