Saturday, June 09, 2012

It will feel like Home

It will just sneak into your life unnoticed. Like an old t-shirt that you keep wearing and suddenly you panic when it goes missing.

Or that Disney blanket that you keep snuggling into. It has frayed edges, an odd tea stain and the fragrance of familiarity.

It will have hope written all over it. It probably won't look fancy and fabulous. It will be fancy and fabulous. It will take time. Lots of work, lots of understanding and countless judgments.

It will feel like bare feet on wet grass. Or the songs the sparrows sing in the morning. Maybe the smell of an old book. Or a melody that is dripping with nostalgia. It will be the wind in your hair and the smile on your lips.

You know the slight look of joy you give when you find an old photograph?

It will feel like home.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Neil Gaiman's Advice to Artists : Make Good Art

I have this fetish for commencement addresses and advice from grownups. It gives me a good benchmark to measure my life and purpose in the universe. So when Neil Gaiman spoke to Arts graduates from the University of Philadelphia, I had to take notes!

I think I have seen it so many times that I must have learnt it by rote now. Yes, I am pretty crazy about him!

Some of my favourite lines from the speech :

I learnt to write by writing. I tended to do anything as long as it felt like an adventure and stopped when it felt like work. Which meant life did not feel like work.

When you start out you have to deal with the problems of failure. A freelance life is like putting messages in a bottle on a desert island and hoping that one day someone will find one of your bottles and open it and read it and it will find its way back to you in the form of appreciation or money or love. 

If I did work I was proud of and I didn't get the money, I'd atleast have the work. 

The problems of failure are hard. The problems of success can be harder, because nobody warns you about them. The point where you stop saying yes to everything, because the bottles in the ocean are all coming back. 

Sometimes life is hard and things go wrong. And in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong. When things get tough, this is what you should do, make good art.

Most of us find our voices, only after we have sounded like a lot of other people. But the one thing that you have that nobody else has, is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision
(isn't this the most beautiful line ever?)

What is the best piece of advice I have ever been given? I realized, it's the piece of advice that I had failed to follow. And it came from Stephen King. It was 20 years ago at the height of success,initial success of Sandman, the comic I was writing. I was writing a comic people loved and they were taking it seriously. He saw the long signing lines and his advice to me was this: This is really great. You should enjoy it. 
And I didn't. Best advice I ever got and I ignored. Instead, I worried about it. I worried about the next deadline, the next idea. I wish I had enjoyed it more. 

So be wise, because the world needs more wisdom. And if you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise and then behave like they would. And now go, and make interesting mistakes. Make amazing mistakes, make glorious mistakes. Leave the world more interesting than being here. Make good art.

Watch the entire talk here 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Franzen on Kafka

It would be somewhat more meaningful to say that I was influenced by Franz Kafka. By this I mean that it was Kafka's novel The Trial, as taught by the best literature professor I ever had, that opened my eyes to the greatness of what literature can do, and made me want to try to create some myself. Kafka's brilliantly ambiguous rendering of Josef K, who is at once a sympathetic and unjustly persecuted Everyman and a self-pitying and guilt-denying criminal, was my portal to the possibilities of fiction as a vehicle of self-investigation: as a method of engagement with the difficulties and paradoxes of my own life. Kafka teaches us how to love ourselves even as we're being merciless toward ourselves; how to remain humane in the face of the most awful truths about ourselves. The stories that recognise people as they really are – the books whose characters are at once sympathetic subjects and dubious objects – are the ones capable of reaching across cultures and generations. This is why we still read Kafka.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Cory Doctorow on Books

 “We are the people of the book. We love our books. We fill our houses with books. We treasure books we inherit from our parents, and we cherish the idea of passing those books on to our children. Indeed, how many of us started reading with a beloved book that belonged to one of our parents? We force worthy books on our friends, and we insist that they read them. We even feel a weird kinship for the people we see on buses or airplanes reading our books, the books that we claim. If anyone tries to take away our books—some oppressive government, some censor gone off the rails—we would defend them with everything that we have. We know our tribespeople when we visit their homes because every wall is lined with books. There are teetering piles of books beside the bed and on the floor; there are masses of swollen paperbacks in the bathroom. Our books are us. They are our outboard memory banks and they contain the moral, intellectual, and imaginative influences that make us the people we are today.”

~Cory Doctorow

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Too Big to Fail

"If failure can't fail, the rest of us can never succeed"

Loved the way this article was written. Especially this line above.

Its a longish read, but well worth your time. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Carl Sagan on Books

What an astonishing thing a book is... one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time. A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic

~Carl Sagan

Thanks to Nithya for her status message and her insatiable curiosity.

Santosh Desai on Satyameva Jayate

And unlike others who come from the market, he is able to protect the purity of his idea from what are touted as the deadening compulsions of the market ecosystem. He caters to the market by not pandering to it, but by sensing its unarticulated and barely discernible needs. At a time when the market works hard at flattening out choice and drowning us in sameness, where television channels vie with each other in bringing us versions of the same banality, Aamir’s ability to make this show and command a price for it is proof that the market can operate at a more elevated level, that the current epidemic of sameness is a function not of some inherent mechanism at work, but of its unimaginative use.

Santosh Desai on Satyameva Jayate

Finally, a show that does not make the idiot box seem like an idiot box.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dibakar Banerjee on Cinema

You have to think about it all the time. Filmmaking is a piece of sound you may have heard, it’s a piece of colour in the room, a certain smile you saw on someone’s face, a certain dance step you saw a drunk man execute on the road, a certain song you sing during your shower, a certain word you think of while sitting on the pot; you subconsciously keep throwing ideas and that’s how you go on enriching your film in terms of its detailing.
My grouse is not against people who make films. The bigger comment is on society. We are so stressed and so caught up in that traffic jam from home to office, so engrossed in the dream of owning a four BHK flat on the 25th floor that we don’t have time to reflect on the truth. Therefore, we don’t want to confront cinema that even remotely threatens to unsettle that dream.