An Abstract Ode To Writing

When I was writing a story, each word had to be carefully selected. I sampled and savored several options in my mind before delicately making my pick and adding it to the page. Afterwards, I would parse my sentence and see if it left the right taste and flavor in my mouth. If it was too edgy, innocent, delicate, or boring, I took it back to the cutting board and tried again.

If writing was an art form, it was the only art I knew. I knew words. Once written, they were finite and meaningful but open to interpretation. They were just the right level of abstract. But they required a story, and that was the part I found hardest. 

They required story in a way that painting did not. They required that you establish enough parameters and character development and input enough transitive clues that your readers could follow you along from beginning to middle to end. With a painting, the accompanying story was written internally, and no two stories were ever the same.

So you can understand that I had a passion for writing from the very beginning. I saw true emotion rise from haunting stories, not melodies. I cried during literary catharsis, but not during an emotional movie. The written and spoken word has always captivated me. Spoken poetry can take root in my heart the way no song or canvas ever has.The strong affection I have for language with all of its idiosyncrasies and intricacies is the reason that I write and will continue to write until I depart. It is my mode of consciousness, and the way I am wired. 

One passion?

January 13, 2013 – Late Night Thoughts

I tried to set up a motivational songs playlist – you can see it on Spotify if you know how to stalk me through those things. I signed up with my name (Pryanka Arora) and main email address (blishful@gmail.com) if that makes things easier. I added the songs Motivation (Kelly Rowland, Lil Wayne), I Believe I Can Fly (R. Kelly), Stronger (Kanye West), We Will Rock You (Queen), and Total Eclipse of the Heart (Queen). Then I played a random song and set to work typing up this post.

But whatever thoughts had been pouring out of me dying to be written suddenly got stage fright and disappeared. So I guess this is just one of those nights that I don’t need music on. It was distracting me! That’s a first.

I wanted to talk about firsts today too. Today is the first time I don’t feel like wearing nail polish on my fingers. In fact, I have this strong urge to go downstairs right now and wipe off Sinful Colors, Blue By You, off my nails before I continue writing. I don’t know where this is coming from or why I feel such vehement distaste towards polish on my nails suddenly, but there is no denying that it is there. I have not gone a single day without painted nails once I stumbled across my fascination/addiction/obsession with nail polish in late 2011. It is now January 2013 and this week, I left my nails bare on Wednesday. And after typing this post, I am probably going to remove my polish once more.

I know that people change and it’s nothing to freak out about, but in my typical fashion of overthinking things and drawing out connections, I feel like this week, my passion for nail art is dimming. I am sure it will revitalize or change gradually into a gentler calling.

Passion. I never want to be criticized for not having enough passion. With my career, with my family, with my hobbies – I want to be passionate. I never want to do something I am not passionate about. And it is not until recently that I began to experience so much depression, anxiety, and doubt when it came to law.

Guys, I WANT TO BE A LAWYER. I have wanted to be a lawyer since I can remember. Dreams can change, and it’s okay. But this isn’t even a dream. It is my one goal, ambition, purpose, and passion. My ONE career choice that I felt undying passion and draw to.

Then it came down to it and I underperformed on the LSAT. Maybe not the end of the world, but crushing to my self-esteem and confidence. To my passion.

I feel as though when I lost that passion, I tried to fill in the gaps with things like nail art, beauty blogging, makeup and skincare products, nail polish, and dating. My writing suffered, my academics suffered, and certainly, the law school application process has suffered.

I don’t have a single letter of rec yet, though I brought up the subject with my Professors and Bosses back in November. I just dropped it all. What happened to my passion? WHERE IS IT?

I need it back. I want to be a lawyer. I need to write the BEST essay ever and convince them, in two double-spaced pages, that if they look beyond the numbers, they will see a woman who wants it desperately. Who envisions herself as a lawyer, and who knows she will be a success.

But can I only handle one passion at a time? When I am trying to revitalize my passion for law, why do I find my love of nail polish faltering? Why am I no longer writing creatively? Why have I not done anything in Photoshop in MONTHS???

I still want to be passionate 😦 Help me find my passions. I can’t pick just one.

After I typed up this post, I did actually go down to get my polish remover and open up Youtube to catch up on my subscribed channels. iisuperwomanii posted a new video, and it furthered my melancholy mood 😦 RIP to her grandfather, please watch this extremely moving and emotional and uplifting video though…it has an important message. It felt like she was speaking right to me. Right to my fears and emotions.

I know I am ending this on a serious note, and my heart is just breaking for what she is going through, but I think it’s an important message that I really needed to hear.

What I want to say to you is that in 2013, you will fall. You will get upset, you will get heartbroken, things will go wrong. And what I want to tell you is that you don’t need to wait until the end of the year to decide it’s a new beginning. Every single day, any day you choose can be a new beginning. So in 2013, if something doesn’t go your way, don’t think “Oh, that’s it, the year is done, I can’t do anything.” No! Wake up the next morning, and make it happen. 2013 is your year, I believe in you, follow your dreams. And when I say follow your dreams, that doesn’t mean dream about them. That means wake up and make it happen. Stop wishing, start doing. I believe in you.

Beginning My Novel

Getting started on a novel is probably the hardest part of writing. It is the same with most other pieces of work, of course, but with a novel being such a long and arduous undertaking, it is overwhelming to begin from scratch.

That is why I will not begin from scratch. I was floundering around, tossing ideas around and testing the waters. But I realized that the amount of research I would have to do in order to get a sense of my characters in all these outlandish plots was not feasible for a novel to be completed in a month.

So then I thought to myself that the one place I could look to for a wealth of knowledge was in my own past experiences. My own culture. Thank you, Rukmani, for making me see the error of my ways. I once asked you why you wrote in an Indian setting so often, and you told me quite simply, that it was because you were Indian. Something to that effect. At the time, I scoffed at my heritage and felt it to be too alienating to an American audience to write in that setting. However, now I realize that I would much rather write a novel in a familiar place because it will be better, than write something from a Point of View I cannot even begin to understand. It will be better.

I am trying to accept this. I am Indian. I was raised with very strong Indian values. I speak Hindi. Fluently. I am as much an Indian as I am American, though I was born on this soil and have lived here for many years. I have not forgotten that other country or its ways, and they come more naturally to me than trying to mimic the lives of families I have only seen from the outside and never experienced. I would have to live in a white girl’s shoes to do her story any justice.

So here we are, at a bit of a crossroads. I accept that my stories will be better when they call upon my roots rather than somebody else’s.

With that thought in mind, here is a beginning excerpt of my novel. I do not know if it will stay in the final draft or not, but the seeds of my story are here. It isn’t much; less than 400 words are posted here. But still, it is a start and I want to pursue the story that I see taking shape. Enjoy!

AS YET UNNAMED

Riya sat at the edge of her bed. Her dupatta covered her face and she was thoroughly nervous and unprepared for whatever the night held in store for her.

Any other day, she would have changed into comfortable clothes, rid her face of the layers of makeup, and crawled into the covers. But tonight, she didn’t know what to expect. She didn’t know if Arjun was even going to sleep on the bed with her. When they had agreed, they had never planned for this. In fact, she had pretended that the details didn’t exist, as if saying yes to their marriage because he seemed a decent enough man was enough for the deed to be done.

Unfortunately, Indian families didn’t work that way, and Riya had endured nearly a month of festivities before she arrived to the bed this night. There were rose petals strewn across the bed, and they formed the alphabets A and R in the middle. The king sized bed had been outfitted with a beautiful and richly-colored coverlet of mahogany and varying shades of taupe. It was resplendent with pillows and surrounded by a gauzy veil of sheer beige lace. There were candles on the bedside tables and the windowsills, and whole atmosphere screamed of romance.

She knew Arjun’s two younger sisters, Sonali and Pooja, were behind the stunt. As his younger sisters, it was customary that they decorate the bridal chamber and welcome their sister-in-law into her new home. The wedding had passed by in a blur and the ongoing celebration and dances left Riya bubbling with excitement. It had felt like somebody else’s wedding at times, and the constant merriment had made her forget that she didn’t really know him. It had made her forget and for that, she was grateful.

That is, she was grateful most of the time. Right now, she heard the hushed giggles behind the door and she sat there, properly veiled in all her bridal finery, as a hanged woman awaiting her fate. Once he walked through that door, she did not know what would happen. She wasn’t sure what she wanted more – the considerate rejection or the farce of seduction.

Camp NaNoWriMo!

I recently heard that VeehCira will also be participating in this project with me, HOW EXCITING!! Too bad we aren’t in the same cabin.

For those who don’t know what it is, NaNoWriMo is a big challenge for novelists and writers everywhere. It challenges you to complete a novel of at least 50,000 words, or complete the first 50,000 words of the novel if you plan for it to be bigger. This means, on average, you should be writing at least 1,667 words per day I believe. You input your word count at the end of every day and watch the meter steadily rise toward the 50,000 word goal as you write and explore the novel within your mind. It’s an exciting adventure, because we start Day 1 completely fresh.

I don’t know what I’m writing. I am hoping that an idea will come to me and the novel will manifest itself. Then I will explore its depths and bring the nuances to light and ultimately, have a first edition manuscript of something I can be proud of.

Wish me luck!

I have not decided how to introduce the novel to you all, my fellow bloggers and readers. I don’t want to post daily because I am sure things will be revised and scrapped and rewritten during the course of the month.

Perhaps at the month’s end, I will post a link to an eBook download of my first edition with the hopes that those of you who read it will act as my critics, editors, readers, and friends!

Summer Writing Plans

This post is going to give a brief update to my readers about upcoming changes/additions to the writing section of my blog. I’ll summarize quickly below, and you can continue reading if you want to see more details!

  • All entries regarding National Novel Writing Month will be categorized “Writing”, tagged “NNWM”
  • All entries with character journal related posts will be categorized “Writing”, tagged “character journals”
  • I’m collaborating with English major, friend, and recent graduate Scott Kelleyover the summer. These entries will consist first of character journals, but will include anything else we can collaborate and work on together. This could be art, one-shots, scenarios, short stories, vignettes, etc. These will be categorized “Writing”, tagged “character journal” and also whatever we end up naming our project. I’ll post separately about the project when we have named it. We will:
    • Create character journals for two unique characters. Fae is my character, Benjamin is his.
    • Try to sketch out what we see our characters like
    • Practice various character writing exercises. So dropping them into scenarios, etc.
    • Hopefully, by the end of the summer, we’ll have substantial character writing material, be really good at writing characters, and also have a substantial 50-100 page novella. Idk what page length for a novella is though. But something like that.
  • I’m picking 100 Tales back up, so you’ll see more of that this summer.

Earlier this year, my friend Melissa was blogging a lot about her character journals. I think she is (was?) taking a fiction writing class, and they spent a few weeks discussing how helpful character journals can be!

Well I read her posts about this a while ago [HERE and HERE] and wanted to try this out by myself. As I mentioned, I shall be participating in National Novel Writing Month this November (I grew up calling this Novel November) with my roommate Misha (We’re writing our own independent novels though) and also my administrative aide at work, Miss Mary. I shall refrain from posting her full name!) In order to prepare for that kind of dedication (1000 words per day for an entire month, wow) , I need to start getting in shape and begin writing more profusely! I also want to explore creating characters and get a head start on the kind of story I want to write. Hopefully, by the time I start writing my novel in November, I will already know my characters. Once I am intimate with them, weaving their life into a story will be easy. I am of the opinion that a good book is one where the reader can become the character. In order to do that, I need to be so comfortable that somebody could create a true-to-character human version of my written characters. You know what I mean? I want them to be so REAL to me that I can envision them interacting with the world the same way I can vividly and accurately imagine my best friend Nabila going to Starbucks to order a frappachino.

Tangent aside, I was busy with finals and LSAT and then the Blogging Challenge and couldn’t devote much more time to thinking about character journals. Well now things have slowed down and I have some time!

I’m looking forward to collaborating with Scott! That’ll be my summer writing project. Less intense than Poetry Paradise or Project Theme, but hopefully, just as fulfilling! I just need to come up with a catchy tag for this summer’s collaboration with Scott. Something with assonance, I think.

Woo, I’m excited! I get to work on my character writing!! I really need to experiment, because I think all of my characters end up…just being me. I need to learn how to draw from other sources of inspiration when creating characters, and how to give them their own unique voices instead of inserting my own dialogue into everybody’s mouth. Yeah seriously, they may have different characteristics and roles, but they’re mostly different me’s. I need them to be different them’s. That’s totally a distinction, don’t question it.

Melissa, if you read this, please suggest character writing books to me! I want to plan out some sort of schedule or format Scott and I can follow this summer. A set of exercises even.

I’m taking an Advanced Creative Writing Fiction Workshop next semester at school to complete my Creative Writing minor, so this summer project will whip me into shape and help me get back into the process of writing larger pieces. I’ve gotten totally lazy and just been writing Poetry because it’s quick and easy to pen emotions down into a poem. Obviously, a great poem needs much refinement, but for now, poetry has been easier. Well now, it’s time to switch back into fiction writing mode.

Thought you knew Pryanka? I know I’ve had an influx of new followers since the Blogging Honesty challenge. Well you guys are in for a treat, you get to see what I’m capable of writing!! I bet you didn’t know Pryanka liked writing so much, hm? Unless you stalked my blog back through time and saw that I love to write. My English major and Creative Writing minors are giveaways though, right? I love reading and writing. Someday, I hope to be published. I don’t want to make money off of it or anything. I just want to be published so I can say I was! It isn’t a career choice. But it sure as hell is one fun hobby.

[10] Breathe Again

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[9] Drive ← Previous Story | Next story → Memory [Unwritten]
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Roxy was loving this guy next to her right now. He was HOT as hell, and he had dance moving through him too, just like her. All that mattered was that their bodies were in sync with the beat. His hands around her waist, pulling her snugly close and she didn’t mind because her part of their dance needed him close. Needed him to touch her so she could swirl her body around him and effuse his mind with her senses. Her perfume wafting through his soul, her body pressed so sensitively against his that she felt his abs, his rising excitement, and his heartbeat almost as if it were in her own chest.

She was taking over his sensory pathways, overloading them with her presence. Her lips, so ready to be kissed that he could almost hear her moaning in anticipation for his touch. And in fact, she was moaning, because the ecstasy of their union together in this dance was so great that he could feel the energy rebounding off of her back into him, and knowing that he had his fingers curled around her body turned him on so much. That she was letting him, that their beats matched, that this song was made for them, it was so perfect. All he could do was hear her, smell her, feel her. He could taste the salient tension of their bodies in the air, he could taste her skin, as perfect and sweet as the jasmine scent he was maddeningly attracted to now.

He leaned in and snuggled her even closer, turning her around and pressing her back to him so he could lean down just a little and kiss and nibble on her neck. Their bodies connected on so many different levels, it was as if Roxy had been transported. No longer did college bother her, no longer were midterms or finals or recitations or homework a concern. None of that even existed, all that existed was him and the music and it was perfect, and she was breaking away from her old life toward a new one, though she didn’t yet know it.

And through him, she was alive again. Her heart beat for somebody, her body moved for somebody, her thoughts were geared to their connection, and it was so sublime she could barely breathe.

Then she turned around again, the alcohol and the beauty making her want to do wild and crazy things. As their lips moved closer, she forgot to breathe again.

And the guy, he was so overwhelmed by her presence that he forgot to breathe too.

Together, they shared a moment of pure, undilated exhilaration.

[9] Drive

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James slammed shut the doors to his car, trying to drown out the nagging voice that was his girlfriend.

“James if you leave right now i swear don’t even bother tryna call me back”

He fumed. Couldn’t resist rolling down his window and yelling back “Bitch you live in my house” as he turned on the ignition, revved up the car, and shot out of the driveway.

“AT LEAST REVERSE PROPERLY YOU FUCKIN ASSHOLE,” she yelled back.

He couldn’t remember the last time he hadn’t felt angered by the sound of her voice. Why was he still here, trying to make the best of things. He needed to stop being lazy, get up off his ass, and kick her the fuck out. Cooking and cleaning was great, but it was not worth this bullshit she made him put up with. No more clubbing, no more drinking with his bros. No, she wanted him at home every night. AND TO DO WHAT? Bitch hadn’t even slept with him in weeks.

He mumbled to himself, not caring how deranged he looked as he sped onto the highway. In the distance, he saw the Brooklyn Bridge, gleaming lights enticingly calling him away the shithole into the city. Where the real party was at.

“I get home drunk, she tells me to fuck off cuz I’m drunk and she ain’t sleepin with no drunk guy. Get home sober, she says she isn’t drunk enough. Never gonna date no bitch again…”

His mental tirade continued as he approached the bridge. Tonight, its view was lost to him, his mind clouded over with dark and angry thoughts. James rolled down his window a bit, the crisp night air was refreshing. He hadn’t gone on a late drive like this in months. Couldn’t remember the  last time that late drive had been solo. He was a generally social guy, he loved his friends and he had loved spending time with his girl. Driving into the city this late brought back memories – the last time he had done it, he remembered Nicki’s laughter filling up the car and feeling like the happiest man on Earth. He couldn’t remember what had been so funny now, probably one of her annoying prank phone calls. Back then, everything she had done was endearing, but now he could barely stand her. He wondered when he had stopped loving the way her smile was just a little bit lopsided, or when he had kissed away the frown lines on her face and the creases on her forehead. Times were stressful, but living together had never been this hard.

He was in the city now and felt himself getting hyped up for the night. Screw the relationship bullshit for one night, be single, and party. Just like he used to before he got so tangled up that all he could think about was that he was going to have to pay for Nicki to get bigger pants again, the super padded bras she was eyeing cost like $50 a piece, and that every time he looked over at her, she was wearing one of his shirts, tying her hair up in this ragged and morose way, and then stalking about the place saying that he did everything wrong.

See, he was doing it again. He hated what they had done with their life, and he – no, he really had to stop thinking about her. About this. Any of it.

The air blew through the car, in and out of James’s senses as he tried to calm himself down and gather his bearings. Everything was going to be okay. That’s what the breeze whispered to James as it blew by, and he found that there was an eerie calm settling upon him as he concentrated on breathing in and out. Nothing more, just the bright lights, the crisp air, the music, and the sense of serenity that muffled all of the city noises into one bearable beautiful melody.

As he pulled into the valet parking spot of @mber Lounge (Amber Lounge), he checked his phone and saw a text from Nicki. He felt himself scowl and tried to stop the immediate reaction. Without even reading, he had fallen so low that he couldn’t give her any credit. It was wrong of him, he knew, but he was just so frustrated. By everything. By his situation. He knew he was doing right but some part of him couldn’t help but accuse her decision for stripping him of his individuality. His liberty, his freedom.

Before his mind could wander fitfully farther, he gathered in his thoughts and glanced down at the phone, opening the text.

“breaking my trust”

That’s all it said. Three simple words and he almost lost his resolve to go into that club. Then he just got angry. “She’s always tryna do that. Play in my head, fuckin play mindgames with me”

He strode confidently toward the line at the door, gave a nod to the doorman who still remembered him from the days when he had been a regular here. As the line progressed, the bouncer walked over to him and tipped him over in the direction of the doorman in the front, the guy he vaguely remembered. The doorman waved him in with a brisk nod toward the entrance and James had just enough time to glance at the nametag before it looked too obvious. RICHARD, it said. Big serious capital letters that gave off a don’t-fuck-with-me kind of vibe.

“Say hi to the missy for me,” he heard as he walked in. James looked back and nodded at Richard, trying not to let his irritation show. What kind of idiot doorman refers to a girlfriend who isn’t walking in through the doors with him. Obviously, there is a reason. “Fuckin retarded asshole,” James thought.

Then he walked in and instead of uplifting his spirits, the music and the people just soured his mood even more. Right in front of him, hardly a foot away from the bar, there was some chick grinding some luckyass single motherfucker. She was really goin at it, bending down and grinding up against him real good. Her mouth open in a slight pant as she gyrated to the music. “No way she’d be doin that shit with him if they were dating”

Dejected, he walked over to the bar and ordered a shot of vodka. He had vaguely heard that drinks were half off for the duration of the song when he walked in. Or he coulda just been makin shit up but whatever, he needed a drink. When he turned around again, the couple was gone, dry sexing somewhere else thankfully. He scanned the room and thought about ordering another shot.

The music was great, but his mood just wasn’t up for it. He missed Nicki.

Whether it was this realization that directed his attention, or his sight that prompted his emotion, he wasn’t sure. But he found himself watching two people completely lost in the rhapsody of dance, and of music. The girl and the guy moved and breathed as one. He felt like if it had been silent, and they had only been dancing to the music in their heads, he could have heard their hearts beating in perfect sync. The girl looked carefree, no worries on her face. He flashed back to Nicki, to happier times. To when he had loved taking her out because together, they were unstoppable. Because they never had issues or things to nag each other about. Things changed, usually for the worse. But these two, couple or not, looked so genuinely happy that he found himself missing her.

He texted her back as he walked out of the club. “Only had a shot, driving home now”

——————————————————————————–

Curled up in bed, wearing one of his warm, comforting sweaters, Nicki lay and wept. No makeup on, hair falling out of her pony left and right. She was a mess. Not even a hot mess, just a mess. She never knew what to say to him anymore, everything she said was wrong. Made him react the wrong way when all she was trying to do was be in a relatinship with him. But all he seemed to want from her was a woman to clean up after him now. She wasn’t even his girlfriend anymore. Her phone vibrated on the table next to their bed, and she reached over it to read “Only had a shot, driving home now”

A fresh round of tears threatened to leak out of her eyes. He was coming home. He wasn’t drunk, he was texting her back for once, and he was coming home.

She pulled herself out of bed and took off his sweater. She slipped on her own babydoll, the one in peach with a pretty bow around her waist that he had bought her. Then she went to the bathroom and heard her phone buzz again as she splashed water on her face, trying to get rid of the redness.

She still felt all wrong.

Nicki crossed the room to get the phone and collapsed right back onto the bed. Another text from him.

“I miss you”