So, February flew by faster for me and was less productive than January. I didn’t publish a single blog. I finished only one book during the whole month, but only because there was a deadline to it, and started one other. Worse, it was generally an emotionally taxing month for me, and that interfered with my ability to focus on the task at hand. As a result, I couldn’t read or write as much as I’d have liked.
March, on the contrary, was much better. I finished three books, two of them pretty intense ones. One of these was Amsterdam by Ian McEwan, which I finished in five days. Quite a big achievement for me!
However, a lot of other things went well for me in the last two months. In February, I read a book by an old school friend and wrote a review of it for Books & Authors. I read out my first published poem at the official (sort of) launch of The Mongrel Book of Voices, Volume I: Breakups. At the Karachi Literature Festival 2017, copies of my Mongrel Books anthology was available at the Liberty Books stall. Some of my friends of my friends bought their copies and I signed those for them. One idiotic thing I did do was sign the whole damned page and not leave much space for others to sign. (Eeek!) But the best part was finding a prominently-displayed copy of Urdu Poetry, 1935–1970: A Progressive Episode by Carlo Coppola, the book that I poured my blood, sweat, and tears into, at the OUP bookstall. I bought the book immediately and ran around showing it off to my friends and family all day.
In March, I started working at the Karachi Biennale as Assistant Publications and Marketing Coordinator. March was a good month, despite all the mood slumps. I wrote a lot. My bullet journal and the Memo app on my phone are filled with notes and scribblings collected throughout the last month. I am now working on creating blog drafts and scheduled posts for my blog from all these notes so I can keep updating my blog over the course of the next few weeks.
Another good thing that happened in March is that my editorial team at the Zabaan: A Journal of Art and Literature resumed operations and submissions have been reopened on the usual rolling basis. I am happy and proud of the progress we have made so far, despite our continuing slow pace.
Some things I have realised in the last two months:
- I do not have the discipline to sit down every week and produce well-written, high-quality blog posts.
- Discipline and routine does not come naturally to all writers, and definitely not to me.
- My strength as a writer is writing stuff that is full of raw, bursting emotion, and I think The Life and Adventures of a Bibliophile must cater to my strengths, instead of focusing on forcing myself to be something I am not.
Books I finished reading:
- This Wide Night, Sarvat Hasin
- The Voyage Out, Virginia Woolf
- Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
- Amsterdam, Ian McEwan
Books I’m still reading:
- A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking
- Stay With Me, Maniza Naqvi
Books on my TBR list:
- Nobody Killed Her, Sabyn Javeri
- How It Happened, Shazaf Fatima Haider
- First Love, Last Rites, Ian McEwan
In April, I’m looking forward to making my way through my TBR list. What are your plans for April?