Thursday, July 28, 2011

Bye, summer

Bye, summer.

You've taught me:

1. That out of all things worth cultivating, a thick skin may be the most useful right now

2. Some friendships are better with distance

3. Procrastination can be a defense mechanism against fear of failure

4. (but) Failure is the only thing that fosters growth sometimes

5. Spending time worrying about being liked is well, a waste of a lot of time

6. What you're working on is about your own wants. Forget the questions concerning "book deals" and "when are you ever going to finish" and "why would you ever choose to write"

7. When someone chooses to consider your feelings even when they are at the height of emotion, you know you've found a winner

8. If you wait for the perfect time to write, you'll never write. Respect your passion enough to develop it.

9. People tend to already have ideas about who you are and who you'll be. When you step outside of those, they get upset. It's usually out of love and shock, not an intention to hurt.

More Quotes

"The fading light is us, and we are, for a moment so brief, so beautiful."

-Gary Shteyngart (Super Sad True Love Story)

"If you stop thinking, if you stop wondering, you die."
Gary Shteyngart (Super Sad True Love Story)

"Gorgeous women don't go to medical school. Unless they're as damaged as they are beautiful."

"Everybody does stupid things, it shouldn't cost them everything they want in life."


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cut it Out?

Whether it's with a work project or relationship, how do you decide if it's better to just cut it out?

And if you do, does it ever really leave you? When I've deleted some things I've written, the words are gone, yes but sometimes those themes and styles reveal themselves again.

I ask this because I've had to let go of relationships along the way (I'm sure most of us have, whether they're romantic ones or not). But every once in a while, more than I wish, I find myself wondering how this person is doing. Things will remind me of them and the reaction is like a Pavlovian dog: wistfulness, grief, guilt, and doubt. It might be something obvious, like a song we both used to enjoy, or something unexpected, like a cheesy line from Grey's Anatomy.

Time can do tricky things: it can make us think we are more healed than we are while also making things seem more valuable than they are.

But I'm finding that some things are impervious to time. I'm not sure if the things we care about truly ever leave us.

Maybe they do in a broad sense but surely, they leave a fragment behind...


The extremes tend to drive me crazy. Right now, it's having either too much time or too little time. Neither of those elicits my most productive, efficient self.

Around this time, when summer is foreshadowing its departure, I start to freak out about whether I've made the most of it. Everything is coated with nostalgia before it's even gone: the grip of a sweaty Starbucks frappuccino, outdoor farmers' markets, sliced mango on tarty frozen yogurt, clear tan lines from flip flops...

And then there's that magic and often irritating word....balance.
That virtue so often talked about (and sought) yet difficult to grasp.

I think I'll stop striving for that at the moment and learn to just be.

Change has never been easy for me, even when it's the cyclical kind.

"I must tell you something of significance. Fashion is always of the time in which you live. It is not something standing alone. But the grand problem, the most important problem, is to rejuvenate women. To make women look young. Then outlook on life changes. They feel more joyous.

Women have always been the strong ones of the world. The men are always seeking from women a little pillow to put their heads down on. They are always longing for the mother who held them as infants. Women must tell men always that they are the strong ones. They are the big, the strong, the wonderful. In truth, women are the strong ones. It is just my opinion. I am not a professor. I speak my opinions gently. It is the truth for me. I am not young, but I feel young.

The day I feel old, I will go to bed and stay there. J’aime la vie! I feel that to live is a wonderful thing.

~Coco Chanel

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I haven't learned much but I have learned some things...

1. Summer is the time to embrace laziness and's okay that everything is moving slower

2. When writing anything, get someone else, anyone to look at it. Nothing compares to a fresh pair of eyes and the work can always improve.

(on a similar note, don't start a query with a question unless it's the most compelling question in the world, don't start a book with a dream, and don't write for others...

the girl who learned these the hard way and doesn't want you to do the same)

3. At some point, it becomes fun to be "boring". Sleeping early, eating home cooked food, watching Animal Planet on a Saturday night...

4. You can read for pleasure only or you can read for pleasure and to learn. Only the latter will help you improve your craft.

5. It's wonderful to date a man who challenges you but the real strength and discovery comes with the man who cherishes you as you are
(firm believer in the nice guys finishing first theory)

6. Sometimes the best writing happens when you're not writing

7. Facebook is a great blue land but it usually turns into a bigger waste of time than it should

8. True style is wearing what's best on you not whatever is on the runway

9. Secrets are liberating: the ones we share with those special others, the ones we keep folded in ourselves

10. Keep owe it to yourself

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Oh, Audrey...

"I don't want to be alone, I want to be left alone."

"For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone."

"I was born with an enormous need for affection, and a terrible need to give it."

"If I get married, I want to be very married."

"When you have nobody you can make a cup of tea for, when nobody needs you, that's when I think life is over."

"You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him."

-Audrey Hepburn

Thursday, July 14, 2011

What Has Blogging Done For You?

Did you start a blog for the same reasons you continue you keep one?
How did your role as a blogger evolve?

I've been fortunate to change as a blogger. This space started as an online journal; it took me almost a year to connect with other writers and use it as a place to work on the craft.

My first writer/blogger friend, Laura, continues to write one of my favorite blogs to visit.
The other day when I was revising my query, I realized that I got some of my best pointers from Amparo, who looked at my it earlier this year. She found things that I never could and as a result, helped me write a stronger query.

The more people I meet through this world, the more I feel understood in my goals (and the more I learn about how hard some individuals truly work).
There are many things that I go through that I feel only my fellow bloggers would understand.

Blogging has given me more advice and insight than any class ever could.
Sending e-champagne and cupcakes your way for making the online world an incredible place.

on happiness

Today, I had a thought:

True happiness requires daily effort, mostly in the form of reminders. When I find myself becoming negative or crestfallen, I have to think of the many things there are to be content about:

-The deep green of an apple
-Friendships that evolve as we do
-Sprinkles on an ice cream cone
-Family: the one we're born with and the one we choose
-The smell of freshly brewed coffee
-Smiles exchanged between strangers
-People who fought for the rights we have now
-Quotes: uplifting ones, lovey dovey ones, motivational ones..
-Coconut scented body wash
-Poetry that demands to be reread

Relying on certain goals to happen gives a false, transient sense of fulfillment. By placing my emotional barometer on things outside myself, I leave it susceptible to everything.

So, yes, happiness is a verb disguised as a noun.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Keep Querying or Move On?

There is no magic number for how many times one should query, right? So when do you decide if you should keep hunting or if it's time to move on?

Do you rely on a gut feeling or something more palpable to the outside, like a date circled on the calendar?

The thing is, if I had decided to persist with my first attempt at a book, then I wouldn't have been happy, even if it did work out.
I had no idea what I was doing and as a result, it was terribly written, something better left in the confines of my computer screen. Moving on was the more appropriate thing to do.

For those of you who have put away your work, what made you not want to publish it yourself?

because only fellow bookworms would understand... incredible The STRAND bookstore is! If you are ever in New York, you must visit. I felt like Belle when the Beast gave her the grand library. Except nobody was giving me this bookstore. And it had a million people crawling through it.
Okay, so it was nothing like Belle.

simple pleasure

There are few things as wonderful as taking yourself (and a novel) to lunch.

Inspired by: a beautiful young woman I saw sitting at an outdoor restaurant the other day. She wore a sleeveless summer dress, clutched a glass of wine in one hand, and a magazine in the other. As I passed her, I thought, "What a lovely way to spend an afternoon!"

Lately, I've realized that there are many luxuries woven into my days and solitude just may be one of them.

(I know some people abhor the idea of eating alone in public but I think it's a great route towards introspection.)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Getting In Our Own Way

Photo from: Google images

"I just can't deal with him," my sister said the other day, referring to a potential love interest. "Why? What's wrong with him?"
"He just gets in his own way."
"What do you mean by that?"
"I mean, his problems... so many of them are because he just creates them and doesn't realize how much is in
his control."
"Hmm, I wonder if we all do that to an extent..."

I wonder if my doubts, fears, and negative thoughts hinder me before anything else even has the chance to. I wonder if awareness of this is the first step to battling it...

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

A Swift Kick in the Rear End

Us writers tend to become emotional. And it's not just in the "I'm happy today" and "sad now" emotional. We set up furniture in our emotions. Build homes around them. Become complacent. Allow them to control us.

Or at least, that's what I've realized I do at low points.

It's wonderful to be patient and kind with yourself, to be understanding when things just don't seem to fit...

But every once in a while, I think I need a kick in the butt.
A stern, rational voice to say, "Get up, get over it, and move on."

The more I learn, the more I see that nothing was ever created without a lot of hard work, disappointment, and a strong desire to give up. Even if it's for a quick flash, I think everyone's flirted with the idea of walking away. What separates this project/relationship/opportunity from the rest is the desire to keep at it when it seems more sane to let go.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Hope everyone had a wonderful Fourth (Samir and I watched fireworks from a great rooftop in the city).

I will be resuming my posts this week (and catching up on all of your wonderful blogs...slowly but surely)!

Thank you so much for your support while I was in Africa. The trip changed me as a woman, future physician, and writer. I'm excited to catch up!