Keep Giving Up

The temptation to give up, is high.

Well, you’ve stated the primary idea. Why write more? If people want to know more about your idea, they’ll Google it, or they’ll ask questions. My writing is suffering. I still love starting to write, but after the key note has been written, I lose interest. Who cares? I’ve just finished a post on my History blog. (as of when I am writing this post, it hasn’t been published). I can sense the gaps. It is staccato. I asked a few friends to check it. They end up telling me the things I know.

Even when I know how I should write, I don’t.

One of two things have happened: Blogging has changed and I haven’t, or, I have changed and Blogging hasn’t. When this mystery is solved, I’ll know what I should do.

Or, perhaps, there’s too much of a big deal with giving up and keeping at it. Why is giving up looked down upon? When you think hard about it, giving up actually opens up new avenues. If you give up there’s so many other things that you can do. If you, however, keep at it there’s only one thing you are doing, and chances are, you are doing it for some (potentially) foolhardy reason that you committed yourself to. Or perhaps, there’s merit in keeping at it.

So I should either give up at keeping at it, or keep at it at giving up.

Something tells me, they are the same, but, now I’ve lost interest. I give up.

Yes, I Said

There’s this joke.

Smith is in his club and he’s alone, except for one other person. Trying to be sociable, Smith asks the person, “Can I buy you a drink?” “No,” says the person. “I tried it once and didn’t like it.” “Oh,” says Smith. “Well, would you like to shoot some pool with me?” “No,” says the man. “I tried it once and didn’t like it. “Well, how about a game of bridge?” “No,” says the man, again. “I tried it once and didn’t like it. Besides, my son is coming soon.”

“Ah,” says Smith, “your only son, I presume?”

*

I’ve been blogging for eleven years now, and have never attended a bloggers’ meet. For the life of me, I cannot recall why. It’s not that I have not been invited. There’s enough email from various organisations to keep you busy for life, if you choose to attend these events. I think, I just didn’t bother. Finally, last week, I said yes. It was an event sponsored by Renault India for their new MPV – Lodgy, and was organised by Blogadda. God knows I had much to do last weekend, yet, I couldn’t get myself to say no. Here’s why.

Driving
Photography
Blogging

In Goa, in the rains.

All the things I love, in the place that I love.

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And planning for the event began. I noticed stalwart bloggers who were attending. Largely a young lot, writing for specific audiences, created niches for themselves, and successfully making careers by blogging. Famous people, award-winning folks (and not just peer-awarded awards; serious ones). Very unlike me. In spite of the obvious trepidation, I prepared to go. Flight leaves Friday afternoon.

*

It’s Thursday night. I am meeting a friend after many years. She is in town to attend a wedding, on Friday. We crunch time and find a late dinner slot to catch up. It’s raining heavily, traffic is disrupted. We catch up on lost times, further crunching five years in a little over five minutes. Done and dusted. Back to the present. I tell her about the event. She is all smiles. We talk of the yes philosophy. I’ve changed my default, I tell her, but I don’t tell her about the dread gnawing at my decision. We talk of inherent trust. We are talking about books, but it makes sense to me in a unique way. A great conversation. A wonderful evening. We stay as long as the restaurant allowed us.

*

Friday morning. The city is at a standstill. Mumbai has hit the monsoon jackpot. Traffic isn’t moving, flights are delayed. A few; cancelled. Instead of worrying, I am smiling to myself. My worst case is I’ll miss my flight. The gnawing dread is laughing out loud. Enjoy, I tell it. I leave early. Very early. Road’s empty. It’s an automatic holiday because everyone is off the roads. I reach the airport two hours before the flight. Everything goes well. Flight is delayed for a bit. Soon, I am in Goa. Memories gush, just like the rain.

First love. First bicycle. First camera.

Most of the other bloggers know each other. I am the only one, I discover, who is attending such an event for the first time. My conversations with them are insipidly introductory. It will change, I tell myself. We are here for a couple of days. If I had attended earlier events, I’d know some of them. It’s never too late. A good event is only as good as it is organised. As we register ourselves, I feel this one is going to be good.

48 hours have gone by. [This part needs more posts; cannot do justice in a single post] We are on our way back home.

I’ve made some very good friends. Interesting people. Lovely conversations. Far from insipid and bland, in fact, quite spicy. Do you know the origin of the word spice? [The culprit in all this is the Latin noun species. From it the English language derives a whole family of words — ‘special’, ‘specification’, ‘species’, ‘especially’ and so on — as well as ‘spice’. […] In Roman usage species quite often implied value and in time it acquired an even more ‘specific’ meaning. ~ The Spice Route: A History, by John Keay]

Wonderfully organised and executed event. I’ve enjoyed the weekend completely. Especially the drive. [But, that’s another post, for another day, elsewhere].

On our way back, I can’t but thank myself for saying yes. For more than one reasons. First, the experience. Second, because I know I don’t belong here. It’s like Edison, I think, said, “I have not failed 10,000 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 10,000 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work.” Third, and perhaps the most important, it has refined my belief about blogging.

Not to say that I’ll never attend an event ever again — I will — but I’ll, perhaps, have a better sense of curation.

What was once an assumption, is now a fact. It’s better that way.

 

A Thousand Links

Ceremonial and milestone posts are like templates. We end up saying the same things over and over. There are small differences when the ceremonies and the milestones differ; the essence however, remains the same. There’s gratitude, there’s a description of a journey, there’s some description of a meaning, and such things. There’s, always pressure to make an impact.

These are the things that have occupied my mind and heart for the last few weeks. I was getting closer and closer to the 1000-posts mark. Each post, that was the 996th, 997th, 998th, 999th in number wanted to betray this post. The 998th post almost did! That was the excitement of the writer, and the posts, shared the excitement, if not more. All of them — the ones in the 99x series — didn’t mind that they weren’t the 1,000th. They knew their place was critical for this post to exist, to be published. Without them, this one was still far away.

100 Links

In my earlier post, I talked how “It All Comes Together.” Well, given the image above you can see that it doesn’t always come together. Sometimes there’s a zero missing; or a number is 10-times less than it should ideally be. I should have said: almost!

I’ve blogged for 4,125 days on this blog. That’s one post every four days, on an average. And while it may not mean much in relative terms, I am, and have been happy, satisfied, and proud of the last 11 years, 3 months, 18 days. What started as casual dabbling has become an integral part of my life. And succumbing to the template, I must say, I am grateful for that part of me that thought I should not stop.

Needless to say, I spent a few days going through my blog. Some of what I written is quite bad, and friends have told me that, through comments. Some of it is very good. Most, of it however, is somewhere, between. As I re-lived my life for the past eleven years, I am most proud, that I have been honest. Even if the honesty was wrapped in a thick woolly garment of abstraction. What the wool did was to protect my privacy, and that of my friends and family. The thoughts and feelings themselves were uncloaked.

If had to go back to that day in December 2003 and restart this, I would not do it any other way. Such a fulfilling experience is this one that I would dare not disturb or tweak. Many bloggers have come and gone (mostly, to Twitter) and while I have lamented their exit, my experience with my blog has been complete; has been most fulfilling; has been most adventurous.

As I write this, I realise, when you are overwhelmed, you should make a statement and exit. There will be times, later, for you to expand on your feelings, when they don’t crowd you. (This was never going to be an easy post.)

I’ll write soon.

As soon as my emotional paparazzi have dispersed.

Almost There

Closer to that finish line, there are two ways, I think, how we respond. Either we summon all the reminder of our energy to cross it, or we slow down, and slowly walk to the ribbon. I am close to that line. And I must admit, I have no way to express what I feel. I am split in the middle, one wanting to finish; the other wanting to take time.

0466: Blur Walk

I am happy, though. The line that I will cross is absolute. Absolute, in the sense that it is mine, completely. It has no relation to what other people are doing or what other people expect. It is mine and mine alone. I am happy because I never planned to reach this line. I never worked towards it. I just kept walking. It will come soon, and you will all know; I am not telling. Even if you try to guess it with comments, I won’t tell. And because it is so near, you will know soon enough.

That’s all. Wait for just a little while.

The End of Things

First, I thought I’d title this post, “The End of Good Things.” But I wasn’t going to write only about the end of good things, I was also going to write about the end of bad things. So, things made more sense. The thought occurred to me because I now have only one post due in the Anthem challenge that I have taken up. And there has been so much music playing in my head since the last #Anthem post, I am in a state of utter confusion. So many songs play in my head, stringing an additional sarcastic note, “Oh, so I don’t make the cut, do I?”

A part of me wants to make sure that the last post has to be the greatest Anthem. A magnum opus of sorts. And I do have a song in mind. I know, I will think of another song after I post #Anthem 10, and that undeniable sense of aarghness will set in.

Who Erased my Lines?

That’s what prompted “The End of Good Things.”

But then, bad things also end. We tend to think that they never do, but they do. It’s just that we shower so much attention and importance to bad things, we inadvertently prolong them that the seem permanent. (We should practice tactical ignorance.) But they do end, because, if bad things didn’t end, you wouldn’t have good things. And we know for sure, that all good things come to an end. And the very fact that good things exist, which we know, because they come to an end, means that bad things also exist and come to an end. While I am unable to put my finger on it, some sort of double-proof is going on here. To what purpose, I am not sure. What I am sure of, is that I have amply demonstrated that both good and bad things exist, and both come to an end.

They are not necessarily linear, successive, or predictable. They can co-exist. They’ll come in sharp bursts or stay long, like uninvited guests.

The Anthem Challenge was a good thing for me. And it will end, when I post the 10th Anthem. I have a feeling, however, that I may not allow this good thing to end. And while Paul asked for only 10 Anthems, he never said we have to stop at that. So that’s what I going to do, I am not going to allow a good thing to end.

So, while bad things may come and go, I’ll keep a good thing going, for as long as I can.

Awards & Such

Dear Joe,

It has been a while since I have stopped responding to and accepting blog-awards. It is always nice to be nominated, feels good. Thank you for the nomination. Truly! Since one of the things about this awards is that we get to know the blogger well, here are a few posts that may give you an insight of your nominee. A few tags I completed a long while ago, here, here, here, and here. There’s of course much more, but that may need sifting through 900-odd posts. This isn’t me being arrogant; contrary, in fact. Perhaps you may feel the same, after you have blogged for over a decade. Perhaps, this helps all new visitors to this blog.

Street Deco
Thank you, once again.

Oh, BTW, the weirdest food I ever ate was crocodile.

What the Writer Dreads

 

It all changes when the first sentence is constructed. But before that, this is the most daunting visual for a writer. This is what a blank screen really looks like.

Agree?

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