On Finding Beauty

It’s the first day of the new month, and what better opportunity to try something new! Since last year, I’ve been working on a poetry book. And the act of trying to capture the world as it is, right now, has left me somewhat despondent. But I don’t have to tell you how our world is, there are reminders everyday.

Instead, a thought occurred as I was starting to despair about the restlessness, unrest and all ills of our society; I should try to find beauty everyday rather than being consumed by the gloom. And that’s exactly what I’ll be doing from now on, finding beauty in an unpredictable world; an exercise I call Project Finding Beauty.

A vase full of roses

What does these mean? I will be sharing six-word memoirs and photography, every Sunday. Of course, the inspiration is from the famous Ernest Hemingway’s six-word story.

Why don’t I just join other communities, who are already sharing six-word stories or memoirs? I simply want to explore beauty on my terms…

How long will I be embarking on this project? I honestly don’t know. It could be a month, until end of the year or much longer. What I can say right now, I will only share longer prose pieces, when I feel prompted to write in detail about something.

So, in all, this exercise is in keeping with my creative goals of being fully present in whatever I do, I set at the beginning of the year. But it’s also about creating from a place of love instead of fear. <3

But enough about me. I’d also love to hear about you. How are you doing? How is your world, right now? Is finding beauty something that you consciously do or is it a pleasant and surprising encounter? Please do tell!

Contemplating a Post-Covid Life

Conflicted. I’ve always been, between a life in the city and in the country. This had nothing to do with my notoriously indecisive trait as a Libran, the forever balancing of scales.

You see, as a young child I had my slice of bread buttered on both sides with the upbringing balanced between the city and the country. My cherished childhood memories from both worlds are etched in my heart.

As an adult I navigate and occupy both worlds with ease. The mood of my city “Sauna Capital of the World” is easy and unthreatening. Even as it develops with all that is expected of a city, it clings to the small town feel. Friendly and casual sound cliché but it’s truly easy to be yourself here.

City Park

But even with all the laid-back yet vibrant energy, the repetitive rhythm of the daily grind and demands of adult life can make days feel idle compulsive. When I find myself looking at screens all day, anxious and living for weekends, I escape to the country.

There are many myths about country living. For example, it’s deemed a cheaper and more sustainable lifestyle than the city. Nonetheless, what is true for me is that the country is my refuge; a place to restore my spirits.

Country Garden

When I’m in the country, nomophobia abates. Because it’s almost impossible to engage in tedious and repetitive tasks here. There are many DIY projects to complete that I’m less inclined to mindlessly scroll on my phone. Instead I look forward to engaging in physical labour as soon as my workday finishes.

Besides its charms, the country helps me live in the present. This past week, a deer paid me a visit. As I sat at my desk and staring through the window, I saw a deer leisurely walking in our front yard. I stopped myself as I was about to reach for the phone. Because not all experiences are meant to be shared on social media.

Meadowsweet

In all, the hybrid way of working meets me when I am. I’m happy in city. I’m happy in the country. But digital consumption is one of the things I’m downsizing, for improved mental health, as I contemplate a post-Covid life.

a side note: One of my poems, Self-care, from a work-in-progress was recently featured at Spillwords. Do check it out! 🙂

Written But Not Read

You’ve probably heard of Octavia E. Butler’ s quote, “You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff…” Well, I’m a proud possessor of an absurd collection of short stories.

It was when going through my archived content with the hope of recycling some that I landed on a forgotten folder “Written But Not Read” that contains short story drafts, I wrote many years ago. Boy oh boy, such crap I was churning! I mean I could write 4000-word stories, now I can’t even produce 140 characters.

But my badly written stories made me laugh, and still do now reading them after all these years. It actually dawned on me that I was then writing to entertain myself; a way of dealing with culture shock in a new country. I wasn’t calling myself a writer then, I was simply writing and with no intention to share any of those stories with anyone else. I did knock myself out. Such freedom!

Lydia Koidula’s Writing Desk

I also remember at the time being convinced that I loved writing short stories. A puzzling thing, when I think of it now. Because writing short stories is the most demanding thing I’ve tried with my writing, thus far. I was perhaps a little more in love with the idea. In fact, a note (in that same folder) is equally interesting, “I don’t know what I was smoking to think I love writing short stories!”

But I wonder if, as a creative, you still allow your imagination free rein. Or has your art become burdened by all the social ills, we face today? As a reader, what short stories have you read lately, and also had you in stitches? Please do share!

note: I’m linking to Writers’ Pantry at Poets and Storytellers United. And oh, if you could use some encouragement with your writing, follow the link!