You too

I know I’ve said it before a million times: You too.

“Have a good evening.”
“You too.”

“Take care of yourself.”
“Stay safe.”

Somehow, “You too” with a smile seems like a better alternative than repeating “Have a good evening” or “Take care of yourself”. Instead of sounding like a repetitive, insincere pop-song, “You too” is shorter, more sincere and -even if it doesn’t sound that way- more original.

you too

I’ve used the phrase so much it’s pretty much become automatic.

“Good luck.”
“You too.”

“Hope you enjoy the holidays.”
“You too.”

“Nobody wants you here.”
“You too.”

“Merry Christmas.”
“You too.”

And while it’s a little dubious whether “You too” is an adequate response for the last two, most of the time, “You too” is pretty convenient.

Except for when it’s not…

A friend told me about the time someone told her “Happy Birthday” and she said “You too” back. I almost choked myself on my laughter. I think I remember thinking something across the lines of “I’m so glad I’ve never done that.”

But then, a couple of days ago someone texted me “I love you.”
Guess what I replied?
Yep, I said, “You too.”

I was so mortified; I didn’t know what to say. I wondered if there was any way to make what I replied more acceptable sounding, but I really couldn’t think of anything.

On a scale of “I know” to “I love you too”, “You too” is closer to the “I know “side of the spectrum in how not to respond when someone declares their love.

So while, “You too” is convenient, simple, beautiful and friendly- I think I’m going to abstain for a while.

On that note, happy holidays. If you celebrate, I hope your Christmas was merry.  For the rest of you, Happy New Year.

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End of the Year: Joys and Worries

The last few weeks of the month are emotionally confusing times. On one hand, you have the stress of finals. The urgent reminders from parents and teachers to study! (As if we could forget.) Faint nudges from guidance counsellors and colleges wondering: Have you started preparing for the SAT yet?

On one hand, this is supposed to be the Wonderland part of winter. Christmas is right around the corner and it brings with it hot cocoa, wish lists and snowflake decorations. Perhaps more tempting to those who don’t celebrate Christmas (sorry guys, all the Hindu holidays happened in October-November; nothing big until March for me) is the promise of holidays. Long days of no school where you can sleep in late,  stay huddled under blankets and read in relative freedom. The last few weeks of the year means trying out all the

The last few weeks of the year means trying out all the recipes you meant to this year- sheer awesomeness in the form of pillow cookies and beetroot soup. It also means preparing for New Year’s- writing up lists of resolutions and stealthily sleeping an hour or so later every day. But now that the end of the year is here, you’re reminded of what you didn’t do this year.

On the second hand of this crazy monster, you have the stress of finals. The urgent reminders from parents and teachers to study! (As if we could forget.) Faint nudges from guidance counsellors and colleges wondering: Have you started preparing for the SAT yet? (Don’t even get me started on the perils of standardised testing!)

I am a regular old stooge this holiday season. A grinch with a heart three sizes too small.
I’m sorry, I’m being cynical and a downer. My finals didn’t go as well as I wanted them to and I have a lot to do over the holidays (so much for free time).  Plus, I am reading a depressing book (The Prince By Nicolo Machiavelli) which assures me that man-kind is pretty much just blathering sheep which are easily manipulated.

But I wish you all a happy holiday. Good luck on Finals if you’re still giving them.
…And if I have to be honest with myself, this year was more good than bad. See- I’m already getting into the spirit of things! Next time you hear from me, I’ll be more cheerful and fun. Promise!

 

25,000 and Goodreads

Yeah, well it turns out I lied about the regular updating thing. So sorry, I meant to do it but then I thought better of it.
I mean do you really want to hear my NaNoWriMo word-count every single day?
I hit 25,000 words! Yes, I should have hit it a couple of days ago, but I’m a bit behind. I plan to catch up over Thanksgiving break.

On an unrelated note, go and vote on Goodreads for the book of the year. I’m really torn between some of the books in the young adult and debut author section. Honestly, I loved a lot of them. Court of Thorns and Roses, Ember in the Ashes, Six of Crows…how do I pick just one?

Wow! Can you believe this year is wrapping up? I certainly can’t. To use a cliche, time certainly does fly.

This is a short post because I relaised I haven’t yet done a lot of things I wanted to do this year. Did you accomplish everything you planned to in January? Did you do anything?

 

A Quote for Writers

I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave “v” words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land’s-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp.

-Robert Pirosh

NaNoWriMo: Update 1

Today is November 1 2015. That means it’s the day after Halloween, it’s 6 days before the SAT and it’s the beginning of NaNoWriMo. No doubt we know which one is the most important.

 Brag time: I already have 4,132 words.
Fear Time: Let’s hope I can keep the momentum going.

Here’s a random paragraph that I wrote today for the to-be-novel I insist on calling Blood, Bone and Ashes:

At sixteen, I was a fool. A lovely fool with tumbling sunshine hair and long-lashed blue eyes. Innocent. Sheltered. Protected.  I was hopelessly naive, a cloistered princess in all but title.  I came to the castle wearing a floaty dress of white silk and a matching frothy veil.  Beneath it, my eyes were dewy and my golden hair was bound by a silver circlet.  And until the moment my lord husband took my white gloved hands, lifted my veil and kissed me dispassionately, I thought he’d take one look at me and fall deeply, madly in love.

Favorite lines that I wrote today?

“She needs to know how to survive this court, how to smile prettily, how to marry a powerful man- all the lessons you learnt as a girl,” he told me.

“Of course, Milord.”
How to turn iron into silver, how to kill a man as he takes his first bite of dinner, how to marry a man who regards her as nothing but a pretty fool, I added sarcastically in my head.

Fair Warning: NaNoWriMo

nanoprepOne more book review. One more poem. Then after Halloween you won’t see me for a while. No, I don’t plan to say “Bloody Mary” thrice in front of a mirror. However, I do plan to do something as arguably crazy and dangerous.

Yes! I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month this year. (It’s item number 17 on my bucket list)  50,000 words in 30 days? I am so pumped!
…Also a little bit intimidated. Just a little bit. 🙂
[I’m scared to do the math and calculate how much I’ll need to write every day.]

So you understand why I’ll disappear. All my free time will be funneled into writing. It will be intense. I don’t know yet if it will be intense-awesome or intense-awful.
You’ll probably hear nothing from me except an occasional status report to prove I’m not dead and to brag about my word count!

The goal is to complete a novel by the end on November. I’m planning to do a dark re-take on Snow White. I want to do something from the step-mother’s point of view where Snow White is the vain and evil one. Yes, there will be romance (with the Hunter), grisly descriptions and familial relationships. I’m tentatively calling it Blood, Bone and Ashes (for now) and it will be full of betrayal. It should be fun to write- and hopefully even funner (I know, I know- not a word) to read.

Clearly I’ve put a lot of thought into this…

Send me encouragement and love. Positive waves and whatnot.

If the idea of a writing marathon sounds fun to anyone else, you can go to the official website here. I’d be glad to have a writing buddy <hint, hint>. Message me.

Break Up (I’m a different person today than I was 3 years ago- and that’s okay)

A week ago, I opened a Rick Riordan book (Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer) and waited for the magic to happen. I waited to be carried away to another world where myth and modern-day reality inter-twined and teenagers could be badass. I flipped through first one page, and then another, anticipating the moment I would be hooked, addicted.

But I made my way to page 20, to page 50, page 103 and I felt…nothing.  For the first time,Rick Riordan’s books didn’t completely captivate me.  I felt that the humor was trying too hard (and failing even harder). Instead of suppressing snorts and giggles, I was trying not to roll my eyes. Instead of  empathizing with the main character, I wanted to shake him. I wanted to grab him by the shoulders and tell him to make up his mind: “Do you want to have a pity party or do you want to be glib?”  By the time the love interest arrived on the scene, I was frustrated by the cliches. Sure, let’s have the beautiful girl be violent for no reason- teenage girls everywhere will finally have a positive role-model to emulate and teen-boys will learn to fantasize about “real” women.

I closed the book. I got to a point where I had to say stop.

And do you know how that made me feel? I felt terrible. Disloyal- like a shitty friend.
I felt old and out of touch, like I couldn’t empathize with teenagers any more. This despite the fact that I’m sixTEEN! (and think nothing of randomly capitalising words).

I stewed over it for a while. Was I moving out of my childhood, to become ‘mature’? Was I becoming elitist and snobby? Becoming choosy with my books?

Today I finally managed to kick myself out of my funk. I read books for enjoyment, I told myself. I do it because I love being sucked into new worlds and caring about characters.
There’s nothing to be ashamed about.
So, I shouldn’t feel guilty for failing to be sucked in. It’s not my fault and I’m not hurting anyone by doing it. If nobody’s blaming me, I don’t need to blame myself.

I don’t care if I sound like a cliche: I’m growing up and I’m moving on. I’m not the same person today that I was three years ago when I opened up the Lightning Thief and devoured it instantly. I’m not even the same person I was a couple of months back when I cried when Blood of Olympus was released.

Does that mean I think Rick Riordan is an idiot and his ideas are pond scum? Definitely not. Uncle Rick got me interested in Greek Mythology. His books were an instrumental part of my early teens as I bonded with friends over them and secretly wrote PJO fanfiction. In fact, it’s because I respect him and his writing style so much that I will probably never open another Rick Riordan book.
I don’t want to remember slogging through his books, forcing myself to like them and hating myself when I didn’t. I’d rather have the happy nostalgia of fond memories from his first few books.

It sounds like the end of a relationship, doesn’t it? With lame excuses on one side and heartbreak on the other. But it’s not like that. It’s not like that at all. Uncle Rick’s franchise is stronger than it has ever been before. If the PJO fandom is sad about my departure, it’s secure in the knowledge that there are a million teens and pre-teens out there willing to love it.  And I’m not hesitant about my decision. I can’t afford to be because there are a million books out there waiting for my love.

I could hang around, trying to ‘make things work’. But it wouldn’t be good for me, and I respect myself. I’m in a more insightful place today than I was a week ago, and I can finally appreciate this quote:

“Just because I liked something at one point in time doesn’t mean I’ll always like it, or that I have to go on liking it at all points in time as an unthinking act of loyalty to who I am as a person, based solely on who I was as a person. To be loyal to myself is to allow myself to grow and change, and challenge who I am and what I think. The only thing I am for sure is unsure, and this means I’m growing, and not stagnant or shrinking.”

-Jarod Kintz