On To New Stories | #AtoZReflections

survivor-atoz [2017] v1

“The past is just a story we tell ourselves.”

-Her (2013)

On the 12th of this month, my blog will turn 9 years old. And in the month that just ended was when I had the most fun in all this time. Of course, just like the end of A to Z 2014, I’m hit with a bit of a block following the break in routine, but I’m not cranky like I was back then. The difference is quite plain: back then I wanted to write something, anything, to get back into the game. This time, I don’t care if I don’t ever write another word again. (Maybe that’s an exaggeration).

This was a story I knew I’ll write someday – “someday” being the right place and the right time. When I signed up for the challenge, I can’t say I was in the right place. I did not even remain in the same place as the series progressed. I wrote Valentine’s Day well in advance, and I wrote it from a place of anger; a part of Like A Stone was written last year from a place of resignation (although it had a different title then); New Day was written one afternoon four days before it went live from a place of… I can’t put a word on it, but it is my personal favorite on the blog right now (overtaking past favorites – Of Regrets In Love and Forbidden); Funeral was written from a place of writer’s block (it’s the post I like the least in the series) and a need to promote that beautiful song that no one seems to have heard of (Band of Horses should hire me for PR activities).

That said, the story I set out to write isn’t the one I wrote. The narrative is spread over a few years, which I squeezed into 26 posts, writing only what was necessary, in keeping with the minimalist technique. No frills, no elaborate scene-setting, no vivid scenery (although, I’ve taken some liberties). Originally I intended to link the posts in sequence, an idea that I dropped when I reached Demons and realized, though unplanned, the last lines of the posts were connected, and alphabetical is the real order in which this haphazard mess was supposed to be read. (It did not work that way for all posts, but still).

All of it has been a great learning experience for me, on writing, on relationships, on heartbreaks. It’s even strengthened my belief in the fact that people never really change – their masks simply fall off. There were multiple times when I almost withdrew from the challenge. The day after the 14th post went live, there was a moment when I nearly trashed all the posts. But now, at the end of it, I’m glad I persisted.

In 2014, I don’t remember visiting or discovering new blogs during A to Z – I stuck to my small circle. This year, I discovered so many wonderful blogs, along with the ones I’ve always followed. That is the true purpose of a blog hop, as I now see. That sense of community, it’s new to me. I’ve even set aside a few blogs to binge read at a later date, ones I couldn’t catch up on during the month.

When Zombie went live, I felt a tinge of sadness. Ending this story felt like saying goodbye to an old friend. In a way, that’s exactly what it was. As I mentioned in my post about The Shining, the idea for a story is different from the inspiration. I got the idea from these recurring nightmares I used to have a couple of years ago about a badly wrecked car. The inspiration – well, now that’s something else altogether. Writing it all down has helped me put that nightmare to bed. Or so I hope.

It’s been a great month, everybody! Thank you for all your support!

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming 🙂

“A little talent is a good thing to have if you want to be a writer. But the only real requirement is the ability to remember every scar.”

-Stephen King

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Theme Reveal! #AtoZChallenge – 2017

Remember the time I told you about the girl I killed and buried so that another one could emerge in her place? One who looked and sounded like her, but was disdainful of all of the things the first one believed in?

Writing horror/gore comes easily to me not because I’m never scared, but the opposite. That’s my secret, Cap. I’m always scared; there’s always a boogeyman under my bed. It’s easy to write about the familiar. 

I have participated in the A to Z Challenge once before, in 2014. Afterwards, I was so drained that I swore, Never again! and quit writing for a month or so. And yet, here I am. For me, this year the challenge is not just about coming up with 26 different posts for each day of the month. It is about something else as well. The more challenging “unfamiliar territory”, if you will.

Last year, when I read around 80 books (which is the highest number for any single year that I’ve been reading) I read a lot of romance. One that stands out, and will definitely stand out for a long time, is The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan. When I read it, it seemed like a simple enough story of someone who had loved and lost. The events do not occur chronologically. The chapters are written in alphabetical order.

Later I realized I was wrong in much of my review. The more I thought about it, the cleverer the book seemed. It gives us glimpses of a relationship. These glimpses actually allow us to construct this relationship for ourselves. There is heartbreak, yes. The story is told from a single heartbroken point of view, also yes, but that is enough. The story is so beautiful. We’re given so little to work with and we end up creating and interpreting the rest.

All through these years, I’ve maintained that I cannot write romance. That it’s the most difficult genre for me to write. Romance isn’t easy to write because our emotions cannot always be captured in words. Which is why this minimalist technique (that looks deceptively simple, in spite of being complex) works in making the reader feel what isn’t expressed in words. In this case, the book definitely owes much to Levithan’s skill.

thmrevel

For this year’s A to Z Challenge, I’m going to attempt something similar in the genre that I have stayed away from ever since I buried the girl with the notebook. And I’m going to employ the technique that Levithan used in his book – of giving you brief snippets from the story with events occurring at random.

Wait, I’m not done. What’s the other thing that I like as much as I like books? Music. The posts will be named after alternative/indie/progressive rock songs – songs I’ve loved, liked, sang in the shower, cried to, being comforted by (and two classic rock songs that I hate (but they fit)). Because no story is complete without a good background score!

So here’s my theme: Minimalist Fiction (shall we add On the Rocks to that?)

a2z-badge-100-2017

Lessons from Blog Stalking

A quirky blog post title can sometimes grab your attention. I chanced upon one of these quirky titles a while ago on Twitter, visited the blog and got hooked. Hooked? Hell, I fell in love! The language, the stories she told, all of it. What’s more interesting is that the particular post title which introduced me to the blog was related to pregnancy – not a subject I would usually read about on blogs (or anywhere, for that matter).

It took me two or three days and I had read through all of her posts, written over a span of a few years. I read it with the enthusiasm I usually reserve for the best of books. I laughed and cried and gasped with her. What struck me most was her raw honesty. It was not about writing with “utter fearlessness” (maybe it was that too; wait I’ll get to that in a minute*), it was about how her soul, all her emotions were laid bare on paper. The blog had a heartbeat, or so it seemed. I’ve not seen that kind of honesty in a lot of blogs. She was writing for herself, like she did not care if there was an audience, and yet, she addressed her readers directly whenever she could. In *one of her posts, she called out the bullshit of one of the most despicable Indian bloggers I’ve had the displeasure of knowing. Called him out, and how! Of course, he didn’t mend his ways or anything, but felt good seeing someone showing that douchebag his place (something that I could only do passive aggressively till date).

I felt a kinship with her, like if she and I came across each other in real life, we could be good friends.

Unfortunately, she does not blog so often these days.

Recently, I decided to look for more blogs like hers. Personal blogs, life stories. Since this year, I’m going through some… “stuff”, my obvious choice was to find stories similar to mine.

I had little success.

So I went to my next obvious choice – personal bloggers whom I know/have heard of/have read at least and who write well (life’s too short to go through archives of bad grammar).

With more success than the previous attempt, and yet…

The reason I didn’t find exactly what I was looking for was because most bloggers lacked the complete and utter honesty of the first one, and the authenticity that comes with it. Not that they weren’t being true, but the extent to which they were true – it felt like something was holding them back – how I sometimes feel about my own writing. I get it though; not everyone wants their innermost thoughts plastered out, coating walls like that, which is perfectly understandable.

So I categorized personal bloggers into:

1) Those who speak about themselves, their thoughts, their lives (and if you’re like the first blogger – friends, family, frenemies, neighbors, dogs, whathaveyou)
2) Those who write one sentence about themselves and then weave generic scenarios around it. They write about everything from the traffic to the weather to vacations, and while the idea, the thought may be their own, they’re catering to someone else.

Type 2 is invariably more popular than Type 1, because they are writing stuff that a wider group can *relate* to, topics that *resonate* with so many people etc., etc.

Type 1 writes about more specific topics. I prefer Type 1.

When I first started blogging, there was this one blog I used to read. I didn’t add it to my list (like I did with Hyperbole and a Half) because she used to write only once in a year or so. I used to visit it intermittently before. Because she was a Type 1, or used to be from what little I remember, I visited her blog during my above-described quest. The post on the top, written sometime last year, started with “I’m not a feminist because I don’t believe we should ask for equal rights.” I was taken aback – this was not someone who had misunderstood the concept – she knew this was about equal rights, and she voluntarily chose to not want them, which is… puzzling. This was a deal breaker for me, and I said, “Girl, bye.”

In the end, I found quite a few good blogs to go through. Blog stalking is a strangely enriching experience. You see their writing evolve through the years, you see their lives changing, their thoughts changing. You see them contradicting themselves – turning their beliefs around by a 180. Learning. You see them learning. In turn teaching you.
You also notice the silly things – how they adored certain things when they were young, but now love to bash those very same things because that’s what the rest of us are doing.
You see their pain. Their losses.
You see their struggles.
You see them fall in love, fall out of love. You see them move on.
You see them set goals. Achieve them. Or not.
It’s like this time capsule – so much of them captured in their archives.

Eventually, I reached those points in time where I had first come across their blogs. I called it the present, even though it could have been a few years ago (my version of the present is always a little ways behind everyone else – the past two years have been an unfortunate, unmemorable blur for me). I tried to remember where the blogger and I were in our respective lives during those timelines. I skipped the posts I had read when they were originally written. Newer posts hit me like a jolt. For instance, someone had written about Demonetization, and I thought, “Whoa, wait, this is so recent.” Like I said, my version of the present is just a little bit old, so something that recent is basically the future for me (does that even make sense?)

There was one blog which surprised me a bit. I’d never heard of the blogger before, but when I checked the blog out, it became obvious that she had certainly visited mine at least once. I changed my blog layout when I returned from my break. In the old one, I had a Blog Roll on the sidebar – links to blogs I read. Some of those blogs are those of my friends who neither write often nor have their blogs listed on any communities. Like the blog of my friend Wii (who was, incidentally, the inspiration behind one of the two main characters in this story (I hope he never reads this post)). Some are the findings of a “blog-hunting exercise” I carried out some time ago. Interestingly, her blog roll was an identical copy of mine – the exact same blogs that I follow (including this one blog that only the blogger and I know of and hasn’t been updated since 2015 with a total of about 3 posts!)

At first, this made me think that if someone went through my archives, I’d be mortified. I’m more embarrassed by my old posts than anything that happened to me in real life. There have been times when I felt there’s too much of “me” in my posts, as if all my vulnerabilities and weaknesses are out there. (And typos; let’s not forget typos.) But then, I went back to all the good lessons I learned and thought, who do I want to be? The honest writer, or the one that deletes the un-pretty posts once they start looking stale?

PS: While they were all fantastic, I won’t be linking to any of the blogs because a) it’s not stalking if you spell it out, is it? b) I don’t want them to feel I’m flattering them or whatever c) they should not feel obligated to link back. Hence, it is best to keep it all anonymous.

Everything Must Go

First it was goodreads.

Well, obviously. What else could it be, knowing me. It’s cluttered with nearly everything everyone’s ever recommended. Friends, acquaintances, even enemies. Even the site’s own recommendations based on what you’ve already read. Which is a good thing; it isn’t annoying like Facebook’s People You May Know. Even a bad book, after all, trumps human beings. I had even added books based on my mood or ideology – I went through a phase where I added a bunch of Christopher Hitchens and Dawkins and whatnot.

All the books I own are enshrined in a lovely oak wood shelf in my room, placed in a way that it’s the first thing I see when I wake up. Creepy, perhaps, but better than mirrors or photographs of lovers. Never one to willingly give in to egotism or sentimentality. There was no way anything was going to happen to those books, so it was goodreads that took it. For really, an ideology is for yourself. If I am an atheist or a feminist, I already know that that is what I am without having to read a book about it. I don’t need other authors to validate what I already know. When you realize that, you suddenly wonder why there are books on the subject on your TBR shelf. They may be interesting, but why read over and over what you already know. So out they all went, books I had added in the spur of the moment, knowing for sure I would never read.

A relative’s solution to all of the world’s problems is to clean. Pick up a mop, scrub or duster, and clean. every surface, wood, marble, glass; clean. I never believed in that wisdom, because it is but a distraction, the newly shined house, much like a new haircut, or new clothes. A distraction, not a solution.

A distraction of the kind that would explain the mountains and mountains of clothes piled up in my wardrobe. My old roommate would often complain to her friends about how I had too many clothes that took up precious shared closet space. I didn’t have a fraction back then as I do now. Or did, until recently. The depression led to more and more being bought and brought in, until they piled on, piled on and on like garbage, like vomit, like the blackness in my mind threatening to swallow me whole, like the wooden doors of my wardrobe were an obese stomach about to burst through the shirt that tried to hold it in. I couldn’t take it anymore. They disgusted me, once what were my favourite colours and shades. So they went next, after the many books on virtual goodreads shelves. Eight large bags. Why in hell did I have so many clothes? Why do I still have so many that I can go on for months without having to repeat. Why, really? I have no paparazzi hounding me waiting to smear me the moment I was seen in the same outfit twice. Why then do I have this ridiculous number of clothes and shoes? They went next, the shoes. Even looking at my little indulgences made me sick to my stomach, like a bug from mayonnaise gone bad.

Having gotten rid of these little materialistic things, I let go of friends, both false and true. So many of the former, so few of the latter. The ones that mattered and the ones that didn’t. And strange how quickly they scattered, for what was I but a speck of dust in their minds, swatted away with the lightest gush of breeze. The shock of it, as if they were waiting for me to say goodbye so they could finally leave. The surprise at the support from unknown, unexpected quarters. I bade them all goodbye for who they were friends
with once wasn’t who I had turned into; they deserved none of it, none of
my burdens, no matter how obligated they felt to shoulder it. I couldn’t figure out myself who I had turned into.

Then the connections to them – the internet, for who makes phone calls
anymore. Does anyone? If someone does, I don’t answer; so much easier to not
let anyone hear my voice, worried that they may ask what truly happened and worried that my voice might crack and shatter like the mirror I refuse to look at.

Then went the music. The new phone is a stupid piece of junk. It has the storage memory that could as well have been a small single digit number and the stupid thing doesn’t even come with an external memory slot. So out went the music, the favourites, the ones that
made me cry and smile and reminisce. But I’m only pinning blame because I am pushing off admitting that music had been on its way out since the past couple of years. Why have I, whose life and emotions were so inextricably tied with music, denied myself this simple, but necessary pleasure? Why tear off a part of my soul like the skin off my palms? I can’t say, I don’t know, except that all the roots begin at one place.

I do not wish to give up writing. I don’t think I could. But who am I fooling, I couldn’t write well if my life depended on it. I do it cos it gives me something to do, somewhere to vent. And in all honesty, I wish for once someone would give me something more than empty words. I waited and waited some more; I wrote and I wrote some more. But I can’t. Not anymore.

I’m exhausted.

tl;dr: hiatus.

What Went Wrong…

Oh, hello! Don’t mind me, I am just sitting here with my hypothetical pipe in my mouth, musing about things. Again. Trying to make sense of a few things.

Again.

You know, I wrote a short story when I was 12 – it was a murder mystery, and the main theme was jealousy. About two years later, I wrote a story about how mankind was the worst thing to have happened to the universe since the big bang – told from the POV of a cockroach that survived a nuclear holocaust. There were a bunch of stories in between with a lot of blood and gore; mostly fluff pieces written to shock the reader. My English teacher enjoyed the stories tremendously – the cockroach one was a favourite of hers, I remember. The point of this little narrative is that – I was always enticed by the darker side of human emotion. Happy endings never appealed to me, joy never appealed to me – someone was always dead in my stories.

Why then have I stopped exploring it now?

You see, stories of that genre come naturally to me. My rationale is simple – every writer glorifies their protagonists – flawless and irreproachable heroes and heroines. Would any writer, through the characters, or otherwise, admit to their own faults? After all, most heroes and heroines are a superior alter ego of their creators. Through my characters, am I pushing my own flaws on to paper? Not exactly – jealousy isn’t an emotion I feel, nor have I ever murdered anyone. But I can tell you about a flaw that I do have – I am easily influenced. I have my own opinions (of course) but you tell me something quite a few times, I will start thinking like you. And that’s a horrible, horrible trait in a human being.

In retrospect, I have come to realize when and how I stopped writing fiction, where the darkness has gone. I don’t want this to be a name-and-blame sort of post, mainly because whoever it was who said whatever it was that they said to me, ultimately, the fault is my own – my head is bloody easy to get into!

I have made excuses for it – I thought I had writer’s block (I don’t), I thought I was distracted (not really), I thought I was reading too many books and that was killing my imagination (I partially do still believe  this, but there’s more to it). How did I realize that I have killed my own darkness? In the past, the stories I have written deal with some kinda deep rooted fear we all have within us – or so I’d like to think. It is not just about the ghosts – I have written about a man who derives joy from seeing a child die, I have written about depression and suicide caused by the world’s opinion of you, I have written about a criminally insane father – the darkest corners. I don’t claim to be Palahniuk or someone like that, but my exploratory path has been on those lines. Then why is it that, when a few months ago, I was about to write a story about a handicapped man’s death, I was horrified by my own thoughts? I could not believe that my mind could conceive such a ruthless, tragic thing, and I reprimanded myself for being a bad human being. But why? Isn’t that what I had always been writing about?

Because I had been led to believe that my stories would be my destruction.

A sensible writer would hear something as dramatic as this and wave a smug “tah-tah” and send those words upon the breeze, never to be bothered by them again. I, however, am not as sensible as I wanna be – it is way too easy “perform inception” on my mind. Suddenly, I grew afraid. The thought had been sown – the darker my stories, the unhappier my life would be. However much I wanted to believe it hadn’t, it had. And little by little, it was corroding my brain, eating up my imagination, forcing me to not ever write a piece of fiction where there was any kind of darkness whatsoever.

Holy fuck.

Fear is the one enemy of the writer. And I am terribly afraid. I have my own self to blame for having such a pliable, thought-plantable, stupid head. Sure, I wrote two stories even after the incident, but both are not as “dark” as my stories usually are. Not half as disturbing. Not “me”.

All I’ve done until now is not let myself admit to this. But I have to. If I want to go back to who I was, I need to admit that this is a problem.

Now to find the solution – uproot that thought and throw it off.

 

Barters and Back Scratchers

**Rant alert**

Probably not the best way to end the year, but what would you rather have, that I rant at the end of the year or the beginning of one? Either way, this was gonna come pouring out like acid one day or another.

Ok, maybe acid was a little harsh. There is a lot of noise in my head about this topic. I don’t quite know where to begin this post, so why don’t you read this insightful post by Shailaja V on her blog, and come back here so that I can start… you know… ranting.

Hi again. Glad you decided to come back. Hope you liked that post. Now let me give you a bit of an outline as to what ticked me off. Several things do, but I mean in the context of blogging, microblogging and all those jazzy social media thingies. A little something about me: I love travel pictures and travel blogs. I go hunting for travel pictures on Instagram to drool over them; it’s just something I do. I like most of the pictures that show up on my Instagram feed because they are beautiful. Anyone who I’m following on IG knows this. By ‘like,’ I mean both what it means in English as well as what it translates into in Social Media lingo. Sometimes I do miss out on posts. Now, it so happened, on one of the days I ‘liked’ someone’s picture. Immediately, she/he ‘liked’ one of mine. Now this is someone who had ignored all of my posts until then. I don’t know what it was about this “I liked your picture only because you liked mine, and I am only returning the favour” attitude that pissed me off to monumental heights. Well, clearly, I have some extreme emotions.

From that day on, I tried as hard as possible to not ‘like’ her/his posts even accidentally. I didn’t want a like-barter. Eventually, I couldn’t bear the stress (I am so dramatic) of swerving around the person’s posts that I unfollowed her/him. That’s my solution to everything. Until one day, the same thing happened on Twitter, this time with someone else, when I went on an all out rant fest. Exhibits below:

Now. Let’s come to blogging, shall we?

I started blogging in 2008, but I wasn’t regular until 2012-2013 (that does not stop me from boasting about the fact that I started in 2008). Back then, it was a sparse world. Most of the comments we received were from non-bloggers (something that sounds almost unheard of these days), and no one left inane comments like “nice. pliss read my’s. URL.” It was still good even in 2012-2013, when I discovered indiblogger for the first time – a platform where you can share your posts, and other bloggers promote them or vote for them. I was a little gullible then, and when someone said “nice, please read mine now” I actually believed my post was “nice” and I obediently rushed to read theirs.

I discovered some great blogs on indiblogger. Eventually I learned some of those telling me my post was “nice” had not even read it. It’s an instinct you develop over time – you learn such things. The naivete that comes from being a blogger from the year 2008 soon wears off. I will also admit that I learned a few tricks and spent some effort finding out who those accounts were that did exactly that which pisses me off today (read tweet rant above) – the backscratchers, a vote for a vote. Let’s face it, I am only human and I wanted my name on that home page (something that has not happened ever since I grew some integrity). I hang my head in shame today that out of every vote I received for every time a post of mine made it to the top, only few of the voters really read them. I voted for others anyway, cos they were helping me reach the top. Like I said, only human, and hanging head in shame now.

Reiterating: I discovered some great blogs and bloggers through indiblogger. As of now, even my Facebook friends list has more bloggers than people I went to kindergarten with. Although, forgive my honesty, great bloggers on indiblogger are now a thing of the past. The new blogs have posts like “Latesht hot piks of Katrina Kaif” and I’m sitting here like, can’t that just be googled? Or hate-filled, political ones, cos yes, let’s divide the country, that sounds like fun (there I said it!). In fact, I think it was when I saw one of those “hot pics” posts on indi that I got real pissed – mammoth pissed. Come on, I am from an ancient time when we had real readers and we strove to create real content that was not copy-pasted! When we could share stories inconsistently, and whenever we felt like it, because we wanted to, not because we had to, not because we had an audience of fucking Yes Men to maintain.

It was then that I decided that enough was enough. Blogging is a responsibility, and not one I take lightly. I did not want “top Indi post” anymore. I was not going to sit and read (yes, I did read every post I ever voted for, whether I commented or not) through terrible grammar and useless content and trashy riffraff just because they might do the same for me (they don’t, of course, that’s just what they want us to think). I visit a few blogs I trust will be good, like those of my good mates over at the B-A-R or the ones I discovered during my early days on Indi. I still comment only when I feel I have something worthwhile to add.

So to the folks that think I will scratch your back: I don’t want your barters, and your fake niceness. I don’t have time for your meaningless drama and nothing puts me off like bad grammar. I am not a butterer and I can see through your bullshit like a bullet that pierces through its target’s heart. I don’t want you to share my posts on Twitter only because you think I will share your empty-headed or venom-filled posts in return. Because guess what, I am choosier than that.

Irony is, all those I’ve called out in this post are still gonna vote for me without even reading a word of this. LOL.

The Mandatory Birthday Post – That I Almost Forgot To Share

Every year, I share a post on my birthday in which I analyze all the times I goofed up that year and list down more ways in which to goof up the coming year. I almost forgot to write one this time. Maybe because I did not goof up at all this year.

Ha-ha! Hahahahha! Ok, moving on.

In all honesty, this year was a good year (jinxing it by saying so). I feel like someone who’s accomplished some stuff. Nothing major, I mean, they haven’t called me about my Nobel yet, but still.

My birthday posts in the past have led people to shun my blog entirely or just be pissed off in general. For those of you who don’t know, for most part of my 20s, I suffered from major clinical depression, a condition I used to write about through years 26-28, it may have been that some of my birthday resolutions included something on the lines of, “At least one successful suicide attempt this year.” I had to take down my posts because my family “felt offended” by it and felt it should not be spoken about on a public platform, cos chaar log problems. I should not talk about MCD in the past tense, because one can never assume it will not come back – I still have grey days. But because I have seen the worst of it, the least I can do for myself is laugh at myself. Which I do, quite successfully, if I do say so myself.

But I am glad to say that at age 29, I don’t feel like making that resolution, because, as I mentioned before, I have accomplished some stuff this year, and learned (?) some stuff (I think).

From: Wikipedia
From: Wikipedia

If you believe internet listicles, there’s a lot of stuff you’re supposed to do before you turn 30. Clearly, like every deadline, I have waited for the last minute, and now I feel there’s too much pressure on me. At 29, I have only one year to do utterly bizarre things like waltzing with a penguin in Antarctica and taking a leak on Mt. Everest, next to a flag that I planted. Fingers crossed for all that, but before that, a recap:

A lot of people are complaining that 2015 is rushing by too soon. I am inclined to agree but as I look back, I feel it wasn’t all that short. One of my resolutions for year 27 was to travel more (travelling is the new losing weight!). This year, I travelled quite a bit around south India. Even TripAdvisor seems shocked by my activity! And Instagram is wondering why I am behaving like everyone else. Though I would like to travel more, a lot, lot, lot more, I feel like I’ve taken the first step – especially because I didn’t completely go the “Check these touristy sites off the list” way.

In terms of blogging, I made one major goofup. Actually I don’t know if I can call it so, because I like this interface a lot more than what I was used to before. But I have lost a lot of readership – down to 1/10th. Does it matter? That’s up for debate [subtle hint – read me more, I am awesome. Pretty please.].

One more thing is I am not writing as much fiction as I used to – a fact that worries me, but not overwhelmingly so (yet). Poetry seems to have died entirely. That worries me, and yes overwhelmingly so. I’ll wait and watch.

But on the plus side, BlogAdda included my blog in their Top 5 Creative Blogs list for WIN ’15. I was exhilarated when that happened, because (entirely without pretense and exaggeration) I never thought that would ever happen. Ever. And I finally understood why they say during the Oscars “It’s such an honour to just be nominated” because the other 4 people on that list were big shots! It was a humbling moment.

There’s more I want to say about that though. Now, I am not a big believer of zodiac signs as such. But they say Scorpios are vengeful. I have always known I am more of the passive aggressive types (how sad), although you have to admit, the notion of being all vengeful with flaring nostrils has a certain romantic appeal. When people I know learned that I blog, I had some outspoken detractors. Some who said I would never write anything worth reading. One person openly said he would stop reading books if I ever – haaye raam – got published. I don’t know what makes people so openly mean, but apparently something can. When BlogAdda announced its nominees, the first thing I wished was to see the faces of those people. Maybe I am a little vengeful?

Speaking of being published – I self published my poetry in June this year. A poem I wrote on my 28th birthday got published in an anthology, and a story of mine got published in an anthology of love stories. Yet another one got selected for a women-centric anthology. I am considering another project, which also I will self-publish (I am not ready for the big ones yet, but I’ll get there – as soon as I stop procrastinating!). So that’s probably the first thing I’ll do this year. I am really glad the guy I mentioned earlier will now stop reading books – people like that should have no access to them anyway.

Yet another subtle hint: Buy my books, y’all.

Another accomplishment is the sheer number of books I read in the past year. I don’t do those goodreads challenges, because this isn’t Roadies, and there’s nothing I want to “prove to myself” (dafuq does that phrase even mean?!) but if I had set a number, I would have definitely crossed it. Hell, exploded over it! And the sheer variety – I read only indie stuff till April, and after that I read nearly everything from drama to literary to erotica to horror to fantasy. Pulitzer winners, Man-Booker winners, Nobel winners, everything. I think I am shocked at how much I read this year – touchwood, no jinx, shut up *spits thrice, throws salt over shoulders* At least this I have to credit to the death of my laptop. Hence proving – technology dying can be a good thing. (Also, shoutout to anyone planning to buy an ASUS device – my laptop was merely months old when it died, still in warranty but could not be fixed by the service centre guys – I lost everything. Just saying)

After all that, you’d think I would take a year off just to chill. But listicles tell me otherwise, as I already mentioned. Also, I have not yet been featured on any 30 under 30 lists, so I have to do something (desperately) to change that. So I am gonna go meditate on that for a bit. If you need me, I’ll be on top of Mt. Everest squatting next to a flag.