1. Lewis Carroll’s prefatory poem in Alice in Wonderland:
Alice! A childish story take,
And with a gentle hand,
Lay it where Childhood’s dreams are twined
In Memory’s mystic band,
Like pilgrim’s wither’d wreath of flowers
Pluck’d in far-off land.
Alice reminds me of Tea, (picture right). We dressed up for the premier of Harry Potter’s Deathly Hallows. Tea is a uber fan of Harry Potter and soulful fantasizer. She is my careless partner in crime with flaming bright hair and random comments that are hilarious for my old age.
I see her all the time now. She had contributed partly to the influence for me to become a pescetarian. She wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up.
2. Here is your Daily Cup of Tao.
3. Stories from Afghanistan, I love to hear from Kabul Jan. Mulla Nasruddin’s stories are really funny:
- A friend asked the mulla “How old are you?” “Forty replied the mullah.” The friend said but you said the same thing two years ago!” “Yes” replied the mullah, “I always stand by what i have said.”
- You may have lost your donkey, nasruddin, but you don’t have to grieve over it more than you did about the loss of your first wife. Ah, but if you remember, when i lost my wife, all you villagers said: We’ll find you someone else. So far, nobody has offered to replace my donkey.”
4. The Power of Many. I met NEED Magazine Founders in New Orleans couple of years ago.
5. I was laughing at the process of writing. I love love love words and was just sharing with Tea today how good writing, especially dense contemplative writing can expose the nuances in discourse that easy language can’t. I want to see more shades of grey yet remain simple enough (humble enough) to write simply. Erwin Schrodinger (yes I have been browsing through literature in quantum physics), referring to the discipline of physics, said: “If you cannot – in the long run – tell everyone what you have been doing, your doing has been worthless”.
Writing is tedious. It takes hours. It is corollary to reading. It is an act of inspiration. It is art and science. Today, on the train, I spent my time listening to Urdu songs, and reading their roman transliteration and english translations to get a sense of how the arrangement of words lend themselves to the sentiments of the song. For instance, contrast the sentence: ‘I loved him’ with ‘It was he, I loved.’ The latter sounds so much more poetic, it has intonation, the ‘He’ takes the life in the sentence, and the ‘I’ revert to where it belongs: the placeless, the egoless, the senseless.
Subtle movements, subtle language, subtle arrangements in words, music, actions — it is this that impresses me. Not full-blown exaggerations. Not demonstrations and big productions.
I put thought into my writing. Everything I say has meaning. I write for me. I feel writing has really allowed me to be comfortable in my own skin, to know that I am as I am and it is perfectly okay. I haven’t always been like this. Perhaps family pressure to conform? But if my writing is not understood, it was probably obscured so that is not to be understood. Words allow me to bear my soul and hide. I use allegories to try ‘carelessness’ and feel safe from the need to account to anyone. Words are worth risking. I used to play with words and concepts in law essays so as to experiment, tease my professors, and push the boundaries of my misunderstandings and musings. I get a telling off, or a praise for straying. I always stray. I use words I don’t understand, in hope that I might find them out someday. Words are worth risking.
I wrote this to a friend in January 2010:
I just assumed that people with the ability to flower language could afford to waste words. Today’s indulgence is tomorrow’s extravagance. There is time for one person today, existence for another tomorrow. Perhaps only the principled keeps to the spirit and integrity of his art. But gift might warrant latitude. I can only just imagine all the permutations and combinations of words and sentences, phrases, quotes, idioms, allegories, that one can make – how not to waste when you have so much? In that play, deception is always possible. No?
This reminds me of a cute statement by Oscar Wilde. I have not read any of his works. In fact I probably don’t know any. But he said:
I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.
And with that sentence, I end my truths. And go to sleep.