Tuesday, August 29, 2006

More on Writing

Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for the love of it, then you do it for a few friends, and finally you do it for the money.
- Moliere

So, I was happily surprised yesterday to receive a $10 check in the mail as payment for a poem. It was accepted into Thema Literary Society's issue "A Perfect Cup of Coffee" for 2007. This is my first literary journal acceptance. I'm also excited because this brings my total literary earnings LTD (Life to Date) to $30.00.

It's even more ironic because two blogs ago I was wishing for a poetry acceptance (remember the ego boost I needed?). Now, I am wondering if making public wishes mean they will be granted. Were we all misled by believing wishes must be secrets?

Anyway, what I wish for now is help at work. An assistant. A smart person to help me with my workload. I have too much going on and not enough help and it's affecting my work-life balance. If only I could get my literary earnings up so I could quit my day job!

By the way, I also got a rejection today from a South Asian anthology, which is a downer. However, now that I've been keeping track of my submissions, I see there might be problems with the specific piece that I'm peddling. I need to work on that.

However, I'm taking work home these days so it's cutting into my writing time. I need to write so I don't have to work, but I can't write because I have to work.

The quote that drives me the most in my writing endeavors is this one:

There's nobody out there waiting for it, and nobody's going to scold you if you don't do it. - Lynne Sharon Schwartz

I know I am the only one waiting for it and I am the only one to scold myself.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

DesiLit,Writers, Writing

So now that I've organized my writing efforts and put my project management skills to work, I'm getting my work published online. I've gotten rejections, but the acceptances outweight the effects of the rejections. Though I could use an acceptance of my poetry somewhere (just for an ego boost!)

Anyway, check out DesiLit's first online magazine for my review of Shashi Tharoor's Bookless in Baghdad. The DesiLit editors did an impressive job in selecting quality work for their magazine and I enjoyed reading the bios of the contributors, since each seem as fascinating as their work.

As for Tharoor, I had the opportunity to meet him last year and saw him speak on two different occasions, just months apart. I wanted to see him at another event, but feared he'd call me a stalker. Here's a picture from the SAJA writers conference last year. I had asked him to sign my "Mirrorwork" book while my cousin and friends took the pictures. (We turned from smart, confident women into giggling author groupies at this event, dribbling phrases like "I loved your book.") He had read a chapter from "Bookless in Baghdad" and it would not be released in the US for a few months. Fortunately, someone brought this book for us from India.

That was a great event with speakers like Anita Desai, Suketu Mehta and Jhumpa Lahiri. For me it was most powerful to see Jhumpa on stage. I admit - as an aspiring and passionate writer - I've been jealous of Jhumpa's success. Usually I think, what does she have that I don't? From what I know, our lives and upbringing are quite similar, except that she continued with her MFA and has a Pulitzer, while I took detours and ended up with an MS in Information Science. (Damn proud of that I am!)

That day, she had come to the event with her husband and children. Her husband was taking care of the little ones and while on stage, she would nervously glance at them. Her husband was taking the crying kids out of the auditorium. As soon as she was able to get off the stage, she raced out of the auditorium and they all left. That made me realize that at the end of the day, when you're done with your Pulitzer and author presentations, you are a mom with a crying baby. This is what is always on the forefront of who you are. In that light, everything looked so different about being a literary success.

I also got over my feelings of frustration, too. I always felt, she's taking my stories. That day she read an excerpt of an upcoming novel. I listened and realized these are her stories and mine are totally different. There's not just one queue for literary success. There are many and we're in parallel queues (and mine just happens to wrap around the block!)

By the way, I blogged about this event for DesiLit.