Live Life – Audacious!!

Ways to Stay Creative

I do some of them.. and the rest are interesting enough to try!

Credit: Found the Infographic posted on Google 🙂

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Wow! What a day it has been!

We woke up to the everyday runaround the house. Get the morning tea. Get to the bath. Run around the wardrobe trying to decide if its a good day for a jeans or a sari… you know, the usual.

My bro, his wife and kids were getting ready to leave the home. I was looking about the kitchen to locate a cup for pouring out my tea. Dad was done with his tea. Ma was still snoozing.

We wished them Good bye and God bless and had barely walked back into the house when they all walked back in.

Bro said to Dad: Did you move my car from its parking at night?

Dad: No.

Bro: The car’s stolen!

Well, you can imagine the reaction to that announcement early in the morning before the tea was introduced to the system.

We all ran back out. And yes, the car was not in its place. We looked around. Now, obviously the car would not supernaturally move itself in the night. But well, I s’pose that’s the necessary custom to be followed by people who have misplaced things.

‘But a car?’ you may ask.
‘Well.. even more so!’ would be my response.

I went back in. Mom was starting to put toothpaste on her toothbrush. I felt this was the best time to tell her. A moment later and the toothbrush would be in her mouth, and she’d run out nonetheless. Not a pretty sight, especially after seeing the car vanished. We decided to do a temporary compromise on dental hygiene in the face of criminal offence.

The call went out to the police. A Police Beat Officer turned up in a few minutes.

Dad: Our car was stolen from outside our house.

Policeman: What can the police do? You should park your car inside your house premises.

Dad: How does that help? 6 years back, they broke the locks and robbed us.

I came back inside and chose to have a cup of tea. Well… my car, my Maruti Esteem of 8 years… was gone. Some thief was driving it right now. The tea was needed.

The Beat officer had gone, with the promise that someone from the Police Station would come over to write the FIR. My brother and his family left for their work and school. Dad and Mom sat over tea discussing the theft.

I sat back wondering why was my car gone! Unfair! Up went my complains and questions to God Almighty. I have no idea how … or why He deals with people like me. In a few minutes, I remembered all the good things that had come my way into my life. I began to sing a song of thanks and praise.

A little while later, I went to bathe and began to get ready for going to office. I was brushing my hair when my Dad came knocking my door. I opened and he asked.

Dad: Could you go to work a little late today?

Me: Why?

Dad: We found the car. I’m going to get it. I need your car.

Me: What!? Of course! Where is it?

Dad: It’s on a road 10 minutes away. They dumped it in a pit. One of our neighbors going that way saw it and called back to inform. He is waiting there by the car for me.

It was unbelievable. Dad went to get the car. I called office to let them know that either I’d come in late or, more probably, work from home for the day (which is what I did).

A few hours later, Dad came back with the car. The Police verifications had been done, and the car returned to us. There were minor damages to it. And… the fuel level was near zero. The neighbor and Dad got some fuel to put into the car so that they could drive it to the mechanic to get it fixed. Yes, thank God, it was in a state to be driven.

What we couldn’t understand was why the car was dumped in a pit on the side of the road that was coming towards our house. If the theives were stealing it, it should’ve been going the opposite side. My sister-in-law discovered that these days, people steal cars for illegal activities and then leave the car – showing it to be an accident.

Thank God, we’d had an FIR registered and had it returned following police verification.

There were some goods in the car worth 5k and some important papers. Thank God, nothing was taken.

There was no fuel, so … someone did try to use it. But hopefully nothing was successful.

All in all – what a day! No.. a correction.. what a blessed day.

It is indeed a blessing when stolen things, of which we have no hope of ever seeing again, are returned to us. Thank God for the good neighbors and good relatives.

Thank God for God – He is the sole reason why we’re blessed. The car’s place was empty only so a blessing could come in its place.

Shakespeare Insult Kit

I found this on the internet … forgot the site, but please consider yourself credited and thanked, .. and couldn’t help re-posting it..

It’s Awesome, totally hilarious.. and perfect for use on someone, who may take ages to even realize what just hit them. No.. that doesn’t mean I’m encouraging the use of this.. but it’s funny nonetheless

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Showers of Freshness

Showers of Freshness.

I love watching the rain pour down from my window.

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It’s raining right now.

The trees are swaying in the wind and in the downpour.

Large drops of water are sliding down the window pane.

The window is stained with tiny droplets.

Isn’t there a strange luminescence during rain storms? The green leaves, the tops of the trees shine with an ethereal glow – and you cannot see its source.

 

The dust is gone, the grime is washed away – they seem to beam in the refreshing shower. Each different green is visible — how amazing is the human eye to trace nearly endless shades.

 

My Coffee Cup is in my hand, and I’m thankful that I can take a moment to enjoy the blessing of rains washing away the grime and filth, and recharge nature with life poured afresh from the heavens. I recall – Yesterday, I was driving in the rain … rather, it was a dashed good storm. Absolutely LOVED it.

 

Balance settles in.

 

Somehow, rains always leave a smile on my face.

Doubly Good!

Wow! So it feels like this! 🙂

When I had joined my first job – as a trainee – I was put under the guidance of a Team Lead who easily had a good 7 or 8 years. At the time, I was awed that someone would have an experience level so great.

A few years later, when I became a lead, I had a manager with 15 years of experience as a writer. I was again awed!! I’d joined that job just to be able to learn from her, and it was by no means a bad choice. It was one of my best jobs, by far!

 

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This year brings a double achievement – or rather, a blessing!

This year on 30th June 2013, I completed 5 years as a Manager of a team of writers and editors.

This year I completed 15 years as a writer.

Wow… so this is what it feels like.

Today, I’m getting messages of congratulations and thanks from all around me. My boss has written out a fantastic mail to commend my 5 years. My team is celebrating. My peers are congratulating me. Yesterday, my Mum prayed for me. Wow!

 

It is a funny feeling! It doesn’t seem it’s been so long at all actually. Anyhow.. long way to go and lots more to do… 🙂

Thanks so much to God Who has in fact brought me through so many years, through easy times and hard, through times when I was ready to soar and through times when I was ready to give up and run. He’s held me strong in His arms and brought me so far — and He’ll lead me on.

Happy 5 years and 15 years, Shalini! 🙂

Okay, I’m feeling very ready for the weekend… how long before it is prepared?

The last weekend came and went before I could say ‘weekend’!

  • Mom wasn’t well. Highest priority.
  • Maid went absconding without notice (of course!) … another one added.
  • The washing machine lost its temper for some reason and started responding with electric shocks even when touched lovingly… — washing a week’s worth of laundry by hand
  • The Municipal Corporation decided it was the perfect weekend to break up the road near the house to install a new plumping … that was needed, yes! I had to take a detour which causes a 10 minute delay – if the road isn’t blocked by other vehicles – which of course causes further delays
  • The Air Conditioning went kaput for *only* my room – and I blew the electricity off for the entire house!… phew!

… come to think of it… the entire month of May has whooshed past me and I am left wondering what became of the first half of this year!!

I stopped writing reviews for any serials/TV shows…

For as far as I can remember in May, I can’t remember a night when I slept through the whole night or got even a 5-6 hrs. of sleep.

BUT…

Thank God, Mum’s reports came out fine and she’s recovering well. God is good and oh…! What a brave woman Mom is 🙂

A new maid came in and, though she’s doing less than the earlier one – thank God, there is help!

Yes… doing laundry by hand was a great workout — in fact, it started me back on the fitness regime as I came to realize a few things about my body after having washed the load. God has mysterious ways! Praise Him… 🙂

The road is better now, though detours are still needed – but thank God, the new plumbing is in.

Thank God for my brother – the chap woke up at 1:00 am in the night to fix my AC and electrictity at home when he had to leave for work early next morning – Brothers are a blessing. Brothers with knowledge on electricity and stuff – are Miracles!!

No more reviews but… a better progress on my writing projects and perspectives – thank God! And as far as TV serials are concerned, I’ve stuck myself to MasterChef India, MasterChef US and The Big Bang Theory… You never go wrong with Sheldon if you want entertainment.

… And rest? Yes, finally, I have begun to try to sleep as much as possible through the night. Though, I’m still yet to achieve this, I’ve made a start.

Hoping for a spectacular June!

the old days were nice.
they were jolly and bright…
but they’re now in the past.
no more within my sight

now…

rainbow

my heart wants to sing a new song,
maybe dance to a new tune..
find a fresh, new rhythm
a new melody …. to croon!? (bad rhyming..! sheesh!)

i want to find the song
that will become my own..
 i lost the old one
 and have now let it go (hmm.. just about there..!)

new tunes, new words,
my heart wants to write..
 though i don’t have them yet
 i’ll get to them, no problem (need to work on this rhyming thing..!)

i wanna dig up my old dreams..
 the ones i dared not try
 a lot of which i gave up
 i’m sure they’re still in my mind (… eh.. not quite!)

i’ll try my every dream
to see if they may work..
and see some more new ones
 who knows where i’d end up .. (naah!)

but here’s to life again
to look high and low
 and if i don’t find one
 i paint my own rainbow… (.. hmm finally something)

there’s a dream out there for me
a new song that’s my own
 and though i’m yet to find it
 i’m not letting it go… not this time!

(never mind rhyme.. i like it without rhyme.. my poem, my rules!)

Happy Birthday, Sister!

It was a quiet Easter morning when I sat alone in a crowd;

That was the first time you walked over to me and chose to sit with me instead of joining the company of your family and friends.

We didn’t know each other. I didn’t trust you.

But you saw what others didn’t see and I never shared.

Though you saw that I didn’t trust or share,

nothing changed your heart for me.

I still barely understand the love that held you to me, when I was more a stranger.

When you gave up time with your family for me; when you stayed up nights with me; when you laughed with me and wept with me; when, unknown to me, you prayed for me…

I have been a hard nut to crack (haven’t I?),

And you’re like cotton candy.

I don’t even know how many times I may have hurt you,

And each time you cushion my harshness

When I refuse to budge, you push me to fly,

… and then stand to catch me if I fall..!!

What surprises me and blesses me is that, though we are so different, so opposite,

a love beyond our understanding and our control joins us

I’m dour, you’re giving,

I’m rash, you’re patient,

I’m closed, you’re welcoming,

I explain a lot, you simply feel it… and I don’t understand that! 🙂

I’m all (bull)head, and you’re all heart and mush!!

Whatever I may be, to me you are one of the blessed ways God chooses to show me how much He loves me.

Happy Birthday, Sister!

Be peaceful, joyous, and have loads of FUN in your life 🙂

# 5 Characters – Part 2

Detailing ‘Em – or Sketching

This can be fun … and sometimes this can be painful!!

Fun because you get to spend a lot of time with the characters you create. Painful because at times these creations of yours refuse to speak to you!

I know there have been times when I’ve wanted to throw something heavy directed at Joshua Grant’s head – a character from one of my stories, called ‘Suits Me!’ (which isn’t really what I want to call the story– but I need something to work with!).

Anyhow – Josh as I say is rather moody. He is by nature a confused chap – very indecisive. Upto a point it was okay for me to think of him, picture him, and imagine him. But then, Josh didn’t go much further. For chaps like him – on the face of it, look superficial. At the time, I was new to writing and was researching material on creating characters and how to make them fuller, meatier.

There was a neat trick – Interviewing your character.

It meant I’d put Josh in front of me and ask him questions, and Josh should answer.

Example:

Me: Josh, your full name, please?

Josh: Are we in court? I’d clarify that I haven’t done anything and whoever said whatever I did is lying.

Me: Josh, your full name, please?

Josh: *looks at me closely* Ah! I see! You like me, is it?

Me: Do you even remember your full name? Or is last night’s hangover still on?

Josh: *offended* Joshua Grant, I remember very well.

Me: Your age?

Josh: You ARE interested in me! Just say so, sweetie, I’ll tell you all about me.

Me: This is not going anywhere! Get lost, Josh!

You see how Josh works. I had to add another angle to this. I contacted his family and friends.

Me: Mrs. Grant, how would describe Josh, your grandson?

Mrs. G: If you hadn’t added ‘your grandson’, I’d still have known Josh, my dear.

Me: *can’t believe this* Okay, how would you describe Josh?

Mrs. G: *feeling pride* Ah! My grandson!

Me: Yes. Describe him.

Mrs. G: A very handsome and an equally confused man.

Me: Good statement but I know that. Anything else?

Mrs. G: He’s the last one of the line and I want him married, but there are issues.

Me: Like what?

Mrs. G: He’s dated half of London, and the other half has heard the stories!

Me: I know that too. Anything else?

Mrs. G: Do you like him too?

Me: *gives up* I need someone from a different family!

These two helped me see how the grandma and grandson were, how they thought, how they behaved. Those two statements about Josh by Mrs. G were nice and I have actually used them in the story.

Then I got Clay – Clement Davis, Josh’s only friend.

Me: Hello, Clay. A word about Josh?

Clay: One word? Erm…

Me: Thank you. That works!

Clay: *laughs* I know what you mean. He’s confused. But he’s not a bad egg.

Me: You’re a very good friend, Clay.

Clay: I mean it, Josh isn’t a bad egg. Maybe a cracked one, but not bad!

Me: Josh calls you his Good Samaritan.

Clay: That’s because I happen to get him out of tough ones.

Me: Is there anything you dislike about him?

Clay: Dislike is a very strong word. There are things I don’t like – but I shan’t say I ‘dislike’ them.

Me: Examples?

Clay: I wish he’d be more stable in his decisions.

Me: Any particular area?

Clay: Girlfriends.

Me: What’s the issue there?

Clay: Won’t you say 21 was a touch too many? Or 22 rather!

Me: Do you agree with his latest decision?

Clay: I would if he’d stick to it.

Me: Would you tell him you agree?

Clay: *smiles* We both know the answer to that. I definitely would, but no one lets me. Including you!

Me: If I let you speak Clay, that’ll be the end!

So, we were talking of Josh, but I also get to see a lot of Clay here.

Interviews are one of the very interesting and fantastic ways of delving deeper into a character. They are not only insightful, they give a dialog level sensitivity to the character – that is, you get to see how this character talks, what words they use, what’s their tone, and their attitude towards the conversation subject.

~*~

Another useful bit is in Naming the character.

This requires some research some time – into the name databases. It is easier these days with the internet.

I had started with finding names that seemed to fit the character I was writing. Any name that seemed to agree with the person, their stature, their general personality.

However, then I started to write a fantasy. Now I needed names that would not be the usual names. Either I could make up names (and I was not good at this. The names I made were weird of the serious variety) OR I could hunt unusual names. But then, just on the basis on their being rare, I could not name the character.

That’s when the KI – the Key Identifier (that we discussed in the Part 2 of this series) – came into play. Instead of searching names, I started to search the meanings with names. And names from several languages of the world showed up. Wow!

I had names like: Cybele, Charisse, Faylin, Asta, Kyros, Estrallita, Aleda – I was one happy Dudette! (that’s a name one of my very old pen friends gave me.)

In trying to find good names for this story, I realized that naming the character was a crucial part of character definition. The name is one of the first things about a character that becomes known to the audience, and they may form a mental image of the character beginning from the name.

Thereafter, there hasn’t been any character who’s been names just because – there’s a reason and rationale behind every name.

#6: Visualization

This is – I think – the MOST beautiful part of story-telling – whether it is before writing or during it. It’s my favorite part!!!

However, even though it is interesting, care should be taken that this doesn’t stretch beyond need,, because this has a tendency of going on forever – it is seemingly endless if not watched.

Visualization is what brings the character to life. This is what I see in my mind when I see the character, or a scene, or a place or an interaction.

For example, when I picture Joshua Grant, I see in my mind what Joshua looks like.

I see his body structure, his height, his hair, his eyes, his skin color.

I see his usual body posture while he sits, stands, walks, drives, talks.

I see where he lives: the street, his house, his room, his favorite part of the house, his favorite chair, or TV show or whatever.

To what level I see this for any character, also depends on the story.

For example, for Double Bind, Ian Maxwell’s house – the Maxwell Manor – is an important tool in the story. It is the condition of the house when he moved there, when the story starts, and as the story proceeds – that plays a key role in showing Ian and bringing him out.

So when I see Ian Maxwell, in addition to seeing him – the person – it is also important for me to see his house, his room, his library, his car.

Now, seeing it in your mind is one thing. Being able to save the image is a totally different ball game. If you want to store and save something, trust me, the mind isn’t made for it. Especially my mind – it works splendidly as a sieve.

I picked up a terrific trick from a fellow author whom I used to know about 12 years back. Bless her!

She’d go ‘Google’ on everything.

So, I hunted down manors and mansions, till I found one that pictured near to perfect what Ian’s house looked like.

Did the same thing with his car, his library, his woods.

I repeated the exercise with other characters.

My author friend also used to hunt up people – actors or models – who’d look pretty much like she’d imagined the character.

What this does is – it brings up the images in your mind before your eyes. They become remember-able and relatable. Till the Maxwell Manor was in my mind – my sense of direction was very poor back then – I forgot what wing he lived in, right or left! And going by the story, this was important for me, if not crucial. I’d have to put myself in the Manor in my mind and use my arms to go … okay, this is right because I write with this hand; Ian lives here.

You can’t believe the stack of images I have with me of Maxwell Manor, Shefford home, Ian’s car, Ian’s woods, the lake within the woods – the whole area. I even have images to show me what Ian’s estate looked before revamping and after it. I needed to relate to it so that Ian could relate to it.

And I have this stack for most stories that I have actively worked on.

The task becomes more daunting, and more interesting when the story isn’t set in the current time. One of my stories was set in 1800s. OMG! I had to research their clothes, their hairdos, their vehicles, their what-nots!

But – because this is SO much fun – the danger is that it can carry on forever.

For example, I can drive me mad if I go in search of Ian’s bed, Ian’s bathroom, Ian’s clothes, Ian’s shoes, Ian’s chair, Ian’s whatever!!

We need to visualize – but we don’t need to overdo it.

That’s it for now!

Catch you around in the next issue – till then, cheerio!

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