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

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

our stories

According to the fascinating field of “narrative psychology,”(link is external) the stories we tell about ourselves are the key to our well-being. If you’ve interpreted the events of your life to mean that you’re unlucky or unwise, it’s hard to look optimistically at the future. Conversely, if you acknowledge that you’ve made mistakes and faced difficulties but seek (or have already glimpsed) redemption, you’ll feel a much greater sense of agency over your life.
-Susan Cain, author of Quiet

For the full article, go to: 
(link is external)the stories we tell about ourselves are the key to our well-being. If you’ve interpreted the events of your life to mean that you’re unlucky or unwise, it’s hard to look optimistically at the future. Conversely, if you acknowledge that you’ve made mistakes and faced difficulties but seek (or have already glimpsed) redemption, you’ll feel a much greater sense of agency over your life.

Monday, August 17, 2015

wedding pictures

We recently got all of our wedding weekend pictures back. 
The first event was the pithi, where the bride is covered with turmeric paste, which was traditionally thought to provide a glow for the wedding. All of the women in her community take turns applying the paste to her body.
The mendhi event was second. Indian brides get mendhi (henna) applied on their arms and legs, while guests get mendhi on their palms. 
Garba, the last event before the wedding, is a time for music and dance. 
The weekend ended with the wedding and reception. 

**All photos are by Reichman Photography

Monday, August 10, 2015

recent reflections

How do you balance your multiple projects? 

Every few months, I have to readjust my expectations about how much work I can accomplish within a given day, week, or month.

I started working at the hospital in July. Sometimes (like yesterday), the days are 15 hours and I come home with barely enough energy to eat. 

Samir and I still value the time after those days since seeing each other exhausted and for a couple of hours is a big improvement from seeing each other once every two months.

I walk to work, which means I spend a little over an hour each day on my feet. I realized this is a valuable time to reflect on other projects and flex my creativity muscles.  I also realized that I have to start on other projects right when I get home because if I wait, I'll surrender to exhaustion.  

There are still a lot of mistakes ahead and I know I'll always have a lot to learn. For now, I'm happy with this trial and error type of adjustment. 

Saturday, August 8, 2015

a writer's responsibility

"It is well to remember what is obvious but usually ignored: that every writer has to cope with the possibility in his given talent. 

Possibility and limitation mean about the same thing. It is the business of every writer to push his talent to its outermost limit, but this means the outermost limit of the kind of talent he has. "

Flannery O’Conner

Saturday, July 25, 2015

we have some impulse within us

Photo by: Reichman Photography

"We write for the same reason that we walk, talk, climb mountains or swim the oceans—because we can. We have some impulse within us that makes us want to explain ourselves to other human beings. That’s why we paint, that’s why we dare to love someone–because we have the impulse to explain who we are. Not just how tall we are, or thin...but who we are internally…perhaps even spiritually. There’s something which impels us to show our inner-souls. The more courageous we are, the more we succeed in explaining what we know."

Maya Angelou