Blogger Recognition Award :)

Yay! MAdo has its first award! Kim from Do you See What I See?? nominated me for the Blogger Recognition Award (Thank you so much, Kim!). Kim is an amateur photographer who posts beautiful images from Down Under. You should follow him if you like photography or Australia (or both!).

Receiving this award requires me to follow the award rules:

1. Thank whoever nominated you and include a link to their blog.
2. Write a post and give a brief story of how your blog started.
3. Give a piece of advice or two to new bloggers.
4. Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to.
5. Let the nominees know you have nominated them and provide a link to the nomination details.

I just re-read my very first post here on MAdo, published more than five years and over a hundred posts ago! As I say on my About page,

Much Ado About Nothing (formerly Bleh) is my third and most successful attempt at blogging. The blog isn’t about anything in particular; one of my objectives of Bleh-ing is – if I grow old to be say 40 or 50 or 60, I want to visit this here and laugh out loud at a 20-ish-year-old self! :D At 16, I was amused by the doings of a 13-year-old Felix. 20-year-old Felix is amused and somewhat appalled at 16-year-old Felix. I wonder what the 40-year-old will think of the 20-year-old.. :)

Me inventing the selfie in 1889
Me inventing the selfie in 1889

This is one of the primary reasons why I write, apart from how much writing makes me happy. Writing is an art, and like all artists, regardless of how bad an artist I am, I enjoy creating something that will most likely outlive me, by much; in relative obscurity, yes, but it will… the intellectual wake of a fleeting, fragile bag of molecules hurtling through nothing.

I grew up away from my grandparents, and both my grandfathers passed away when I was very young. All I know about their lives, which is not much, is through my brief annual visits during my childhood summer breaks to my ancestral homes and farmlands in Kerala. I remember how much I loved these visits and how much it made me want the farm life, with cows and goats grazing in the rubber plantation… eating mango pulled right off an ant-filled mango tree, and spending evenings up in the treehouse in the old guava tree… with occasional encounters with (nonpoisonous) snakes (and foxes and elephants! only a narrow stream separated our backyard from a forest!). Connecting the stories shared by my parents, I have always tried to imagine, even now as I write this from a comfortable home in the heart of Taipei, what life was like for my grandparents, before all the comfort and financial stability.

I don’t know when or if I will have kids. If I do, and they do too, I wonder what my grandkids will think of me when and if they discover MAdo. I am pretty sure they will not nostalgically remember a life spread across Bangalore, Mumbai, Jammu, and Taipei. Will I be the most embarrassing grandfather ever? Haha. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why I write some of my posts, the intellectual wake of a… :)

Clearly, my writing skills aren’t enviable. Nevertheless, here are my two Taiwanese cents on writing.  Perfectionism is not worth the trouble. Perfectionism kills productivity. Perfectionism slows progress. I moved from engineering to copyediting in 2012. That also marked the beginning of the longest drought on MAdo: 442 days! After my language skills were honed for editing, no matter how much I wanted to write, I could not get myself to publish anymore, mostly because I tried to write and edit at the same time (and partially because I could not get myself to process any more words after working with thousands of words a day). I wanted every post to be perfect, and every tiny comma error in my earlier posts made me cringe.

By perfect here, I do not just mean in terms of language. Unless you are exceptionally skilled, I think every amateur writer has stared, painfully, into the heart of the chasm:

Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression. The chasm is never completely bridged. We all have the conviction, perhaps illusory, that we have much more to say than appears on the paper ~ Isaac Bashevis Singer

This chasm is real for me, especially when I write about topics I am passionate about.

Embrace the imperfection of your writing, accept the inevitability of the chasm, and hit Publish.

Oh, and because the rules don’t specify that the advice is on writing, always remember, this too shall pass :)

Because of the (previously) intermittent and irregular writing and reading schedule, I was unable to develop a good reading list of blogs. Most blogs I currently follow are quite very well established and are popular. Now that I am writing much more regularly and frequently, I expect to come across new and talented writers. I am going to hold on to the nominations for a bit. I think I can complete the fifteen nominations by the end of the year :)

  1. Adventures Of a Traveller (Traveller, book reviewer, and half-marathon runner!)

MAdoAwardI end with the opening lines of one of my favourite books, as an ode to Kerala and as a reminder that some members of our species have figured out how to write perfectly, possibly bridging their personal chasms.

May in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month. The days are long and humid. The river shrinks and black crows gorge on bright mangoes in still, dustgreen trees. Red bananas ripen. Jackfruits burst. Dissolute bluebottles hum vacuously in the fruity air. Then they stun themselves against clear windowpanes and die, fatly baffled by the sun. The nights are clear, but suffuse with sloth and sullen expectation. ~ Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

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