Monday, April 14, 2014

Engagement Party

This past weekend, Samir's family threw us an engagement party. There was a Friday night dinner at their house, a traditional Indian ceremony the next morning, and then a reception at a gorgeous museum. It was the first time our worlds came together. The only thing more incredible than falling in love with him was watching how our families and friends fell for one another. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

taking the scenic route and befriending uncertainty

Edit: When I wrote this post, I didn't realize it was time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a group created by the incredible Alex!  This group is a wonderful place to offer support and encouragement to other writers while also sharing some struggles and insights of your own. 

In a lot of ways, I've been a late bloomer. For some reason, I have trouble accepting this when it comes to writing. I set deadlines and make plans and become frustrated when things don't go according to schedule.

One thing writing has given me is a better relationship with uncertainty. Years ago, uncertainty was a mysterious stranger, someone I was content with not knowing, someone I actively avoided. Now, uncertainty has become the best type of friend: challenging but constant, exciting but stable. 

In medicine, there's more or less a set route with training. Medical school, residency, fellowship, then practice. But with art, there is no route. As it turns out, there's nothing more liberating than surrendering.

I have to learn to give my goals wiggle room. To remember that time is never wasted if it's spent in practice and everything is practice. 

Now, when people ask me what I think I'll be in several years, I'm happy to say I don't have a plan. There are a lot of virtues I hope to accomplish but there are many routes to get there. Some might come quickly. Some might take triple the time. Some might not happen at all. 

How do you deal with uncertainty in life? 

*Also, this Brain Pickings article describes the importance of uncertainty much better than I ever could: 

“The job — as well as the plight, and the unexpected joy — of the artist is to embrace uncertainty, to be sharpened and honed by it,”   Dani Shapiro

*And of course, a quote by the incredible DVF: 

“I didn't know what I wanted to do, but I always knew the woman I wanted to be.”

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

favorite quotes from where'd you go, bernadette?

My heart started racing, not the bad kind of heart racing, like I'm going to die. But the good kind of heart racing, like, Hello, can I help you with something? If not, please step aside because I'm about to kick the shit out of life.” 

That's right,' she told the girls. 'You are bored. And I'm going to let you in on a little secret about life. You think it's boring now? Well, it only gets more boring. The sooner you learn it's on you to make life interesting, the better off you'll be.

People like you must create. If you don’t create, Bernadette, you will become a menace to society.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

solitude among the creative, questions to ask characters, and the importance of space

This article from The Atlantic makes a beautiful conclusion: in order to create, artists need solitude. I've written here about mental health in the creative community and how there are higher rates of both depression and suicide among artists. However, at one point, there was an idea that artists needed this in order to produce work. Now, studies are showing the value in being alone, in sitting with thoughts and emotions and questions. 

This past Saturday, I planned to stay in and write all night. I ended up writing for half the day and then going out with friends. When I mentioned my original plan, one said, "That sounds boring!" I laughed because from the outside, it might seem like that but for writers, hours alone are a necessary way of life. 

Just sitting and contemplating allows one to dig deeper. I've found the same to be true when I'm with patients in the hospital. Only when I pull up a chair, put away my notes, and probe further about their questions do I get a better picture of what happened to them. 

It's all about this concept, this digging deeper, that requires space from everything else. 

With that in mind, I've also known that I need to dig deeper and asked my characters these questions. I heard their answers in my head, in their voices, and those told me they were becoming more developed. My M.C.'s mother speaks in quick, rational sentences while my M.C. is an emotional rambler. Her fiance is an aspiring, always impatient neurosurgeon with a soft spot for his mother.

How are you misunderstood?

What do you want more than anything in life? Why?

Who do you love?

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

P.S. On an unrelated note, my favorite feminist, Ms. Gloria, traveled through India to learn more about the women's rights movements. She never stops inspiring. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

"Figure out who you are separate from your family, and the man or woman you're in a relationship with. Find who you are in this world and what you need to feel good alone. I think that's the most important thing in life. Find a sense of self because with that, you can do anything else."

― Angelina Jolie

"Work hard in silence and let your success be your noise."
*P.S. I've been spending some time rewriting my first line and forgot how difficult that is. After some helpful reading, I remembered that a first line should convey the tone of a book, serve as a hook, give away something about the setting or plot, and match the sentence structure of the rest of the book. This Writer's Digest article gives some great examples.
P.P.S. Do you have any favorite first lines?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

If I Knew Then: 2014

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone got some time to relax and refresh! The past month has been busy in the best type of way, with love and friendship and the types of moments that demand nostalgia before they're over. I don't believe in New Year's resolutions (I prefer daily ones) but relish reflections. 

1. Take time for yourself because people will rarely give it to you. 

2. Spend time with family, whether that's the one you were given or the tribe you built for yourself. 

3.Don't ever give up on those you love. A cry for help, acceptance, or security can be disguised in many ways.

4. One day, you'll wake up and realize that not only have you accepted everything you've been through but that you've also found contentment with the absence of certain people.

5. Keep a notebook for your own thoughts and the wisdom of others. Reading and writing make you a better person. (I ordered notebooks and feminist cards from Rifle Paper Company. They also had this wonderful Anatomy of Love card!)

6. Don't let the world harden you. Be an advocate for those who are struggling.

7. Creative pursuits are fun and fulfilling but they are also work. Don't allow your motivation to wane because of this.

8. Read outside your genre to improve your writing. Study the way television shows introduce characters and conflict. Analyze a short story. Sift through poetry. 

9. Surround yourself with people who are more intelligent/inspiring/successful/insert any positive adjective than you. 

10. Confidence is quiet. If you're great, the world will tell you. You won't need to tell the world.