Tag Archives: Fear

The Music Of An Ex

Your voice still terrifies me. If anger were energy, you’re a nuclear reactor. But I only saw the gravity, I only heard the pain, I only felt your fear. And inside your head, for you, I became everything I could see. No wonder you hate me.

Now, every now and then, I listen to you, I watch you from afar. And what’s visible now is enough to scare me away. The trouble is memory is so weak at repelling. The minute I’m beyond the bounds of remembering, I come back to listen, to hear, to watch and to fear.

You wear the face of the unfamiliar, the strange, the uncomfortable. But your anger is known, like a well-remembered accident, a bone that never really healed and aches up every time it rains. It’s only ever raining when I think of you.

The scars on my arms have healed. And the lines on my face turned to pretty poetry, gritty poetry. But in the murky whirlpool of emotion, you still linger. How do you paper plane music? Because, yes, you were right, it is music.

Inertia

Inertia
…is what keeps us stuck in dead-end jobs, watching other people build grand stories of their lives.

It’s what makes it so hard to get out of bed, even when you can see it’s lovely weather outside and it’s a weekend.

It’s what keeps you from falling asleep even when you know tomorrow is a big day and you can’t afford to be even the teensiest bit tired.

It’s what’s keeping me all dressed up, work complete, staring at the grey-free sky (after a week)…from indoors.

Tiny Tales: The Day You Should Have Stayed In Bed

The day stretches on like a chewing gum that’s lost its flavour a long time ago. Yet, you won’t spit it out. Maybe you’ll swallow it and feel a twinge of guilt as you remember your biology teacher telling you that it’ll stick to the inside of your stomach and ruin your digestion. Memories of school always depress you. How can anyone call them ‘the best years of their lives’? Such horrible lives those people must have now. They must be lying. All you remember of school is sarcastic teachers, leering bullies and the breath-choking fear that a single red mark can produce.

It’s a hot day, the kind you’ve missed the past two months, feeling awkwardly guilty about it since the whole world is waxing eloquent about how nice it is to have winter in this city for a change. But all it makes you want to do is close your eyes and go back to sleep. If only the blanket didn’t feel so prickly. The delicious comfort of the woolen blanket is gone with January. Now you feel slightly disloyal to summer.

With massive effort, the kind that no one else could possibly understand or appreciate, you heave out of bed and brush your teeth. You remember to water the plants, trying hard to smile at the fact that the basil leaves planted a week ago are finally taking root. But as you move away from the window, your smile drops like actors must drop their costumes the minute they’re off-camera. In the brooding non-thinking that follows, you manage to tidy up the room, make the bed and run a load of wash. Enthused by the thought that maybe that was just waking up grumpiness that ailed you and that activity will make you feel better, you run a second round of wash on the cotton sheets. Time to clean them and get them ready for summer. Yeah Yeah! Yeah! The washing machine rings and gets running and shows that it’ll take 67 minutes for the ‘Blanket’ cycle of the wash. *Sigh*

Twelve minutes are successfully wasted checking email, messages and comments. When the phone rings, it’s forty minutes over already. And you’re trolling weird articles on random sites, feeling shittier at the thought of the scumbags who share the online world – and the offline – with you. The phone is jumping up at you, admonishing you for your useless, wasted little life. You stare at it, defiance being all that you have the energy for. And you hit ‘Silence’ vindictively. But the flashing light even on the muted phone gives you no sense of real satisfaction.

Satisfaction, that’s an elusive concept. Do you even remember what that felt like? You must have been satisfied once. You must have been happy once. You’re usually a happy person. That’s how the world knows you. And does it?

You’re all alone in the white-yellow brightness, in the throbbing aliveness of summer. Then the doorbell rings and you know you’re not. You’ll never be alone just when you want to be left alone. Enough already. Defiance deepens to something else. The heat behind your eyelids is sinking down into your breath. And suddenly you remember how to turn that into energy. You could be a poster-child for both, Freud and Einstein.

The doorbell is still ringing, the sounds getting closer. You imagine the doorbell getting pushed…the finger that pushes it…jabs it…RING….RING…RRRRIIINNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGG.

That’s the last thing you remember.

“No more questions, milord.”

This post also appears on Social Mantra.

At A Loss For Words

What do you call a couple of conversationalists who’re afraid to speak?

“Lost in translation.”

I grieve for the words we’ve lost.

Reverb 10.17: The Inner School Of Life

Another Reverb10 prompt that I’m not really feeling. Maybe there are just too many of them crammed into a month and too similar to each other. It’s boring to keep writing about the same thing in different words.

December 17 – Lesson Learned

What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

(Author: Tara Weaver)

It has been a year (and more) of learning. I don’t mean that in an ‘every minute we live, we learn’ way. It’s actually like I enrolled in the School of Life, taking Remedial lessons for having missed out on all the great stuff in the past decade.

The learning comes not from experiences, but from reflecting on them. And things continue to happen at such a rapidfire rate, I’m still making sense of them. What I feel I’ve ‘learnt’ now comes from stuff that happened months, even years ago.

I’ve learnt that the person I was a decade ago was a much better one than the woman I worked so hard to turn into in these past ten years. Stronger, nicer, warmer, more alive and definitely better. I’ve learnt that that girl hasn’t vanished completely. Most of all, I’ve learnt that I can’t go back to being seventeen and neither can I realistically wipe out the 10-odd years that came after. But I’m learning that I can build a new me with the best of both people since they both were, essentially me. The joy and wonder and warmth of the teenage me with the confidence and stability and independence of the adult me. I guess all the lessons I’m learning have to do with that larger idea.

How I’m choosing to apply it is to not be apologetic or sorry about who I am. There’s stuff I do and think and feel that isn’t cool or convenient or mature or expected. It doesn’t ‘fit’ with my image. But those make me, me, much more than the approval and admiration of everyone else. I’m choosing to hold on to my phobias, my fears, my unique idiosyncrasies even if everyone else in the world thinks they belong in the last century. They’re mine to nurture or work through at will.

Reverb 10.11: What I Don’t Need In 2011 (And How I’m Avoiding Them)

A list! I love lists! And that’s only the first reason why this Reverb 10 prompt has me singing.

December 11: 11 Things

What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?

(Author: Sam Davidson)

Fooo…..yes, I was all enthusiastic and eager and ecstatic (and other good-sounding ‘E’ words) at the thought of a list. But having discovered the list is (again!) about things that one has to bid goodbye to, my E stuff feels D’ed (dampened, defeated, disgusted, demeaned, disillusioned, devastated…).

11 Things My Life Does Not Need in 2011 (why not and how I plan to get rid of them):

1. Writer’s block:

I’ve faced this enough of times in the past year and can testify to it being the vilest, most horrible, uncomfortable, lonely, sickening feeling ever. It’s like being constipated for days on end and watching everyone else eat sumptuous tasty meals. It’s like being pregnant for eighteen months, watching your belly bloat to alarming proportions and wondering if the only way out will be for you to burst. *Shudder* Never, ever again, please.

I don’t really have a plan to get rid of the possibility of this but I guess I can keep my proverbial medical kit handy. Good friends, other career options and enough of distractions to tide me over till it passes.

2. Financial worries:

I’ve never been poor. But there have been times when money has felt a little stretched. Add a generous dose of good South-Indian girl guilt to that. That’s when if the outgoing includes items that are not mind-enhancing and matrimonial-prospect-inducing, they’re considered wasteful. Incoming has got to be a steady, predictable flow, no windfalls-followed-by-empty-periods for this one.

Considering I’ve chucked up a sensible, respectable career for a newfangled, alien venture like writing, am well past my sell-by (as prescribed by the Southern powers-that-be) date and show no signs of making up for it, pressure is high. Much of this of course, is self-induced which is the beauty of any childhood-implanted guilt. The recording plays on inside your head, long after the originators of the voices have fallen silent. Anyway, I really do not need the cringing self-doubt of dwindling savings with no albeit tiny-but-definitely-incoming money flow in sight. I don’t believe I have the nerve to go through with being footloose and income-free for very long. Which just means, I’ll run back to the safety and uninspiring boredom of a respectable job, again. And that’s the end of my writing career, my dreams and my self-worth.

How I plan to keep this wolf at bay is by thinking ahead and keeping open to income-generating options. Naturally, I have my pride and conscience and I don’t intend to resort to get-rich quick schemes. But I have chalked up a number of things that I can do and do well. There’s writing of course (all kinds) and also number-crunching, business analysis and a number of other things I’m still discovering. It’s still a tricky thing for me, marketing them in a way that doesn’t sound like I’m full of myself. But very simply, these are retailable skills. Money earned for work done is a simple enough mantra. And fingers crossed that there will be enough of takers for what I’m selling.

3. Emotional distance

One of the first things that I decided I wanted to do, when I quit last year, was to go back to being the person I was a decade ago. Starry-eyed, idealistic, passionate, uncontrollably alive. Also unfashionable, socially outcast and totally uncool. But I wanted that and I wanted it all, no exclusions.

A big revelation happened over the course of the year (through the novel and many wine-soaked conversations with E Vestigio and long distance phone calls with P, L and others). I cut out sarcasm. Then I whittled away at cynicism. I chipped off bitterness. And I’m gnawing away at polite behaviour.

The results are that I’m exploding more than once. I’m often caught at a loss for words or saying the most horribly inappropriate things at the wrong times. But I feel so very alive! The sense of being weighed down is going. Even though I’m actually a few kilos heavier than when I had a rigourous daily schedule, I feel lighter.

I’m not completely there yet but I intend to keep at it. Emotional distance from people and experiences is what I thought kept me sane. But it also kept me stifled, tiny and mostly dead. I’m letting go. Be warned, much madness up ahead but it’ll all be authentic, 100% me.

4. Poor health

Rheumatism. Spondilitis. Diabetes. All things that doctors have been threatening, are creeping up on me.

Malaria. Gastroentitis. Low blood pressure. Vitamin D deficiency. Weak bones. All things that have already made their presence felt in my life.

I was always a skinny kid but also a bundle of energy and I recuperated quickly. The most ironic thing about my health in the past decade was discovering that I was overstressed and vitamin-D deficient. On asking what I could do to get better, I was told to work less and play more!

That seems like wonderful advice to follow (even doctors say nice things sometimes). So I intend to worry less, laugh a lot more, eat well, run around like crazy in the sun – and hopefully live not just longer but better.

5. Unhealthy weight gain

As mentioned above, I was a skinny kid and I grew up into a lean adult. But shortly after I quit my job, I discovered that I was alarmingly fleshy for my snugfit jeans. I ended up getting a new wardrobe (of dresses and skirts) but that niggling belief that I was bloating hasn’t left. Of course I’m duly grateful that it’s only a little weight, that actually does look good on me. But I’m alarmed by the idea that it could just inflate (pun intended) out of control. What’s more, I really don’t want to add cholesterol, heart disease and other things to the repertoire I’ve listed above.

What I plan to do about this, has actually already been set in action. I signed up for yoga six months ago and did follow the regime for a good while. But the schedule didn’t suit me and I fell off the bandwagon. Mercifully for me, I also started swimming, an activity that brings me even more pleasure than health benefits. The weather has gotten a little too chilly to enjoy the swim much but I still managed to get into the pool 4 days last week and complete around 15 or more laps before shivering my way back to the changing room. Maybe I’ll sign up for a dance class too.

Persistence and patience are my friends and I don’t intend to let those sneaky kilos get the better of me.

6. Boredom

The killer of all things creative, happy and joyful, who would be scareder of boredom, than a storyteller (an entertainer)? Thankfully for me, the world is a treasure trove of interesting things and people and experiences.

I’m not going to deaden this by putting a schedule on it. Suffice to say that when something occurs to me, I explore it. A new hobby? An interesting person? A novel idea? I’m a sleuth for interesting experiences and each one I pick up only leads to bigger and greater delights.

7. Control

This is the other card in the evil side’s deck, supporting the first card of boredom. Control by family, by employers, by social norms, by stereotypes. It kills the spirit, it kills my soul and it damages my creativity.

I don’t have a plan to avoid every instance of being controlled by another person or entity. But when I do face one of them, I intend to stand my ground and not cave. Enough died, already.

8. Other people’s problems

Egos. Insecurities. Complexes. Weaknesses. Negative sentiments. I’ve had a strange affinity for all of these from other people. That, coupled with the ability to absorb and expand on all, I feel like I’ve been quite a bundle of other people’s nerves.

It’s rather tricky detaching oneself from these things without imposing emotional distance from them. I don’t get it most of the time. What’s more, standing up for myself has never come easy (no matter what the image may dictate).

No plan on this one either. Just the will to oppose it and hope that practice will make perfect.

9. High bills on clothes, makeup and socializing

This I really, really don’t need. I am no shopaholic but after a decade of denial, I decided to indulge. Now I think, enough of self-pampering and now for some balanced restraint.

This is the other aspect of keeping away financial worries – curbing the unnecessary outgoing along with building the possible incoming. I don’t really have to have expensive shoes that only last a month. Mumbai roads make dust of everything and none of the big shops guarantee any quality on this terrain. High-voltage partying has never been my scene and mercifully the social circle I move around in, doesn’t really cotton to it either. Mostly I am now okay with saying that I can’t afford it and so I won’t. Out with the fabulous lifestyle, in with some peace of mind.

10. Goodbyes to people I’m close to

This is more a fearful wish than an intelligent item on the planning list. Six months of 2010 were spent in trying to cope with saying goodbye to good friends, to notions of loyalty, to dreams of greatness. I know I learn from each of these experiences. But I’ve had a rough, really rough enough ride of it. I’m not sure I’m ready for another dose, just yet.

I can’t think of anything to put under 11 so this is going to be a list of 10. That’s my bit for letting go of control (even my own OCDness)!

Gentleman

I run with my words
Racing my thoughts
Getting ahead of my emotions
Because I’m scared you’ll turn away before I’m done

But then I pause
To catch my breath
And realise you’re still listening
And also that I’ve forgotten what I was saying

Then you hold me close
In a way I’ve never known
But, which makes me forget
How life was before it began

When, at length,
We move apart,
You look just as you always do
Gruff and gentle

You consider my frantic
“What? What? What?”s
And tell me I have a lot of fears, many I need not,
And then you hug me again

I giggle and thank you
When you ask, “For what?”
I reply, “For being the man in gentleman”
“Also the gentle in gentleman”, I add afterthought

You feel like home. You feel like mine. My very own. Home.

Flying Solo: Airport @ InOrbit Mall

Their practice run inspired this post. And here’s what came out of attending a real gig. Airport played at InOrbit Mall, Malad on 8 May 2010 for the AND-‘Share The Wealth’ initiative for World Fair Trade Day.

This is not a review but what came after the concert. Art is impression and expression both at once. And endless circle of communication. Thank you once again, guys.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~O~

Love. I’ve been thinking about it.

Once, the idea was embedded in a setting of fear. Fear of missing the one, fear of hurting him, fear of being hurt, of losing him, of losing face, losing a dream, of being broken irrevocably by it. Love.

Those fears have ceased. I didn’t get over them. Experiencing something you greatly fear is a settling, if not disappointing experience. Things are rarely as scary as we imagine. Or perhaps we just imagine the worst possible without also imagining healing, recovery and the peace that follows. Yes, we are paralysed by what we imagine until reality sets us free.

There’s a line in ‘Gone With The Wind’ which says it is not good for a woman to lose her fears. I fear (only, heh) that it may be true of me now. So much that seemed too big or mysterious or threatening is commonplace, even mundane now. The horror is gone, the worry dissolved and so is the hope of rescue, the thrill of release. If the purpose of a difficult experience is to harden you, what happens when you don’t need the protection any more? After slaying the dragons, what good are the arrows you’ve collected and the skill you’ve acquired? Redundancies make for heavy company.

An evening of sweet romantic music, about love, under the stars. I enjoyed it alone. I didn’t dream of someone to share it with. I didn’t want to socialize or even talk to anyone new. And when it was over, I walked around a bit with AmZ who’s hobbling about on a sprained ankle. Being with AmZ isn’t socializing. It’s just being.

We chatted of this and that and then we parted ways. There’s an emotion between passion and indifference. It feels like acceptance and yet it’s more. It’s that inability to label a person. Not because ‘it’s complicated’. But because you know they are so much more than who they are with you, larger than what you perceive of them. They are the past you’ve shared and the easy camaraderie that resulted but they are beyond that. It’s not your place to define it, just to be thankful for what you do have and rejoice in all else, even that which you are not given to sharing with them.

As I sit in the food court of the mall later, writing this, a kid walks by, his face messy with the icecream that his nose is buried in. And it occurs to me, that this child and every other running about on this crowded Saturday evening…each of them, is here because somewhere sometime two people kissed and made love. There would be the loveless unions, of course. But doesn’t it seem like such ‘normal’ everyday instances of life that one is given to noticing in a suburban mall, can only exist in the sharing of everyday lives? Yes. Love is all around me.

Love.
It’s tripping over a fallen poster. It’s fighting over who gets to use the toilet first.
It’s explaining that the traffic is hell and that parking is a nightmare. It’s scowling and asking the waiter to come back after 10 minutes when its companion has arrived.
It’s fighting and making up. It’s fighting and staying angry.
It’s writing and singing love songs in public.
It’s blushing and frowning, both at once.
It’s staring up at the stars enjoying itself. It’s lovely.

Thank you for the ride, Airport. Abhi to seekha hain, indeed. The best is already here and there’s more to come.

~O~O~O~O~O~O~O~

Airport‘s songs are Hindi and of the sweet, balladic variety. They sound really good in the open air. Sultry weather notwithstanding, the mood suits their music. I’m not sure I have a favorite yet but I’m leaning towards Seher with a ear cocked in the direction of ‘Abhi toh‘.

If you like this post, drop into Airport‘s MySpace page to sample their music. Updates on their future gigs are posted on their Facebook page. Airport is Arijit Datta, Vinay Lobo, Sidd Coutto and Amit Ahuja. Sapna Bhavnani (of Mad O’ Wot fame) supports them. Now, I do too. 🙂

NovelRace Week 10: Everything But The Novel

I’m going to touch upon a number of things in this post, none about the novel itself, but all of them in some manner related to it.

I haven’t written a word all week. I could use the fashionable ‘writer’s block’ as an excuse but I don’t think that’s quite it. I am still able to write, technically. That is to say, the words are there and so is the story. But – in a nutshell – I’m freaking out.

A conversation ensued with my in-house coach/ pop-psychologist/ critic/ father. He told me about an incident from his college days, staying in a hostel during vacation. He was one of the 4 or 5 people remaining in a building that normally housed over a 100. One night, after grabbing a bite in town (the hostel mess was shut too), he started back for the hostel. It was a dark, rainy night and he had to alight at a bus-stop on the main road, cut across a football ground and circle a deserted college building to get to the main hostel. Along the way, he remembered that on that particular night, he was going to be the only person on campus. On the heels of this, came the realization that he was standing bang in the middle of a football field, lightening flashes making for scary effects in the otherwise pitch darkness, in pouring rain. Neither the road nor the hostel were visible. And in either case, there wouldn’t be a soul in sight at that hour.

As he was telling me this, my mind started up a memory of its own. You know how it is, the projector room inside your head, follows schedules of its own. I thought about when I was 11, an age young enough for the muscles to be mint-fresh for trying but also old enough to have developed and learnt fears. I was in a diving pool 40feet deep and I was petrified of heights (and depths). I remember looking up into the sky and wondering,

What am I doing here? How did I ever get here?

I did remember getting into the pool, starting the lap but it felt like that was someone else; someone who had kidnapped my body but abandoned it – and me – midway. Believe it or not, I had been swimming with my eyes closed (eyes open underwater was too scary, it was so green and murky) and I had managed to hit dead-center of the pool exactly at the moment that I stalled. The sky was grey and there were drops of water starting to come down. On either side, there were people walking around, talking, getting in or out of the pool. I could hear them in spasmodic bursts as my ears bobbed in and out of the water. None of them were even looking in my direction and I doubted they’d be able to hear me even if I spoke. I was going to die and no one would notice till it was too late.

Both these stories are apt metaphors for where I am with the novel, right now. After two months, the initial headiness that blinds one to obvious practical difficulties has worn out. At 137 pages of 46,442 words and the much coveted no.5 rank in the race, I’ve gone too far into the book to be able to just crumple up the page and chuck it into the waste-paper basket. And the end is nowhere in sight. There is the added pressure of the realization that I have no ground beneath me. I quit my secure job a couple of months back. Admittedly I was confident then, of being able to get back when I liked and in my saner moments, that still holds. Yet, it has been such an unaccountably disorienting feeling, this loss of identity. I never realised that my identity was so strongly defined by my job and my career. Now that I’m not an employee of such-and-such company, boss of team of X people, owner of that desk in the corner…..who am I? For awhile it felt curiously exciting to be able to say ‘writer’. (‘Sabbatical’ feels old after I did that over four years ago). But it is just such shaky ground that may materialize or it may turn out to be just quicksand. Yes, I am freaking out.

Okay, another thought. I’ve been laid up sick in the past week as well. I’ve had blood tests, malaria checks, antibiotic courses run, re-prescribed, cancelled and now a change of doctors. In my sheer gloom at having to ‘lie still and be quiet’, I picked up ‘Tea-time for the Traditionally Built’ by Alexander McCall Smith. I bought it in June but have been saving it up like a precious treat for just the right moment. It is after all the newest installment of the Mma.Ramotswe books and who knows when the next one will come out? McCall Smith isn’t J.K.Rowling in popularity though I daresay he could teach her (and several others) a few things about good writing. Undiagnosed and prolonged illness merited a reward I decided and began the book last night, going over each word to savour its beauty.

Earlier today I spoke to my mum (another McCall Smith fan) about the book. We got to talking about Mma.Makutsi whom she said she didn’t like much. The very fact that such strong emotions can be aroused in a reader goes to show the talent of the writer. If you’ve read the books, you’ll remember the big-spectacled, 97%-achieving assistant detective to Mma.Ramotswe as well as her struggle against the more beautiful people in the world and her lack of suitors. What you may not remember is that Mma.Makutsi is not, as is the impression conveyed through the books, a single woman with zero prior experience in relationships. In ‘The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency’, she is introduced as follows,

Mma.Makutsi was the widow of a teacher and had just passed their general typing and secretarial examinations with an average grade of ninety-seven per cent, she would be ideal – they were certain of it.

I must add that I didn’t remember that myself and only caught the word ‘widow’ the second time I read the series. But it is there undeniably. Yet, it is never mentioned in the later books, through the many references to her people in Bobonong, her competition in the beauty and love stakes with Violet Sephoto and multitudinous other details about Mma.Makutsi’s life. If I may be so bold, I’d like to guess that Mr.McCall Smith wrote her in as a minor character but as the story progressed, realized that she could be given a far bigger role. And so as the story grew, he added on more of her life, made her world bigger (promotion, relatives, boyfriend, business, house, fiancé). It would probably complicate things too much to detail her widowed history and that would go against the simplicity of the story. The first book had probably already been published (maybe even the second, considering that Mma.Makutsi really came into her own only in the third book, ‘The Kalahari Typing School For Men’). So he just went along with the story and hoped (I presume) that no one noticed too much.

That made me think of an even bigger author who made a completely unrealistic change to the lives of one of fiction’s most popular characters and the whole world bought it. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle had Sherlock Holmes fall over a cliff in ‘The Final Problem-Memoirs Of Sherlock Holmes but on popular demand (and much to his reluctance) resurrected the detective to bring him back for many more stories.

Well, the last two notes make me a little happier and more cheerful. If Sir Doyle and Mr.McCall Smith could do it with such panache, why not me? Change is built into every aspect of us after all. An hour ago, when I was starting to write this post, I chanced upon some notes I made when I started the novel. These were sketches of characters for the original novel, which I discarded 3 chapters in. It just struck me that there is still a story there and I’ll probably pick that up again for NaNoWriMo (looming high in a month’s time). What’s more, there’s a character I carried over from there to this book, who just doesn’t seem to be fitting in anymore. I guess his rightful place is in his homeland…the earlier novel that is. So back he goes. And the novel I’m currently writing should be able to move on without him.

Funny are the lessons one learns. From Mike Carey’s Lucifer that I finished reading a fortnight ago, I know that even God makes mistakes and tries new stunts all the time. I’m just playing a smaller God with the very tiny universe inside my mind. Bear with me, it’s going to be a turbulent ride and I don’t even know if it’ll be worth it. But I’ll never know unless I try. On that happy note, wish me better health because I sincerely hope to be able to report a better wordcount and story pace next week.

———————————————————————————————

Other NovelRace updates:

  1. NovelRace
  2. Adventures Galore!
  3. If You Fall, Get Up & Run Again!
  4. The Lone Runner
  5. My Characters Are For Real!
  6. The View From The Shoulders Of Giants
  7. So Much In A Name!
  8. Taking A Stand
  9. Everything But The Novel
  10. The Long, Dark Teatime Of The Writing Soul
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