Lessons learned from the April A to Z challenge in 2017

survivor-atoz [2017] v1

There should always be a post about lessons learned after finishing a challenge, an introspective view of whether I achieved what I wanted to achieve or not. That’s my motto for almost everything. That’s how one grows!

  1. Life will always be difficult. During the month of April, I thought that the month was tough. I actually wondered if what I was facing was depression—such was my mood. But then now when the 10 days of May have passed and I feel a bit better, I think I can conclude that life is going to be difficult. It is up to me only to pick myself up and move on.
  2. I failed badly at writing daily in the challenge. In fact my posts were written in the spurts of inspiration. I don’t think I lacked the will to write; it was more of the time and mood thing. Lessons learned here is perhaps I should stop wishing to write daily. This might be 50th time that I have failed at it.
  3. I need to schedule things in advance rather than writing them at the last minute. Most of my posts were written after 11:30 at night. I was in so much of rush to post them that I did not even revise them properly. I need to learn to end this last minute rush. It is too taxing for my mind.
  4. There is no alphabet which won’t inspire me. When I started the challenge, I was afraid that I might not find sufficient things to write about. But despite all this, I did find sufficient things to write about. In fact, I had to even select from the many themes I wanted to talk about. So, only thing that I need to write is the will to write and the writing instrument.

Overall, the challenge was semi-successful. I was able to regain my will to write again, but then I failed at developing the daily writing habit. The good part of it was that I managed to finish 26 alphabets in this blog at least.

For all the people who supported me and discussed my posts with me, thanks a lot.

Y=Young Love= Bookish Confession#25

My confession here is my guilty pleasure too. This is my favorite reading section in any book. The first blush of relationship, the time the love start blossoming—I adore those scenes. I could literally be heard squealing “Aww” while reading such scenes. I would smile unnecessarily recalling those scenes (People do know I am weird, ;;P)

And I am not talking about only the love that exists in YA novels. This is the love, the romance that is everywhere—the unsaid feelings, or the exploratory love(now, it sounds like the exploratory research.. :P) I have read some of those beautiful scenes in the “elderly” women too.

I rarely have any complaints against these scenes. Unless they are badly botched up, they are going to satisfy me as a reader. The only requirement that I have for these scenes to not be the scenes of instalove. Instattraction is okay, insta-hatred is okay too, insta-liking is good too, but no first sight love scenes.

Despite this, in my opinion, many of the Indian romance novels lack in the presentation of these scenes too well. I cannot put my finger on what is missing in those scenes, but there is something which disconnects the readers from these scenes. I wish our writers will grow in their skills to write such beautiful scenes.

W=witches=Bookish Confession#23

Like Gods of last post, I am going to present another word that I learned from the books and that is the witches. When I was growing up, I learned about witches in the fairy tales. They were the evil beings, old, disgruntled with their pointed hat and broom. Then came the era of TV where the Bewitched was being aired and being the witch meant just doing magic of any kind. That was the extent of my knowledge for the Witches. I remember one of the History classes when we were told about the burning of witches without trials. But then also, I did not learn much about the witches.

Come to the current era when I have read many books about witches, and I understand that some people practice witchcraft as religion. I know that there was a time when even the healers were labeled as witches. I know about Wiccans also somewhat. But honestly speaking, I still don’t know who exactly a witch is. I have tried to read about different stuff, but all I get is some historical information. One day, I would just like to talk to a witch to understand what exactly they do.

For me reading about witches is reading about a fantasy world. I do not question the rules that are made in books, but just read about them like I would read about any other fantasy.

V= Vague Gods=Bookish Confession#22

This post is not at all about religion. It is more about the ritual and inspirations about the book. I know about Greek mythology and Norse mythology because of books (in addition to the Hindu mythology). What interests me in these books is the representations of these vague gods.

I do not mean any disrespect for any of the followers, but all the lesser gods(I am making a word out here because I am not really sure what do we call the gods who are lower in the rung) are so “human”. They have their all falls and follies, and in all these mythological stories, the people we know as the heroes today are represented as higher “gods”.

It is interesting to note that even though their gods, they are not above the baser sins and desires. When the first time I read such a story(it was Aphrodyte), I was amazed when the book jacket quoted that it was a book based on mythology. Their behavior was so different from the values we were taught.  And there were just so many mistakes in the verdict of these gods. I ended up being fascinated by the “grey characters” more. Medusa had my greatest sympathy. I just could not associated with Zeus. These stories made me feel that I was cheated out of my gods. My Gods were supposed to be perfect and flawless beings, but these were the most flawed creatures. I did a whole course on Coursera on Greek myth to really understand how these creatures were developed. I read Odyssey end to end. I still am fascinated with the subject, and I still believe that reading about these Gods is a different experience.

 

 

P=Prince Charming=Bookish Confession#16

P=Prince Charming=Bookish Confession#16

For all those who grew up reading fairy tales, they know about Prince Charming. I recall watching a sponsored YouTube video on Facebook which told how wrong these stories were! Here is the link for it.

My confession about these stories is somewhat different. It is not that I did not grow on up on this story, I did grow up on them too. But I was given a healthy dose of reality too alongside by my mother who made me “fiercely independent”(I do recall comparing her to the evil stepmother sometimes).

These are the stories where there is a damsel in distress, and then there is a prince charming. I have a gripe against damsel in distress thing too, but that gripe is comparatively smaller the one I have against the way the Prince Charming is shown in the stories: handsome, polite, courteous, the best conversationalist, the understanding person, and of course, brave and persistent.

I don’t think the Prince who will come to the rescue is charming. Charming ones are too engrossed in themselves, eh? Either he is not a Prince, or even if he is, he is the one with obnoxious mood swings. Then there are the princes who have verbal diarrhea and can speak utter nonsense (One has to really wonder whether the distress was better than the prince). The rock princes are there too whose mouths have to be pried open to get a word out of them. There are princes who are control freaks. And these are just the people I have encountered. I am sure if you think hard enough you will find a non-charming prince of your life too.

Most of the time, either they are prince, or they are charming. And I don’t think there is anything wrong in this. We all have our faults. Princes have their own too. Rather than showing them as a perfect person, why not show them as a real person with their own faults and rewrite the qualities that make them a prince.  All the stories need not have a charming prince. The presentation of the children’s stories shall be a bit grounded in reality. Not everyone might have a mother like mine who believe in making the damsel independent.

As for me, I never had a chance to dream like all the girls about the Prince Charming . Like many of the girls who thought about being saved by the Prince Charming, I did think about them from time to time, and in the end I just ended up saving the princes rather than being saved by them. I never had to learn the lesson hard way like many of the other ladies.

M=Music, arts and other creative outlet

I have had real bad news in last few days. The hangover of the trip was not yet over when I got the news. I have been so disturbed, feeling hopeless, moping all around and ranting at the universe in general. But that does not excuse anything.

Anyway, back to the subject at hand. M for me equates music . And now, you must be wondering what has music got to do with novels. But it has.
Let me take you to a regency world where almost everyone know how to play music. It is actually considered a  “marriageable” skill in women. First time I read it, it sounded funny. In olden days, Indian women use to showcase their embroidery and cooking skills, while in regency novels, there was the musical talent– singing, playing the piano, etc. I guess skills varies from region to region!

Then there were male characters impressing with their clear and high voice.

I have nothing against music, but I am so glad not to be borne in that era. With my kind of voice and my absent musical talents, I might had been a torture to the people. 😛

Travel and bit further and one can encounter the modern storyline novels especially the ones with focus on bands. So many of bands and rivalries. And all of them dripping with so called hotness. One has to wonder since when did music become associated with looks!
I don’t have anything against music but these scenes make me think how unmusical I am.

I actually get the similar feeling with the other arts as well. I recall a series of Nora Roberts from my college days in which one heroine was an artist, one was a glass maker, and another was a sculptor(I think). I might not remember the profession of all heroines, but I do remember the thought that came with the stories: why can’t I do all that stuff?!

So here I am with my  untalented  self, reading these books and feeling incompetent. Then I look at the stories and words that I have written, and a bit of confidence comes back.

L=Letters=Bookish Confession#12

The people who have followed my blog for a long time, or those who know me can vouch for my fascination with letters. I think this comes with being the writer myself.

I belong to the messaging generation. XOXO, LOL, b4, u, luv, etc. have been my regular vocabulry for so long. In fact I had to practice writing in full forms in 2011. Such was my addiction. I recall a time when we used to 1500 text messages free for 15 days after paying some amount. I am a person who finished those in 1 day (and no, it was not a one-sided conversation). So, I get texting, IMing an Whatsapping. I truly do.

But then at the same time, I am in love with letters. The letters carry a part of the writer with them. The messages are the quick way to tell something, while the letters are the planned ways to express, to speak, and to tell the story. Letters are not mere words. They are the culmination of feelings, a bundle of emotions, and a harbinger of the news.

I know this is romanticizing letter, but then also, I cannot stop myself. This is the case with the books too. I have to read the book which says that it has letters in it. The conversation via letters is my favorite kind of conversation. I am truly embarassed to say that the author has already won me halfway if the book has the theme of the letters.

Despite this, I have encountered some awful books based on letters, but these have been few. This makes me question my reviewing hobby, but we all have our guilty pleasures. Letters are mine.

P.S. I do get some cards and letters from my pen pals, and I guess they make me happy in real life too. One of the regrets I will have forever is that there is a letter somewhere which never reached me and which I will never get to read. So I guess letters get to me outside the book world too.

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