Monthly Archives: March 2014

The magic of #CosmicConsciousness

On Tuesday morning I woke up to hundreds (!) of Twitter interactions in my nascent Twitter account, @MGokunArt. With the account being live for only a couple of weeks and with just 12 followers, something was happening. And that something turned out to be nothing short of amazing!

Rewind a few days. Deepak Chopra (@DeepakChopra) asked his followers to tweet pictures, quotes, and writing with a hash tag #CosmicConsciousness. He said he’d re-tweet the ones he liked and so I tweeted a couple of my paintings. This was his response to one of them:

A Star DEEPAK CHOPRA Tweet with Painting

Deepak Chopra LOVED my painting! And he tweeted that to all of his followers!

But wait. This wasn’t all.

Deepak Chopra’s re-tweet set off a chain reaction that was least expected… at least by me. His tweet was picked up by @Khunnie0624 — a Thai American singer/actor and a member of South Korean boy band (according to Wikipedia). That generated thousands of likes, re-tweets, and mentions! Here is his tweet:

A Star retweet by @Khunnie0624Now — how is that for the magic of #CosmicConsciousness?

The painting that made me famous — for a day or two at least — is this one:

A Star 500 px (1)

And if you want to be part of this piece of history, it’s available in print here. I’ll even sign it for you if you live somewhere near me! And if I do say so myself… my other paintings are lovely too — so check them out here.



Writing While… Part III

Writing while submitting or looking for representation

You finished your novel. You’ve edited it several times, re-written parts of it to flush out the characters, and even had several readers sing your praises (who, just to clarify, haven’t only been your family or friends). You are ready to begin the next step of your literary journey. The submission process.

So you look for an agent. You scout websites of literary agencies searching for the one that will be interested in the book you wrote. You find her. She sounds fantastic—exactly like your type of agent. She is looking for books in the genre in which you write, she says she loves working with new writers, and she may even have something in common with you. Perhaps she went to your alma mater, or perhaps she dabbles in chess, or maybe she is a friend of your cousin’s daughter’s friend’s former brother-in-law. Whatever it is, she sounds like she is the agent for you.

You send her your query letter. And the synopsis. And the first three chapters of your manuscript or whatever else she requires in her submission guidelines. And you feel great. Because what you are feeling at the moment is the emotion that makes everything worthwhile. You are feeling hope.

Then you wait. You check your e-mail ten minutes after you sent the letter. Then you check it in twenty minutes. And then in one hour. Then you need to go somewhere so you stop checking your e-mail and engage in life outside of your computer. When you come back two hours later you check again. Because two hours is a long time to be away from your mailbox especially the mailbox that surely has good news.

But there is nothing. Your hope diminishes in size but it’s still there. Because it’s only been a few hours and even the most eager-to-represent-you-agent has a life. So you keep checking every ten to twenty minutes for the next several days.

Until you stop. Because your! (at) gmail (dot) com mailbox continues to be empty. You get no e-mails. Not from that special agent and not from other special agents you found prior to that one. The submission table you created to track down all submissions looks eerily empty in the “Responses” column. Your mood takes a nosedive. You wonder why you are even writing in the first place. You writing gets blocked. And you stop writing.

Until the next time when you browse the internet again and find that other special agent whose bio reads like she is waiting for your submission.

Writing While… Part II

Writing while tri-lingual

I am not trying to brag  (although feel free to post your admiration in comments and send flowers to the address you see below) but speaking three languages fluently is somewhat of an accomplishment. Yet, as I am discovering in my journey of a writer, a bigger accomplishment is remembering which words belong in which language.

When I am in the flow, words just appear. They seem to tumble out of an area of my brain that literally has a feeling for what is needed in that particular sentence. But that area doesn’t seem to distinguish between languages. As a result, I produce sentences with foreign words in them and I don’t even suspect it until one of my readers says: “Err, what does this mean exactly?” Needless to say, I am eternally grateful to those readers – Nicola, Julia, Clare, Miriam, Andrew, David, Sue … you know who you are.

And then there are times when my brain pushes out a foreign word but in this case I am aware that it’s foreign. Yet when I try to find the equivalent in the language I am writing in, it goes all amnesiac on me. So I take that word and I plug it into Google translate. But, alas, as with all things Google—and especially road trip estimates—results are approximate. Which then sends me on a chase through various Thesaurus sites in order to try to find the exact word I feel needs to be there.

Writing while not being a native speaker

I write in my second language—English. Mostly because I never learned how to write well in my mother tongue. The educational system in my birth country valued math, physics, and chemistry above all else. The only writing we did was in our classes of literature and even then we copied everything we wrote. No one wanted to be called stupid for doing it wrong—out teachers’ preferred method of instruction—and so we scouted libraries for forgotten introductions and epilogues. Since there was no internet back then and no way to get caught, we got away with it. But we also never learned to write.

Because I write in my second language I can never actually tell if what I’ve written makes sense, sounds fluid to a native speaker, or even merits reading. But the worst by far is trying to find a metaphor and unknowingly ending up with a cliché. If I had a penny for every time one of my readers pointed out a cliché in my writing I’d have been able to buy a small island already. You see? Even here I could not resist.

And then there is one more thing. I feel terribly self-conscious about my writing—and especially now as I write this post. Because all I am hearing in my head is this:

“Yeah, I can totally see she isn’t a native English speaker.”

And this:

“Her writing sucks.”

And this:

“She’ll never make it as a writer.”

Which is why the next installment of Writing While… will feature “Writing While submitting and getting rejected.”

Writing while… Part I

Lately I’ve been doing a lot more writing.

In my head.

I am lucky if any of that writing ever makes it onto a page or a computer screen simply because I cannot keep that many ideas in my brain at the same time. The idea for this blog post, for instance, appeared about a week ago and it took me seven days, five hours, and fourteen minutes to start recording it here and now. So I am wondering if any of the following ever happens to you and what you do about it?

Writing while walking

Some of the best ideas come to me when I am either in a hurry somewhere or in the pool (more about that down below). I’d be walking down a street to a meeting or a class or some other event that has taken me away from my computer and I’d be thinking about the various topics I’d want to write about. During any one walk I am capable of thinking up at least three topics but I am not at all capable of recording them.

Before you ask – of course, I carry a notebook. And I even carry a smart phone with a handy notes app where I can record my ideas just as easily. But it never happens. Mostly because I am usually running really, really late or because things that I’ve recorded in my notebook in the past never make any sense to me when I read them again. It is almost as if my brain enters a different realm when my legs are moving. But as soon as I sit down at my desk and look at those ideas, I go – eh? Why would I want to write about that? And what does “cousin—&—wiping table with paper—&—jamon” mean anyway???

Writing while in the pool or any other body of water

My gym has a spa that features at least four different pools with various jet streams. Not to mention a sauna and a steam room. So, in short, there is a lot of water—which actually is the reason I chose that gym in the first place.

It happens without fail every single time. As soon as I put on my bathing suit, squeeze my head into a ridiculous swimming cap, and enter any of the aforementioned bodies of water, my brain begins to fire off ideas. New ideas, ideas to help me with pieces where I’ve been blocked for weeks, ideas that seem to come from the left field completely, and ideas that aren’t even mine.

I have nothing to write any of those ideas down and even if I had – I am wet. So instead of relaxing, which is what I am supposedly paying for in this gym, I am sweating trying to memorize the most useful of them. By the time I leave the spa, I am so stressed that I am lucky to remember where my locker is, let alone anything I thought of.

Please tell me I am not alone! Does this happen to you too?

I have a few more of Writing while… so stay tuned for the next one!