Monday, November 24, 2014


Also written over nine years ago

What makes you think you can take over my life?
You walk in one day out of the blue
Just to say hello. And never leave again.
But take possession of my life
As if it were your own.
Walk into my mind’s hidden recesses,
Help yourself to my most private thoughts,
Witness my tears, my sorrow, my humiliation,
Share my sublime moments of happiness
Till my life is not my own anymore.
I lose my sense of direction, and purpose.
The straight narrow road on which I walked alone
Now seems winding and strewn with flowers.
You hold me back from the destination that is now in sight;
My feet feel heavy as they move forward.
Hold my hand – but you cannot walk with me further…
How can you just vanish from this life that you have made your own?

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Things I wish I didn't know about how plots are structured

In any kind of fiction (lit, movies, whatevs), it usually adds to your enjoyment if you don't know beforehand what the plot is going to reveal. If the author reveals a big twist, it's helpful to actually be surprised. But if you've read enough books or watched enough crime shows/movies, it starts to become easier to figure out what's going to happen. Authors (and crime show writers/producers) are after all human, and seem to keep reproducing many of the same techniques.
(Don't read on if you take spoilers seriously.)
1.    For example:
In Perry Mason books, the beautiful woman who is suspected in the beginning is always innocent of the murder, even though she's probably lying about a dozen other things. Why is she innocent? Because Mason is in lust with her and believes she is, that's why. (Or, to mix worlds, he has, like Hastings, a "beautifully unsuspicious nature," as Poirot would say.)
2.    In a romance, the man (or woman, if the book starts from the man's perspective) who is first described in the most detailed manner is going to be the love interest. Especially if the eyes are praised. Every romance hero/heroine has beautiful eyes.
3.    In a Christie, if a woman is dead it's most likely the husband who killed her. In the beginning it might seem impossible that he did, but it was him nonetheless. (Yes, I can remember at least one exception to this rule.) (Okay, every writer has their own formula and prejudices, whether they're writing mystery or not.) 
4.    In any crime/mystery show, if one person is given a lot of screen time with no apparent reason, he/she's the murderer. If you find yourself thinking why is this dialog with the secretary so long, why don't they move ahead with the story... it's her.
5.    It's especially likely to be her if she's wearing a lot of make up or is presented as what's generally accepted as sexy in the mainstream entertainment industry. 
6.    If it’s a man, it’s most likely the one with weird hair (again, going by the mainstream entertainment industry).
What did I miss?

Monday, November 17, 2014


Written in July 2005

Why can I not stand alone?
Why does strength elude me?
Why must I be a creeper
And not a majestic tree?

Why does the wind bow me down?
Why do I tremble at the roar of thunder?
Why am I not strong and unmoving as stone?
Or gentle and persistent as water?

And yet, why should I be?
If I lay my weary head on your shoulders
And be your companion part of the way…
Is that not what we are meant to do?

Is that not how we find happiness?


Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah

I have been reading Americanah. It’s beautiful and brilliant, like all of her writing, though I still like the book of short stories – That Thing Around Your Neckbest.

Minor spoilers ahead for the book.

The relationships are fascinating – the characters, as well as what binds them together, so well drawn. I keep thinking about Ifemelu’s (the protagonist) relationship with Aunty Uju. It seems so typical of relationships forged at a young age, or probably any relationship that lasts long enough, as the people in it change, that you look at the other person and wonder where the person you had known earlier has gone. Sometimes, it’s just that you were too young to see the other person’s flaws; and of course, people may change. Ifemelu seeing her aunt – who used to be so cool, who she talked to about boys and sex – becoming a more submissive, pragmatic person, partly because circumstances have beaten her down… and finding less in common with her than she does with her son… It seems typical of many relationships but sad nonetheless, as you try to hold on to the relationship for the sake of what was, rather than what is.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Who I Am and Who I Want to Be

Here's how I would like to spend my time:
  • 20 hours a week: read blogs and books and watch TV
  • 10 hours: cook
  • 10 hours: laundry and other housework
  • 20 hours: eat and do nothing much - sit in the balcony, talk to the Guy
  • 10 hours: go out - concerts, cafes, shopping
  • 20 hours: write
  • 5 hours: learn and practice music
  • 5 hours: meet or talk to friends
  • 5 hours: exercise
  • 10 hours: do work for which I get paid enough to do everything else
Here's how I actually spend my time:
  • 55 hours a week: work and commute
  • 30 hours a week: play games on the iPad, read blogs, watch TV, online shopping (mostly window-shopping)
  • 5 hours a week: read books
  • 10 hours: cook and do laundry and other housework
  • 5 hours: go out - usually grocery shopping preceded by coffee, sometimes Marine Drive maybe followed  by coffee
  • 5 hours: talk to the Guy (eating is usually done with reading or TV)
  • 1 hour (maybe): write 

Monday, November 03, 2014

The Albatross

 Something I had written nine years ago, and the person who I had written it for recently reminded me of. I don't quite remember what I was feeling when I wrote this.

You are not a mighty ship
Crossing the ocean with disdain
You are but a small boat
Braving the storm and the waves

I am not your anchor
I cannot be your sail
I am only an albatross flying along
To give you company for part of the way.

But my destination is different
My wings give me flight
And I shall leave you
In search of my prize.

I just hope, with all my heart
That before I leave you to yourself and your fate,
I shall see you regain your direction
And sail on towards the sun.

So I can go on my way
With a heart unweighed by guilt.
And think of you, if ever I think,
With pride, with joy.