“A good writer is simply…

Quote

“A good writer is simply one who says all he wants to say, who says only what he means to say, and who says it exactly as he meant to say it.”
(Ferdinand Brunetière, Honoré de Balzac, translated by Robert Louis Sanderson. J. B. Lippincott, 1906)

 

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The month in books: April

On the personal front April was a tiresome and trying month. I had very little or rather no time at all for myself and it seemed an unsettling period. The little hours of solitude that I snatched for my reading had me read these wonderful books which truly sustained me through those distressing days.

Firstly I owe the revival of my spirits to none other our beloved Rowling. Reading Goblet of fire sort of rekindled those feebly glowing embers of enthusiasm. It was my second time I think. The first time I read it, I remember clearly, was many years back and under a thick blanket, shuddering at the death of poor old Frank. I felt the very same fervour in this reading too. And I am pretty sure that it will never die out. My love for the Harry Potter series will definitely be with me throughout my life.

While there are many critics who argue that Rowling’s writing is too logical than fantastic I can but only detest that argument. Stories can be logical, magical, anything! That’s what stories are- impossible, possible, imaginative, real… The fact that as a child the book awed me and as an adult it remains a true and faithful friend, who sees me through tough times, even provides an unparalleled escape is a testimony to its brilliance. Only very few books have that power and the Potter books have it in them.

And with the alleviation of cloudy moods I even ventured headlong into ‘Pottermore’ and had loads of fun buying my wand and getting sorted. Mine’s a beautiful Sycamore with unicorn core wand and to my surprise I found myself in Hufflepuff house. Ouch! But the hat never goes wrong.

The other book that completely aided in my healing was Mr. Oliver’s Diary by Ruskin Bond. It’s a short and sweet book that will stay with me forever. It tells the endearing tale of a perfect school teacher, the strict and bendable, Mr. Oliver. It’s a children’s book and I loved it. Somehow I am never comfortable calling books as ‘Children’s books’ because I enjoy them wholly as any child would do and I am strictly way past my childhood. I never tire of them and it isn’t surprising that I turned to these very books in a very troubled time. Not intentionally though, but perhaps instinctively.

This also tells a very good principle to keep in life if you ask me. Stay a child at heart. When a book meant for kids can cheer one up so well, keeping your heart and mind like a child’s can certainly go a long way to leading a happy and fulfilling life. Yes and the book also has many a treats on the platter to cater to every imaginable childish craving- from croaky, slimy frogs to hot, savoury snacks to snow, ghosts and a cute love story.

And then I read a painting. Yes, I can only describe that book as a work of pure art painted in words. How else can anybody discuss about a work by the Nobel laureate, Rabindranath Tagore? ‘Shesher Kavitha’ a Bengali masterpiece by Tagore was recently translated to English by Dilip Basu. I recently read a little review of the translated version, ‘The Last Poem- A novel’ and instantly ordered it online. It was a long wait of forty eight hours before I held it my hands. This one is a true feast for the romantic sort. It is tragic, in a way, mind you yet it is not. That subtlety in its storyline kept me in a trance for hours later. Once taken up it is next to impossible to put it down. The story pulls you into its mire of poetry, nature and love; the three very elements that I live on. It is a beautiful little novel and in a way renders true beauty to the word beautiful.

Here’s a tiny eloquent poem, one of the many poems that bridge the romance :

Waterfall, in the crystals

of your flow,

The sun and stars

See each other

And here is another favourite of mine:

Let the shadows swing and play

Upon your waters,

Let the shadows mingle

With the music of your laughter,

Give it a voice

The voice of eternity.

The last poem in the book, from which the book derives its name, is a classic. There are several surreal illustrations, by a very talented Dinakar Kowshik, interspersed between the pages and they are great tools that aid in gluing to mind the quintessence of the characters. All in all, one marvellous book that I can just look at and feel happy.

 

 

Book Review: A Room with a view by E.M.Forster

A Room with a view

It’s not every day that I come across a book as profound and Edwardian as this one. Almost everything that is lovely and sensible features in this compact novel about a girl Lucy Honeychurch. The story starts off in a pension room in grand Italy. Lucy and her chaperon have come to tour Italy and take in its beauty to the most. Their place of stay, the interesting Bertolini brims with vivid characters who take the plot forward. After an untoward experience with a young man George Emerson the two girls leave for Rome abruptly ending their Italian trip. Then the story shifts to the household of the Honeychurches. Lucy who returns from Rome gets engaged to one typical English man Cecil. But something inside her disturbs her keeping her in perpetual disquiet. The memories of George keep returning and finally fate contrives in bringing George to Lucy’s very neighbourhood. Stuck in this tumultuous mess Lucy tries to disentangle herself and this forms the rest of the story.

This is the first book Forster’s that I read and I have certainly fallen in love with his writing. The narration throws such beautiful words of wisdom that I was wonderstruck even as I read it. People and places are so lively even in the most serious of times. There is every possible kind of character in the story, from clergymen to novel writers. The two characters out of the bunch that interested me were Lucy and old Mr.Emerson, the father of George Emerson. This old man is crude in manners, loud and asserting. Yet his kindness which is celebrated by the author himself shines forth rendering a hero image to him. This I think is justified also because he is instrumental in clearing things up in the end. His character is consistently shown to be good and eccentric in equal measure. The old man can be rightly described to be strangely intellectual for one with many weird idiosyncrasies.

But Lucy, the female protagonist whose life the author tells, is only constantly changing. It feels like you’re being shown different facets of her through a kaleidoscope. And I love dynamic characters like her.

It’s not just the characters that make this a classic. No book can become a classic without originality in perspective. And Forster is simply wonderful in this aspect. He tells: Do you suppose there’s any difference between Spring in nature and Spring in man? But there we go, praising the one and condemning the other as improper, ashamed that the same laws work eternally through both. This one dialogue speaks much in its depth. We come to know clearly that the society and its mindset weren’t much different from the present. Love was seen with equal disgust as it’s seen today in some societies.

There were moments while I read when I was astounded by the little commentaries on life and nature in general. Imageries are found aplenty in this one and my favourite was that of the little pool of water that Lucy calls a Lake. Some of the deepest insights on her character that is perceivable derives its core from this particular image. A side so naive yet so earthy comes to light every now and then in the presence of this symbolic Lake. It stands for memories, the lighter and more enjoyable side of life and the most mystical period of life too- childhood.

The book also is idyllic because of the realism in the settings. The Italian paintings, galleries, dark alleys and Piazza’s, hills and picnic spots, quiet English neighbourhoods are strikingly tangible and it’s not hard to make peace with the surroundings. Forster must have had a real thing for Violets because they so powerfully render a transcendental quality to the atmosphere, at the right time, where love happens.

…,and violets ran down in rivulets and streams and cataracts, irrigating the hillside with blue, eddying round the tree stems, collecting into pools in the hollows, covering the grass with spots of azure foam…

The chapters are so aptly named, without any unnecessary sophistication and that adds beauty too. With so much of beauty packed into one small novel it is just on overpowering experience to read it. This is by far one of the finest books I have ever read and is certainly one of the best books I’ve read this year too.

 

 

 

The surge of the urge

Image Via Google Search

I wasn’t going to do a post today.  Until I read this on YA writer Tahereh Mafi’s blog. And it hit me that I’ve been procrastinating too much delaying ‘The Day’. I’ve been dreaming way over the limit about ‘The Day’ and not actually working towards its actualization. I wish to witness ‘The Day’ and hold my baby in hands and cuddle it. But its in my hands to reduce gestational period(Excuse me for getting too cheesy) and I have done nothing about it lately.

Honestly, writing has taken a back seat while work has started to consume the larger part of time and energy. Despite the struggle to make space I haven’t had much luck. My WIP is crying for words and I haven’t been able to nourish it to fruition. I feel like a complete bully starving my WIP and harming my desire to write at the same time. Perhaps better time management? Well, I’ve not been able to do that very efficiently.

But there’s one tool that spurs me forward better than anything else- seeing the success of other up-coming writers. After I read that post by Tahereh Mafi I felt the joy and the pinch at the same. The joy of feeling the happiness of another and the pinch of delaying my getting there soon. As an aspiring writer, I’ve seen that my graph of motivation and work has been rather fluctuating unfortunately. I have always been in constant need of company, motivation, push to get ahead. I often went wandering outside in search of these and ended up having an insipid day with bitter entries to write in my journal. Now I have realized that these are ingredients that come from within.

But with the blogosphere brimming with so many lively writers and aspirants I have found some solace at last. Even as I battle my insecurities I have now understood there’s a lot of hope to be had. The loneliness has been done away with. And all I have to do is move towards witnessing ‘The Day’.

I can feel the words flowing in my head with renewed zest and sensibility already. I hope this surge stays consistent and constant for the days to come.

Rule of Three: Evanescence Part III

Rule of Three

Hello! Here’s Part 3 of the story.

 

Fear flowed through their veins and their hearts reverberated at an inconceivable pace. For a minute, Elaina regretted her impulsive decision of following the footprints. Sometimes the facts of life present themselves only at the very end of the road and one wonders if such knowledge would be useful at all in future. This started to dawn at the split second she impulsively turned around to behold the image of the man.

“Richard!”

Helena could hardly believe the name as she let go of the rod she clutched. And still as she looked at Richard, her mind could hardly take in intensity of the shock. The room was still as a picture except for the moving eyes that rather intensified the eeriness of the situation.

“Helena, it was you? You were by the river this noon. My dear! What a fearful thing to think about. What are you all about?” Richard said moving inside clearing all the ambiguity about his presence.

Helena was still blown out of the water and couldn’t get herself to speak. “Well, we were out on a picnic” Helena paused looking at Richard’s expression, “It was our little dream to come down to Espadon and do some paintings” Elaina struggled to make things clear.

“But what are you doing here, at Erichton Freus’s dwelling?”

“We were attacked” Helena could say no more. On hearing these faint words, Richard’s angry brow came low as he approached her and took her in
his arms. “Helena, say no more. You’re safe”

“Richard where are we? Are you acquainted with this place?”

Richard let go off Helena slowly and walked up to the picture at the end of the room. “This place belongs to the Freus’s. It has remained here quietly among the trees for over a century. You must have heard about the anserine couple who went away into Assart to never return. This is the very house that they created and lived in”

“Why did they do that?” Elaina interrupted.

“The Great Battle of Sora. The murkiest time witnessed by Renaissance forced men to lose their sanity. The civil war led by the aggressive warrior Sora took turmoil to the peak. Men, women, children in large numbers were brutally injured, made invalid and some even murdered conveniently in the forests of Assart while the political camps in little towns plundered and looted. It was a little time after the period when ruthlessness had withdrawn its regal wings that young
Frues and his wife went into Assart- to help cure the scattered groups of ailing people. They consecrated their lives to service. And young Frues happened to be
an artist of high calibre and what you behold all around you are some of his very hand strokes”

“How do you know?” Elaina blurted.

“While on my frequent journeys to our town on business, I was acquainted with this mystical place and its occupant, the great-grandson Erichton Frues”

“Mystical?”

“Yes, dear sister. Come with me” he led the trio to the picture of the woman sitting by a door. “Observe her eyes. Every time I see it, I can certainly perceive a marked change in its bearing. It’s a curious mix of character that I see. Either the artist was brilliant or Lady Frues was indeed a curious personality. Sometimes I sense subtle braveness. At other times it’s a deluge of compassion and mildness that shows up. I haven’t been able to describe that quality at all” Richard quietened into thought.

“Evanescent” murmured Helena. Richards’s eyes were aglow upon hearing the word.

But who attacked us here? Elaina wondered silently.

 

**************************************************************************************************************

Word count : 600

Main Character: Richard Greaves

Prompts used: A long-kept secret is revealed.

Read Part I and Part II.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rule of three: Evanescence Part I

The Rule of Three!

The Rule of Three blogfest begins today and it’s nothing less than a party for word lovers. What more can any fan of the written word ask for than this? October is going to be all about hopping from blog to blog, in an effort to read all the wonderful REN3 entries. Happy REN3 y’all!

Here’s the first installment of the story. Hope you enjoy 🙂

Helena Bond rose from the rock restless to carry on with the journey. Her two companions, a younger sister Elaina Bond and a dear
friend Maria Wood were inclined to sit there awhile to take in the cool forest wind. The three had been on foot braving the forests of Assart with their
hearts set on capturing the Espadon in all her beauty on their easels. Helena, the eldest of six Bond sister’s was the prettiest and had blown away the
ambitious little heart of Richard Greaves, the only boy of the well-to-do traders’ family of the Greaves. The threesome considered this their last outing together before the union of Helena with Richard.

They set out to do something that not many other women, in their early twenties, dared to do- hiking all the way through the tough
forests of Assart to the river Espadon just to satisfy their youthful aspirations. The fear of the people to tread these forests was based from many
a folklore about evil spirits that dwelt on certain ancient trees. There had been mass executions in the heart of Assart a few hundred years ago when the
great battle of Sora was fought and after which the beautiful town of Renaissance had dwindled into ruins. Eventually the virtuous town recouped and
rose back from its ashes healthy and prosperous. But as all thrilling things that feed the glands of humans, the stories about the spirits retained their
solidity despite the intellectual advancements.

“Elaina Bond, you don’t want to rile your sister” said Maria, “come on now”

“Oh I don’t care a rush for her temper. Besides did you notice her eyes, they are set upon some distant horizon. She’s been gaze-walking all along!”

“Helena! What has that wizard of a man done to you?” Maria cried.

“Maria dear, have you brought along the raw sienna mix?” Helena said, half-blushing. Just wait until you find someone, she thought. The other two exchanged glances and walked along in silence until they came to a clearing.

“Mama said long time ago a couple went into Assart and they never returned” naughty Elaina intonated.

“Mama’s always talking too much with that tell tale Mrs. Rugs” Helena joined, “And Hannah says it’s just some old story”.

“Well, Hannah’s the most sensible woman I have ever known” said Maria who always had a liking for Hannah, the governess.

“What if the ghoulish couple show up to welcome the three cronies?” Elaina hissed. The shrill laughter of the girls pierced the forest air.

The trio now walked a faster pace as Nora barked a little more than usual. That meant they were very close to Espadon, the sight of which they had been yearning to behold anxiously for years. The girls twisted and broke the lean branches eager to make way. The sparkling river glittered through the gaps.

 Helena looked entranced and her heart beat so fast and her fingers twitched to stroke that white roll of paper she held. Drawing huge breaths of air Helena said, “There she is”.

The sight of the vivacious group of girls on the banks of the glorious Espadon was so resplendent a picture in itself that the onlooker might be tempted to think that some supernatural artist was behind it after all. Nothing should have disturbed this beauteous event.

*********************************************************************

Word count : 554

Prompts used: There is fear of impending misfortune, Someone might fall in love.

(P.S – Please leave your honest opinions on the piece in the comments section)

Are you a writer? Yes, you are.

Image Via Google

Have you seen a painter or sculptor at work? If you haven’t you have plenty of opportunity to do that on YouTube. The artist has a vision of his product in his head but he has to start from scratch. Sometimes it also happens to be scrap. And the final result ensues ever so slowly; often imparting a very anserine look to the piece in progress. But never have I heard or seen an artist lose sight of his vision or go astray or feel the blues. But why does this happen with writers so much?

A writer is as much an artist as a painter or sculptor.Perhaps the thought of audience is etched in the mind of a writer even before he sets to write and that makes all the difference. And maybe it’s also got to do with the intangible nature of the product. A painter or sculptor is blessed to be able to get a feel of his work even as he works with it and a writer has to pray he should be able to touch a paperback of his novel someday. And this uncertainty leads to fear of not being published over time and that in turn finds you all at sea.

So, this form of art that you have chosen is a taxing one; one that gets no encouragement most of the time. You may be the only one to
encourage yourself. Haven’t we noticed that it’s ever so easy and even a matter of pride to introduce people, even amateurs in their field, as singers or painters? But the general tendency of people is that only a published writer is a writer. The person who merely performs the act of writing does not figure into even the second meaning of the word ‘Writer’ in their minds. So the question of credibility arises when talking of an unpublished writer because writing is seen as an art that cannot be perfected with practice.

To change this general credo of people is out of question. But there’s lot of good that can be taken from the other artisans who invariably enjoy more support and audience. The only way to get to hold your paperback in hand soon, is to imbibe the quality of focus devoid of apprehension from the painter or sculptor. The sooner you apply this, the faster your name appears in print.

So don’t fret co-writer. Start chiselling that story with conviction even if doesn’t exactly the match that shape in your mind today. No one is born with a silver spoon, atleast a writer is defintely not. The fire deep down in you will take you there very soon; to behold that perfect story.

Love of letters

I have never received mail by post. But I have definitely
read and heard a lot about the joy of receiving them. And I am missing
something that I never really had a chance to experience.

I feel that the very word ‘Letter’ has something very
elegant about it. And I am sure it takes a great deal of smartness to write an
elegant letter. After perusing some of my recent mails in my sent folder I am a
bit embarrassed. All those words in there were just matter-of-fact ones or
to-the-point ones. What more can I expect when all of those were words typed
while I waited for my favourite blogs and sites to load. Hmph!

And handwriting is something I fear. It’s one of my deepest
and darkest fears. I got to see some manuscripts by some really good writers a
few years back and I told myself, “You are going to have trouble being a good
writer if you continue with what you do in physics notebooks” It came as a
total reliever, a few months later, when a person who analysed my handwriting
told me that I was very talented and creative (No, really. You should ask her).
Maybe I was not the best judge of myself.

But that apart I really feel for the loss of the art-The art
of writing letters. The yearning heightened when I read these.Now if I
ever get to read the original manuscripts I will certainly be on a high. I must recommend you to
read Rainer Rilke’s ‘Letters to a young poet’. I was completely stumped when I
read it for very many reasons which I now reserve for a different post.

There are several other books where I loved the inclusion of
letters and they were often the parts I most cherished.

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to call these pieces of live
conversation the most intellectual way of communicating.

Unfortunately that art is gone for good. I sincerely hope
there is a novel way to revive it now.