If you act like something is normal long enough — like you actually believe it’s perfectly fine and possible and all right — then, no matter how unconventional or how not-normal it is, sooner or later, without realizing it, people will actually start acting like it’s normal too; or at least, that it’s perfectly normal and conventional for you, and thus a familiar thing.
That’s why patience and consistency is a special kind of power. It’s not something you write ballads about. Or history books. And it’s many times upgraded to sound like something more exciting and difficult like “determination” and “perseverance” and “fighting against impossible odds”.
It’s not something you write ballads about. Or history books. And it’s many times upgraded to sound like something more exciting and difficult like “determination” and “perseverance” and “fighting against impossible odds”.
Don’t get me wrong, though, it isn’t easy. And these upgraded terms aren’t off the mark. But they add a certain “loudness” to what is oftentimes a quiet battle that has no war-cries, weapons, or glory. Just a quiet, subtle, unremarkable victory that only the one waging the silent war knows they’ve won. And many times, even the one who started this silent war doesn’t notice the victory. Because there was no outright fight, just a quiet decision, and an even quieter follow-through.
It’s a really quiet kind of power. And greatly underestimated.
So here’s the deal: I can’t draw. And I hate that fact. Not because I have a long-cherished dream to be world-renowned in the art field somehow (tho that would undoubtedly be cool!), but because I aspire to be a storyteller; and I love the arts; and I know that the world is more visually-oriented today than it was before and I want to be able to cater to it. Because, well, I too love visual storytelling. And I love it just as much – if not a bit more – as I love sinking into a novel with nothing but black, typed words on a cream, off-white, or yellowed page.
But I can’t draw. And though I’ve tried to learn (and practiced, and have occasionally been able to produce more than a stick-figure), whatever I do manage to put down on paper is a far cry from the image in my head. Unfortunately though, I also do not have the required amount of patience, love, and obsession for it that I need in order to learn how to draw at the level I desire to.
However, I’m also not willing to completely let it go.
Hence was born the comic Nox Hoo – which stars a bunch of animal characters that I’m putting together. The characters are created digitally, using basic shapes and an obscene number of online references for anything from color and facial expressions to body parts and positions (because I’m just that clueless on how to draw anything that’s not a look-and-draw practice exercise 😛 ).
Consequently, updates on this webcomic will be slow, if not sluggish. For what might take a person who can draw mere minutes on paper, with fewer guides too, I take anywhere from a whole day to two on the computer. And that’s when I’m lucky enough not to be interrupted by something more urgent that I have to do (or interrupted by life in general).
I have given myself a goal of updating at least once in two weeks. But it’s more than likely that I’ll sometimes only update once in a month or more – at least in the beginning. I do hope that as I get more used to it, though, that I’ll get faster.
However, this in no way means that Nox Hoo is a half-baked idea that might teeter off into the abyss the moment I lose interest in this exercise or when I no longer feel inadequate because of my lack of artistic skills. Sure, the story’s predominantly unhurried, light, and carefree. But I already have a backstory in my head for each of the characters I plan to include, and also a darn good idea of how I want the comic – and the characters – to progress for a good while.
After all, what I mainly aim to be is a storyteller. And the “art” is merely a tool to that end in my eyes. Plus, in my book, good storytellers do not casually decide to drop off the face of the earth before concluding the stories they start in some way.
And now, I think I’ll stop. (This was supposed to be a short post, for goodness’ sake!) If you’ve read thus far without running off though, I thank you. 🙂 (If not: Boo! You don’t know what you’re missing. 😛 )
In any case, I felt I should offer an explanation introduction as to how and why this blog / webcomic was started.
So there you go. 😀
Thanks for visiting & happy reading! 🙂
(Psst! You can check out the comic strip right here.)
You know, sometimes I get so tired of all the stuff we seem to fight about.
Well, I get tired of it; and sometimes, I also want to laugh hysterically at how ridiculous it all is. Religion, race, gender, diet, sexuality, and whatnot. I mean, really? It’s bad enough that the only way humans seem to feel superior and good about themselves is if they put someone else down. But, can you picture our known, proved, actual reality for just a minute? We are all — all 7 billion+ of us — living on a small rock that is spinning, minding its own business, in the middle of a vast abyss with other rocks.
All it would really take is for the Earth to hiccup, and we’d all be gone. Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, etc. (Did I miss any? Well, anyway, you get the idea.) All it would take is a worldwide string of one or more of these. And that’s it. Capisce. The human race as we know it would be gone. Sure, some of us may survive. Or not. And it wouldn’t matter. Know why? ‘Cause the Earth is a rock that has been spinning in the middle of an abyss for centuries, and it’s going to continue spinning whether we’re here or not.
I mean, seriously, saving the planet? Are you kidding? Please. We’re saving ourselves. We’re just trying the make sure the rock we’re living on doesn’t crack or sink or erupt and get rid of us. ‘Cause, despite it all, we’re survivors, and deep at our core, we like living. And we’d like it very much if the planet continued housing us, thank you.
So really, we’re all just teeny weeny specks on another bigger speck in the universe. And we seem to think that all these labels, all these categories, all these dominance games (’cause, in essence, I think that’s what they are), all these fights and there-is-only-one-right-way attitude, will actually make a difference. It’s kind of hilarious that we seem to think we have any right at all to decide what is right for everyone else when we are all, ourselves, at the mercy of a silent, spinning rock.
Don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t hope and dream and strive for our goals and ambitions. Rather, the fact that anything can happen at any time and that we’re all just here, together, muddling along as best as we can, just makes these dreams and ambitions that much more important and worthwhile. But, do our dreams and ambitions have to be focussed on deciding how others live, what they want, and how they should be? Do they have to be focused on deciding who should be ostracized and limited and who should be accepted?
I mean, are we that bored?
Frankly speaking, I think that as long as someone’s decisions and actions don’t directly harm another or their freedom, then it should just be let it go. Let them go their way, and let us go ours, and you can go your way. It might not always be comfortable. It might not always feel right. But so what? We’re living on a small spinning rock in space. (And no, I cannot reiterate this enough.)
We have limited lives and, despite how advanced technology is today and how many “facts” we know, the truth is that we’re still discovering the world and everything about it. And, it’s kind of miraculous to be alive at all, don’t you think? All of us on a spinning blue ball in the middle of an abyss? With a multitude of other living species?
So are we really going to waste so much time telling other people how to live, how to be, and what to do? Are we really going to continue fighting about such things till the end of time?
Author’s Note: I’m going to mainly focus on student experiences in India for this. But I think at least some of these examples might apply to the rest of the world too. If not, you have my apologies (and my envy.)
It starts at school.
As they get to higher and higher grades, here’s how students are instructed to write exams: “Write a lot. If it’s 5 marks, write more than a page; maybe more than two. By-heart the headings; don’t write your own. And, if possible, by-heart the textbook too.”
Basically, students are told to cram facts into their heads in as short a time as possible, and to write sheafs worth of papers in as short a time as possible.
In fact (at least, it was true when I was a student) I don’t think a single student escaped the experience of — at least once — having his or her answer sheet snatched away from them while they were still in mid-write at the end of an exam.
Well. Then came college.
Here, students aren’t limited to textbooks. Instead, they get reference books — which may only cover half the topics they really need to learn (if they’re lucky, that is). For the rest, they must scour the college library or the Internet for notes.
Plus, they still need to write as much as possible during exams, regardless of whether the questions only facilitate short answers or not.
So again — like a video game that has the same steps but gets more intense when you reach a higher level — in college, students have to cram in at least 3 times more information than they ever did in high school; and in a much shorter time too (there are only 6 months in a semester).
As a consequence, to accommodate this new need, students pick up skills like speed-reading and skimming content at top speeds. They figure out that watching a video will let them cover more ground than reading a book. They learn to browse a number of books at once and a number of online sources at once. They learn to pile their daily schedules and just run.
Finally, they just get used to doing things fast; to fill in their time all the time, and to produce and do and learn a lot in increasingly short amounts of time.
(A lot of the time, they also get used to quantity over quality too.)
And then, when they finally graduate . . . those habits stay.
The fact that technology and video games are a normal part of everyday life for them has contributed a little, yes. But honestly, with this kind of study-lifestyle, a student’s capacity for “patience” and “focus” was already dying anyway. And it’s not fair to blame their short attention spans on technology or impatience — (granted, there are those kinds of students/graduates too, but they’re not the only kinds) — when they were only encouraged to be so with their work when they were still students.
(Oh, and a comment from a friend made me realize I should mention this:
I wasn’t a poor student in my student-days, and this is not a rant to justify how warped the education system is simply because I couldn’t cut it.
I was actually a very good student who scored pretty well, maintained a rank, and always submitted assignments on time. And I’m a teacher myself now too.
It’s rather because I’m a teacher now, remember what it was like to be a student like that, and still see students being affected this way — and then later being blamed for their short attention spans and lack of focus — that I wanted to write this.
Because success at being a student doesn’t take away from the fact that this kind of study-lifestyle actually messes with your ability to concentrate on one thing for a long time and forces you to get used to constantly shifting your focus. ‘Cause if a student doesn’t adapt this way, it shows in their scores.)
I’ve been running across a lot of quotes on love and relationships recently. And, while at first read they seem sweet or reassuring, or even good advice, they actually aren’t. They’re instead over-simplifying a phenomenon (i.e., relationships) that has been evolving and growing and changing and staying the same for centuries; something people have been trying to define for eons.
It’s too simple. And too one-sided most of the time.
‘Cause, the thing is . . . You can’t love those you care about so much that you yourself are last on your list of priorities. And you can’t love yourself so much that you always put yourself over others as a priority either.
One is self-detrimental, and the other is selfish.
In truth, when we act out such extremes, it is often neither healthy nor right. Rather, we usually need to find a balance between the two — which is a lifelong process of thinking, adjusting the intensity levels on various factors, and always learning . . .
Which is why a single, one-sided quote on the subject, while comforting, generally makes us lean towards either being a doormat or being an ass.
Neither will work for a healthy relationship in the long run. And we’re all fooling ourselves if we think it’s that simple or that easy.
First of all, let me clarify: This post is an apology of sorts.
I started off thinking that I should post a casual-formal apology when I finally started posting again — in italics, as is done, right at the beginning of a post — before jumping into my new post and letting bygones be bygones.
And that might have been a sound option.
Only, I also realized that if I made a habit of apologizing after a long bout of non-posting, then I better get a horde of apologetic drafts ready. Because this is most likely (absolutely surely) going to happen again.
Don’t get me wrong. I am apologetic. I always start writing again with the grim determination of someone hell-bent on not slipping again on her schedule. And I’m pleased beyond measure when (or if) even one person likes one of my posts or follows my blog.
But then I wind up not-posting again; for months sometimes. And I’m just despairing my inability to organize and stick to this. (Especially since I do enjoy blogging. And because writing is something I know will slip like any other skill if you leave it to gather dust for too long.)
So yes, I do apologize. And I will continue to be apologetic when it happens.
But, I also really don’t want to be someone who posts just for the heck of posting. And when writer’s block hits, I really don’t want to force it.
Besides, this blog isn’t my “job”. Sure, I link potential clients here when they want to check out my writing style and grammar comprehension. But that’s for them to comprehend what I can write and how well I can write. Otherwise, this blog is for fun, to put my writing out there, and to keep me writing.
I already have deadlines and formats and structures to adhere to when I write or edit for work. And while that is its own kind of style and rhythm, I don’t want to force it on here too. Why should I, anyway? It would defeat the purpose of starting this blog if I did. ‘Cause this blog is not in any way a job I must complete on schedule. It’s a platform where I can take a break and write as I please, shifting styles and rhythms and lengths and ideas as it suits me.
So yes, I am sorry that I disappear randomly for various lengths of time, especially to those who take the trouble to email-subscribe to my blog(s), follow my blog(s), and/or like my posts. Believe me, you make my day, week, and month. And every interaction boosts me with some much-needed assurance that, yes, I can write and it’s not total malarky. 🙂 😁
The truth is, I’ll probably never give up on this blog (or, I think, any of the others either, but this blog is extra special to me). And, the only kind of leaving I’d ever do is if I finally got down to registering my own domain instead of using subdomains (and of course I would mention that here and everywhere I can). But that’s still a little ways off, I think. Especially because it takes some work to set up, and no, I’m not the type to hire someone else to manage my blog if I can help it; I like being able to affect any changes I want as and when I want them. 😀
Till then, however, I hope you’ll stick around. 🙂
And I thank you for all your past, present, and future instances of patience too — both with my disorganized sense of style and timing, and with my rambling posts. 😉