Sunday, 31 December 2017

Nothing much happened

2017 was probably my worst year of reading and writing in recent memory. I read very few books, short stories, essays and poetry, and reviewed even less on my blog. I was preoccupied with personal and professional labours, even as commuting to work and back got more stressful, which left me with little energy to read or blog. 
© Bill Waterson

As the year wore on, my visits to other blogs declined. It was the one thing I missed the most. But a New Year, as Calvin tells Hobbes, is a "new beginning" and full of "new possibilities" and I look forward to reconnecting with my fellow readers and bloggers. In fact, it's the first thing I'm going to do in 2018, starting tomorrow.

Some of you may have noticed that I'm quite active on social media but that's only because I mostly post on the go, waiting for a bus, an autorickshaw or a suburban train and sometimes during actual commute when I'm in no mood to read. What I didn't achieve reading and blogging, I more than made up with social media—I doubled my followers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and, more recently, Instagram. It's another thing that I know less than 50 per cent of my connections. I have also been listening to a lot of old music and playing a lot of chess and Scrabble on Android. I have been playing the two board games since I was a kid, thanks to dad.

During the year I watched many films and serials, mostly Netflix originals including Marvel's stand-alones—Daredevil, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Iron Fist—though I still have to watch their combined miniseries The Defenders. I enjoyed Godless (western) and Alias Grace (psychological), both six-part limited series. Alias Grace is based on Margaret Atwood's Booker-nominated novel, which I have not read. Beasts of No Nation, the story of a child soldier in a war-torn African country, was a disturbing film. Idris Elba's character as the rebel warlord lacked depth.

For some reason, I also binge-watched Jason Statham's crime flicks on Netflix and I quite enjoyed it all; his films reminded me of the hard-boiled thrillers I often read. A couple of plots were straight out of a James Hadley Chase or a Lionel White, particularly the two caper movies The Italian Job and The Bank Job.

I also watched Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things, which "Examines the many flavors of minimalism by taking the audience inside the lives of minimalists from all walks of life—families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and even a former Wall Street broker—all of whom are striving to live a meaningful life with less." I found it interesting though there was nothing new about the "less is more" principle; mystics have been advocating it for centuries. We just need to be reminded of it every now and then. To be honest, I have been hoarding books when I should be reading and giving them away, at least the ones that aren't going to be a part of my collection. 

© www.theminimalists.com

On the writing side, well, I'm still writing; struggling actually, with time constraints and writer's block, though the latter is a self-created myth. It's an excuse not to write and watch a movie, instead. I have incomplete short stories, a novel I've only recently started working on, and a work of nonfiction that I hope will make people feel good about themselves. I'm going to persist with these projects in 2018, try and write every single day, and work to a deadline.

© Juggernaut Books
On a slightly positive note, I published my first short story, A Little Murder at Dinner, at Juggernaut Books, a Delhi-based writing platform. It's an atmospheric tale about a cop and his wife, and set around a couple of murders.

Here is an extract from that story:

“Do you really think she did it, Harry?” Trisha’s voice was almost a whisper.

Hemmady shrugged, “The Dina I knew a long time ago couldn’t have done it. Now I’m not so sure. People change and that’s not always good. Sometimes bad things happen. I think she and Rana decided to get back together, maybe for Jenny’s sake, maybe for the money, and it all went wrong. I feel for Jenny. She didn’t deserve any of this.” 

“Will you be okay, Harry? I mean, you’re going to see her...,” Trisha’s voice trailed off.

“I’ll be fine, Trish. It’s just another homicide.”

She didn’t stress the point. They both knew it was more than that.


So that's how the year was—nothing much happened. But I do hope to make things happen in 2018, particularly where my writing is concerned.

20 comments:

  1. Congratulations Prashant for the story. Has it been published in an anthology?

    A Happy 2018 to you and your loved ones.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy New Year to you too, Neer! "A Little Murder at Dinner" is a stand-alone story. The writing platform is open to anyone and includes both fiction and nonfiction.

      Delete
  2. Happy New Year, Prashant. Looking forward to reading your story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy New Year, Elgin! Thanks for the support. I'm looking forward to blogging again.

      Delete
  3. Glad to hear about your short story, Prashant. And it is good to hear how you have been. I also like Jason Statham's movies and particularly The Bank Job. I have one of the books by the guys who wrote Minimalism. I haven't read much of it yet but I thought it would be inspiring to read. I agree, nothing new in the basic idea of "less is more".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Tracy, Happy New Year to you and everyone at home. I'm familiar with minimalism as a living principle because it is ingrained in most Indian spiritual culture. Reading about minimalism is easy, practicing it is not.

      Delete
  4. I wouldn't call having your story published 'nothing much,' Prashant! That's wonderful! As far as the rest, well, some years are like that. Happy New Year, and wishing you all the very best for 2018.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Margot. I hope to get my act together, make more time for reading and writing on weekends, if not most weekdays.

      Delete
  5. I'll start by saying congratulations on the short story. I watched Alias Grace as coincidentally I'd been given a copy of the book earlier in the year and loved it - the six part adaptation kept relatively close to the book too, probably because Margaret Atwood was keeping an eye on everything.
    Have a wonderful 2018 full of books, games and writing and hopefully less stress on the commute and work front.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cleo! Wishing you a wonderful year, too. I liked ALIAS GRACE and particularly Grace Marks' (Sarah Gadon) character, her composure and the way she delivered her dialogue. Some of these Netflix originals are well plotted and shot. Now I want to read Margaret Atwood's book and draw comparisons.

      Delete
  6. Happy New Year Prashant! I hope your 2018 goes well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Bill. Happy 2018 to you and your family!

      Delete
  7. All good wishes to you and your family for 2018. Much joy prosperity and happiness always.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mystica. I wish you and your family the same. I look forward to visiting your blog and reading your reviews of a variety of books.

      Delete
  8. Welcome back Prashant. I hope 2018 is a success for you on all fronts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to be back, Col. I hope it is for you too. May books continue to bring us together in 2018!

      Delete
  9. I watched more TV this past year than usual too. Particularly enjoyed the new The Orville.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will check out THE ORVILLE, Charles. I watched some good stuff on Netflix, which I'll have to cut back on 2018 if I'm to meet my reading and writing goals.

      Delete
  10. happy New Year Prashant! It would be great to see more of your blog in 2018, but you sound as though you are happily getting on with life and enjoying yourself anyway...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy New Year to you too, Moira! "Getting on" is right though I'd like to "get somewhere" in the next one or two years. One can only do so much with a 9-to-5 writing job.

      Delete