Monday, January 18, 2016

Modern Love: The End of Small Talk

I loved this recent Modern Love column by Tim Boomer about dating and small talk. I have friends who meet people through dating apps/mutual friends/random encounters and they all say some variation of the same thing: 
Small talk is tedious. Awkward. It doesn't allow you to get to know somebody well at all.

I wonder how different things would be if we were introduced to someone and jumped right into the  "bigger" topics.

"Why can’t we replace small talk with big talk and ask each other profound questions right from the start? Replace mindless chatter about commuting times with a conversation about our weightiest beliefs and most potent fears? Questions that reveal who we are and where we want to go?"

quote of the moment

Monday, November 30, 2015

Monday motivation

It's the last day of November! I've found that when it becomes colder outside, all I want to do in my free time is curl up with a blanket and hot cup of coffee. I need a little extra motivation to put finishing touches on projects, to remind myself to keep going, not give in to burn out.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


“I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.”
—Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

I used to think of forgiveness as a virtue with wheels but as I've grown up, I've learned that it can also arrive passively, without any prompting. 

Tomorrow is Indian New Year (Diwali), a chance for a fresh start, and to forgive those who may have hurt us.

Happy Diwali! 

Thursday, November 5, 2015

solving crimes and writing

Today, we had a famous forensic psychiatrist give a lecture at our hospital. I was fascinated by his work and couldn't help but find connections between what he does and what I aspire to do as a writer. Forensic psychiatry is about understanding the motivation behind someone's crime, the elements that make them who they are, the things that cause twists and turns in their plans.

After the lecture, a few doctors asked him questions about his career. Here are some of my favorite gems: 

1. Be prepared to do work that seems "thankless" 
He emphasized the importance of putting in the time without any tangible output in order to build skills, learn human nature, and be worthy of a dream job years later

2. Welcome as many challenges as possible 
"The difficult patients are the ones who teach us the most," he said. "We don't learn by predictable scenarios we could go read about in a book. We learn by having to think on our feet after being placed in chaos."

3. Always try to inspire confidence in others
Whether it's in a reader or patient, instilling confidence in a person you're trying to reach builds a connection with staying power

4. Hold on to that "a-ha" moment but realize that it isn't everything
A lot of people have that moment when they realize they can do the thing they've dreamt about. While that's important, it's equally, if not more important, to put in the hard work afterwards. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

making time for our writing

I've worked almost every weekend since starting my job at the hospital. I love it---the patients, my co-residents, our seniors---but it has been a challenge to keep up with other parts of my life.

With each new stage, I've realized I need to come up with different ways to make sure I write. I don't usually get a lunch break and get little free time during the day to read or write, so that means my time outside of the hospital is the only window available for writing.

Here are some things that have helped me so far:

1. Write for a short period of time. 
Most days, I can only do 10-30 minutes of writing. I need to commit to that, even if it doesn't seem like much. The tiny pockets of time have a way of adding up.

2. Protect writing time. 
Writing time should be shielded. That means anything else that comes up---a phone call, event, etc.----takes a back seat.

3. Plotting.
I've never really decided whether I'm a "plotter" or "panster" but I've found that plotting ahead of time helps me get straight to the writing. I can plot in my head, during my walk to work, and then simmer with the idea during the day. 

4. Sleep.
Creativity will not flourish without sleep. I tend to spend the majority of my days off catching up on sleep and then writing in the evening. 

unrequited love

I have this fascination for emotions I've never experienced, those gray areas that haven't been on my path. Ever since I was a little girl, unrequited love was one of those virtues. I found music and literature and poetry about the subject to be some of the most moving of all. What must it be like, for someone to have such an impact on your life but for you to have little to no impact on theirs? Is it easier to stay in love with someone from afar, as everything about them can be a theory? 

I would ask these types of questions to friends in situations where feelings were one sided.  

Charles Bukowski's poem about this concept stuck with me and I still don't understand why. I know they say to write about the familiar but for me, that's limiting. 

Maybe by writing, I can try to be many people going through many things at once. 

"I loved you

like a man loves a woman he never touches, only

writes to, keeps little photographs of. I would have
loved you more if I had sat in a small room rolling a
cigarette and listened to you piss in the bathroom,
but that didn’ happen. your letters got sadder.
your lovers betrayed you. kid, I wrote back, all
lovers betray. it didn’ help. you said
you had a crying bench and it was by a bridge and
the bridge was over a river and you sat on the crying
bench every night and wept for the lovers who had
hurt and forgotten you. I wrote back but never
heard again." 

Charles Bukowski