how do you write?

i saw this postcard advertising an online workshop:

computer required, clothing optional
yeah, like that's really going to happen.
but it got behenji thinking...do writers really have writing habits that are that varied?
i know vikram seth writes in bed and i believe hemingway only wrote standing up. i write sitting at my kitchen table, which i believe many others do too. but before i come to the table, my house has to be clean. dishes must be in place, each sock must be folded. all papers must be filed alphabetically and so that is why, dear friends, i am still on page one of my first novel.
so how do you write? what are your quirks? behenji wants to know...


an exercise in narcism

googled behenji and found the following (which i have paraphrased for more pleasure):

wah behenji! (the title of a new comedy on zee tv?)
behenji: the bane of brahmins (i love this, especially since i am one! behenji as caste rebel?)
the last behenji standing (behenji joins the wwf)
the behenji and the bitch (a twisted tale of behenji and lassie)
to behenji with love (behenji retires as a teacher after 30 years. no sequel i promise)
behenji brigade indo-asian news service (apparently it exists)
behenji's boys bristle (what can i say? )

and in the end: The behenji is modern (BIM) now but not ashamed of her Indianness...

more grist for the blogging mill

how blogs are changing the way we read. me thinks we need new glasses and a more back-friendly chair after all the cyber-voyeurism! an excerpt:

It's way premature to say that literary blogs have supplanted the established media (just as it would be to say Drudge is a better news source than the networks' websites). But it's reasonable to call them old media's stealth competitors, because they draw a young and educated demographic that advertisers desire. Their audiences are not immense, but established blogs like Bookslut claim a respectable 3,000 hits a day.

I think this is amazing. I just dived into blogging/blog reading a month or so ago and am amazed at the energy, intelligence and ideas that are out there. and all from the comfort of your keyboard. i won't be surprized to hear a song down the line called 'bloggers killed the nyt book review.' (if you don't get it, its ok. its from an old 80s song.)

more from the same article:
Will literary bloggers eventually trump the traditional book reviewer? I think everyone spends far too much time fretting about the various media and their influences. Clearly, each has its own strengths and weaknesses. And in all cases, certain personalities emerge with more influence than others. In radio, it's the curmudgeon Don Imus who has the power to send books up the bestseller list. On television, it's the all-embracing Oprah. In newspapers, it is the cover of the New York Times Book Review that is said to influence book sales. The Internet surely will also eventually produce its own version of Imus, Oprah, and the NYTBR -- without necessarily diminishing the other media book-promoting stars.I, for one, am cheering on the literary bloggers. Books need all the support they can get.

this bookish bohemian couldn't agree more!


a luminous kinda gal

the pull of domesticity has kept behenji away from blogging--but not from ruminating. aww hell, the dishes can wait a bit. there have been some very interesting discussions on another subcontinent on the luminousity of poets and the need to innovate more in Indian poetry in English. To me the Asian subcontinent is so lush in its day to day life, yet I feel our poetry doesn't aptly reflect this. I have always encountered spirituality, mysticism or a certain abstractness in general in english poets writing from India. those that do immigrate to the west get trapped between the folds of two different worlds and are often found beating their chest in hopes that their true identity will pop out. somehow it all seems contained. no one wants to leap off the page.

i hope this changes. maybe poetry doesn't seem important enough for most purveyors of literature and for people in general. the asian subcontinent has such a beautiful tradition of poetry and its evolution should continue...as far as poetry is concerned i think we need to keep reinventing the wheel.


hooked by the book: and the nominees are...

yes friends, the list has arrived. behenji has never heard of these writers but is willing to bet they are all good. drum roll please:

Bitter Fruit by Achmat Dangor
The Electric Michelangelo by Sarah Hall
The Line of Beauty by Alan Hollinghurst
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
The Master by Colm Toibin
I'll Go to Bed at Noon by Gerard Woodward

behenji is reading michael ondaatje right now, the english patient, recipient of the booker prize in 1992, and has come to the following conclusion: he is one of the most gifted writers of the english language. more in my next post.