Saturday, April 25, 2015

the people to admire

This piece by David Brooks is one of the best Times articles I've ever read. He discusses the qualities he reveres in others and describes the limited landscape of external success. It's worth a read if you haven't checked it out already.

"But all the people I’ve ever deeply admired are profoundly honest about their own weaknesses. They have identified their core sin, whether it is selfishness, the desperate need for approval, cowardice, hardheartedness or whatever. They have traced how that core sin leads to the behavior that makes them feel ashamed. They have achieved a profound humility, which has best been defined as an intense self-awareness from a position of other-centeredness."

"The stumbler doesn’t build her life by being better than others, but by being better than she used to be."

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

weaving in writing

A lot of writing books suggest to weave different elements together: plot and character, setting and conflict, backstory and character, etc. I've read this advice multiple times but often struggle with incorporating it into my own work. 

Lately, I've been rereading some old favorites, the kind that were assigned in high school (I always loved summer reading lists). When I was going through my Tolstoy collection, I found this quote that exemplifies what it means to weave multiple story threads together to create a rich, layered fabric:

"The study was slowly lit up as the candle was brought in. The familiar details came out: the stag's horns, the bookshelves, the looking-glass, the stove with its ventilator, which had long wanted mending, his father's sofa, a large table, on the table an open book, a broken ash-tray, a manuscript-book with his handwriting. As he saw all this, there came over him for an instant a doubt of the possibility of arranging this new life, of which he had been dreaming on the road. All these traces of his life seemed to clutch him, and to say to him: 'No, you're not going to get away from us, and you're not going to be different, but you're going to be the same as you've always been; with doubts, everlasting dissatisfaction with yourself, vain efforts to amend, and falls, and everlasting expectations, of a happiness which you won't get, and which isn't possible for you.”

bachelorette party

My closest girlfriends, from the various plot points of my life, came together this past weekend and gave me a bachelorette party I'll never forget. There were thoughtful details woven throughout the weekend, from my best friend surprising me all the way from India, the personalized welcome bags from my Ami and Maansi, gorgeous gifts, hilarious games played at restaurants, clubs, and the pool, a surprise massage and cupcakes, and of course, the gift Samir sent to all of us: Alan from The Hangover.

I relished watching all of these women getting to know each other through old stories and new memories. At certain points, I felt myself swelling from all of the love and contentment, and knew that somehow, I've gotten much more than I deserve. 

Minutes after she surprised me 

She designed our shirts, decorated the room, planned games, made an entire bouquet out of Dum Dum lollipops, and just needs to start a party planning business already.

David Guetta at XS 

All of us minus Arti, who somehow managed to balance working throughout the weekend and making sure everyone had a great time.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

life lately


-Insightful conversations with family
-Practicing dance 
-5 mile runs with my baby brother
-Rewatching old movies with my sister
-Celebrating friends' exciting moments
-Reading as much as possible

Blowouts with these amazing ladies in preparation for Match Day

Mili's gorgeous entrance

My mom on her wedding day

Celebrating our marriage license

My sister's first time at the Sundial, a rooftop restaurant/bar that overlooks Atlanta

Friday, April 10, 2015

failure is just information: an enlightening view on revisions and setbacks in writing

"As a writer, a failure is just information. It’s something that I’ve done wrong in writing, or is inaccurate or unclear. I recognize failure—which is important; some people don’t—and fix it, because it is data, it is information, knowledge of what does not work. That’s rewriting and editing.
With physical failures like liver, kidneys, heart, something else has to be done, something fixable that’s not in one’s own hands. But if it’s in your hands, then you have to pay very close attention to it, rather than get depressed or unnerved or feel ashamed. None of that is useful. It’s as though you’re in a laboratory and you’re working on an experiment with chemicals or with rats, and it doesn’t work. It doesn’t mix. You don’t throw up your hands and run out of the lab. What you do is you identify the procedure and what went wrong and then correct it. If you think of [writing] simply as information, you can get closer to success."

Thursday, April 2, 2015

how to stretch those writing muscles

Have you ever had a lot of time away from your writing? Do you have any go-to methods that get you back into the rhythm of weaving words? 

Over the past couple of months, I've been on rotations that entailed thirteen hour days in the hospital. Any free time was used to wedding plan or make some career decisions. (After months of going back and forth, I decided not to pursue my M.P.H. at my dream program and will be doing that after my residency training, which I'll be doing at my favorite program in my favorite city!)

After years of studying, little sleep, and hours in the hospital, I'm thrilled for the months ahead, time with people I love, and space to write and think and create. 

One of my constant hardships, my Achilles heel, is maintaining a creative way of thinking in the midst of exhaustion. Those writing muscles have a way of atrophying after long periods of disuse. I still have a lot to learn and have realized that some things help me ease back into the  right mindset:

1. Connecting with other writers: 
Writers tend to be a supportive bunch and being in touch with them always keeps me motivated and encouraged. I also get a chance to help someone with a query letter or chapter. 

2. Reading poetry:
Poetry defies grammar rules and structures that are normally imposed in other types of writing. It shows me that entire experiences can be captured in a few words.

3. Re-reading old work:
Time is the best way to view a piece of work with fresh perspective. 

4. Studying books:
I'm always amazed by how authors construct characters and worlds that pull readers in. Often, this makes me a passive reader, one who sits back and enjoys the story. I need to go back through books to really study them and pick them apart. 

link love

*"I write to find out what I have to say. I edit to figure out how to say it right." 
Cheryl Strayed for the NYTimes

*Laws around the world that are holding women back

*Why every writer needs two educations 

*An illness that is often overlooked in teenage girls

*A powerful, uplifting video by Deepika Padukone about the choices every woman has