In life, we have great days and we have the other ones. Today was somewhere in between. I am a bit commitment-phobic. So, I’ve recently accepted a highly demanding job where commitment has to be made and kept. I am intentionally putting myself in positions where I can challenge myself and test my boundaries. There is no book that can teach you about yourself, but you. So, write your chapter and don’t forget to read it too. If it isn’t interesting for you to re-visit, it won’t be for anyone else.
It is the second day of the sketching challenge and I learned a little about human face anatomy. It feels good. It is so amusing, how some simple lines and curves placed in a defined arrangement can give us a sense of recognition. It is one thing to know something and an entirely different experience to do it.
My posts on this blog are getting rare and I am not proud of it. It isn’t the lack of inspiration and I don’t want to make excuses for my laziness or lack of motivation. This reminds me, I have not posted any pictures till date on this blog and it was an intentional decision to keep me focused on words in lieu of looking for shortcuts using aesthetic presentations. This changes today.
Plans don’t work out as we often plan. Last Friday, I was supposed to travel home on an early morning flight, and I overslept. I woke up and canceled my return flight and the whole weekend opened up. I was on leave from Friday to Tuesday. I thought I will go to the office on Monday and here I am at home on a Monday pre-noon. So, what did I end up doing instead?
After being primed by tons of references to “The Catcher in the Rye” there was no reason for me to not start it when I got my hands on this novel. It is written in the first person narrated by a sixteen year old boy called Houlden. I was almost three-quarters through the book when a line struck me. You know those lines for which you really read entire books? The lines that comes in a fast paced chapter and you suddenly hit the brakes… and stop… and rewind… yeah it was one of those lines.
They say every suggestion is autobiographical. It reveals our past as events or desires that are laced with possibilities that could have been a reality or a reality unrecognizable now but were once possible. So, as the conclusion of the final chapter of March, I am noting a few things that might seem alien to my future self. A letter from the past for the future.
Dear Artist Kid,
Once I was on a binge spree watching authors discuss their past works on YouTube and discussing the importance of formatting the work while writing. The simple 20-second setup before starting instantly transform mere words to a professional standard. The double-spaced paragraphs, 12-point fonts and a tab at the beginning every paragraph make for higher readability. Formatting adds breathing space between lines and subliminally asks readers to ease up, while they consume the words visually and adds ease to print. A page with 600 words is too much to absorb, so double space them, add a tab to paragraphs as a cue till the next milestone in the marathon. We invariably see the effort required to consume and formatting makes it easy to flip a page. Flipping a page is a sense of achievement, we are programmed to respond gaily since our school days.
When I am writing I try not to hoard words for tomorrow. I do not want to keep it away, stored, and tucked to be used later. Which is contrary to human nature and it often occurs to me that, I should save that beautiful description or that fitting metaphor for a novel or a short story or an essay which I hope to write tomorrow. In all certainty, I know that I don’t know that there will be a tomorrow. It might seem like a bleak feeling and it may come across as a pessimistic one too, but it is a simple fact of life which upon acceptance can transform today into a fertile canvas. We are all on a terminal journey and I have filled notebooks with the words that I believe I will share someday when the stars will finally align perfectly for perfect prose to be delivered. Now, I don’t believe that no longer, there is no right time, every moment I exist here is the perfect time for me to become what I could and share who I am now because tomorrow I will be dead and someone will be there who look a little like me, who talks a little like me, but he would be different, he will have my name and know everyone I know, but he would have seen more and he would tell these stories differently. There would be so much more to say, tell and share tomorrow. So, whatever comes out today needs to come today, for tomorrow it won’t be the same story and I won’t be the same storyteller.
Sometimes the most simple of thing claims our attention and we discover how we can rearrange a shelf in our head in a more meaningful order. It might not be perfect and perpetual but provides a dramatic renovation to the existing order. When we rearrange these shelves of our memory, we redefine the narrative we tell ourselves and others. A narrative that is easy to remember is like mnemonics, they are intuitive to recall and helps us connect to facts effortlessly. Like the mnemonic, KISS – Keep it simple silly, simplicity and truth are essential to expand our bandwidths and to focus on important and essential matters without having to constantly redo our shelves.
I don’t know to whom this letter is to be addressed. But, I am writing this with a belief that words have a way of finding their right readers. These words will eventually reach you, the right pair of eyes. It may meet random passerby along its journey to you. It may smile at few, frown at some, and be indifferent to others, but it will eventually find you. When it does, it will unwrap itself for you to accept it or reject it and it will not matter for it has done its journey.