A hot selfie of me to start this letter with -
so that you forgive me for being a few weeks late.
I am sorry. This lip-biting has to be enticing enough for you to stay. I love you. Hope you are doing well and good! Hope you are kind when you need to be. That is all I ask. Be kind. Somehow, that is all we need. Kindness. In all forms.
In recent news, some readers pledged $80 and more for this newsletter. I came right back to the dreary substack to finish my next letter. My virtual hug—that means something to some readers is all I needed to get em feels!
I was reading this article that asked- Wildfires, lockdown, isolation. Do you feel anxious? It got me anxious.
I sit by Window Number 4 in my room in Ames, Iowa. This particular window is my makeshift balcony viewer. A makeshift terrace. The lack of both, a balcony and a terrace is largely felt here in the Midwest. I have a dear professor who lives in a balcony-roofed patio bungalow, and I love that. I hope to have that for myself someday. In winter, snow bars my glass moving doors, and in summer, I can fill a pipe with bird chirps from the trees overlooking me. Just like the tree outside my window in Vavol. No amount of tribute or nature writing is going to do justice to this place and this space.
Who here remembers what that was like?
It was very similar. Deja vu and now a solastalgia. The word of the month.
Here is a picture: A throwback:
As I meditate every day,
I realize that I am becoming like this tree you see above you wherever you are floral and functional full and eclipsed in the sun the tree hugger never dies
Watching and understanding the impact of post-apocalyptic movies, and futuristic documentaries that focus on the versions of history that one might think of in the present through past happenings and mishappenings is something that has crossed my mind this past month.
The Book Of Eli constructs and deconstructs a dystopian reality that serves both the tangents of private and public memory. It also straddles the third tangent, which is rather under-discussed—the spiritual or astral memory. The spiritual memory of beings is also carried through.
Something that I discussed in my Seminar class is that I grew up in a fascinating neighborhood, where, like many Indians, the hustle and bustle of the rhetorics of every aangan (courtyard) or entrance changes every year. With the start of September or the start of navratra celebrations, the whole front courtyard or entrance is decorated and embellished, and the private is transformed into a public space, and vice versa. Now, whenever I see a place dedicated to celebrations in an area where Navratri is not celebrated, it always invokes memories of all the festivals I have ever celebrated. Solastalgia also exists simultaneously. These holy and very happy-go-lucky places of celebration and revelry can also become traumatic for some who suffer sexual and emotional abuse at the hands of strangers and friends, and at times such places create anxiety and other forms of PTSD that no one talks about.
we kept on talking under the blooms of that tree that bloomed every summer
in spring, when mother cut the leaves, I cried.
I asked the tree for forgiveness. My sight is slow, the leaves blessing me in reverse
as the earth glows in colours of embers
I have been reading a lot of literary magazines. When I say a lot, it is A LOT. A LOTTA. A HELL LOTTA. It is all I read some days, to be honest. My Instagram looks like a pseudo-reader’s mid-life crisis haven.
I have discovered some crazy amazing writers that I would not have otherwise met if not for this MFA journey. I am ever grateful for this piece of the pie. When I started my MFA program at Iowa State University, I knew I was choosing a program that was magical in its locality and juxtaposition. Experiences and activities that make a writer are also what breaks the ego, builds character, and question methods. Every day is a new adventure, and also the same old, but never once boring. Boredom can be dangerous in a place like Iowa, and many will confirm but an environment like the one once you enter the Ames campus of ISU is exactly the opposite. There is too much life, too much to do, so much to experience. In our practicum lie hidden gems, like the opportunity to explore the world of letterpress printing.
If you want to further read the icing on the pie-go to https://www.thechakkar.com/home/letterpressshalini (check them out!)
A few links that demanded an attention span of more than a few minutes:
There is a lot of debate that we are living in a “post-ideological age”
The Doomsday Clock moves to 90 seconds to midnight, signaling more peril than ever
This poem in Narratively by DeeSoul Carson (I watched DeeSoul perform last year in The Watering Hole graduation ceremony, and that performance has not yet left me)
Juice WRLD freestyling so good that I am stuck where I was when I first listened to him
The Ultimate Ghost Video Compilation to Keep You Up at Night
Wrote this letter listening to Ek Din Sab Ne Jana - Guri Lahoria on repeat. Now I will never
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I wait for your newsletter for eternity. Kudos!! Di
The Mid-Western sun has be kind 🌞