What is Suprose?

Welcome to Suprose.

Why Su-prose? "Su" in Sanskrit is a prefix for "good". This is a place where we will discuss and analyze prose (with a South Asian Connection) - that which is good, awesome, excellent, and maybe rant about prose that could be better.

Whether you love prose, are a prose expert, or want to learn more about prose, or to put it simply want to have anything to do with prose, this blog is for you.

Read, interact, enjoy and share...

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

How To Be A Productive Writer?

Sure, it is easier said than done, but it could not be said any better, right?!
So keep at it...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

How Publishing and Reading Is Changing From NPR

NPR's On The Media says "Publishers are trying to adapt as the book industry changes dramatically, and they're doing so in the face of rapidly changing reading habits among consumers. Publishing industry analyst Mike Shatzkin talks to Brooke about how readers' behavior is changing, and about ways the publishing industry might survive in the coming years." Something that all aspiring writers and published writers should listen to.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Roundtable - What Does It Take For A Book To Be A Bestseller?

"There's many a bestseller that could have been prevented by a good teacher." - Flannery O'Connor

While it is a great book, Sanjay Gupta's new best seller almost sold itself, thanks to promos by CNN news personalities and infomercials on CNN. So many writers have to balance a full time job and moonlight their writing career to make ends meet. Ultimately when that book does get written and published sales expectations are barely met, in spite of the book being a great one. 

So what does it take to be a bestseller - Is the name and branding of the writer more important than the book itself? Suprose talked to a couple of authors about their thoughts on what it takes for a book to be a bestseller.

Rakesh Satyal is an author and former editor from Harper Collins and Random House.

Photo Credit: Melisa Melling
"The truth is that it is very difficult for publishers to predict what will be a bestseller.  To be sure, when a sizable advance is spent on a book, there is typically more marketing muscle thrown behind the book to justify the pricey buy.  But just because a book is trumped up by a publisher doesn't mean that it will sell like crazy. 

Publishing is simply too volatile for this kind of surety; that is what it is such a difficult business. 

 When it comes to nonfiction, the author's personality and marketability certainly matter a great deal; this is particularly true of prescriptive or self-help books, for obvious reasons.  Fiction writers also benefit from fascinating back stories, of course; if an author is very young or attractive or generally charming, those merits also sell the book in ways both tangible and intangible. It is definitely true that we live in a culture now that respects extroversion.  

Authors who really spend quality time reaching out to their readers online benefit a great deal more from the publishing process than ones who do not.  At the same time, an "If you build it, they will come" mentality does not work by itself.  An author gets out of the publishing process what s/he puts into it, and the more interaction proactively started by the author, the better."

Rakesh Satyal is the author of Blue Boy, winner of a 2010 Lambda Award and the 2009 Award in Prose/Poetry from the Association of Asian American Studies.  A former book editor, he now lives and works in San Francisco.

Miranda Kennedy is an author and former NPR correspondent.

"These days, many people in the book business are struggling with the answer to this question--what makes a bestseller. What was once a time-worn, well-tested, predictable formula is no longer. Now, thanks to the fragmentation of the media, there are many potential paths to book success: from the stay-at-home mom with a blog who winds up with a bestseller (as with Stephanie Nielson, the Mormon mother of four who survived a horrific plane crash and went on to write about it) to the more traditional path of journalist with high visibility who writes the inevitable book (as with CNN's Sanjay Gupta). To me, what stands out about today's publishing environment is not that Sanjay Gupta's book became a best-seller, but that a book by another unknown (and another mom),  Kelle Hampton, is selling as well as it is. 

Because the question of what makes a book a best-seller is such a hotly-contested one, I thought I'd look at a few books on the New York Times' bestseller list now, and think about what distinguishes the authors (if anything), and what it is about their stories that compels so many people to buy their books. 

Stephanie Nielson and Kelle Hampton each came by a major book deal by blogging about ordinary life as mothers and wives. Then each had a major life event--Nielson, the plane crash, and Hampton, giving birth to a baby with Down syndrome--and this rocketed them into the world of major advances and huge sales. What accounts for this? I imagine a large part of it is that both of these stories are clearly ones that would appeal to women readers, and women buy the majority of books in America. Even in the recession, women have continued to buy books--in hardback, yes, but especially e-books for their Kindles. And even though both of these writers came into the public eye through the new, self-created online media world off blogging, they both also have a very traditionally appealing story to offer: both are mothers who have experienced sadness and trauma, and come out the other side. In this way, it seems to me, the stories of these two writers might have become bestsellers two decades ago--except that their authors are unlikely to have been discovered, if they hadn't each been able to benefit from the platform of a blog. 

Of course, many bestsellers are still made by more traditional writers--those who come by their names in the worlds of TV and newspapers, or simply by writing other books. But from what I understand, even though some media personalities of the Sanjay Gupta level are certain to get good advances and their book is likely to sell well, it is harder now than it used to be to predict whether their books will thrive. From what I can tell, media personalities still get high six- and seven-figure advances, but their sales often fall flat. If other media outlets won't give them airtime to promote their books, they can end up stuck with sales that don't transcend into the wider masses, let alone into bestseller-dom. For instance, public radio personalities are rarely granted airtime on major TV shows, and this has been crippling to their sales. What's interesting is that publishers continue to shovel big, hopeful advances their way. 

In this era of fast-changing reading habits, it seems to me that hope plays an outsize role in general. The best of example of this is that publishers are willing to hand out high advances to writers who are relatively unknown--who have a blog or maybe not even that--in the hope that they will be the next big thing. If they aren't, and their book sells just ok, then that writer will certainly never make that kind of advance again. I found it amazing that publishers continued to hand out big advances to unknown authors during the recession, when everyone knew books sales were faltering; but I guess the feeling among major publishers was that they couldn't afford to miss the next big commercial non-fiction writer. If they missed the opportunity to make the next Eat, Pray, Love, they couldn't be forgiven. Overpaying for a book that turned out flat was more forgivable. What a crazy world."

Miranda Kennedy is the author of the book Sideways on a Scooter: Life and Love in India, which is part-reportage, part-memoir. As a reporter for National Public Radio and Marketplace Radio for five years, Miranda covered conflicts and economic change across South Asia, and especially in India. Since returning to the US, she has worked as an editor at National Public Radio in Washington, DC. She is working on her second book, a novel about a British missionary in India.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Win a copy of "Leela's Book" by Alice Albinia

This month Suprose will be giving away 3 copies of Alice Albinia's Leela's Book. The Suprose interview with Alice Albinia is here. Read reviews of the book -- from The Daily Beast and from the Guardian.

Want to win one of 3 copies of Leela's Book?

It is very simple. Here is what you need to do --
  1. Click on this link
  2. Read the exclusive interview with Alice Albinia and
  3. Please leave both your name and email in the comments section by midnight  EST on Monday April 30th
Please do not forget your email address, that is only way you will be contacted if you win.

Three people will be randomly selected on Saturday March 31st to win a copy of the book. You will be contacted via email. 

Remember the deadline is Monday April 30th. Good Luck!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Monday Mornings by Dr. Sanjay Gupta

What is with male Indian doctors and writing? Abraham Verghese, Atul Gawande, Siddhartha Mukherjee, Sandeep Jauhar and now Dr. Sanjay Gupta...  though one has to admit that Dr. Gupta is definitely multitalented.

A question that is raised by many is whether his books would have been successful if he was not such a big media personality.. Not to mention the constant harping by the likes of Wolf Blitzer about Dr. Gupta's debut fiction book Monday Mornings. The book was published almost a month ago and till date CNN's bottom news roll has a mention of this book once every couple of minutes about it being a NYT bestseller. So the big question here is -- Did the book sell the author or did this authors powerful media personality and connections sell the book?

Here is a link to Chapter 1of Monday Mornings from CNN.

A very good article about Sanjay Gupta in USA Today can be found here. Text below.

ATLANTA – It's Monday morning and Sanjay Gupta is in surgery on the sixth floor ofGrady Memorial Hospital.
  • Gupta by H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY
Gupta by H. Darr Beiser, USA TODAY
The operating room is quiet except for the sucking, gurgling sounds associated with surgery, along with some background music requested by one of the residents. Let the Good Times Roll by The Cars blends into the Talking Heads' Take Me to the River, all while blood silently flows through tubes attached to the patient, a 24-year-old man who broke his neck in a car accident the night before.
Standing on two orange risers with an overhead spotlight beaming down onto his hands, Gupta and his team are decompressing the man's spinal cord as quickly as possible, pulling his neck into alignment and then fusing it back together.
An assistant repeatedly wipes blood from the surgical instruments Gupta hands back, a process that quickly turns the white cloth pink.
Two and a half hours later, Gupta's team declares the surgery a success.

The Sanjay Gupta File

Born: Oct. 23, 1969; age 42
Raised: In Novi, Mich., suburban Detroit. His parents moved from India to work as engineers for Ford Motor Company in the 1960s.
Education: B.S. in biomedical sciences at University of Michigan; M.D. from University of Michigan Medical School, 1993. Completed his residency in neurosugery at the University of Michigan Health System in 2000.
Family: Married wife, Rebecca, an attorney, in a lavish day-long Hindu ceremony in 2004. They have three daughters, ages 6, 5 and 2, and live in Atlanta.
Television: Joined CNN in 2001 as chief medical correspondent. Special correspondent for CBS News and 60 Minutes.
Other experience: Served as one of 15 White House Fellows, primarily as an advisor to Hillary Clinton in 1997-1998. In 2009 offered the position of Surgeon General by President Obama, but withdrew his name from consideration, citing family and career.
Books: Two non-fiction titles, Chasing Life(anti-aging advice, 2008) and Cheating Death(miraculous recoveries, 2010), both best sellers; and Monday Mornings, first novel, pubbing on Tuesday.
"Looks good," Gupta says while looking over one final X-ray. "We have to do a little bit of gardening, but it looks good."
"Trophies for everyone!" someone yells.
Most Americans know Gupta as CNN's Emmy Award-winning chief medical correspondent, the one with the shiny black hair and dazzling smile, a smile that is hidden this morning behind his blue surgical mask. And yes, he's a real neurosurgeon, not just playing one on TV. He practices at Emory University Hospital and is associate chief of neurosurgery services here at Grady.
He is also the author of his first novel, Monday Mornings(Grand Central, 304 pp., $24.99, on sale Tuesday), a book Gupta describes as a "peek behind the curtain" at what really happens in a hospital. There are chapters that are downright chilling, with surgeons operating on the wrong side of the brain, for instance. More on that later.
Keeping up with Gupta is not for the weak of heart, or the weak of anything.
Always on the go
Gupta, 42, operates four or fives times on any given Monday, or 200 to 250 surgeries a year on that day. He also operates every other Friday and sees patients on Thursdays. He starts making his rounds at 5:30 a.m. and rarely finishes before 8 p.m.
Then there's his gig at CNN, with frequent reporting junkets to medical emergency hot spots like Haiti (earthquake), Japan (tsunami), New Orleans (Hurricane Katrina) and Iraq (war).
And don't forget his attorney wife, Rebecca, and their three daughters, all under 7.
So, why not write a novel in your spare time? (The man is also training for a triathlon in Malibu, Calif., in September; he does pull-ups daily on a bar attached to his office doorway.)
Can a breakdown be just a commercial break away? Not likely, says Gupta's CNN producer, Ben Tinker.
"You won't see any meltdowns," he says. "In fact, you're not going to find anything. What you see is what you get."
A driven man.
Immediately after surgery, Gupta is in the physicians' locker room, changing out of his scrubs and into a long white lab coat bearing his name. He also pulls up his bold green and black striped socks, just one pair from a large collection for which he is famous around the hospital and at CNN.
"I have a split career," he says, "and living here makes it a lot easier than, say, in New York." In less than five minutes, he's pulling his wife's sporty Jaguar into the CNN parking lot, where, like Superman, he strips off his white coat and throws it into the car's back seat.
A fresh start
He is now Sanjay Gupta, reporter. He says he keeps his two lives — surgeon and TV star — separate, not wearing scrubs on TV, for instance. He joined CNN in the summer of 2001, recruited by then-CNN chairman Tom Johnson. He had never worked in TV before. His first big story: reporting on the 9/11 attacks from Ground Zero.
"I'm a reporter here," he says, once he's in CNN's massive newsroom. "I'm informed by my background, yes, but I'm pretty tough on myself. I make sure I've got it right. I feel good about what I do. We're diligent."
Between constantly checking his iPhone — he has four e-mail accounts — and wolfing down a burrito from Moe's Southwest Grill ("they're the best"), he chats in his CNN office about his life on the run and his new book, a project he has been working on "for a long, long time."
The book's title, Monday Mornings, refers to when physicians at "Chelsea General" in suburban Detroit gather for their weekly "Morbidity and Mortality" (M&M) meeting — a time to discuss and analyze what went wrong in recent surgeries, a private meeting Gupta says is held at most hospitals. That operation on the wrong side of the brain? It's discussed there. It's like going before a jury of your peers, not a fun outing for the erring physician.
"It's unsettling to surgeons to realize they're not infallible. Operating on the wrong side of the head? It happens," he says, adding that no one is harder on themselves than doctors.
Gupta compares the "what-went-wrong?" meeting to Monday-morning quarterbacking. "I like the idea that it's a new beginning. A fresh start. A mistake is how we learn. That's why I placed (the novel) on Mondays." (Gupta attends "Thursday" meetings at Emory.)
The idea for the book came from his years as a neurosurgeon. "I write things down a lot. I take a lot of notes. And then I realized there were some unbelievable stories there," says Gupta, who also realized many of them were about the relationship between physicians and their patients. "I wanted people to understand what happens in a hospital when there's a mistake. Bad things can happen to good people."
If you think this sounds like a good TV show, you're not alone. Shooting for Chelsea General, a TNT pilot based on Gupta's novel and starring Alfred Molina and Ving Rhames, begins this week. Executive producer is David E. Kelley (Boston Legal,Chicago Hope, Ally McBeal).
Gupta wrote much of his debut novel on planes: "It's kind of hard to do with three kids in the house." One time the story came so fast he wrote for almost 30 hours straight. "It was all there, and I wanted to get it out."
Having difficulty bringing his theme together early on, he decided to use the Monday morning meetings to bring the novel's five diverse surgeons together. He says he didn't show the novel to anyone for fear they would respond with the cliché "Keep your day job!"
Early reviews show he needn't have worried. Fellow author/physician Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone, sings the book's praises on Amazon.com. "Hospitals are, after all, Gupta's turf. His insights into the craft of surgery combined with vivid storytelling make Monday Mornings a gripping and wonderful read right down to the wire."
So how much is real?
Deb Futter, Gutpa's editor at Grand Central Publishing, echoes Verghese, praising Gupta for the way he blends medical facts and storytelling.
"Everyone is fascinated, and terrified, by what goes on behind the scenes at a hospital. Dr. Gupta's novel takes you right to the heart of the medical world," Futter says. "He manages to make the doctors real people with real problems and also marries medical information with a riveting plot."
Will his fellow physicians see themselves as those "real" people in these pages?
"The characters are from earlier stages of my life," he says, then concedes he employed "various personality aspects" of surgeons he has known. "But I didn't want to implicate anyone." (And there is no autobiographical character, he says.)
Another novel is not in the works. At the moment, Gupta is "toying around" with the idea of writing a book on memory. His two non-fiction books, Chasing Life (anti-aging advice) and Cheating Death (miraculous recoveries), were best sellers.
Unlike the solitary writer's life, being on TV has brought Gupta high-profile visibility both around the world and at home here in Atlanta. He and his wife are often interrupted on the rare evening they go out to dinner. Someone usually has a medical question for the good doctor.
TV has also made him a bit of a pinup boy. People magazine named him one of the "sexiest men alive" in 2003, something that still makes him laugh. "I was very amused by that. No one ever said I was the sexiest anything back in my hometown!" (He grew up in Novi, Mich., outside Detroit.)
And with that the handsome novelist/physician/father/triathlete flashes his famous smile and is off once again — back to the hospital, where at least three more surgeries await this afternoon. "There are some mornings I wake up and feel besieged," he admits. "But I'm incredibly lucky. Sometimes I have to pinch myself that I get to do all of this stuff."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tête-à-Tête With Alice Albinia

Alice Albinia Photo by  Shome Basu
"Another interpretation of the Mahabharatha?" that was the first thought that crossed my mind when I heard about Alice Albinia's debut novel, Leela's Book. And what an interpretation it has turned out to be. The tongue in cheek tone does not take away from the underlying social complexities of this plot. 

For someone not indigenous, to understand Indian society and it's functioning so well is no easy task. Yet Alice Albinia during her two year stay in India, managed to absorb these cultural and societal details and undertones and beautifully portray it in her novel.

Alice Albinia, read English Literature at Cambridge University and South Asian history at SOAS. In between, she lived for two years, in Delhi, working as an editor and journalist with the Centre for Science and Environment, Biblio: A Review of Books,Outlook Traveller and various other Indian newspapers and magazines. 

During this time she had the idea to write two books: Empires of the Indus, and her first work of fiction, Leela's Book.

Alice Albinia was kind enough to do an email interview with Suprose from her home in the UK.

You write a lot about South Asia and India in particular, how did this relationship with India begin? What do you like most about this culture?

It began when I was a little girl, looking at photographs my mother took in Afghanistan and India before I was born. When, as an adult, I moved to India to work, I fell in love the depth of historical culture. I also learned new things about the West. Moving to Delhi was a second education.

What and who did you read growing up? Were you exposed to South Asian writing?

I read a lot of different books as a child. When Peter Brook's Mahabharata came on television in the 1980s it was a big event and I remembered it years later, when I began writing Leela's Book. The first modern Indian novel in English I read must have been Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy, which was published while I was doing my A-levels and was a dangerous distraction from revision. 

Your first book was non-fiction, Empires of the Indus and it won the Somerset Maugham Award, tell us about it. How did that come about?

I had the idea to write Empires of the Indus while I was living in Delhi from 1999-2001. I had the idea to write Leela's Book then too. But for Empires of the Indus I needed to do a lot of historical research, so I moved back to London in 2002 to begin an MA in South Asian history. As soon as I graduated in October 2003, I bought a ticket to Karachi and began travelling through the Indus valley.

This is your first work of fiction. Have you studied fiction writing, what helped you write such a great debut novel?

I never studied fiction-writing in a formal way: I learned through practice. It was a steeper learning curve than writing non-fiction, which one tends to get the hang of through college-work, or journalism, or editing (all three in my case). I was inspired to write this book by an idea I had about the Mahabharata: one particular aspect that I wanted to explore, concerning the epic's scribe, the elephant-headed god Ganesh. I began to wonder how Ganesh felt about taking down the massive dictation of this text without authoring any of the words, and whether, perhaps, he had been secretly writing his own alternative version over the centuries... The novel grew from there. 

Among the plethora of mythological stories that come from India, why did you pick the Mahabharatha as the basis of this plot. What do you like most about that story?

I wrote about the Mahabharata because, despite being a very ancient text, it is still alive in India. It is constantly being reinterpreted and replayed and rethought. I found that legacy intriguing. And it has a dominant meta-textual structure which I was drawn to. In my novel it is really the meta-text that I write about - how the epic came to be written down, who the author was, who the scribe. In my imagination, they really didn't like each other.

How long did it take you to write this book? Take us through some high and low moments...

It took a long time. I first had the idea to write it while I was living in Delhi. Then I began writing Empires of the Indus. So Leela's Book wasn't published until a decade later.

What are some writing tools that help you through tough spots, like music, reading other favorites, gardening, others?

There is a wonderful radio program on BBC Radio 3 called Late Junction. I listen to that at the end of the day when my work is done. It is such an eclectic mix of music from different places and ages and genres, curated by two women who have the rare quality of sounding erudite yet enthusiastic.  In order to get down to work in the morning I find some exercise helps to clear the head. I cycle across town to an office I rent.

What do you read for pleasure? What would one find on your "going to read" bedside pile?

In bed I read the newspaper. On my desk are two novels David Mitchells' Black Swan Green and Aleksandar Hemon's Love & Obstacles, and a long travel book about Yugoslavia written by Rebecca West just before world war two, and some history books about Britain.

Who are some favorite authors that motivate you? Which writers do you think have influenced your writing?

Good writing is the best motivation and influence. I love encountering new writers and new ways of writing and I am always intrigued by the books that the people around me are reading. Last time I saw my editor she recommended The Orientalist by Tom Reiss, and What a Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe. I'm reading my third Coe novel now, The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim. An architect friend of mine recently told me that Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace is one of the most amazing books he has ever read, so maybe that will be next.

What's next for you? What are you currently working on? 

Finally a book about where I grew up: about Britain.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Anne Lamott in Sunset on Time Lost and Found!

A beautiful essay by Anne Lamott from the April 2010 issue of Sunset , which is sure to motivate and energize writers. How can we find time to write? Read on...

Time lost and found

Turn off Twitter, Anne Lamott says. And don’t clean the house. That’s what it takes to create the rich life you deserve

Author Anne Lamott
Lamott’s books include Operating Instructions andTraveling Mercies. Her new novel, Imperfect Birds(Riverhead Books; $26), will be published this month. She lives in Marin County, California.
James Hall
Make time to explore a passion, or at least take a walk.
John Clark
I sometimes teach classes on writing, during which I tell my students every single thing I know about the craft and habit. This takes approximately 45 minutes. I begin with my core belief—and the foundation of almost all wisdom traditions—that there is nothing you can buy, achieve, own, or rent that can fill up that hunger inside for a sense of fulfillment and wonder. But the good news is that creative expression, whether that means writing, dancing, bird-watching, or cooking, can give a person almost everything that he or she has been searching for: enlivenment, peace, meaning, and the incalculable wealth of time spent quietly in beauty.
Then I bring up the bad news: You have to make time to do this.
This means you have to grasp that your manic forms of connectivity—cell phone, email, text, Twitter—steal most chances of lasting connection or amazement. That multitasking can argue a wasted life. That a close friendship is worth more than material success.
Needless to say, this is very distressing for my writing students. They start to explain that they have two kids at home, or five, a stable of horses or a hive of bees, and 40-hour workweeks. Or, on the other hand, sometimes they are climbing the walls with boredom, own nearly nothing, and are looking for work full-time, which is why they can’t make time now to pursue their hearts’ desires. They often add that as soon as they retire, or their last child moves out, or they move to the country, or to the city, or sell the horses, they will. They are absolutely sincere, and they are delusional.
Walking in the forestI often remember the story from India of a beggar who sat outside a temple, begging for just enough every day to keep body and soul alive, until the temple elders convinced him to move across the street and sit under a tree. Years of begging and bare subsistence followed until he died. The temple elders decided to bury him beneath his cherished tree, where, after shoveling away a couple of feet of earth, they found a stash of gold coins that he had unknowingly sat on, all those hand-to-mouth years.
You already have the gold coins beneath you, of presence, creativity, intimacy, time for wonder, and nature, and life. Oh, yeah, you say? And where would those rascally coins be?
This is what I say: First of all, no one needs to watch the news every night, unless one is married to the anchor. Otherwise, you are mostly going to learn more than you need to know about where the local fires are, and how rainy it has been: so rainy! That is half an hour, a few days a week, I tell my students. You could commit to writing one page a night, which, over a year, is most of a book.
If they have to get up early for work and can’t stay up late, I ask them if they are willing NOT to do one thing every day, that otherwise they were going to try and cram into their schedule.
They may explain that they have to go to the gym four days a week or they get crazy, to which I reply that that’s fine—no one else really cares if anyone else finally starts to write or volunteers with marine mammals. But how can they not care and let life slip away? Can’t they give up the gym once a week and buy two hours’ worth of fresh, delectable moments? (Here they glance at my butt.)
Can they commit to meeting one close friend for two hours every week, in bookstores, to compare notes? Or at an Audubon sanctuary? Or a winery?
They look at me bitterly now—they don’t think I understand. But I do—I know how addictive busyness and mania are. But I ask them whether, if their children grow up to become adults who spend this one precious life in a spin of multitasking, stress, and achievement, and then work out four times a week, will they be pleased that their kids also pursued this kind of whirlwind life?
If not, if they want much more for their kids, lives well spent in hard work and savoring all that is lovely, why are they living this manic way?
I ask them, is there a eucalyptus grove at the end of their street, or a new exhibit at the art museum? An upcoming minus tide at the beach where the agates and tidepools are, or a great poet coming to the library soon? A pond where you can see so many turtles? A journal to fill?
If so, what manic or compulsive hours will they give up in trade for the equivalent time to write, or meander? Time is not free—that’s why it’s so precious and worth fighting for.
Will they give me one hour of housecleaning in exchange for the poetry reading? Or wash the car just one time a month, for the turtles? No? I understand. But at 80, will they be proud that they spent their lives keeping their houses cleaner than anyone else in the family did, except for mad Aunt Beth, who had the vapors? Or that they kept their car polished to a high sheen that made the neighbors quiver with jealousy? Or worked their fingers to the bone providing a high quality of life, but maybe accidentally forgot to be deeply and truly present for their kids, and now their grandchildren?
I think it’s going to hurt. What fills us is real, sweet, dopey, funny life.
I’ve heard it said that every day you need half an hour of quiet time for yourself, or your Self, unless you’re incredibly busy and stressed, in which case you need an hour. I promise you, it is there. Fight tooth and nail to find time, to make it. It is our true wealth, this moment, this hour, this day.