Today, I started reading a book entitled ‘No Plot? No Problem!’ by Chris Baty. He is the founder of National Novel Writing Month, during which, you guessed it, participants write a novel in a month. He mentions that NaNoWriMo, as they call it, starts at the beginning of November, which is, you guessed it, tomorrow. What a coincidence that I happened to read this book today, when National Novel Writing Month starts just a day after.
Probably not. As happy as I am to learn about this just in time, I would actually have preferred more time to prepare. Nevertheless, I have decided to participate, because how else will I learn, if I don’t try (and possibly fail)?
The 50,000 words that will officially turn a ‘short story’ into a ‘novel’ seem further away than Mars, but wish me luck! And if you feel like battling writer’s block, flat characters, humongous plot holes and other kinds of hurdles encountered while ‘noveling,’ then sign up too!
It is beginning to rain. The sky looks like a vast, thick layer of cotton wool – a grey blanket with glimpses of a grey sky underneath. Most trees are bare, or nearly so. Slowly, as night follows day, one by one, the leaves fall, swirling and twirling. It is notoriously hard to catch them as they fall; they seem to be going in one direction, but a small gust may push them off course. Some leaves still cling on to branches, unwilling, unsure, quivering in the wind. Their colours match the beauty of flowers, stained glass, glitter, and little spectrums made by crystals in the sunlight. But when they fall, they are trodden on, torn and caked with mud. Their colours are dulled, but beauty lies underneath. And the Earth will turn. As the sky sheds its grey cloak to reveal the azure underneath, and the breeze carries the fragrance of flowers, the leaves will return again, triumphant.
© Sohini Kumar
You could say that I am overly cautious when it comes to a few things. For example, I now bike with my mouth clamped shut, as if someone had superglued my teeth together, after someone I know swallowed a mosquito while they were biking. This over-cautiousness also comes into play when I use my bike, because I always need to lock it. So, an ordinary Tuesday evening finds me crawling about a bike shed.
Last week, at about a quarter to seven on Tuesday, I wheeled my bike towards the crowded bike shed. Bicycles of all sizes and colours were clustered together and I hoped there would be a free spot left for mine. Craning my neck, I looked along the row of bikes… and… ah! There was one spot left. I quickly led my bike towards it, and carefully wedged it between two other bikes. Then, I stood by the back wheel of my bike. Now came the difficult part. I took a deep breath, sucked my stomach in, and edged between my bike and the one beside it. Stretching my arm out, I grabbed my bicycle lock (which, made of metal, weighs about a ton) from the basket and stood with it in one hand, keys in the other. There I stood between two bikes, clutching a hefty lock, with almost no space to lock my bicycle. I glanced at my watch; it was ten to seven – ten minutes until my piano class started.