The year began with unsure steps. An unsure day steps in with an unsure Sun. I have not blogged since quite some time, though I wanted to. What I wanted to blog on was very commonplace and usual for the moment- the New year Resolutions. The exercise of New Year resolution made no sense for various reasons. For one, New Year in itself is an absurd concept. New year occurs as the Earth completes one revolution around the Sun. The idea of New year is hypothetical, to put it kindly and absurd, to put it bluntly. We are trying to invent to the starting point of a circle, what can be more stupid than that? But we still, in spite of foretold stupidity and absurdity of the idea, celebrate new year. We not only want a New year, methinks, we need New Year. It is the foothold on the slippery slopes of time which looks into the abyss of infinity. A time to pause, to think of what we have been doing wrong, correct it and to ponder over what we have been doing right and to throw all your weight over doing those things better. It is a time to love and forgive, and for this and this only it would be necessary to invent New Year, even if there weren’t anything such. As GK Chesterton puts it in a sentence, more profoundly than the paragraph I wrote above as, "The object of New year is not that we should have a new year, but rather that we should have a new soul."
Coming to resolutions, they have never worked for me. I would make them as a silent solemn promise to myself, a secret in my heart and then abandon them with impunity. I pride myself in caring little about public opinion, but then I have been without any trouble avoiding my own spite every time I failed in keeping up with my resolution. I hid the resolutions in a dark place where nobody could seem them and then pretended never having made them. So this year, I wanted to put my resolution on the web for everyone to see. I wanted to shame myself for every slip I make there. So here I go with my resolutions for the year 2014:
1. Disciplining the ordinary, the day to day life. I tried it earlier towards the end of the year and then failed flat on my face in utter failure. That was about getting up early in the morning before six in the morning. It seems such an ordinary, and vulgar and easy to do. I did try to do it for five days, then slipped, caught up again and then slipped with sense of utter failure. The crushing chill of Delhi winter in December didn’t help much. In the immense cold, the resolve froze and I slept. However, the world which the five successful days opened to me was quite an eye-opener. The days was suddenly less hurried and had so much room to accommodate my reading and writing. I slipped but I know I must do it again- waking up early, before six.
2. Write Everyday: This is something every writer worth his salt has said. With time at hand (resolution #1) and some amount of determination, I am sure I will be able to write more. Writing more would not effectively mean churning out more work. It will also mean more quality since I will have enough of writing to throw away for poor quality. With less time and scarce writing, you have so little that it is hard to separate the junk from the really good. I need to write more, so that I can pick and choose the best to keep. Also, more writing will mean more possibility to cleanse, to polish, to cut and beautify.
3. Finish the Novel by March, 2014- Time is passing and with most people would churn the best of their works by thirty, I am delayed by a decade. It is not about talent, it is about discipline and it is about labor. Writing is many things, novel, poetry, short-story, book-review and blog.
4. Finances- This is one tricky thing. Booking an apartment found me looking at the bottom of my account. I shall try to recover to a bare basic respectability in terms of finances. This I don’t know how, but will try save some money, which again, I do not know how.
5. Ration Social media- Creating the social platform is very important especially for an author not supported by multi-million Dollar contracts from a strong publishing house. For others, it is important to get the word flowing. Why do we write if not to be read? It might look bourgeois but then writing is communications and beneath the pretense, it needs two entities for successful writing. We want to and need to be read. But the issue with Social media is that it is so addictive. Platforms like twitter carries a bitter undercurrent with people rarely talking to each other, rather talking mostly at each other. With ease of posting the comments, it is easier to get trapped into the narcissistic journey of feigned wisdom of 140 characters. It spoils the mood in long run and kills creativity. I shall devote defined time to it, treating it as occasional indulgence.
6. Carry a journal- It has been long since I wrote by hand. The secret beauty of writing by hand is that it allows the writing to slow down and stay in tune with the thinking. I wrote earlier in the notes of Electro-Magnetic Force and Power System Analysis. I am resolving to once again try writing by hand in a small journal. Something tells me from inside that it will be good for my writing.
7. Exercise- It is a wrong notion that literary or creative people overlook their health. Creative art is a sign of mature mind and no mature mind can overlook the benefits of good body. Most writers as any reader of behavioral patterns of writers would tell us, take long walks, fence or swim even if they weren’t marathon runner like Haruki Murakami. It is irrational and absurd to think that by ignoring body we can cultivate mind. (Please read Writing- An Art of Discipline ) I remember, how light the world was when I was sixty five kilograms and I am going to be the same weight again this year, lighter in body and lighter on soul. It is sad to be down with migraine ten days a month and disappointing the daughter who wants to play. It all is rooted in the lack of exercise. Knowing has to be converted to action. Mind puts enormous responsibility on the person, which we cannot shrug away. We can fool ourselves into believing that nutrition or in the worst cases, talking about food and calories can reduce weight. It cannot, it takes action and anything lesser is foolish attempt at denial.
Beyond this seven point resolution, and facilitated by these seven resolution what I am to do is to live life- If I am able to cover the seven points above, Living life will be easier, more possible. One cannot stop living and be writing. Your writing comes from your life and if you stop living your writing is only a pretense, a cunning play of crafty vocabulary. We have to guard ourselves against this. We need to live and write as necessary forces, each feeding on the other. I have also fixed up some books to be finished this year- reading and re-reading Shakespeare plays, read Ray Bradbury, Leo Tolstoy – Anna Karenina and War and Peace. I consider reading as a part of writing, for I firmly believe, writing well cannot happen without reading well. I will also attempt to write a happy story, possibly under some pseudonym but then that will come under the resolution to write. I am putting forth all resolution, knowing fully well what Sophocles meant when he said, “Men should pledge themselves to nothing; for reflection makes a liar of their resolutions.” I shall however pledge and see if the next year finds me a liar or not.
PS. Please share if you are the kind who make resolutions. How do they work for you?