Category Archives: BAR-A-THON

Fragile Lives

Beat About The Book - fiction

thoughts

It’s crowded in here. The good and bad, small and big, beautiful and ugly, jostle for attention, clamouring for life. Fragile lives, all. His attention means life, his disregard is oblivion, death. I am but a tiny germ, too weak to move – frail, nebulous – a beginning maybe, but nothing just yet. How is he is ever going to notice me?

I wait..

I dream.

Somedays I feel full of possibilities. I can grow up to be anything. A powerful king, a shy little boy, a drifting vagrant, a wily old woman.

Somedays I grow tired of this existence – this half existence. Am I destined to die before I’m born? Will my time ever come? Will he ever know I’m here… waiting? For in his knowledge lies my life.

And I wait..

One summer day as the yellow sun shines, I feel a surge of blood through my veins, red-hot blood. He sees me! It’s here, my time is here. I take a deep breath and I grow with his consciousness. I am growing …… taller, stronger.

He smiles at me. I fill his thoughts, taking shape and form. All others are now mere dwarfs before me. Then I’m walking, running, flying. He gives me wings. And I’m slipping out of my home, into a new world. A world he builds for me.

He is in falling in love with me. The knowledge makes me powerful. I give a triumphant laugh as I take charge. No longer fragile, I drive him now. He forgets to eat and to drink. He loses track of time. He sits lost to the world, consumed by me.

Is it days or months? Or has a year gone by? He does not know.

He looks up one day. “It’s done”, says he, “My book is done”.

That’s me, that fragile thought in his head. I am his book!

 

Day 3 of the #BarAThon Challenge from 1st to 7th August 2016.
The prompt for today is ‘Fragile Lives’.

I am with Team #CrimsonRush

BAR-A-THON

Quirky writing habits of famous authors

 

writingquirks.jpg

Have you ever wondered how great authors write? You’d think they would have a routine of some kind, a favourite corner or desk, an old comfy sofa or maybe a particular dress they’d like to wear. What you don’t know probably, is how quirky they can get.

All upside down

Did you know, for instance, that Dan Brown of The Da Vinci Code thought the best cure for his writer’s block was hanging upside down? He said it helped him relax. So that’s probably how he found out the Holy Grail wasn’t a chalice at all but a woman. Quite brilliant, actually. But no thank you I’m not trying this one.

Writing au naturel

Then there was Victor Hugo who wrote The Hunchback of Notre Dame. When he had a deadline to meet he’d ask his valet to confiscate his clothes so he couldn’t go out anywhere. When it got too cold he simply wrapped himself in a blanket. Going by the length of The Hunchback he would have remained in the buff for a long long time. Definitely not trying this one either.

Sleeping/standing authors

Mark Twain, George Orwell and Woody Allen wrote while lounging on beds and sofas. You would accuse them of being lazy had they not given us such masterpieces. On the other hand there were writers like Hemingway, Dickens and Lewis Carroll who wrote standing at their desks. Hemingway’s work desk was the top of chest-high book shelf. If you’re a Hemingway fan you must read this interview.

(On a completely different note and I know I’m digressing but I must give you this Hemingway tip: Each day he would stop writing at a point in his narrative when he knew what happened next. That way when he took up writing the next day he knew exactly how he had to begin and wouldn’t have to wait to get into the groove, so to say).

And some others..

Among the more recent Indian authors RK Narayan and Vikram Seth offer the greatest contrast:

RK Narayan says, “..between breakfast and lunch I manage five hundred words and while the rice on the stove is cooking, a couple of hundred, and after lunch once again till six.” He makes it sound like such a mundane task.

And there’s Vikram Seth who says writing should flow on its own and cannot/should not be forced. Perhaps that’s why he has such few works, but each of them outstanding.

Among the newer lot  Amish Tripathi likes to listen to music, which is not so strange but he also likes to eat a lot of cream biscuits while writing. I’d only think of the calories I was piling up, leave Ram and Sita to their own devices, and head to the gym.

And lastly I stumbled upon this Durjoy Datta tweet:
My writing process is one part writing, 10 parts YouTube, 10 parts cute dog pictures.

Make what you will of it.

So do you have a writing preference? Or can you write anytime, anywhere?

Day 2 of the #BarAThon Challenge from 1st to 7th August 2016.
The prompt for today is ‘What you didn’t know’.

I am with Team #CrimsonRush

BAR-A-THON

 

Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain – A review

Free Country: A Penniless Adventure the Length of Britain
By George Mahood

Free country.jpg

7.30 am in the morning, Land’s End, Cornwall England.

Two men stand in their boxers, just their boxers. It is colder than what they’d bargained for, the gravel cuts into their feet, and they get more than a few ‘what are the weirdos upto’ galnces.

That’s George and Ben – a photographer and a composer/actor respectively.

So what are they doing, almost naked, at Land’s End? For the geographically challenged, Land’s End is the most South Westerly part of England. This slightly crazy duo plans to cover the length of England, from Land’s End to the top of Scotland, a distance of about a 1000 miles, on bikes without money, clothes, shoes, food …… or bikes. Yeah right, they have no bikes just yet. Or maps to guide them either.

They are counting on the generosity of strangers to lend them bikes, feed them, clothe them and give them a place to sleep each night.

Stranger than fiction, right?

The book traces their adventures as they cycle on a mountain bike and child’s road bike (Yeah they do manage to get those), through the length of England and finish the trip on the terms they’d set out with.

The review

This book is definitely more about the journey than the destination – a hilarious, heartwarming journey. George and Ben wind their way through back roads and tiny towns, giving us a ride through the gorgeous English countryside.

However, what remains with me is the sheer audacity of their endeavour. Being a rather self-conscious person, I can only commend the courage it takes to approach a stranger and ask for a favour. And here are these two men asking not just for food, but also clothes and shoes and bikes, then bike repairs, all for free. They even mange to wheedle out ice creams, free ferry rides and a night in the theatre too. They are ready to wash dishes, clean hotels, sing carols, cook a barbecue and even scavenge rubbish bins.

The other thing that struck me was the positivity in the book. There is very little mention of the physical challenges the journey must have thrown up. For untrained people to cycle three weeks at a stretch mustn’t have been easy. Yet they do not dwell upon hurting knees, going hungry or meeting unpleasant people, not to say about putting up with each other under such stressful circumstances and shared meagre resources.

They bicker and argue ‘like an old couple’ but most of the way it is a laugh-out-loud journey full of ready humour and plenty of wit that reminded me of a Bill Bryson travelogue.

If you like travelogues this one’s for you. If you do not, read it to reaffirm your faith in people, read it to believe that the world is yours if you have the gumption to take it on or read it simply for a few laughs.

Day 1 of the #BarAThon Challenge  from 1st to 7th August 2016.
The prompt for today is Stranger than fiction.

I am with Team #CrimsonRush

BAR-A-THON