Novel Writing, Furious Creative Kolkata, and Tagore by da-AL


Tagore (c. 1925), by unknown author, State Archive, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=47866012
Tagore (c. 1925), by unknown author, State Archive, Public Domain

How’s your novel coming along? If you’re writing one, did you outline it first? Or is it evolving?

“I have spent many days stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I came to sing remains unsung.” Rabindranath Tagore

In the case of the two books I’m working on, “Flamenco & the Sitting Cat” and “Tango & the Sitting Cat,” I outlined it, wrote a bunch, thought I was about done — and then a new character introduced himself!

“Reach high, for stars lie hidden in you. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.” Tagore

Blogging has brought me the unexpected joy of meeting many new online friends from India, thereby stoking my curiosity about the country. It was only natural that my books include someone at least partly from there.

“Depth of friendship does not depend on length of acquaintance.” Tagore

Niks is a minor player. It’s the year of 2002. He lives in Southern California, the best place to surf and earn a living as a model and actor. He’s a gay man in his 40s. His parents were studying business when they met at UC Berkeley’s International House, a social club intended to help foreign students feel less alone. Pasta is the dish he makes best because his Italian mom taught him how to cook. His love of great Indian literature is thanks to his dad, who grew up in Kolkata.

“A mind all logic is like a knife all blade. It makes the hand bleed that uses it.” Tagore

Are you from India? If so, feel free to correct me and/or add to what’s here…

“The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.” Tagore

Kolkata has been called the “City of Furious, Creative Energy” as well as the “cultural [or literary] capital of India.”

“If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door — or I’ll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.” Tagore

Tagore performing the title role inValmiki Pratibha (1881) with his niece Indira Devi as the goddess Lakshmi, by unknown author - Indira Devi Chowdhurani. Rabindra Smriti — Kolkata: Visva-Bharati, 1974., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16150280
Tagore performing the title role in Valmiki Pratibha (1881) with his niece Indira Devi as the goddess Lakshmi, by unknown author – Indira Devi Chowdhurani. Rabindra Smriti — Kolkata: Visva-Bharati, 1974., Public Domain

Did you know that the world’s largest non-trade annual book fair takes place in Kolkata?

“Death is not extinguishing the light; it is only putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.” Tagore

The region is home to India’s major publishers. So are many great thinkers, such as Rabindranath Tagore (May 7, 1861 – August 7, 1941), India’s equivalent to Shakespeare.

“The most important lesson that man can learn from life, is not that there is pain in this world, but that it is possible for him to transmute it into joy.” Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath with Einstein in 1930, vy UNESCO - UNESCO Gallery, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27489646
Rabindranath with Einstein in 1930, by UNESCO – UNESCO Gallery, Public Domain

To my mind, Tagore as much a sort of Leonardo da Vinci. He was a revolutionary politically and artistically. At eight years old, he was already a poet and went on to be a musician, artist, Ayurveda researcher, actor, playwright, and more.

“Love’s gift cannot be given, it waits to be accepted.” Tagore

Quite the globe-trotter, he introduced the world to India’s creative treasures.

“Love is an endless mystery, because there is no reasonable cause that could explain it.” Tagore

In 1913, he became the first non-European Nobel-prize laureate.

Rabindranath Tagore Cherishsantosh / WikiCommons
Rabindranath Tagore Cherishsantosh / WikiCommons

More quotes by Tagore…

“If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.”

“A lamp can only light another lamp when it continues to burn in its own flame.”

“Love gives beauty to everything it touches.”

“Dark clouds become heaven’s flowers when kissed by light.

“Music fills the infinite between two souls.”

What’s your creative writing style?

Celebrating Gloria Steinem, Feminist Icon by da-AL


There are many great feminists, but Gloria Marie Steinem (born March 25, 1934, in Ohio) springs first to my mind. She takes risks to expose and educate, to enlighten the world via speeches, publishing, and more. Here’s a glance at her contributions…

Gloria Steinem addresses supporters at the Women Together Arizona Summit, Carpenters Local Union, Phoenix, Arizona, Sept. 17, 2016. Photo: Gage Skidmore Peoria, AZ.

She’s descended from human rights activists, raised front seat to legal and economic slights against her single mother. As early as 1962, Esquire magazine published a Steinem piece on how women are forced to choose between career and marriage.

In 1963, she made headlines — including about herself — for reporting from undercover as a Playboy Bunny at the New York Playboy Club. “A Bunny’s Tale” reveals how Hugh Heffner sexually exploited waitresses at his nightclub.

Feminist activist Gloria Steinem, reporting incognito, 1972.

In 1969 she attended an abortion speak-out for New York Magazine, herself having had one at 22. Spurred into full-time activism, her New York magazine essay that year, “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation,” solidified her a feminist leader.

“It [abortion] is supposed to make us a bad person. But I must say, I never felt that. I used to sit and try and figure out how old the child would be, trying to make myself feel guilty. But I never could! I think the person who said: ‘Honey, if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament’ was right. Speaking for myself, I knew it was the first time I had taken responsibility for my own life. I wasn’t going to let things happen to me. I was going to direct my life, and therefore it felt positive. But still, I didn’t tell anyone. Because I knew that out there it wasn’t [positive].” Gloria Steinem

“Sex and race, because they are easy and visible differences, have been the primary ways of organizing human beings into superior and inferior groups and into the cheap labor on which this system still depends. We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles other than those chosen or those earned. We are really talking about humanism.” July 10, 1971, part of Steinem’s visionary speech.

Ms. Magazine

Did feminist magazines exist before she co-founded Ms. in 1972? Surely none sounded as loud a gong as Ms. continues to resound today. Did you know that the first Wonder Woman comics endowed the character with grit and superpowers that they later revoked? Thanks to Steinem’s re-empowered Wonder Woman gracing an early Ms. cover, the comic book publishers restored the character’s heroine status!

Thanks to Steinem, Wonder Woman got her powers back!

Steinem crusades for labor rights, people’s rights, reproductive rights and civil equality, against female genital mutilation and male circumcision — and more!…

A breast cancer conqueror, she has neither biological children nor living relatives. At age 66, she married once — to David Bale, father of actor Christian BaleWilma Mankiller, the first female Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation, performed the ceremony! Criticized for having denounced the institution as “the model for slavery law in this country,” Steinam explained…

“I didn’t change. Marriage changed. We spent 30 years in the United States changing the marriage laws. If I had married when I was supposed to get married, I would have lost my name, my legal residence, my credit rating, many of my civil rights. That’s not true anymore. It’s possible to make an equal marriage.”

When it comes to aging…

“At my age, in this still hierarchical time, people often ask me if I’m “passing the torch.” I explain that I’m keeping my torch, thank you very much — and I’m using it to light the torches of others.” Gloria Steinem

Who’s your favorite feminist?

Happy Birthday, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, U.S. Supreme Court Justice!


Cover of the biography, “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” by Irin Carmon, Shana Knizhnik.

Determined and outspoken, “The Notorious R.B.G,” a.k.a. Ruth Bader Ginsburg (born on March 15, 1933), is a genuine living superheroine!

“My mother told me to be a lady. And for her, that meant be your own person, be independent.”

Despite challenges since she started off as a non-devout Ukrainian Jewish kid in Brooklyn, New York, she’s achieved things that the rest of us only dream of. A lawyer and a jurist, she’s served as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court since President Bill Clinton appointed her in 1993. She’s the second of four women justices. She’s endured the death of her beloved husband, and she’s fought off multiple cancers.

Her mom passed away before Ginsburg was out of high school. She made sure Ginsberg got the best education possible. Already a young wife and mother, Ginsburg entered Harvard law school as a rare female student there. Later at Columbia Law School, she tied for first in her graduating class.

Regardless of her achievements, getting work required a fierce will. In 1960, it was still acceptable to not hire women. Even when she found jobs, employers were within legal rights to pay her less than her male counterparts.

Gender equality became her target when she was inspired while she did research in Sweden. There, women comprised twenty to twenty-five percent of all law students. One judge, still working, was eight months pregnant.

“It is not women’s liberation, it is women’s and men’s liberation.”

In the early 1970s, at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), she co-founded the Women’s Rights Project. Her eyes on the long haul, she embarked upon an action plan. Each of her successes at arguing gender discrimination cases was meant to build upon the previous win. From social security and military benefits to drinking ages and the right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy — she showed how discrimination hurts everyone. Her arguments emphasized ‘gender,’ not merely ‘sex.’

Cover of “My Own Words,” by Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“My Own Words” is her autobiography (written with Mary Hartnett and Wendy W. Williams) and she’s the subject of numerous books by others such as “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg,” by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik.

Check out Felicity Jones playing her in the movie, “On the Basis of Sex.”

Who’s your living superheroine?

Does Your Light Frighten You? by da-AL


“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.

It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.

Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.

As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Marianne Williamson, activist/author of, “A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A COURSE IN MIRACLES,”
Marianne Williamson, activist/author of “A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A COURSE IN MIRACLES”– Photo by Supearnesh – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

This famous quote — which surely Williamson is proud of however zillion times it’s attributed to Nelson Mandela — reminds me of how sneaky my fear of success can be. As a kid, I worried that setting myself apart would invite criticism, jealousy, and ostracism. My ultimate goal, I was firmly instructed when my imagination soared, was predetermined. Girls must be cute and sweet so they’d be attractive to boys. Women, I was told, were born to be wives and mothers.

Fears continue to gnaw at me. Now they’re sophisticated, requiring constant vigilance to upend them. Art begs an audience. When art is personal, it’s difficult to not give a damn what others might think, not to mention how wicked my own self-doubt can be. An hour after I was awarded an Emmy, a stranger asked me how the honor felt. My reply was blather. He reminded me that I had indeed won it…

Williamson is correct to point that that being our best benefits everyone. When I’m upset about my goals, I remind myself of her wise words.

Do you ever hold yourself back?

Why Does a Bird Sing? by da-AL


Photo of Ostritch Face
Thanks Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

“A bird doesn’t sing because he has an answer, he sings because he has a song.”

From “A Cup of Sun,” by American poet and children’s book author, Joan Walsh Anglund (born c. 1926). She’s sold over 45 million books worldwide.

President Obama and the U.S. Postal Service misattributed this quotation to Maya Angelou. All the same, it’s a great thought.

Here’s one of the sounds that ostriches make.

Do you have a favorite quote?

Guest Blog Post: “Everyday heroes…” in Katherine’s exact words


Photo of cat keeping an injured dog company inside of the dog's big cone sort of collarHelp is all around us, if only we open our eyes. Fellow blogger Katherine reminds us that we must acknowledge such heroes…

A Hansen Chronicle

“Great deeds may make heroes; but it is the small deeds, the everyday acts of caring and attention that make friends. And while heroes may inspire us, it is our friends who make inspiration worth pursuing. And so, in the end, the real acts of heroism are simple acts of friendship. So thank you, for being a hero.”

(Sarah Pulscher)

dog cone kitten friend

View original post

How do you live? by da-AL


Nest of chicks
Thanks Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

“You only die once.

You live every day.”

Quote by John Feal

John Feal founded the FeelGood Foundation, which helps 9/11 responders as they continue to deal with the aftereffects of dealing with injuries and toxins.

We must, he reminds us, make the most of our lives. Every day we get out of bed offers us a new opportunity.

Good deeds, moreover, are infectious. In a recent radio interview Feal recounted how, when he’s in line to buy coffee, he often pays for the drink of whoever’s behind him.

His philosophy: when we’re kind, we can’t help but be kind to others.

The kindness of others has helped me to be a better person. How about you?

Magic: Leonardo da Vinci Journaled and Affirmed by da-AL


Mona Lisa or La Gioconda (1503–05/07)‍ —‌ Louvre, Paris, France
Mona Lisa aka La Gioconda (1503–05/07)‍ —‌ Louvre, Paris, France

When Leonardo da Vinci died, the amazing all-things Renaissance man who changed the world forever as an engineer, a scientist, an artist, a sculptor, an architect, a chef, and a bazillion other things — his final words amounted to the effect of, “Forgive me for not having accomplished everything I set out to do.”

Let us learn a bit from this super achiever!

According to, the book, “How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day,” by Michael J. Gelb, da Vinci …

  1. Was never without pen and notepad to log his fancies.
  2. Kept diaries — many, many of them!
  3. Wrote affirmations.
The Vitruvian Man (c. 1485) Accademia, Venice, by Leonardo da Vinci. Photo by Luc Viatour / https://Lucnix.be
The Vitruvian Man (c. 1485) Accademia, Venice, by Leonardo da Vinci. Photo by Luc Viatour / https://Lucnix.be

Two da Vinci affirmations:

“Obstacles do not bend me.”

“I never tire of being useful.”

Simply looking at affirmations use to rile me. My inner cynic rankled, “Nope, no you don’t!”

But my response changed after a friend mentioned how he works at truly feeling affirmations. Lo and behold, that made all the difference! I’m still often my own worst enemy — but stop-affirm-feel often turns things around. “I want, I want, I want it now and I’ll never have it,” hushes a bit …

How about you? What works and doesn’t work for you?

 

 

Guest Blog Post: “Merry … Alan Campbell,” in roijoyeux’ exact words


1954 publicity photo of Judy Garland: Judy Garland during filming in a drive-in restaurant for her role in the WB film A Star is Born.
1954 publicity photo of Judy Garland: Judy Garland during filming in a drive-in restaurant for her role in the WB film A Star is Born.

Finishing off Dorothy Parker week with roijoyeux’ guest blog post about Alan Campbell, Parker’s husband twice over. In 1955 they wrote the screenplay for “A Star is Born,” starring Judy Garland. During that hysterical knee-jerk McCarthy ridden era (a time we should all look to for lessons in for today), they were black-listed as anti-American for their political views.

Don’t speak French? Click Google Translate at the right of roijoyeux’ post.

More about Alan Campbell here.

Roijoyeux

D’innombrables prodiges du monde du spectacle, sportifs exceptionnels, rois, capitaines d’industrie, scientifiques, politiciens, chefs cuisiniers et autres héros – sont gays ou bisexuels…

… J’ai décidé de raconter leurs histoires afin de montrer aux personnes qui ont été brimées à cause de leur orientation sexuelle qu’il y a des gays admirables dont l’homosexualité n’a pas empêché la réussite…

Aujourd’hui je vous propose un article sur le scénariste et acteur américain Alan Campbell (1904 – 1963).

Alan K. Campbell (21 février 1904 – 14 juin 1963) était un écrivain, scénariste et acteur américain. Il forma avec son épouse Dorothy Parker une équipe de scénaristes très demandée dans le Hollywood des années d’or.

Né à Richmond (Virginie), il était l’enfant unique de Harry L. Campbell, un vendeur de feuilles de tabac et Hortense Eichel Campbell. La famille de sa mère, les Eichel, étaient des émigrés juifs originaires d’Alsace.

Il obtint son…

View original post 361 more words

Guest Blog Post: “Excuse My Dust,” in Donal Clancy’s exact words


Dorothy Parker

Dorothy Parker (August 22, 1893 – June 7, 1967) week here at Happiness Between Tails continues! Ever the master of using a brilliant bow of wit to snare darkness with light, here’s three more of her famed quotations …

“I hate writing. I love having written.”

“Living well is the best revenge.”

“I’d like to have money. And I’d like to be a good writer. These two can come together, and I hope they will, but if that’s too adorable, I’d rather have money.”

a poem …

Razors pain you.

Rivers are damp.

Acids stain you and

drugs cause cramps.

Guns aren’t lawful.

Nooses give.

Gas smells awful.

You might as well live.

and another guest blog post …

Mindship

MrsParker

Born on this day in 1893 Dorothy Parker, writer & poet is possibly best known for her famous wit.  Her one liners are sharp as a knife.  Lines like “A girls best friend is her mutter” or “The cure for boredom is curiosity, there is no cure for curiosity”.  Her wit developed at an early age when she lost her mother and her father remarried.  She refused to call her stepmother anything civil and referred to her as the housekeeper.

She joked that she married to cover up her Jewish background and avoid anti-Semitism.  She was an avid anti-fascist and became aligned with left leaning politics in the 1930s. She was blacklisted in Hollywood in the 1950s McCarthy era as a communist.

“Excuse my dust” was her suggestion for her epitaph.  When she died in 1967 she bequeathed her estate to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. After his death her estate…

View original post 107 more words