Finding the Writer’s Flow

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Have you ever experienced that sense of lightness that comes while working on a special piece. There is such a race of ideas that nothing else count for the moment but the task at hand. I have had those moments but they are like the butterflies wings. Touch it and your fingers are colored with their skin dust. The Positive Psychology calls it as “Flow.”

Steven Kotler in his article “Flow States and Creativity” in Psychology Today, provides a technical definition of ‘Flow’ as an “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our best.”

I found this state, whenever I have found myself just sufficiently challenged. At the same time, if few of the information were backed by my past experiences, then the combination is a killer one. Within this relative familiarity section I discover my inference of the self in slow disclosing pattern.

Flow according to me is something that happens to your state of being. It is like, I find myself inside a warp-hole where everything is about what I am doing. Somehow, I am accomplishing it but blocking rest of the noise and distraction of my reality. I become engrossed in my own little world that I have made for myself.

But generally a Flow State is a human experience that an employee goes through in professional place, while accomplishing a slightly beyond the reach of the employee’s limit challenge, with their entire focus of attention zeroed in on the task.

There are many books on the working of human brain that have explained how the various processes happen within the brain. Encyclopedia Britannica even goes to the extent of explaining that the brain processes less than 50 bits in a second.

Psychologists in their line of research have found that when a brain is engrossed completely to exclusion all other distraction, then the subject under study is experiencing the “Flow state.”

A Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi who was the pioneer of Flow research has found such wealth of information about this state. He founded the Positive Psychology and propagated ‘Flow’ concepts. He began his research in 1975 and since then, much development in the research has happened.

What brings about this state? This state happens at what condition? These and other questions are far more interesting to note. The flow state needs certain individual’s internal physical and psychological weather condition to kick in.

He kick-started his tests with artists and creative types; later he expanded his research work towards other professions too. He used experience sampling method (ESM) to observe the subject under scrutiny.

It was in these tests that he came to know of High-flow and Low-flow states, where he also found out how these states influence his subject under study.

Csikszentmihalyi’s research had brought out the following six factors that result in the occurrence of flow in individuals:

  • Completely intense focused concentration on the current moment
  • Action and awareness become one
  • Loss of reflective self-consciousness
  • Complete control of the involved task
  • Distortion of temporal experience
  • Having an asautotelic or activity providing a intrinsically rewarding experience

He states in his book “Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement With Everyday Life” that “if you are interested in something, you will focus on it, and if you focus attention on anything, it is likely that you will become interested in it. Many of the things we find interesting are not so by nature, but because we took the trouble of paying attention to them.”

In our work day we make a number of choices and decisions. The flow depends on what we choose to do and how we planned to perform it, this then would make our evaluation of our tasks as blur of events or almost art form of accomplishments.

Of late, I am watching the Flow word in my workplace application. My mind goes to the other meaning of the word Flow. When words “work” and “flow” combines in my brain I’m busy thinking about the flow happens within me.

When I get interested in the task I completely forget the office and people around. That kind of state, I actually don’t feel hunger either. I found the trick to be happy in my flow doing any type of writing tasks. The point is, the state of flow is an intense feeling that grips the experiencing person’s complete attention to exclusion of everything.

Within this state one could be close to the state of meditative silence. In this silence creativity can be nurtured and expanded to its relative stretch. Writing act is also a kind of experience that takes over all other distractions into its vortex of creative silence.

I usually have a set of activity such finding a uncluttered spot and use the same device to write. I would begin with reading up a little of the draft or old works to get into a swing. Once the mind kicks in I am ready to give free reign to my imagination.

I absolutely, love to be in that state and to explore until I feel content. Check out for yourself if you can find your flow in blogging or any writing activity!

Research

Flow, the secret to happiness

http://www.ted.com/talks/mihaly_csikszentmihalyi_on_flow?language=en

Alex Vermeer, works for MIRI

http://alexvermeer.com/finding-flow/

Leo Babauta, Zen Writer from San Francisco

http://zenhabits.net/guide-to-achieving-flow-and-happiness-in-your-work/

Pursuit of Happiness

http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/science-of-happiness/getting-in-the-flow/

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

http://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/history-of-happiness/mihaly-csikszentmihalyi/

Quotes

http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/27446.Mihaly_Csikszentmihalyi

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Carroll’s Alice in the Wonderland | My Take

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Book Title: Alice in Wonderland

Author: Lewis Carroll (pen name) | Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (real name)

Translator:  N/A

Rating:   4 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson as a writer was really fantastic and highly imaginative. I found his works completely entertaining in an unique way. His story telling methods are interesting to observe. There is always a difference between telling a story to a child and an adult. I have often observed when I am telling a story to a child which is created for short term entertainment, there is a rough skeletal story line but the embellishing is done based on the child’s sway of interest. That way I find the disjointedness of the story plot is clear to see. The fact that Lewis had to later polish the oral format to written format.

Story in a Nutshell:

A very bored Alice sees a rabbit rushing around with a big watch in his hand. Taken over by curiosity, Alice follows him only to accidentally fall into an endless rabbit hole. Then the adventure in the world found under the ground takes her through various unique creatures and eventually when she opens her eyes she is a slightly disappointed that it was a dream; but then, she is also happy that it was over, since was quiet confusing to experience using a child’s logic. The fact that the underground people are not very logical and fair.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

The innumerable characters that are featured in this novel are truly fascinating to read. There is a sense of wonder to observe how the story line which a non-existent story line still is able to create a sense of a tale that brings together all the characters into a single plot line.

I loved the idea of things growing out of proportion and the constant changing of size could be distracting to some but I found it was a parallel to child’s reality. Just imagine right up to the time a baby in the cradle grows up to become a adult the presence of the adult is dominant. There are times when children are expected to behave their older age child and childhood gets diluted into forced grown up states. The fact is that the storyteller’s intention was not to address an adult in this story, but rather a child and its logic towards issues and other matters.

Each characters is so beautifully interesting and intriguing for a the child and childlike reader. The surprising things for me in this novel were the fact that Carroll used his creativity to bring out the best in the situation for Alice. The idea was not to be moralistic or preachy. The story was more about given a situation how one could logically try to find a solution. But given that all situations were according to the adult perspective could be viewed as ludicrous and nonsensical, but not so to a child.

My Opinion

This novel is a wonderful read and complex mathematical view of a story line plot which I found interesting to read. If you really want to appreciate this book, then try telling a story to a child and hold his or her attention for the given stretch of time. You will be better able to understand and like Lewis Carroll’s nonsense plot.

Image Source:  http://illustratorslounge.com/editorial/alices-adventures-in-wonderland-john-tenniel

Feeding the Child Right

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I feel truly inspired after my solids feeding session with my youngest niece D2 and the idea was to write a fairy tale; but then here I’m writing a CNF. Life is truly a wonderful gift and if one could spend time seeing it with the right attitude.

My nieces and nephews have always been my inspiration. I still remember that I wrote my first short story for my brother’s first daughter N. Then, I wrote a poem for A and for K my brother’s youngest daughter, I wrote a ballad. Then both A and K together created a partially done story-line which was converted into visual medium, my little Minions!

Whereas, in my sister’s children case, I wrote a story for my nephew D and for Niece D2, I was inspired to write a fairy tale. There was such great fun with children. Actually, D2 is watching me write lying on my lap. She wants to type too, but then I have to tell her, that “Dearest, I will give you a chance like your brother.”

Life is all about learning new things and with children you learn a lot more. My first experience with feeding my nieces and nephews began with N when she was returning to her home. We had camped in our eldest uncle’s flat in Mumbai and that is when I had the pleasure to hold N on my lap as she was fed by my SIL.

I watched her eat her solids and something in my heart moved and the story found its nebulous start to form in my mind. It took me more than three months to write that story. I even sent it to my brother to read out to the baby N who will not understand a word of it.

N was the first for so many of first time things story-wise. When we paired up to create imaginary things it used to be complete March Madness and peerless Spring Equinox. I feel that it is easier to write if I used my little family members as audience for my stories. I found stories that used them were more interesting and compelling.

My sister’s son D was so interested in Russian folk tales. I, somehow am attracted to folk tales and fairy tales, which gives me great inner pleasures to explore in great depth. I have a latest collection of folk tales by Nelson Mandela presented by SIL after her Africa vacation.

Even today, I can still feel the magic of watching Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre production of fairy tales. There is much that can be learned and unlearned with children. When we become adults our sense of finding right and wrong becomes too strong. See life with a child’s mind everything will be funny and absolutely comical.

But for the first time D2 inspired me to write a magical realism story. Why not a fairy tale that has a single heroine! It should be her adventure and doesn’t end with her married and living happily ever after in a castle in the far away rich kingdom.

Long time ago in the land far known to all the little people, there was a little baby Rose. Her father was an adventurer who was lost in the search of a unique star outside the rims of the Universe. Rose wanted to find her father, so leaves her mother’s gentle care, and goes in search of her father. With this base, any level of expansion can be done.

But then, where is the magical realism in this?! But then, it is a nebulous and much is unsaid. D2 is interested in the story since she is eager to type. Okay short break. While D2 is happily playing in her Gimboree figuring textures, I get to write.

Both my brother’s and sister’s children are keen readers and their sense of humor is so typical of fun loving children which is part of our family DNA. I enjoy reading magical realism so much, that I feel, the stories with magic in them makes them truly wonderful.

Annotated with my niece’s musical rendition of happiness that can be found in her singing voice, I find that books of fairy tales and folk tales could provide children with innumerable new understanding. Nebulous is expanding and finding it own creative energy which means it is time to write that story.

Image Source: Pexels.com

[Poetry] Exploring Romantic Poets from Britain

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Poetry can quietly get into your mind and create a load of emotions which gives pleasure. I had an especially soft spot for Romantic Poets of Britain. I liked the various movement poets for a unique reason, given that I like to be widely read. But I loved nature worship so much, that Romanticism movement was closer to my likings than other movements.

My best four poets of the Romanticism movement were William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and John Keats. All these poets praised and extolled the power of nature. They explored with words the immeasurable beauty of nature.

I remember reading these Romantic poems as a young girl in my 8th grade. Around that time I had begun experimenting writing down my emotions in a young and formfree poems, which were too emotional and lacking in balance. I never experimented with anything more than four line stanzas based poems since that was the level of my control over the lines happened to be.

But my interest in reading romantic poems was a spiritual experience which I will never trade-off for anything. In the cloak of a poem, one could easily annotate one’s life experiences with sharp words.

These four poems, that I am interested in sharing here carries their own wonderful and different beat. William Wordsworth was far more cheerful than Samuel T Coleridge. Or even for that matter each of these Romantic Poets had their own special style of glorifying Mother Nature.

The pleasure given by each of the above poems is basically unique. It is like there are different emotions running around in our mind. The power of poetry captures within those few words a world of expressions.

Daffodils’ made me feel so spirited and positive. Yet in the presence of such wondrous image of the flowers sway and dipping in synchronous way makes a human heart to feel it deep within their soul.

Frost at Midnight’ brought out the protective mother in me. Though set at a dark place yet it shows sparks of innocence that becomes a prayer for the dear ones that come into our lives.

The Cloud’ was bouncy and almost begging for it to rain its knowledge on me. I always felt that cloud cannot be captured and shut into few verses; but then, P B Shelley just does that.

To Autumn’ made me smile at John Keats way of praising and extolling the greatness of the season. Somehow I like the British Autumn over American Fall. The word ‘Autumn’ has a sensuality to it which a mere ‘Fall’ can never replace.

If I could just take my pick of words from both the variant languages then I will take some from British and some from American and some from Indian English.

Any language for that matter has the power to penetrate into the inner most recess of the human heart and bring about a change. I feel a poem is a combination of a poet’s entire rainbow of emotions. Their personalities become the strongest presence that calls out to human sensitivity.

Not only do I just enjoy the presence of a poem; but also enjoy creating them too. Because of its emotional content I tend to keep my poetry just for myself and share with no one. Yet sometimes there is a secular poem that burst forth for sharing. Those poems are rare and as always have my emotional side coloring it.

Touched and Stirred by Magical Realism

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Book Title: A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Translator:  Spanish to English

Rating:  4. 5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

My mentor recommended reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez to get an understanding of magical realism genre. This was the first story in this genre which unconsciously reflected in the works that I submitted to mentor for one-on-one mentorship. The storyteller was so fabulous with his words and his storytelling methods were so clear, that it was such an easy story to read. Within the space of the format short story the writer created a world which passed through months while creating lovable illusion of the old man.

Story in a Nutshell:

The story revolves around the strange looking old man with huge wings landing at Pelayo and Elisenda’s doorstep. The stranger arrives unexpectedly and leaves as unexpectedly from their house. The whole mystery behind the stranger visit is fresh and full of intrigue for just a short duration. Strange man is popular figure to be looked at and provoked. Pelayo and Elisenda make the most of the situation and make a small fortune from charging for seeing the strange man. The stranger’s uniqueness is overshadowed by another unusual person and people flock up to see that, instead of the strange man, who was getting to be boring to watch. The author played around the stranger walking into the house and how he leaves eventually without making any recognizable difference.

 

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

This story was my first exposure to magical realism and it felt really different from all the other stories. I liked the idea of getting a really supernatural element into the ordinary existence, and then, let it play out its course. This technique was done with great efficiency by the writer. I liked the way the story goes and there was much to explore within that space and the author made full use of that unique space.

There was nothing to dislike about this story and I felt a little disappointed that the people though they declared the stranger to an angel and lost interest on him after a duration. But then, I believe it is exactly the way human being react. Something remains novel and interesting until it satisfies the unique curiosity. The minute the novelty of newness had replaced with over familiarity, it then takes away the novelty. But this is also a fact of life and the author played with it gracefully.

My Opinion

I would recommend reading this short story because it didn’t have a moment when the mind was not turned inside-out in self-questioning. There were such great passages to read in a sitting, that it creates great joy to the reader. People who are looking for complex plots with fine-tuned sensitivity would enjoy Marquez’s stories.

 

Image Source:  http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?507702

 

 

My Lifetime’s Spiritual Reading List

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I read anything and everything. I just try to stay away from judging any of the reading lists that explored. But then I find my thought somehow gets structured by what I read. Though, it would always be subjected to a huge debate in my head.

I’m a lifelong loner and started my long standing relationship with reading since my 3rd grade. So I kept reading a lot of British classics during those visits to library around the corner of Headmistress room corridor. I would skip my lunch sometime or stuff myself to rush to the library.

My first book on Self-help was The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale. It was the first book which was close to spiritual that I read during that time. I was very confused and couldn’t understand the content. But somehow, I kept thinking, that I could change my thoughts to positive as easily as turning the pages of the book.

But nothing happened within me, I still felt bereft. I was also enrolled in the local lending library, that is when, I came to know of T. S. Lobsang Rampa. I was totally taken at the time with occult material such as astral travel and other related topics. I even imagined having such an astral experience, the power of auto-suggestion.

One of my troubles has been that I get taken in by whatever book I am reading. These books are during the time when my personality was getting set into a groove. The confusion pot of thoughts that kept going within me was so difficult to be ordered to behave. The Tibetan phase was during my eleventh standard, and by 12th grade, I got busy with my board exams. After that I kind of lost track with Rampa’s materials.

So when I reached College, then everything opened up. From that point, my reading shifted to Jiddu Krishnamurti and at last I had found something close to my thoughts. The material made sense to me because I loved word confusion. But I was equally not ready to give up my householder position. Even now I am not ready to give up and become a monk. I prefer monk over saint, I don’t qualify really for the other.

So for every spiritual inquiry book that I got interested, then, I will read two Romance novels to balance it. See it takes two romance novels to even out one spiritual query book for me. That was my way of saying that I will not just vanish into thin air of unidentified state of commonality. Even with the advanced thinker such as JK’s work; I used to read a combo sections where he would describe a scene and gave the lesson behind it.

It was such fun period to read all the various spiritual books and self-help books. I was like reading at least one book per week during that phase of my life. Around my post-college years when I was having trouble finding something different. Around then, I took a Pranic Healing class as per my cousin’s advice. That kind of linked me back to Rampa’s astral reading days.

During that time my cousin who is from Kashi and was a great Vedic Pandit shared a book with me and my life took another turn. It was titled “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield. Synchronicity in which everything is happens for a reason got so much resonance with me that I was grabbed by my childish inquiry scruff and shaken.

Then, life became so interesting because I began noticing people and thought that they had a message for me. Of course, every interaction is a message for being a better person in real-life. Even these days I do read books by Robin Sharma and others to cheer myself up to find motivation.

Right now I am almost become someone who is very balanced but occasionally I lose it but only to gain it back with self-debate. I have read books by Deepak Chopra, Stephen R Covey, Thich Nhat Hanh, Robin Sharma’s “The Monk who sold his Ferrari” the first among the many series of self-help books.

Super Soul Sunday of Oprah Winfrey, Talk shows on motivation by Solomon Pappaiah on Tirukkural, Suki Sivam’s talks and all those Santana dharma by Velukkudi Krishnan and Harikatha discourses by Vishaka Hari and lot of others happened once I shifted from reading to listening.

Then came the days when I would practice meditation at least for 30 minutes every day which I would religiously follow. These days I can find meditative state by merely being. I still have a long way to go spiritually; but the journey was one of many wrong turns and twists. In all this, I still feel a connection with everything in this world.

I have truly forgiven everyone who hurt me during my growing years and I don’t get hurt that fast these days. Even if I do, there are many ways to find peace from within. There are actually no sadness in my life since peace from within resides inside which is such a pleasant feeling. I live my life in Mindfulness these days and find God at every turn welcoming my life with zest.

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Tagore’s Package of Unforgettable Characters

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Book Title:  The Very Best Short Stories of Rabindranath Tagore

Author: Rabindranath Tagore

Translator:  N/A

Rating:  4.5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Tagore was always a fascination for me. In the very early formative years, I had read the Kabuliwahal piece from a borrowed and dog-eared copy of the short stories by this author. His way of telling a story is really appealing for two main reasons.

One is that he takes his time narrating; while ensuring to maintain the reader’s interest in the plot. Another reason is that, I found ancient voices talk to me with familiarity which was endearing to me in my mind.

Every story seemed well contemplated and effortlessly wrote. Be it The Postmaster, Kabuliwahal, Subha, or The Castaway every single story left a feeling of satisfaction; while encouraging being a creative thinker who is progressive.   Tagore was change-maker using one word at a time fitted in neat concepts.

Story in a Nutshell:

These are collection of stories about people in and around Kolkata and West Bengal. These stories are set in late days when the British Government was replaced with self-governance of India. The entire psyche of the Bengalis and of the immigrants makes an impact on the story plot; while providing a beautiful canopy of experiences for the readers. It is wonderful cosy blanket weaved into short plots that carried human emotions and feeling with great precision.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I really love the idea of short stories. Short pieces are hard to write; but great to read. The workmanship of Tagore in these pieces is really worth more than one reading. I am still trying to learn from the style that Tagore used for his short stories. There is never a moment of boredom in these stories; which happily amble their way to the finish. I didn’t have any dislike about the pieces but maybe I wanted to read more stories by Tagore.

My Opinion

I feel that this is a great book for beginning readers because it is reflective and simple at the same time. I would recommend it to students of 6th grade without any fear of censorship for some of the stories. But there are some adult stories too in the collection. The stories are euphemistically done with an eye-for-perfection.

Image Source: Embassy Book

Snapshot of a Reporter’s Life in Karachi

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Book Title:  Karachi, You’re Killing Me!

Author: Saba Imtiaz

Translator:  N/A

Rating:  3 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

 

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Saba Imtiaz as a storyteller is very refreshing and new. I enjoyed working my way through her novel. Her fiction has been done with a frisky style on really serious issues, while maintaining a balance; if one could have a balance in the very many chaotic conditions. I liked the way her narration flowed like a stream of consciousness and Karachi from the protagonist’s point of view.

Story in a Nutshell:

A 20-years-old Beat Reporter’s life is captured with vivid description and casual carelessness to stark realities of life in Karachi. Ayesha Khan finds her partner after all her internal confusion and self-analysis. Meanwhile, the backdrop of Karachi becomes a character by itself and acts as a catalyst to bring the two main characters together. As usual, it is “they lived happily ever after story” with, maybe, Ayesha getting more footage in the story.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked the conversational tone of the novel and the way you get to spend time in the mental space of Ayesha. The main character has been beautifully done and the facts of Reporter’s life have been stated without making them glorious or gory. It was a fine balance that Saba Imtiaz has achieved.

I disliked takeaway images of Karachi which were filled with dark sides and the lighter side was somehow buried down. But the storyline was aiming for a more positive look even in a very downhill political situation.

My Opinion

I really liked reading this book for its more insightful social life after sun down. Life in Karachi had unique look and feel to it. The fact is that I had no other comparisons to make with any pre-existing images of Karachi. So the city was fascinating to read and to see in my mind’s eye.

 

Image Source: https://books.google.co.in/books/about/Karachi_You_re_Killing_Me.html?id=os_JAgAAQBAJ&source=kp_cover&redir_esc=y

Prequel to Jane Eyre | A Compelling Read

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Book Title:  Wide Sargasso Sea

Author: Jean Rhys

Translator:  N/A

Rating:  3.5 of 5 Stars

Get Your Copy:  Amazon | Flipkart | SnapDeal

A Bird’s Eye View

About the Storyteller:

Jean Rhys as a storyteller was rather complicated for me. But the scenes that she created in the story were really compelling to read for me. Her writing style kind of awakened in a sense of despair that comes from the fact that darker side of life has prominent place.

The narration took on a self-obsessed shade of dark things which appealed to my sensitivity. But then the energy expands to the spaces given importance. I felt even her happy moments in the story were colored by deep-rooted sadness. There was no hope anywhere in the narration and that felt a little sad.

Story in a Nutshell:

The story is a prequel to Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. Story is about the mysterious character in the novel Jane Eyre. The imprisoned person kept in hiding mentally unstable and Wide Sargasso Sea explores her journey to that state. The journey of the character from her life as a child to her marriage gets explored in this novel.

The fact that the novel is beautifully dark and intense, I was able to finish the book in two sittings in the cold of Fall. I have never felt so connected with the story as I did with this novel.

Review

My Likes and Dislikes

I liked the pace of the story very much. The point is some writers’ narrative is easy to capture than a few others. With this particular novel I had no trouble with the style and narration. The fact that it explored the dark side of human life and disappointments of many forms, it felt like spinning in a vortex of confusion. The viewpoint of the narrative took turns with different characters gave it an unique quality of storyline that I liked a lot.

One thing that I disliked was the fact that Rhys should have kept to a singular narrator which would have given it the power. But then, that could be my quirk for specific preferences in books that I read with care.

My Opinion

I would recommend this book for serious reading with open-mindedness towards the starkness that you will find the story. This book opened up my understanding so many dark sides of my character too. Great read for once.

Image Source: https://thebookexperience.wordpress.com/2013/08/25/mad-women-wide-sargasso-sea-by-jean-rhys/

Larking at Larkin Main Branch Library in SFO

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Larkin’s Main Branch Library was my hangout space on days when I felt that I made a wrong choice to study MFA in Writing at CCA. Especially, during the winter my mood swings were really bad, I made sure that I picked my mood dead carcass to the Library. The choice was between Mission Library and Larkin Main Branch. Mission won mostly.

During my stay in San Francisco, I was entirely dependent on Google Maps for directions to any place in US. It was almost close to real address. I am a person who gets lost in my bedroom, so it was quite a challenge to reach places. But it used to be so exciting to take that printout at the Writer’s Studio, kind family members house or even jotting it down on a piece of paper.

This also meant that I had to plan my visit to the place way ahead of the time, since I needed the printout of the directions. I would only take printout of those directions, which are really crucial; but for the rest, I would depend on writing it down.

Surprising thing about the Google Maps would be, that you can actually plan to the last minute of your travel plan. Of course, I took longer to walk to the BART and Muni stops, so I would plan a couple of minute earlier departures from my start point.

So the first time that I went to Larkin Library was on a sunny chill morning of October. I needed to find some material which the Mission Library indicated as available in the Main Branch.

It was pretty much easy to go to Larkin Street, if I took the BART from 24th Mission Station to Civi Center Station. I would find a spot to sit down to dream away hugging my backpack.

My backpack was special because it had everything that I needed. There have been times, when I felt, if I started to walk away with just my backpack, then I really didn’t need anything at all.

The interesting thing about going to the Main Branch Library was that I would be confused which exit to take. It happened every single time I get out of the Civi Center Station, even if I have visited the place almost many times, I would get lost and have to figure the place despite my jotted directions. I simply don’t get the left or right directions and get confused very quickly.

I had very few friends and I tried not to disturb them with my pestering company. But I must say my friends in US were really interesting people, who I enjoyed spending time with. The pull of a quiet library is very stronger than talking with people. I still remember the day when I shared silence with a fellow writer Veronica. She didn’t mind my being quiet and talking intermittently.

That’s one thing you can say for the friends from CCA, they provided me space to just shut off and remain silent. I read so many of their works for the workshop and I wished that I could talk to them about it on a one-on-one bases. But my shyness got the better of me and I couldn’t really talk to them all. I always landed not stating what I felt about the piece even in the workshops.

My first semester was such a huge stress for me. I didn’t know the place but it was not strange that I was in a new place. Since I could connect to the place at a higher level, it was the people that I needed my energies to settle down. Once I settle down, then it is so easy to converse.

One fine October Sunday in 2010, my mood swings were really high and I needed the calm space of the library. I got ready and started towards the Larkin branch library and religiously jotted down the details of the directions. It so happened that I had arrived early to the destination. So I had to hang out until the library opened for the day.

Out there at the location, I found a Sunday market and hung around to look at things being sold in temporary stalls. There was this sense of places mixing in my head and I remembered markets of Singapore and Chennai. All my commerce day lessons came rushing to my mind.

The sense of place in my life is very connected and especially when I needed to find my inner balance. After hanging for about an hour the library doors opened and I went in.

My first impression of the library could be summed up in a word, Palace. The architecture of the library was so Roman and I felt like Alice floating in air. For the first visit, I was just hanging out there on polished floor and tall rooms. I felt I might have lost a few inches, since I felt the rest of the people were taller than me.

I remember the grey shades of the library warmed by brown shades of desks, shelves and splatter of colors that were the bound books. The first visit was just spent walking around the place. It was only in my second visit that I even try to take out the book that I had searched in Mission Library.

I relaxed to the moment spent in the library and my peace restored with my confidence in me to go on. There is no amount of talking can get me to calm down, as much as a visit to a library can accomplish. Larkin Main Branch Library was my angel in disguise.

Image Source: https://sfpl.org/