A long weekend!

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The sun has been shining a lot more these days, in my usually cloudy, muggy San Francisco city. Along with sunlight came the Bay to Breakers Marathon that brought out hordes of people who bravely defied the normal conventions of society and either 1) dressed up in daring costumes that would make my grandmother’s eyebrows disappear into her hairline, or, 2) came out completely stark naked, wearing their respective birthday suits. No matter if the suits were tight, stretched, wrinkly, or toned. They were proud to wear it, and proud to show it. 

Of course, since I haven’t commonly seen such…freedom prancing around the streets, I spent majority of my time with my head hanging out the window (like a bloodhound distracted by too many scents), shrieking and hollering with delight (much to the embarrassment of my husband, who pretended he did not know me for those couple of minutes).

Apart from that, we discovered the best Sandwich place in SF (Ike’s Sandwiches near Dolores Park), spend a glorious weekend doing laundry (what fun!), and threw our first dinner party for ten. Never has throwing a party seemed such a daunting prospect. Partly because I have always been a guest at other people’s parties, but never had the chance to throw one of my own since I moved here. Let me tell you something, no matter how much military precision you put into the planning on the days prior to the party, on the D-day, when you wake up, you turn into someone you do not recognize. A raging, hormonal, stressed out monster with lungs that become insanely powerful, with patience that has all but evaporated into the air…you become someone who family members look at with trepidation, with their stomachs and hearts in their hands. Thankfully, the party went well, and my stress levels have come down to their normal levels. I’m human again. 🙂 Tip to significant others : What you’re doing–keeping silent and helping–is the right thing to do. Just keep at it and know that your partner/girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband will come back into their minds and bodies very soon.

On another note, the long weekend is coming up and me and my husband have planned an impromptu trip to drive down to Big Sur. When the idea struck us, we all but discounted the fact that with the sun out, people would probably be making similar plans like us. Boy were we in for a shock. Most of the cabins and campsites there have been booked through UNTIL SEPTEMBER! By some luck, we’ve managed to find a room for one night at the Glen Oak’s Cabins. So this is something I’m definitely super excited to check out. You can be sure there will be some good pictures for my next blog post. Along with some suggestions and tips for those of you who plan to go there some time in the foreseeable future.

 On an end note for today, here’s a list of books to check out for those of you who have a passion for the written word.

– The Book Of Lost Fragrances : M.J. Rose

– Buddha In The Attic : Julie Otsuka

– Peony In Love : Lisa See

– Half Of A Yellow Sun : Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

– Daughters Of Fortune : Isabel Allende

– The Place At The End Of The World : Janine Di Giovanni 

With this, folks, I shall let you get on with your day. Have a wonderful week/weekend !!

 

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Catch up time!

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It’s been crazy busy since my last post (a very very very long time ago), but I’ve finally managed to tether my ass to the sofa to write. I’ve never really been good with blogs. But since I began my internship at Kimberley Cameron and Associates, I’ve learned how far the power of blogging and twittering can go. Not that I’m going to become a frantic twitter-r. Baby steps, that’s what I tell myself. Baby steps. But perhaps blogging is not a bad way to start. Where else can I blather on and on about anything and everything with total freedom and no internal brakes? 🙂

On a personal front, life has been going wonderfully. After a long, long, long wait, I have finally become a legal occupant (for lack of a better term) within the United States, and no more do I need to answer to the term ‘Alien’.  Secondly, after endless rewrites, countless tweaking, and two drafts later, what you see before you is an M.F.A Graduate. It was no easy feat I tell you! So you can be sure that the wine bottle in my cupboard, the one that has been dying to breathe, is finally going to be consumed…

In terms of travel, because of work and my thesis, I haven’t been able to do much really. But my husband and I did manage a day trip out the to Alcatraz Island, and boy was the sight completely worth seeing. Even though, like always, we ended up reaching there five minutes past the bugle cry, and had to wait on standby for the next boat. For one thing, the people who engineered the prison on the Island were super clever. Where else would you find a prison–surrounded on all sides by the frigid, inescapable waters–both terrifying and beautiful at the same time? For one thing, having the San Francisco skyline as the view from your pocket sized window must have burned a hole through their hearts. For another, seeing the yachts of vacationers cruising past the island couldn’t have been any nicer. The island in itself is very beautiful, filled with botanical gardens, and breeding grounds for three different species of birds in different areas of the land. Apart from that though, the prison was a grimy, chill inducing place. Here are some pictures for you to see:

 

Apart from Alcatraz, two other trips I’m looking forward to this year is my annual trip home to Dubai, to see my family (who I’ve not seen for a year), and a trip to Turkey with two of my closest girlfriends from school. A Bachelorette party! We are, as the cool kids these days say, going to drop it like it’s hot.

On the work front, as intern at a literary agent, I am always learning. Both from the perspective of a writer, and someone who loves to work with them. It is not an easy business. Not only is the publishing industry a sinking ship that is struggling to stay above the water, editors these days are tough nuts to crack in terms of what they are willing to sell. Which makes the job of literary agents all the more harder. But as a writer myself, do not fear. With the coming of self-publishing and e-books, there is always an outlook for creative talent. However, I would recommend that aspiring writers give the traditional route a serious go. Not only for the experience, but for the perks a traditional route will give them. But if you do not have the patience for query letters, rejections, revisions, and the ultimate sale of your books, by all means, head down the path of self-publishing with your head held high. But remember this. BE PREPARED TO MARKET YOUR BOOK LIKE A BITCH. Forgive my language, but there it is. The Truth. Be prepared to blog about your book, put it out there as much as you can, give as many readings as possible, visit conferences, and be visible on public forums. You have to be a one woman wonder for the baby you’ve worked hard to finish.

For those of you who are looking to get an agent, here are a few helpful tips.

1) The Query letter is most important. Be sure to give a short, yet intriguing blurb (a gist if you will) about your story. Be prepared to write a concise paragraph about yourself and your education, background, and experience with writing. (Eg: have you submitted to journals? Do you write blogs? Have you won any awards or prizes? If so, put it all in as tightly as you can manage.)

2) Polish your work as well as you can, BEFORE YOU SUBMIT. Because of the number of submissions agents get in their inboxes on a daily basis, not many have the luxury of taking the time to develop your work with you. Not until it is that promising…a diamond in the rough. Even then, they would rather have you go through your work and resubmit again when you are done. In order to avoid this, in might be a good thing to get a professional editor to work with you on the final draft, before you submit to agencies.

3) Do NOT send the same query letter and submission to a dozen agents in the same email. That is the lazy way out, and if you cannot give each email/letter your individual attention, WHY SHOULD AN AGENT DO THE SAME FOR YOU?

4) Patience is key. Remember, most agents are severely over-worked and severely underpaid. Agents get paid on commission. Also, most agencies have two to four agents working for them, and against 200-500 letters that come in each week…you do the math. There is only so much they can ingest without going completely bat shit crazy. Be assured that they will get to your work, and if they do reject you, it is after serious consideration. After all, if they truly feel passionate about your work, what would they gain by turning you down?

5) Lastly, be willing to work on revisions if an agent asks you to do so. I’m not saying you need to lose the core of your work, and thereby lose your integrity. Oh no. But be flexible and willing to bend when you can, and be firm when you have to. But remember, revision is always a good thing. When the book is ready to go out, it will.

I will write more as and when I can remember them. But before I end for tonight, as an intern who loves her job and spends a lot of time sifting through hundreds of manuscripts, writers, remember this: I wish wholeheartedly for each and every one of you to be published, if that is your dream. You should always dream! But god forbid, if your work somehow does not find a home at the agencies you covet, perhaps you should consider alternate means of publishing, OR reworking the novel.

What you should NOT do is send unprofessional, angry emails to the agents who’ve rejected you. I have received quite of a few of these lovely missiles, and so have the people I work with. In this game, rejection should be something you need to toughen up against. Take from it a helpful impression, but do not let it leave a soul crushing dent. Second, you might have to deal with the same agents again at some point, say, if you write a second book someday. Just my thought.

Alright lovelies! That’s it for today. Good night and Good bye, until the next one!

 

Bonjour 2012!

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Although I have not written for awhile (who am I kidding?) I would like to say–on this glorious, rainy  Thursday in San Francisco city–that I’m at a point in my life where happiness no longer frightens me. I do not look for reasons behind my happiness and ponder/analyze/question them to within an inch of their duration. Instead, I enjoy them completely, whilst being submerged in a cocoon of comfort and confidence. This state of being is a new sensation to me, and I am completely blissful. This is not to say that my life is perfect. Or filled with fluffy clouds, puppies, marshmallows, and all things happy. Oh no. There are days when I want to throw things at the wall, light bonfires, graffiti walls (although I’ve never done this), join a fight club to punch out my frustrations, and growl. But I’ve finally learned to pay attention to the positives in my life, thanks to my darling husband. He is the most supportive, constant, cheerful, kind, funny, and interesting human being I know. And because of him, I’m now learning to look forward to a wonderful year ahead. To look at the positives. Which are:

  • Having someone in my life who lights me up with joy. Someone who allows me to be dependent on him, and independent of him as well. Someone who thinks my oddities and quirks are attractive. Someone who allows me to be neurotic, without making me feel neurotic. Never has love made me feel so secure and confident. Never before has love made me cocky and invincible.
  • Supportive friends and family that have been with me for as long as I can remember.
  • An internship that fills me with fire and makes use of the talent and passion I possess.
  • A lot of dreams and plans for the future.

I wish the rest of you the same. Have a wonderful year ahead folks! Stay strong through the downs by focusing on the ups 🙂

 

My foray into the big bad world of blogging.

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After hours of maneuvering through the minefield that is wordpress.com, I have finally created my first ever blog. As one of the last few people on the planet to succumb to this old phenomenon, I am an endangered species. Nevertheless, like Neil Armstrong on the moon, sticking the American flag into alien soil, I too would like to stick a metaphorical flag into cyber soil, to say that I’ve arrived.