Poetry

The Lying Game

there’s a way you hang on to words

even after the last letter has escaped the lips

even after the last pause

even after the last exhale

that is you being expectant

that somehow the lie will be given up

and the truth will, for once, make an appearance

and when it doesn’t

when it dawns on you

how much you’ve always known this person

there’s also this way you look at them

their eyes

their lips

some i-told-myself-so jumps up from within you

your insides are on fire

you begin to think of the many definitions of a fool

beginning with you.

 

 

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Writing Tips

I Hate Clutter as a Writer and as a Human Being

The one thing I hate both as a writer and as a human being is clutter. I hate the sound of the word. That sound it makes when my tongue hits the roof of my mouth and pushes to the back of my teeth; clutter. It drives me nuts. And that is not the worst. It paralyzes me.

That is why I take the pain to clear my desk at the office at every given opportunity. I do this before I start work, and before I leave. It’s constant. I also do this in-between stuff. As soon as I begin to get that feeling of mess and confusion, something needs to go somewhere. Something needs to go back into its space. My mind and body cannot rest until my desk is free of junk.

When I come home it’s the same. Even though I take the pain to make sure my room is as tidy as it can be, I always find something to pick up.

The first thing I do when I wake up is to lay my bed. Note, not when I wake up in the morning, but when I wake up. So it doesn’t matter what time of the day it is. It’s been like this for years.  I do not go out of my room without straightening the sheets, and making sure the pillows, blankets, and other things are clean or neatly folded. I am always rearranging books; tearing them down and then rearranging them because I have to. They have to be orderly.

My shoes are not spared either. I want them sitting perfectly on the rack; left-right-left-right. In that order.

My wardrobe. The one place I don’t mess with. All of my girlfriends know this. I will do anything. I will give anything so they don’t do girl stuff in my wardrobe; like pick and drop. A couple even blackmailed me with that.

You’d be surprised I even hate it when the notes in my purse are jumbled. I want all of my money arranged in a particular order.

My friends think I am obsessed. I’m not. I just really hate clutter.

When I was in senior year (level 400) at the university, I had this friend. Matter of fact, I was sleeping over at her place one-time because we needed to work on our thesis. We agreed to take turns sleeping so that one of us would wake the other.

That night before she slept, I watched her arrange all of her stuff around her, on the bed, leaving just some small space for her body. She told me she could never sleep unless there was stuff on her bed. Stuff like clothes, books, whatever. I was shocked.

I was shocked because it was the exact opposite for me.

I cannot, under any circumstance, sleep with stuff on my bed. It takes my breath away. And it’s not the good kind of taking breath away. I will choke to death. My body will be restless. My mind too. And I will start to itch all over. That happens to me when I am very uncomfortable. That’s why I hate to be out in the rain, especially when it’s mud-spattered. I tend to itch.

Clutter is not my friend. Perhaps it’s even my worst enemy. It doesn’t only affect my life negatively, but my writing too.

Sometimes I tear sheets out of my journal or workbook just so I can start afresh. I’m not afraid of starting afresh because I produce better when I do. When I get ideas for a poem and I start writing something down and I try and try and it just doesn’t make any sense, I let it go. I cancel it. Tear it up. Throw the sheet away. I put it in my past and tape it there. Then forget about it. I don’t like the past haunting me. I don’t like the what ifs. I want it gone. I want a clear mind to move forward.

It doesn’t necessarily mean I forget the idea I had for the poem, no. The idea is still there. The foundation is still there. It is the construction and the structure that changes. And for the better. It’s almost 100% guaranteed for me. I produce better.

It’s maybe why I keep a lot of journals. Because I need new pages every now and then. I’m a diarist. I recently found my diaries of 10 and 15 years ago with all sorts of things in them.

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Maybe I’ll talk about that some other day.

But clutter, of any form, does not make me productive. It kills my creativity. I cannot write when my desk is a hot mess. I can’t concentrate. I feel like there’re lots of creepy little things standing on me.

It has the same effect on my life, as a person. Some years back, I deleted almost all of my contacts because I wanted to start afresh. That didn’t necessarily stop people from calling me, but it did stop me from calling people who were, more or less, not adding any kind of value to my life. It gave me a lot of space to breathe and allowed me to invest more of my time into profitable things and people.

I intend to do this often.

Another thing I do to declutter my life is that, once in a while, I turn my room around. I change the position of stuff. Like I shove the bed to the other end. I’ve been doing this for years. It leaves a feeling of newness, fresh start, and I like it. Sometimes my situations change for the better when I do this. It’s almost like my whole life turns around too, for the better.

I can’t imagine going through life without decluttering. I have learned, so far, in my life that things have to go. People have to go. To make room for others. To make room for all the better stuff.

It doesn’t mean I don’t care. It just means I care a lot about where my life is headed. People and things that make me a better person and a better writer get to come with me. Otherwise, they are left behind. They become part of a past. Part of all the things I appreciated, but had to let go to become a better person.

Opportunity cost.

 

 

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Writing Tips

‘The Flash’: Rewarding The Deserving Writer In Me

Last night (or should I say this morning) at around 12:30 am, I was doing a little writing. Earlier in the day, I had gone to my cousin for some movies. Now I’m not exactly a ‘latest movie’ buff so it didn’t bother me so much when I realized it was a 2014 Fantasy Sci-Fi. The fact that I hadn’t seen it before was enough reason for me to want to watch it.

I love such movies. Especially on days like this when I want to keep my emotions intact and watch something that has nothing to do with crying or fear. My most recent of these descriptions will be ‘Me Before You’ and ‘Conjuring 2’.

“I have this weird habit of rewarding myself for getting things done”

I remember starting with the first episode which lasted for about 40-45minutes. I continued with the second episode, after which I told myself, “I am going on a movie break to put this article together.” (No, I don’t mean this particular one). When I was done writing it, I remember telling myself again, “Let me just write this second one, then I will reward myself with another episode of ‘The Flash’.

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           Who doesn’t love colored socks btw 🙂

You know, I have this weird habit of rewarding myself for getting things done. I have always rewarded myself, somehow, for getting through work, surviving painful Mondays and irritating Sunday nights.

These little rewards, I have come to believe help to keep me focused on what I do and really do add the spark of joy that kills boredom and monotony. I mostly cannot get anything done if I feel any of these hanging emotions.

I reward myself with snacks too. Yes, I do earn my chocolate and candy bars. Sometimes I reward myself with poetry. It’s the one thing I absolutely enjoy writing. What better way to jolt my body into excitement and back on track to get some other form of work done.

Then there is music. I mostly live on Adele, Asa, Christina Perri, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Sia or go all the way back to James Brown, Michael Bolton, Tracy Chapman and Amy Winehouse. Not in that particular order.

There is also ‘social media’ rewards. That is when I allow myself a mouthful of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or even get to call someone and speak to them for a minute or two.

I believe in giving back to myself someway somehow. It works. I am definitely more productive this way.

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Poetry

Before the stars

I have resigned to fate

or whatever it is that drifts us apart

Perhaps there is something else

greater than our conviction

that destinies are predesigned

—long written before the stars.

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Writing Tips

How To Create Content Your Audience Loves (learning from James Altucher)

Content creation has never been an easy task. You can ask content creators all around and they will tell you, one of the hardest parts of running a media platform; be it print or online, is developing relevant content the audience loves.

Content Creators don’t only have to look far and wide for ideas, interesting concepts are not as far-stretched as we think. What I have realized from following certain huge influencers on professional platforms like LinkedIn, is that most of these people who inspire us to be the better of ourselves in our personal and professional development plans are people who relate to us on an everyday level with everyday situations.

About a week ago, I got an email newsletter from top LinkedIn Influencer James Altucher in which he was recommending a new product, a razor blade.

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Writing Tips

3 Reasons why being a perfectionist, or your own critic is not such a bad idea

Every day I wake up, I ask myself, Can I really do this? Can I take one more day of this life I am so used to, and yet I never seem to get a hang of?

How is today going to be like? Will it be rewarding or will I go round in circles trying to link dots that never seem to connect? Will I experience something refreshing that will cause me to continue this path, or will I give in to gloom? Will I live? Will I live knowing that I have to, or will I live simply because I want to? Because I want to, live for me?

There are days when I am tired. Stressed. Exhausted from doing the damn same thing. Every. Single. Day. Days when I pull the plug on myself. No books. No poetry. No friends. No calls. Nothing, but a critical self.

I have come to realize that we, writers, have a 1000 lives. Every day, a little bit of us enters a vault. Without coffee; without cigarette, or a cat that truly understands.

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Writing Tips

How to choose the right headline for an article

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. “—David Ogilvy

A couple of weeks ago, I was working on an email newsletter for an organization I’m engaged with. Now I needed the right subject for the newsletter; something that would make people want to click to read. I mean of what use is great content if no one reads?

A colleague of mine suggested a subject I thought was too cliché. I said, ‘Everyone has heard this before. Won’t that make them roll their eyes and mark the email as ‘read’, or worse delete it, or even worse unsubscribe to the newsletter?

This was his response to me ‘Maybe it’s cliché because everyone uses it. Maybe everyone uses it because it actually works. Have you thought of that?’

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Poetry

Silver and Word

When lovers meet

It is like lightning and thunder

Silver and Word

They strike through each other

They belong

They fit into the skies

They make light and sound

They scatter the heavens

and plunge the earth into great fear

Sometimes they awaken

rain.

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Random Thoughts

I Should Stop Writing!

Where do writers go when they no longer want to write, because I’d be the first to head there right now. I am not used to venting out my frustrations on social media. I am trying hard to keep my personal life out of people’s faces (as if they don’t have problems of their own), but when I took to twitter last night to vent, I realized how deeply I have been cut. I have reached the point where my mouth has become sore from keeping mute over issues that are highly upsetting.

Why am I pissed? I’ll tell you why. I have just endured 48 hours (my most recent one) of people telling me which direction my ‘crooked little life’ should be headed. As usual, I’ve had a few more people giving me ‘the look’, ‘that look’ of ‘is there something wrong with you?’

Trust me, I have tried, many times, and I am still trying to veer off the ‘Poets vs. Spoken Word Artists War’; who is more superior, who is nonpareil, who is larger, and for very good reasons.

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Poetry

A morning without dreams

Look at the fireflies

They steal the night

like an august memory

not wanting to die

And you,

draw me

into a morning

without dreams?

Image Courtesy: befreeandsurf.tumblr.com

Image Courtesy: befreeandsurf.tumblr.com

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