Belated blog birthday

A very belated happy birthday to my blog! Happy Birthday!

On 10 December 2004 I had started blogging. First on Blogger and then I moved over to WordPress. That makes a grand total of 12 years in the blogosphere. However, there have been significant gaps.

I have been so wrapped up doing the things I never dreamt I’d be doing that I had missed this. Apologies to my darling blog.

A blog birthday is always a chance to look back and see what’s been done and what’s not yet done. A report card if you will. But this year I’d like to look forward and see what’s possible. Here’s to more adventures on the blog and in life!

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Happy new year 2017

I can’t believe a new year already! That too this futuristic number – 2017. Happy new year to each of my readers, old and new! Thank you for coming by to read my posts even though my writing is so sporadic. Much love and luck to you this year! *hugs*

Everyone I know has asked me about my new year resolutions. Now, I don’t do resolutions. I do something called intentions. Which works for me. A resolution is a decision. An intention is an aim or plan. (Which is kind of ironic because I am terrible at planning but it’s working. Why split hairs?)

In the first post of 2016, I had written that I had a feeling it would be huge. I am happy to say it was and more. It was humongous, gigantic and gargantuan. There are quite a few things I did in 2016 that I never thought I would do. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. (You might want the details, I know. Please hold on. I will definitely announce on the blog.) I lost some things and gained some others. As is with everyone else I am sure. So I have another feeling (here it comes) 2017 is going to be so huge that it’ll make 2016 look like kindergarten.  *Drum roll please*

Wish you, my dear reader, a wonderful super fantastic 2017!

Metaposting

According to the Oxford dictionary, meta means ‘(of a creative work) referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referential.’ So a post about a post is a metapost. There, I coined the word right now. Metaposting, therefore, is the act of posting about a post. (Obviously, it’s different from a programming language called metapost.)

So you might ask, why am I metaposting. I need to get into the storyteller mode for this. (There’s a hint here.) Sometime last year I attended a storytelling workshop conducted by Emily Hennessy at the British Council and was so moved by it that I wrote this. Today I am thrilled to see that this post has now been featured on her website! Thank you so much Emily Hennessy!

Here’s what it looks like on the outside:

Featured in Emily's website

 

And this is what it looks like on the inside. Don’t take my word for it; go check out Emily’s website! Click or tap the image below.

Featured inside

 

Conflicted

Some months back, during a work-related lunch, I was talking to S, an avid Facebook user and one who lives more in the digital realm than the real one. He has written a novel, which he is currently in the process of finding a publisher. He said something that has played on my mind since then.

So S promotes each of his blog posts on Facebook quite aggressively. He has a FB page that says ‘S, Writer’. He has been invited to give his valued opinion on TV on socially relevant topics and recently was called to speak at a book launch. They were all for the local media and functions. The organisers found him through Facebook. When I added that I have a blog but I don’t promote it on FB, he was surprised. He added that by not advertising my posts on FB, I was losing out on readers and opportunities. I know many people do this and are rewarded with legions of readers or at least visitors out of which some are like-minded souls. He went to the extent of asking me if I was not confident enough of my writing to advertise my posts on FB!

I was aghast and a tad bit angry that this accusation was made at all. Obviously, this guy doesn’t know me. I mean I have worked with him for years but he wouldn’t have known me since all he has seen is my work persona that I put on everyday along with ironed clothes to go to work.

My work persona is very very different from who I am. For starters: I need to dumb down everything I say at work. Or else no one will understand me and things won’t get done. Or worse think that I am showing off. Once I remember I had used one word ‘linger’ to describe how I’d want an animation to go. (‘Let X linger on the screen for Y seconds before…’ or something like this.) And a manager came over to ask why I used ‘linger’ since no one in his team would understand what that was which meant the animation would be interpreted in a different way. So I changed ‘linger’ but the memory of it lingered for years.

I wouldn’t have survived so long if I didn’t have a work persona to buffer me in the rough and tough world of work. I don’t know about others but I cannot be myself at work.

Since I am flawed and human, there are leakages. Sometimes my real persona comes through and then it causes a lot of confusion. For instance, in one of my previous workplaces, someone asked me to contribute an article for the office blog. Not keen on spending whatever little free time I had writing for the office blog, I sent over an old post from this blog. I was so sure no one would read it. I was wrong. People did read it and moreover were surprised that I had written it. A top boss suddenly came over to say hello. The article was mentioned during my annual performance review. Of course, it was unfavorably compared to my work performance. *face palm* Such leakages aside, most people at work would have seen only my work persona.

I have always had this division for as long as I can remember. I was one person in school and another at home. Years back when my classmate met my cousin, they couldn’t decide whether I was the silent type or the talkative one. Which understandably flummoxed both of them. Back then, I didn’t even know that I was so conflicted.

Coming back to the situation. Sipping on my mojito and without missing a beat, I told him it’s not a lack of confidence rather the opposite. I am so confident that I don’t need Facebook to draw readers to my blog. Which kind of put a stop to the discussion.

There are somethings I like to do with my blog and some, I don’t. I don’t like monetising the blog or promoting it on Facebook. I don’t mind collaborating as long as I retain my creative freedom.

I am not comfortable sharing my blog posts on FB because it has become full with more work people than friends. Though there are some friends who pull me back from time to time. Also, I feel that I am able to express myself better in a long-drawn out post like this one than in an FB post. Those who comment on FB might not understand and those who do understand, understandably stay away. It’s the same work/real persona conflict played out in social media. I don’t like conflict at all so most of the time I shut up on FB and open up on my blog.

When I look back at what I said in the heat of the moment, I realise that it is true. You might ask me what gives me this confidence to retort back the way I did. I have only a handful of (loyal) readers, no speaking assignments at functions, no TV shows or an FB page or even a written novel. But I still feel I am better off. I have the freedom to be myself. I don’t want to compromise that for some numbers on the stats counter and TV shows and speaking assignments. And if they do come, it will be because of my real persona and not something I am forced to be for a short while.

My, oh my, what a wonderful day

I have to be honest I am a bit high as I write this. You know how sometimes out of the blue things happen which you never ever expect even in your day dreams? Yeah, that’s what happened. So Selma Dabbagh whose book ‘Out of It’ I wrote about in this post has read my review and said nice things about it as well as the reader (that would be me). Now tell me, wouldn’t you be high too if this happened to you?

Thanks so much Selma Dabbagh! You can read her lovely comment in the About page. You might have to scroll a bit. Feeling lazy? Here’s a screenshot.

Selma Dabbagh

A blog to remember

When you have some time, do hop over to my friend, D’s blog so much depends on and enjoy reading her poetic turn of phrase. She is a new blogger and let’s welcome her!

The title as you’d have noticed is from the poem ‘The Red Wheelbarrow’ by William Carlos Williams. Here is the complete poem:

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens

I thought the poem itself was like a dotted line. You join the dots as you please and decide on what emerges. Coming to think of it, all poems are.

For more on the poem, go over to the Wondering Minstrels for a substantial commentary.

Back to the post: do read D’s posts. They are as much poetry as they are prose.

New Look

So I grew bored of the blog theme and changed it. The previous one Book Lite, with its close proximity to the Thought Catalog theme, was on for the longest time ever. This neat new theme is called Independent Publisher. I like the overall look and feel. Adding that extra touch is the name. Anything with the word ‘independent’ in it gets my vote!

The header image that you can see is that of a house in Sowcarpet, a part of North Madras, which still has the old-world charm and retains a colonial feel that much of Madras/Chennai has lost. A and I went hunting for wholesalers in the lanes of Sowcarpet when I came across this house. I thought it was colourful and well-maintained.

You will find things changed a bit. But I find this arrangement far more intuitive than others. All the links that were at the bottom of the blog are now on the left. There is a menu on the right of the header image which has the pages (About, Books, Theatre, Films, Media and Lomo Diary). Everything else is the same including I think my irregularity of posting.

So, what do you think of the new look? Good? Bad? Ugly? Would love it if you let me know in the comments section below.