On the Eternal Predicament

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Kindness of Strangers.”

I was going to write about how I am, once again, stuck in the eternal predicament of getting rejected for being a non-native writer, but, then I put my Sagittarian optimism (yes, I am that hopeless) to good use and found a silver lining in this dark cloud.

My act of kindness came very recently by Linda Formicelli. Those who run in freelance writing circles may recognize her as the mind behind the famous website, The Renegade Writer. You see, I am a religious reader of her blog. She always has wonderful insights and tips for novice writers. I’d like to think of her as more than a stranger, but since we had never had personal contact until today, I will refrain from doing so.

As I told you earlier in this post, I am stuck in the never ending spiral of rejection solely due to my nationality. No matter how much websites like my work, they take a step back and ponder before hiring an Indian. My predecessors (I’m talking to you, people-who-pay-less-than-a-dollar-for-a-five-hundred-word-article), sadly, have ruined any chances for me to make it as a freelance content writer.

Thus, I was wallowing in my misery and cowering in the face of my unsure future, when like a beacon of light in a dark night, I received the daily email from Linda. I hadn’t actually planned to reply to her, and had certainly not counted on her replying to me. However, a little voice in the back of my head said, “She is the answer.”

So, I wrote her a long(ish) email about how I had been stuck in the vicious cycle of content mills until her advice encouraged me to quit. I also told her that things hadn’t been much better for me since as far as my career in writing was concerned, because my nationality was following me around like a dark shadow (this, in no way, is meant to be racist).

A few hours later, I got this ( I would have attached the screenshot, but my internet hates me for some reason. So, I am writing what she said in the exact way she wrote it):

Hi Lavanya!

Your written English is EXCELLENT – no one would know you’re non-native (. . .)

If you have ever been rejected, you would know how I feel presently. I know they say that your abilities are not measured by the applause you get, but by how you put them to use. However, for a person who is just starting out as a writer, and whose capabilities have, unfortunately, been shadowed by something she cannot control, these words were Manna.

There were no bells and choruses of soaring music in my head, but I was left with a smile on my face because an honest-to-God writer had seen something in me and acknowledged it. It was a rush of confidence, and it pushed me to work harder and write better.

I know there is a fat chance she will ever read this, but in the event that you do, Linda, I want to thank you for your words. They helped me tremendously.

Oh look, I ended up writing about my eternal predicament after all. At least I was optimistic about it.

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On The Gentleman

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Truth or Dare.”

There I go again blaming my sun sign for half the things I am responsible for. We Sagittarians seem to be cursed with a chronic case of ‘Foot-in-Mouth’ disease. So, yes, there is such a thing as being too honest.

However, I would not have it any other way.

I am not one to mince words. Yes, I will hold myself back for quite some time, because I like to give people second, third, fourth, even fifth chances. Eventually, though, I get to a point where I think, “Screw it, I don’t care what he/she/anyone thinks. I am going to blow my lid and blow it to the sky.”

I’ll give you an example.

A few years ago, one of my father’s friends visited us. Now, there are friends, and then there are “friends”. Unfortunately (for him—I’ll get to that in a minute), he was a “friend”. Do you know the people who expect your world to stop just because they decide to show up on your doorstep? Well, this “gentleman” (see the quotes?) expected my father to pick him up from the station just because he didn’t want to take a cab. Did I mention it was three in the morning? It was three in the morning.

My father did as he was “told” (what my mother wouldn’t give for that!).

Now, it’s one thing to treat your friend’s kids as your own. It’s another to barge into their room and wake them up. I am a generally nice person. As flamboyant, boisterous, gregarious, and quirky as I am, I hate people barging into my personal space. I was fifteen at that time. Combine my quirks with teenage DNA, and you know what you get.

I woke up groggily, but stayed quiet, only glaring my disapproval at my father.

After that, I watched as this man broke three cups of my mother’s china, ordered me around, spilled tea all over my certificates and accolades, and boasted of the many, many favors he had done to my father. I stayed quiet, because my father had known him since they were children, and that qualified as something. The, he (the gentlemen) offered to pay my college tuition, because he clearly didn’t think my father could.

Needless to say, I blew my lid.

I said to him, “That’s rich coming from a man who my mother tells me is wearing the same shirt that he was at her wedding. And that was sixteen years ago.”

His smile, of course, faded. He then made a quip about how I wasn’t lacking in spunk even though my parents were.

I said, “At least mine did something for their kids.”

He asked me what I wanted to study. At the time, I was all about architecture, and I told him so. However, my interests lay in English, and he was enraged when he realized I wasn’t going to pursue it as a career. He told me, in no unclear terms, that he wouldn’t let that happen.

“You couldn’t even take a cab to our house. I’d like to see you try to stop me,” was my reply.

One thing about Sagittarians: we are great hunters, especially when hunting information. If we want to know something about someone, we will find it.

I didn’t wait after that. I ratted him out on all of his familial and marital problems, his job, and his holier-than-thou attitude. At last, I told him that he would not get any more refreshments, and was never welcome in our home again.

And because I could not resist throwing in a little Doctor Who, I said, “I am being very, very calm. And the only reason I am being so very, very calm is because my parents brought me up better than yours brought you. I am telling you, being very, very calm, that no one insults my parents in front of me.”

He has never called to this day.

Here’s my point: don’t just listen. If you feel something, say it. Personally, I think the world would be better off for it. You call it like it is. I am not going to stand there and tell you that those jeans do not make you look fat: they do. I am not going to say your idea is great: it probably is not. I am not going to say that I support you: I am not. Either I like you, or I pretend you do not exist. It is as simple as that, and it makes life so much easier.

The Archer

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Be the Change.”

I’ll be honest with you. This is my third attempt at blogging. The first time, I never really went back after my first two posts. I managed seven or eight the second time around, but gave up again. Third time’s the charm, they say.

Also, I am a Sagittarius.

The abrupt and supposedly completely unrelated statement above has relevance; I assure you.

Sagittarius are fickle, to put it nicely. Determined, yes, but fickle. We think of the future, and not the present. And again, I put this in a very light-hearted way, because we are obsessed with the future. We will be so busy thinking of what can happen that we can actually forget the task at hand. Thus, whatever we do, we always have a notion related to it; a vision that we strive to achieve.

The only problem is that we like driving fast, and the absence of quick results makes us restless. When I first started blogging, I had dreams that I would upload such amazing posts as will make me the greatest blogger in the history of cyberspace. Did I tell you we are a little extravagant as well?

I didn’t become the greatest blogger in history, obviously. I wouldn’t be writing this otherwise. But, I did get frustrated. What I didn’t realize then was that blogging is a slow and gradual process which takes time and commitment. Again, something us winter born people have trouble with. Also, I just realized that I am blaming my zodiac sign for everything that is my own doing.

My biggest flaw as a writer is that I am too attached to moods, and that I am lazy. I might have a lot of topics that I want to write about, but won’t if picking up the laptop feels like a chore. I regret to say that I have missed out on quite a few opportunities due to this. Additionally, I am impatient, and therefore, need results. If I don’t see action on my blog, I probably won’t write. By the way, this is a not a way to coerce you into reading.

Thus, I don’t hope to bring about a revolution with this third venture, but I do believe that as far as first blog posts go, this is not bad. However, I am largely a cyber being, which means I have more internet websites to visit than friends. I do want to have my voice heard through this platform, because speaking, frankly, is a chore when the other person does not have anything interesting to say (though I can’t figure out whom this statement insults more: me or the other person?).

My only goal with this blog will thus be to stick to it. With this blog, I hope to cultivate in myself responsibility. If I can take care of this as I would a baby, I feel it would be the closest I will come to personal development and success. As the Sagittarius archer would, I would take aim, and shoot to win. That’s how I hope to be the change.

On a slightly unrelated note, I would like to be less afraid of mice this year, because there is one in my room right now, which is why I can’t sleep.

Since this is a new adventure, I need some inspiring music. Eye of the Tiger would do.