My ebook: Journeys with the caterpillar

My ebook
Journeys with the caterpillar: Travelling through the islands of Flores
and Sumba, Indonesia
" is available at
this link

Friday, September 05, 2008

Travails of a wannabe writer

Over the last two years, I had tried to write a few short stories. Partly it was the outcome of over confidence from the fact that I got comments such as “nice post” in around 10 of the over 300 blog posts I have written till date. And partly it was a desire to have my name in print, in a form different from my records with Singapore’s immigration files and other institutional registries. And after I had completed the collection, I was fully prepared to unleash 50,000 words of myself on to the world.

The first people to be tortured were the best friends. And they gave the first shock. Lines which I had thought to be more phenomenal than ones in Hammurabi’s Code were shown to have grammatical mistakes. My plots that I had thought could have only been imagined by the likes of Jose Saramago or Garcia Marquez were instead perceived to be worse than those generated by writers of Independence Day and Titanic. But I didn’t lose hope. I took their criticism to be a result of their being conditioned by mainstream commercial trash. And even though most friends gave up after reading the first two pages, I took that as evidence that my stories were challenging their social beliefs.

Thus, having reinforced my confidence, I sent my collection to a few publishers and agencies. I knew that all publishers took six months to respond, so I decided to spend the period crafting a post-published image for myself. A beads necklace, a few batik shirts, and a psychedelic bandana were promptly bought so that I was not caught unprepared when mass publicity kept knocking at my doors. Little did I know that during the time, the publishers I had sent my proposal to, were busy gaining carbon credits by sending my proposal to paper recycling plants. But I keep on waiting, hoping the rest of the world will understand my understanding of the world. Anyway, let’s spare a thought for the editors of the publishers, who had to read my stories on top of their mobile phone bills and handouts given at shopping malls advertising the big discounts at their local pizza delivery store.

All the same, setting on this futile exercise of writing helped me realize how limited my experiences in life were, how homogenous my social circle was, and how often I used the phrase “after a while”. And I am all the more street-smart now, having realized that the easiest way to get yourself published is to write a tutorial on some programming language, one paragraph of fatwa, followed by 3 pages of sample code. So my friends, be prepared, my magnum opus, a 400 page book on C++ is soon coming at your mailbox at a computer near you. For everyone else longing for a trailer, my first chapter consists of 30 pages on how to write the code for printing, “Hello World”.


Bulla_ki_jaana said...

Excellent post!

The carbon credits had me in splits!

Anu said...

Makes me realize how much effort I have saved by not writing all those books I intend writing.

Anonymous said...

you write about writing badly so well!