Quandary – Plea for Advice

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Thinking of PI–Whoops!

I taking a trip to India at the beginning of next month!   I am going to meet up with one of my daughters who has been having a very intense time working with a wonderful women’s labor collective there.  (More on that another post.)

Yes, it is exciting.  Yes, I feel incredibly blessed (i) to be able to make the trip, (ii) to have such daughters.

The trip will (inevitably) be an adventure, but is also intended as a break for both my daughter and me.  We will travel a little but not be truly touring.  I am hoping, in other words, to have some writing time.

My quandary – what to write.

I have a few old manuscripts of novels bopping around.  These are things I constantly put off truly finalizing on the grounds that I need concentrated time.

(But I will traveling in India, as in – concentrated time?  It is also a place where I just might want to look at something besides a computer screen.)

It will also be April – National Poetry Month–which I have used, in the past, as a goad to post a poem a day.

But there are these old manuscripts.  That I have wanted to finish for a very long time.

One is a fantasy novel that has an Indian-like backdrop – sometimes called “Butterfly,” sometimes “I For An Eye.”   It deals with issues of appearance, magic, empathy, forgiveness of self and others.  I have spent  years, off and on, writing and re-writing it.  It sometimes feels like a sick pet riding around on my back – something I have either to cure or put to a final “sleep”–something, in other words, that I need to address before getting involved with another pet.

But the fact is, I’ve cheated.  I have gotten involved with other pets – i.e. manuscripts.  And one of these–one that I’ve also thought of working on in India–is tentatively called “Outsider Art” and deals with things like self-image, the making and classification of art,  love, kidnapping, families, possibly country music, possibly HIV.  It  is in an extremely rough state with large chunks that haven’t been written, others that haven’t been typed (might even be lost at this point).

Then there’s the whole question of whether I should try to blog from India.  I can imagine blogging from India as being rather fun.  But the trip could also be a useful break from blogging. (And what about finishing those manuscripts!!!!)

I know it is a rather silly quandary.  There are people (including myself sometimes) grappling with true problems.

Still, it is a decision that has been difficult for me, at least, and one I think would be useful to make in advance. If, for no other reason, than to think through what kinds of electronic devices I should cart around with me.

I would appreciate any ideas, suggestions, absolution.  (I say, absolution, as I have a feeling the manuscripts will definitely lose out to the immediacy of everything else.  Agh.)

Still, I thank you.

P.S. – this is my post for PI day – 3.14 – the conundrum (to me) of what makes a circle round.  I feel like my not working on the manuscripts is almost as inevitable as PI.  Or, is it?

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14 Comments on “Quandary – Plea for Advice”

  1. Charles Says:

    I’d go with the manuscript that has an indian like backdrop. Just being there might give you additional ideas on how to tweak the story a little bit or to add a bit more local color to it. And the impressions you pick up just from being in the environment should help with that I’d think. Or you could even take notes on your actual journey through India and come up with a non-fiction travel tale of what you did and so forth. Or even a little bit of both.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks, Charles. I appreciate your thoughtful advice. You are right – that I am hoping the trip helps my background. I have a lot of my novel on trains – based on old experiences on Indian trains. But the place my daughter and I are planning to go –From Ahmedabad to Kerala –has a train ride of well over 40 hours, so I am looking into flights right now!!!! But I know we will take some trips within Kerala. k.

  2. janehewey Says:

    My first thought: let your trip Feed your manuscripts (it is inevitable your experience will alter your writing anyway) keeping the work to quick jots and notes. Yes-blog from India. This is me being selfish.. if I were the traveler, I’m not sure I could pull it off. As the reader at home on my own continent, I relish the thought of your blog posts from abroad. Blog and poem-a-day are a perfect match for each other.
    My second thought: let all technology wait. I don’t know if I could do it, but there is rich insight to be gained from full immersion in an experience without thought to recording it… rare for us in this day and age.
    I’ll stay tuned to hear what you decide.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks, Jane, for your kind and thoughtful comment. It sounds very apt. I don’t know if the posts would/will be so interesting, and do hope that I have an internet connection, but expect that I will at various places. Thanks again. k.

  3. ninotaziz Says:

    I wanted to give a whole lot of advice – I remember writing NAGA, I felt it was important to travel to the places in the book. Yes, it did give me a whole different perspective. And inspired some most beautiful beginning and chapters.

    But I am thinking – India will tell you. When you are there, the sights sounds and smells will dictate your heart. And you just follow through from there.

    Have a great trip. Have a feast of a trip, Karin.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks so much – a lot to be done between here and there. i have been to India a few times before, so some of that flavor I have, but my longest trips were a long time ago.

      You are right that I will know what I can do when I am there. My only thought is that if I wanted to be disciplined about one of the novels I have to make a plan in advance or I will never stick to it. Thanks again. k.

  4. hedgewitch Says:

    I could write volumes of advice; as a Capricorn it’s my part-time profession which everyone wishes I’d retire from–but to keep it brief– I would just offer this: be prepared to go where the mood takes you, but don’t lay a heavy bunch of structure on your writing. Traveling with your daughters (in a really cool and no doubt demanding environment) should mostly be the dynamic, not finishing one’s nagging life-work. ;_) Or satisfying our bloggy lusts, though like Jane I would *love* it if you did find time time to shoot us your impressions. Mostly, wish you a rich and wonderful experience, dear k.

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Dear Joy, Thanks. I know that that is what I will inevitably do–and it is the right thing to do. The problem is that I have so little free time these days that my poor manuscripts feel a bit like poor wandering waifs in my basement who need someone to sit them down and feed them and dress them properly and then send them out into the world. Of course, I could just make myself do it at any time, but I always imagine that it would be great if I had a span of non-work days to spend on them. I do not think these will be those days.

      It’s only a kind of immediate issue in terms of dragging along a computer, rather than something a bit lighter. My computer is a bit heavy though, and even if I backed it up, losing it would be traumatic, so it’s probably best just to not worry about the whole thing, and know that it those wandering waifs are really worthwhile they will sometime come and give me a good kick in the you-know-what! k.

      ps – my older daughter and I are straddling trips to give the younger daughter a bit more extended company – big daughter leaves today, and then she returns and I go. It would have been fun to be all together, but I think this is truly better.

      And I do hope to blog in India. What my younger daughter has been doing has been truly inspiring and amazing -working with self-employed workers (women), and assisting with a charity that is devoted to the children of commercial sex workers and migrant laborers and other children at serious risk. All pretty intense.

  5. brian miller Says:

    i would break from blogging…
    focus on the manuscript…
    and def use one with an indian back drop as it would be really authentic….

    sounds like a fun trip….

  6. Jamie Dedes Says:

    I’d do poetry because it allows for spontaneity – let the trip, the people, the sights-sounds-smells inspire … collect material to add to Indian manuscript when you get home.


  7. Now this is opportunity I envy you so beautifully for! I’m sure the combination of time with your daughter and a country with such a rich culture will lead you to great inspirations.
    If it was me, I’d have a blogging break and just collect moments to share them afterwards. Whatever the form, I’m looking forward to your posts about India.

  8. uncommonly Says:

    You are rich, vibrant, a regular full blown artist, trust me. Like a violin in a quiet room you resonate with ambient sound. Even I can hear India, then add your daughter and imagine…

    You know India will fill you; pack lightly. Do you have a small microphone you could carry with you?

    • ManicDdaily Says:

      Thanks so much. This is a funny trip for me – I’ve been to India before, and I’m going mainly to keep my daughter company–she is there working, but I think it will be a very rich time. I’ve been so busy with life here, it’s been a bit hard to envisage the “trip” part, but of course, there will be full onslaught once arriving. k.


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