Monday, February 27, 2012

Typing With My Eyes Closed

In case you think that "typing with my eyes closed" is euphemism for something else, say, writing without passing judgment, or this is something so easy that I exert no effort, you'd be reading too much into the title.

You see, I have to close my eyes frequently when I write these days. I had two cataract surgeries last month. (I know, most people don't need them till they're older, but I'm among the lucky few.) My eyes are healing well, but they are very dry and they tire easily. I also think that the fancy coating on my glasses had been doing their thing because now that I don't wear glasses, except to read up close or to drive, my eyes are more sensitive to light, whether sunlight or the light from my computer screen.

And that is why I have been typing with my eyes closed. And even though this course of action was born of necessity, I find that I am, in fact, writing with less inhibition, and faster, because I have fewer things to pay attention to, namely typos and weird spacing in my words. Thoughts are flowing more smoothly from my mind to the screen.

I wouldn't say that my new way of working has freed up my writing all that significantly, but I am rather enjoying the process. If you will tolerate a bit of pop-psych terminology, I'd even say that I am embracing this unexpected gift. 

Maybe you'd like to try it sometimes and see if helps.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Happy Dance, Part II

The dancing turtle from yesterday's post was cute, but look at what I had originally wanted to use:

My hair never curled like that, but those are pretty much my dance moves. 

These are drawn by the talented Maria Mercado, whose website I found as I searched for a picture for yesterday's post. I hadn't heard back from her with regards to having her permission to use the images and I was impatient to share my good news, which is why I chose the dancing turtle. But now that I've heard back from her, I have to show them to you.

Check out her blog for more wonderful doodles. Someone who can draw like that even when she's sick is definitely living and breathing her art.

Hope you're having a happy dance sort of a day.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Happy news!

I have long been a fan of The Literary Lab and so was doubly excited to find out I won the top prize in their Variations on a Theme contest!

These folks not only organized and judged the contest, they also put up their own money for the winners. It's clear that they love fiction and are doing their part to spread their love. 

This anthology, their third, will be available in March. In the mean time, I hope you'll support their effort to promote good writing by checking out the first two

You know what else is cool? That when I look at the names of the other authors whose work will be included, I recognize quite a few  from having interacted with them at the Lit Lab blog. And let me tell ya, the comments section is half the fun over there. Davin, Scott, and Michelle chime in often, and do a great job in creating a fun and welcoming place to discuss and ask questions. It's no wonder they have a loyal following. 

So, while you enjoy reading the diverse works from these anthologies, I will go resume my happy dance!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Juliet, Naked: A Brief Review

Nobody writes insecure and neurotic people as well as Nick Hornby. Okay, there's Woody Allen. But Allen lacks the uniquely-British calm facade that pretends everything is fine; splendid, in fact. I'm not British , but as I was reading this book, I was impressed by how, just from having grown up in an ex-British colony, I have absorbed a lot of that into my psyche. I completely bought into how each of his main characters over-thinks and second-guesses their own actions and how the spoken dialogue is but a fraction of the one that goes on inside the character's head.

The story is about Annie and Duncan, a couple, and Tucker Crowe, the singer-songwriter who is the object if Duncan's obsession. After Annie splits up with Duncan, she makes the acquaintance of Tucker and ends up having him (and his young son) stay at her house. 

An absurd story line, really. But who says absurdity is bad? Especially when the absurdity carries truth in it, such as the way Duncan justifies in his mind to himself that he is superior to the young man who, like him, is standing outside the house of Tucker's old girlfriend; and the way Annie uses algebra to calculate how much of her 15 wasted years with Duncan has caused her.

It was a delicious read for the most part, and a slightly uncomfortable one as well, when I recognized my own neuroses and insecurities. I have to say, though, about three quarters of the way through, I needed a break from all those wounded and fragile egos. Luckily (cunningly?) Nick Hornby inserts a laugh-out-loud scene using a common and totally benign greeting when two of the characters meet. That scene is priceless. Had the novel ended there, several threads would have been left hanging, but it would have worked for me.