Life or Muse, Hard to Choose

Losing one’s writing voice. Not that big a crisis this. But if something goes missing, we do wonder. Wonder about its whereabouts.

Where are you my writing muse!
Come back dear!!!
Come! Come here!!
Come hither!
Come hither!!
Come hither…hither hither hither
Don’t be scared. Sit near. Come!!!
Promise! I won’t bind you. Won’t tie you down to a lamp post.
You know. I never tried to tame you like a pet.
But then I did try once.
To call you as and when I desired, and not when you wished to come.
But no success. Could I ever set days or hours apart, for writing or publishing?
No. And this non-rhythm worked for me.
Never let crude strategy kill the true spirit.

“…as immediately I stopped disciplining the muse,” said F. Scott Fitzgerald, “she trotted obediently around and became an erratic mistress if not a steady wife.”

So! That’s what you always were. Untamed and free to come and go.
And that is the reason you always followed me around. Vibrant. Liberated. Uninhibited.
Sitting on my shoulder, whispering sweet nothings.
We two were happy. Till life occurred.

~~~

Yes, life occurs, and raises questions and doubts. To live life, or to listen to one’s writing voice. Life or Muse? Muse or Life? Sometimes life wins.

Till later one day we again find ourselves using this very life, to embed it within our writing. Provided that by then our writing muse is not so annoyed that it refuses to come back.

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A Writer’s Heart…

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A Writer’s Heart

Choked with endless jumbled thoughts
This heart, ancient and weary
Like some stored chest of treasures
Somewhat worn, beyond its prime
Yet not worn out and passe.

Carries a lot of weight, of 
Experiences and wisdom galore
Hidden in its pit, secret stories
Of precious moments gone by
Either well-lived or idly whiled
Joys achieved, some denied

Overloaded and bursting now
The crammed chest of heart
Must now be unlocked, with
Magical keys of words, words 
And yet more words

A writer’s heart is indeed
A valuable treasure box
Unlatch its rusty door
Let the lock stifle it no more 
Let the inner voice flow out, to
Set free the riotous thoughts

© 2016 Alka Girdhar

~~~ ~~~

That was my response to this week’s photo prompt for Sue Vincent’s writephoto:

“A battered, iron-bound chest…Where did it come from? What does it hold…why does it need three keys to unlock its secrets…and where are they now?”

For Those Who Do Not Come Back

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It now seems to me she will never come back. Going by the quiet on her blog, it’s almost as if she has never been here before, writing all those blog posts like possessed. There was somebody writing and if she said it was her, we sincerely believed it was indeed some Elfie writing.

But then again, in this online world, how can we be sure we really know the person expressing his/her thoughts in words. The fact is, most bloggers have not met each other personally. At the same time, we do know their distinct personality, for their written words help us peep into their soul, till it seems we have known them for long. But when our fellow bloggers vanish from the scene, they become strangers. We almost do not care. In blogging world, (our) presence matters more than absence.

That’s what happened when Elfie suddenly disappeared from the Continue reading

It’s All about Expression, Connection, Fixation…and Love.

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It’s very simple. The reason why I blog.

It’s the reason why cave-men wrote their scripts on cave walls.  And the reason why a graffiti-artist takes it out on roadside walls.  And the reason why a toddler speaks his first words at mother’s call.

It’s the reason why a dancer cannot stop herself from dancing.  And the reason why a fine voice just cannot restrain from singing.  And the reason why a foodie hogs on food to the point of binging.

It’s the reason why sun comes out each day, to bless and kiss us all.  And the reason why the morning birds chirp and pour out their heart.  And the reason why I feel a need to talk, talk and talk.

It’s the reason a social-activist fights for a cause, giving her all.  And the reason why a scientist seeks truth and light, renouncing wealth and all. And the reason people fall in love, doesn’t matter if it makes them fall, consumes their all.

It’s the reason I have a craving for my morning cup of tea. And the reason why my sweet-tooth for words, brings me here to my blog. And the reason God sent me here to meet you all, to know you all.

For where else and who else would bear and like my writing, like you do all?

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~~~

My poem was written in response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt Million-Dollar Question:  Why do you blog?

Also shared for Writer’s Quote Wednesday.

© 2015 Alka Girdhar

Walking Down the Path…Soul-Searching

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‘You know you are on the right path, when you feel inspired, energized and happy about your actions’

This quote by Doreen Virtue generally applies to every path we walk in life, and I would say it’s also a great reality check for those who are aspiring to be a writer.

Whether writing gives us any material benefit or not, it should make us feel inspired, energized and happy. Writing should come naturally. It should not be a forced act.

Testing myself against these criteria, indeed there are times when I’m unable to write much but such moments are very few, as normally speaking I have rather too much to write.

Also, writing almost always makes me feel happy, though at times when writing deep stories and poems, I do feel slightly depressed. Probably that’s the cathartic part of writing process and therefore, happiness in writing is all about eventual contentment derived from the overall process of writing as it becomes food for our soul.

It’s a different issue that, even after identifying how happy we feel in this act of writing, we may still hesitate to consider writing as our sole career path.  Along with other apprehensions, we may fear it will make us an introvert, esp. if we have other options that are seemingly more lucrative as well as socially more vibrant. This is when we need to take a tough decision – Do I love writing enough to let go of every other path?

This soul-searching is necessary because, in any field, success can be obtained by not only ascertaining that this definitely is a right track for us, but also by patiently staying focused while slowly treading the path that may or may not give desired results in a ‘worldly’ sense. And yet, if we are more or less sure we are following a right path by being a writer, the least it will give us is mental fulfillment and inner peace.

~~~
For:  Writer’s Quote Wednesday and BeWoW Blogshare 

Writers As Teachers

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As we read all the readily available good books written by great writers, we experience that writers and their books are like teachers that can change our lives without placing any conditions or restrictions upon us. No classes to attend, no exams to pass, no punishments whatsoever. They give but take back nothing in return.

A good writer’s great book stays on with us long after all our wonderful classroom teachers have physically gone out of our lives.

But like a not-so-good teacher, a bad book or an evil write-up has a full potential to harm us…what with no one to correct us or guide us, for no one will ever know what bad elements we got from some bad book (or e-book), while reading it in our cosy room.

And yet, as they say, education is the best gift to receive or give, and classroom teaching is one of the noblest professions where you can directly touch lives, esp. that of the very young who definitely need careful handling.

Hence, full regards to all the teachers in the world…to school, college and university teachers, to parents as teachers and to writers/bloggers as teachers.

(The 5th of September is celebrated as Teacher’s Day in India)

~~~ ~~~

For: Writer’s Quote Wednesday hosted by Colleen of silverthreading.com

A Writer’s Niche – We are the Only One of Our Kind

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“Try as I may, to learn from others’ style
 Try as I may, to change the way I write
 I always end up writing in my own style
 That is my niche`”

After I took to blogging, I’ve thought about this quite often. Is it enough for me to just keep writing or is it necessary to find my niche as a writer?  Carving a niche is about creating a place for ourselves in our field. There is so much talk about it and people take writing as a business.

It’s just that at some stage I had come back to proper writing after many years so I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted from my blog.

At the back of my mind, I always had long-form essays or proper articles that I also send to various newspapers, and they do get published. But at the same time, in my writing as also in my real life, I harbor a wish to do something for others, a desire to change the world in whatever little way I can.  Hence my niche had also to be related to this end.

I did come across many wordy sites that have similar attitudes and views. But I couldn’t come around to become anything like them. If I ever tried, my own style was lost and I couldn’t even write a paragraph.

That’s because there is urgency about my writing. It has to be written in one flow. I can’t sit, plan and force myself to write, can’t define my writing. The ideas occur only when they have to and they burst out only when they can’t contain themselves. I can’t sleep at night when there is pressure in my mind to write.

Therefore, I do not bother anymore about deliberately trying to form a niche. Neither have I ever tried to adapt my own style in the manner of any of my favorite writers/blog authors. Even mildly emulating others’ speech style did not work for me when I was a radio broadcaster/newsreader, so I know it won’t work for my writing as well.

I have my own style that will develop more and more with time. That is my own niche, my inimitable way of writing, my own voice. It may not turn out to be lucrative for me, it may not fetch me name and fame, it may not be great from marketing point-of-view. But it is and will always be my very own. For I’m a unique writer – the only one of my kind.  And so are you.

For: Writer’s Quote Wednesday

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For: The Daily Prompt – The Sincerest Form of Flattery
“Publish a post in the style of a favorite author/blogger or photographer.”

Blogger with a Strange Sense

The Daily Prompt:  Super Sensitive
‘If you were forced to give up one sense, but gain super-sensitivity in another, which senses would you choose?’

~~~

wanna give up my sense
to stand any kind of nonsense

wanna gain sensitivity by having
much more common sense

wanna give up my sensitivity
towards petty criticisms

wanna gain raised self-esteem
greater sense of self-worth

to attain the above, am gonna need
sight, smell, touch, hearing and…and..

mmmm…Oh O…forgotten the fifth one
whatever it is, you take it – the last one

take them all, as with memory gone wayward
no sense will now please my taste buds

oh o…now I remember the fifth one
so better leave them all with me, thanks!

the poem didn’t make any sense?
never mind, it’s fun to be nonsense

~~

That was a poem for yesterday’s ‘super sensitive’ prompt.

The next prompt goes with my mood.  An hour ago, when I wrote this poem, I was a Blogger in a Strange Land.  Outside the train station, waiting for my son’s train to come, I was sitting inside the car when I decided to kill time by attempting this quaintly senseless poem and posting it.

Indeed I am either very insensitive or else super-sensitive but always a very strange blogger who writes about strange issues while sitting in strange places.

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No choice though.  These prompts appear when it is midnight here. Often, by the time I see them or get time to attempt them, the day’s almost over.  No wonder I come up with hurried strange posts.

So you see…the fault Dear Readers is not in these prompts
But something strange in me, that my posts are queer
.

(“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
~Julius Caesar~)

Quotable words from “The Thorn Birds”

Quotes from The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullogh, who passed away two days ago.

1).  “..the best is only bought at the cost of great pain…or so says the legend”

2).  “If you love people, they kill you. If you need people, they kill you. They do, I tell you!”

3).  “You still think love can save us.  It’s more killing than hate. Hate is so clean, so                  simple.  Like being in the ring. With hate, you just keep hitting.  You hit until they stop          hitting back.  With love…they never stop.”

4).  “But we, when we put the thorns in our breasts, we know…we understand…and still            we do it. Still we do it.” (destructive love) .

5).  “Twelve thousand miles of it, to the other side of the world. And whether they came             home again or not, they would belong neither here, nor there, for they would have l             lived on two continents and sampled two different ways of life.”

6).  “Each of us has something within us which won’t be denied, even if it makes us                 scream aloud to die. We are what we are, that’s all. Like the old Celtic legend of the             bird with the thorn in its breast, singing its heart out and dying. Because it has to, its           self- knowledge can’t affect or change the outcome, can it? Everyone singing his               own little song, convinced it’s the most wonderful song the world has ever heard. Don’t       you see? We create our own thorns, and never stop to count the cost. All we can do is       suffer the pain, and tell ourselves it was well worth it.”

The Legendary Thorn Bird...by tree bird

The Legendary Thorn Bird by tree bird

RIP Colleen McCullough – an inspirational writer

A neuroscinetist turned author:  A life well lived

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Colleen McCullough, the internationally famous Australian author (The Thorn Birds), has died in hospital on Norfolk Island at the age of 77.

She was a neuroscientist by training, and worked in various Sydney and English hospitals.  After that she did 10 years of research and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in the US.

In her spare time, she wrote “The Thorn Birds,” her international best seller that sold more than 30 million copies.

But later she became a full-time author, and for nearly 40 years McCullough was one of Australia’s top-selling novelists.

Before becoming a best selling author McCullough also established the neurophysiology department at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney.

Colleen McCullough was awarded the Order of Australia for “service to the arts and to the community”.

As a school student ...Holy Cross College, Woollahra, NSW,

As a school student …Holy Cross College, Woollahra, NSW,

Pic Source: News Limited

As a girl, Ms. McCullough dreamed of becoming a doctor. She entered medical school at the University of Sydney but was forced to abandon her studies after she developed a severe allergy to the soap widely used in Australian hospitals. She trained instead in neurophysiology, which is concerned with testing for and diagnosing neuromuscular diseases.

Some anecdotes from her life

Aussie Humour:   At 32 she was found to have hypothyroidism, which caused depression and weight gain.
But she reckoned that although she’d always looked like the back of a bus, she’d always had boyfriends because “men love a funny woman”.

King sized life:  Nearly everything about Ms. McCullough had unrestrained heft: her voice, her laugh, her frame, her opinions, the blizzard of cigarettes she smoked each day and, most conspicuously, her books. “The Thorn Birds” clocked in at 533 pages.

Right attitude:   When criticised about some aspect of her writing, she said:
“I think in their heart of hearts all these people know that I’m more secure than they are, more confident than they are and smarter than they are,” she said of her critics in a 2007 interview on Australian television”

Read more about her wit on this site

Compiled from various sources:
News Corp
SMH
The Daily Life