An Ode to Peace seemed like an appropriate tagline for my blog. I usually write about peace. Violence seldom features in my writings. If it does at all feature, then it is simply there to highlight the effervescent and ever elusive nature of peace. As I have mentioned in a earlier post, that which seems natural or that which seemed natural during our years of innocence is no longer there. Being conditioned regularly by external stimuli is what makes us resort to violence (whether verbal or physical) in the most natural manner. This blog will henceforth not only feature posts about my writings and my journey as an author, but will also focus on the concept of peace, analyse the same and try to understand why peace failed both as an ideology as well as an emotion during these troubled, mechanized times.
Picked up “Waves” by Virginia Woolf from the library at work today. She has always been a favorite writer. Maybe because her voice is extremely original. The first time I read “Mrs. Dalloway” or “Orlando” I was rather taken aback by her strong voice, a voice I had not expected would belong to a woman living during her times. And her books have taught me a very simple thing. Being original and having an unique voice is what matters in this day and age when people are in a rush to emulate each other, be it the physical appearance, the lifestyle or even the mental attribute. Antonio Gramsci spoke of cultural hegemony. He spoke of governments trying to snuff out the originality among the populace by violently imposing cultural standards upon the same. Maybe that happened in Mussolini’s Italy, but we live in a democratic world today (or at least a world where most countries have embraced the concept of liberal democracy). And still we are slaves to cultural icons imposed upon us by an all pervasive media. Where is the originality ?
It is quite strange that although we recognize the fact that every single human being is unique with a life that can never be replicated, we still try to fit everyone we know into pigeon holes. The same goes for our creations too. We write words that others have written elsewhere, use expressions that others have used elsewhere and often view the world through lenses tinged in the colors of emotions both common and easily fathomable. In a way we are victims to the same cultural hegemony that Gramsci spoke of.
Now the question arises…when can we break free? And another equally important question follows…how can we break free? Can emptiness solve the problem? Can originality be discovered within the eternal depths of emptiness? Can making the mind empty and free of standard modes of thinking help us to go back to the state we were in when we were born? And can that wondrous feeling of seeing the world for the first time sans any kind of reference or previous assumption assist us in bringing back our primeval originality? Many questions that do not have answers unless the mind is emptied and the soul is freed from the iron grip of hegemony.
Pretty random thoughts. Not that I sat down to write anything concrete. Simply let the words flow. Nothing more. Nothing less. So much for now. Au revoir !
PS: I did not think that I would write so frequently on my blog. I guess it’s the natural flow of words. And that which is natural should never be curbed nor truncated to suit one’s needs.
Calmness wasn’t really a choice in the days of yore. It came naturally, like the change of seasons or like the waxing and waning of the moon. Slowly with modern life tumbling in and completely eclipsing the ancient one, we have to now “choose” calmness amidst a sea of never-ending chaos. I find it quite ironical when everyone (from doctors to the media to modern age gurus) talk about breathing slowly and gradually cultivating the calm that was once very natural to us. Yes, it was natural long long ago. And now something more unnatural has replaced that which was once natural…chaos. We find chaos and anarchy natural these days…loud noises, louder voices, angry faces, angrier words, road rage, raised fists…the list is endless. And we have fashioned ourselves to fit into this chaotic universe where worlds collide with worlds and all that we are left with in a cacophony of mammoth proportions. And when in the midst of all this we suddenly encounter a moment of calm, it makes us think that this calmness that has been suddenly been throw at us out of nowhere is extremely unnatural and rare.
I used to think the same too. Maybe I still think the same. But I try my best to wade through the waters of my words and reach a calmness from where none of the storms that encircle me can ever pull me away. When this day and all such days are over, I am alone at my desk, typing away my words, and all that I am surrounded by are waves of immaculate calm. Falling around me like cherry tree blossoms or perhaps like the saffron rays of the departing twilight.
So much for now. December waits for me. And so does Calmness….
Out of curiosity I decided to give Mastodon a look (although I did not log in per se or create an account for that matter). The Vivaldi Social site allows onlookers to peek into their system without creating an ID or logging into it. I agree that the concept is extremely novel with social media being freed from the chains of big corporations, with the user not being a target of random advertisements and the like, but I did not find much of a difference from the Facebook or Twitter layout. Mastodon in all probability restricts the user from writing long posts as we can on blogs. The characters are limited as it is on Twitter and therefore articles no longer remain articles but tiny posts suited for the convenience of a reader who would like to read as much information as possible within a short period of time.
My erstwhile experience with Facebook hadn’t really been up to my expectations. I believe that sites like Facebook and Instagram are primarily for photographers or for those who appreciate pictures more than words. My posts on Facebook seldom garnered the interest or the traffic that my photographs did. People were more interested in “selfies” and “dualfies” and “groupfies” than in matters of the mind. All this made me believe that social media sites, no matter how modern and updated they may be are not really meant for serious writers or poets and creative people who mainly deal with the words. I do not wish to sound critical over here, because each website (be it social or otherwise) was created with a purpose in mind and with a target audience in vision. I am sure when Orkut (Facebook’s predecessor), Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and their kinds when they were envisioned, were probably not created keeping us writers in mind. Hence, we, the dinosaurs of this virtual world, can still safely claim blog sites as our own. We are akin to diarists of the past and nothing will suit us more than a broad canvas and a space for us to write unlimited words and characters.
Further, blogs seldom provide us with the instant gratification we need. The likes and hearts and other reactions are absent over here. We writers do not expect the instant dopamine boost that social media users are accustomed to. We may write and return in a day or two, or perhaps in a week or fortnight, simply with the desire to write more and nothing more complicated than that. Some of us blog in order to express our ideas, some of us to document our internal writing process, and some others to simply use this as a daily journal for literary or therapeutic usage. Sadly, social media (of any kind) is not able to provide us with the above-mentioned luxuries. We tend fall back into the quagmire of information influx, attention seeking algorithms and the like. So much for now. Till the writer/diarist in me returns once again.
An earlier post was deleted in order to make way for this one. Somehow the earlier one did not do justice to my evolving thoughts. Or did it ?
Snatches of memories pin me down to my internal solitude. A banyan tree seen long ago in childhood within the precincts of my school, a bridge linking two sections of an old house we used to live in many years ago, a beloved study table that my father used to use, the school hall and stage where many plays were rehearsed and enacted, an old city rumbling with street cars and colonial buildings, all this and many more. The images come in batches, Sometimes on pale winter mornings and at other times in the dead of the night. They keep me a prisoner within their translucent dungeons. I am left amidst them and words and broken pieces of sentences heard long ago in another time and space. And then when I am left alone in this whirlpool of sights and sounds and memories, they slowly tiptoe towards me; the characters of my book, yet to be fleshed out and tailor made to suit my whims and fancies. The first one approaches and then the second and then the third, and then the multitudes that are destined to follow them throughout the length and breadth of my novel. They come in waves and wash over me and my solitude becomes ignited like an autumn tree on fire. In the midst of winter. White winter ignited by a warm saffron fire.
I burn, I wither, I am bewitched by them…the words, the sentences, the characters. And all that is left at then end of a rather lonesome day is a handful of saffron colored autumn leaves being blown away by the tempestuous winter breeze.
Au revoir…A demain ! (Alas ! This English keyboard lacks the French accented letters)
The rest of November and perhaps the whole of December will be busy with manuscripts both academic and literary. With the debut novel all wrapped up and safe, I will be initially embarking upon a rough sketch of my second novel. This will require about a month. Hopefully, from January onward I will be able to start working on my second novel with renewed energy and vigor. Winters every year usually see me as a busy bee. Maybe it is the cold weather, maybe its the coffee, maybe its the fact that I feel more energetic in the mornings. Living in a tropical country has its drawbacks and weather is one of them. Summers are usually spent in room cooled by the AC, with not much energy left to do anything else. Thus, writers who belong to tropical countries work double of winters. It is a sort of a joke !!!
In a nutshell, after autumn, winters are definitely my favorite season. Hopefully, I should be able to accomplish the goals I have laid out for me, since I am no longer on the social media, messengers, and all such contraptions that are usually roadblocks on the way towards achieving long term goals. Keeping fingers crossed and ready to remain the busy bee that I already am 🙂
Frankly speaking I had no idea regarding the evolution of Mastodon before I stumbled upon it in Vivaldi’s blogs. It was quite an eye opener for me. I had hitherto read about Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Thunderbird and various other browsers and email clients being open source, but I’ve never really heard of an open source social network. Long ago, before Facebook came into existence, I was exposed for a short period of time to Orkut (the little known predecessor of Facebook). Thereafter, Facebook began to rule the world and I was drawn towards it like millions of others. Twitter never really appealed to me and neither did Instagram nor Snapchat. My dalliance with the social media has been rather sparse to say the least. However, for those who are keen on social media, it is rather heartening to hear that Mastodon has evolved into not only this open source social media site, but it also is not owned by any corporate tech giant and neither do they use the much abused algorithm to track users’ news-feeds. Further, the concept of a federated social universe is also rather novel is many aspects. Not being locked onto a single server frees the user to a great extent. It also relieves the headache of an individual’s privacy being compromised. Glad I heard about such new concepts such as Mastodon and “Fediverse”. Definitely broadens my perspective of the tech world.
Good luck to Mastodon and Vivaldi Social users. Good to know that the tech world is evolving and evolving rather fast. And it is indeed invigorating to know that the eternally cherished principles of freedom and individual privacy are here to stay !
The word or the feeling of “home” definitely has different connotations for each one of us. One person’s feelings can never replicate the other’s. As far as I am concerned, since childhood, vast libraries and bookshops always meant “home” to me. Being an introvert these places were where I truly discovered myself. With the advent of the digital age, I somehow got sucked into (like every other person of my generation) this quagmire of information and the resultant attention deficit syndrome. For me, the computer and the phone meant everything as I was getting all my information as well as soft copies of books (in the form of PDF files) from the same.
However, with my gradual understanding of how harmful everything was turning out for brain, the first that I did was to relinquish the hold that social media had on my mind. With social media gone, and with no TV in our house, I’ve gone back to my books with a renewed vigor. Paperbacks or hard covered books can never really replace E-books. E-books are definitely easy to carry around on trips, but the satisfaction of turning crisp or old (as maybe the case) pages is difficult to compare. With social media down the drain, also keeping a few days “phone free”, and whenever I am not writing, I plan to reread all the classics that are in my home library. Unless I read or an be a voracious reader, I do not think that I can become a standard writer someday. Glad I’ve managed to finally return “home”, albeit a tad bit late.
Proof reading of the first book is over! Now the long path towards publishing. In the meantime, the characters of my second book seem to jump out from the back of my mind and surprise me at different hours of the day. I need to get the blueprint of the second novel on paper as soon as possible. The plot is rather unique and I hope that this piece of writing eclipses even the first one (which I consider till date to be my finest creation so far).
It has been a rather productive weekend and I am quite happy with myself for the same 🙂 Being a chronic procrastinator has its own pitfalls ! I am desperately trying to overcome this malady of mine. For other fellow procrastinators, I have a wonderful page to share. Kindly go through the following articles at your leisure.
I am primarily an internal monologue addict. My writings chiefly center around the internal monologue of my characters with bits and pieces of dialogues introduced in between. Blame this addiction on two of my favorite writers of all time, Virginia Woolf and J.M. Coetzee. I’ve grown up reading their books and possibly somewhere down the line these two writers have impacted my mental makeup to a great extent. Also, I may attribute this to my own thought process of internalizing external experiences. As a child, I had always been a rather quiet one…in fact more of an introvert. Possibly this trait of mine has rubbed off upon my personality even as an adult. And it has had a major impact upon my characters too. Internal monologues help me to understand situations and the underlying philosophy embedded within the same to a great extent. It gives me the feeling that I am a part and parcel of the fictitious entities that I create. Also, I can give them a more rounded and solid voice in the process.
I am sure each and every writer has his or her own ways of dealing with their creations. Mine is embedded in the process of internal monologues. So much for now. Au revoir !