Braving The Storm

It has been a while since my last post. I have been busy all the while braving the storm that has been my PhD studies. While I’m only three months into my new degree (and a good 3.75 years remain until its completion), not surprisingly enough, I’m swamped with work. Thankfully, it is the enjoyable kind that comes with a research topic of my liking.

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Nevertheless, it has been slightly frustrating that I haven’t had the chance to post as frequently as I would have wished on the blog. 

But, the prodigal has now returned, and he does hope that he would be able to keep up with his blog posts as he deems it to be in the coming weeks. The brief respite that Halloween offered came with a sweet dose of playfulness as I carried out my annual responsibility in scaring the shit out of my girlfriend…

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And deservedly getting my ass handed to me afterward. 

Winter is most certainly here as well, the first snowfall caressing Edmonton in what began as a slush soup of snow rain that alerted me of its presence most distinctly through the water that slipped through the newly discovered gaping hole in my shoe. With only a few more weeks to go before classes end for the semester, and the age of final exams to come, I hope to put up a good number of posts that I have kept waiting for too long.

I will begin with keeping my word on the anecdote I wished to write on meteor showers. The Orionid showers occurred just a few weeks ago, and I’m looking forward to the Geminid showers which will hit in December. Apart from this, I will soon be pulling my book, A Little Bit Of Everything, out of Amazon KDP Select so that I may distribute it through other e-book publisher chains online. The book remains available on Amazon, and hopefully the redistribution will allow for further promotions in the future.

Having closed a chapter of my life with the completion of the book, I’m also working hard on setting the stage for a trifecta of stories that I’m hoping to work on over the next few years. Two of these stories will take the form of comics, for which I have been diligently taking art classes on human anatomy, while the last will be a novel, which remains in the back-burner of ideas, and a whole load of brainstorming.

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It is pretty much a blank slate for now, but the emptiness of it evokes the certainty of greater ideas and explosive creativity.

So, for now, I leave you all with this short update as I busy myself with another late night of catching up on my art practice and contemplation on my stories. I hope to have another post up by the end of this week! Until then, toodles!

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Being an Indie Writer!

Though it feels like a decade ago, it was only last year, around this point in time, when I had the opportunity to participate in Indie Author Day hosted by the Edmonton Public Library. Never did it occur to me then, that a year down the road, I would have published my second book.

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Indie writers who choose the path of self-publishing often have their work cut out for them with a slew of responsibilities ranging from editing and proofreading as well as marketing their finished product. There are of course a variety of reputed services (ranging from cheap to quite expensive) to assist authors with this, but it largely rests upon the individual’s efforts and motivation to get the book out to their readers.

Attending events such as Indie Author Day, not to mention, scouring through vast resources online I have also had the chance to engage with my fellow indie authors. My own experiences with self-publishing began with Our Last Summer: A Personal Memoir. Purchasing a book publishing plan, I was provided with professional proofreading and marketing services that helped in getting my first book out to the world. While the venture was quite expensive (one that I wish I could have averted), the experience was akin to a trial through fire, allowing me to learn from my mistakes and get a clearer picture of the enormously complex industry of book publication, and marketing. Moving on, I decided to publish my second book through Amazon, being a little more observant of my budget and goals this time around.

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It is a never-ending but largely satisfactory struggle to be an Indie writer.

Though my books haven’t necessarily been successful in their own right, I can’t deny that I’m still happy with the end result. As a writer, one has to believe in their work, and take pleasure in the art of eliciting one’s thoughts, emotions, and imagination to their intended audience. My goals with the two books I have published so far have largely been to satisfy and pay tribute to particular events in my life. Altogether, Our Last Summer: A Personal Memoir and A Little Bit Of Everything represent my journey over the last 15 years of my life, reaching back to my adventures in high school, all the way to where I am now.

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For so long, I have looked back upon the memories of our last summer, cherishing them, and holding them close, afraid to let go…Now, riding along the winds of a greater adventure, filled with a little bit of everything I’ve always longed for in my life, I wish to move forward toward that endless horizon spanning a brighter future.

In the end, the peace and happiness I found in writing about my life, my friends, my love, and my family are representative of what I take away from my experiences in self-publishing. Of course, I don’t deny the obvious difficulties and complications that followed in publishing and marketing my books. It is A LOT of work, and while self-publishing may grant a certain level of flexibility within every phase of publication (from budgeting to choosing selective services in marketing and proofreading etc.) it IS largely an independent and never-ending effort (one must be persistent in promoting their work even after publication).

Moving forward, I hope to explore other outlets of publishing. For a change, I have decided to go the traditional path. It is never too late to begin researching, and as I spend the next few months brainstorming my novella, I also intend to obtain the necessary resources required to eventually get me across the finish line (once I set foot on the final lap). Does this mean I’m no longer an Indie writer? Nope. To me, being an indie author is a matter of self-definition, an approach that defers to every individual writer in their approach towards writing and publishing their work. I have always identified myself as the creative director of my books, from concept to completion and beyond. The decision to vie for traditional publishing is nothing more than another opportunity to exercise my knowledge in the writing industry, and establish partnerships that may facilitate my spirit and creativity as an indie-writer while collaborating with other publishing professionals in producing a good book for my readers.

My takeaway message to my fellow Indie authors and aspiring writers would be that one should never not lose sight of their true objectives. For me, the writing always comes first. My goals with Our Last Summer: A Personal Memoir and A Little Bit Of Everything was largely to share my personal experiences with my family and friends as well as mature in my own right as an individual and identify with my true passion in life, writing. In that measure, I have certainly been very successful. As of now, I’m setting my sights on a trifecta of writing projects. Two of said projects will  assist in establishing my humble beginnings as a mangaka, while the third will  hopefully become my breakout novel in the world of writing. Though my goals may be far-fetched on the outset, it is necessary to have a certain degree of aspiration (and a big dreamy heart) to succeed as a writer, and that is just what I’m going to do!

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A part of me always knew that I wanted to be a writer, even though it took me long enough to actually admit it. While I have no clue as to how my dreams will fully manifest, I delight in the mystery of not knowing, as it has only made my experiences so far all the more adventures and awesome. Now, having said all of this, it is time for me to set off on my journey, across this sea of dreams!

Bogged Down With Formatting…

It is a necessary step, but formatting is possibly the most irksome part of publishing a book. That’s pretty much where I’ve been in the last two weeks, wading through a murky swamp of page breaks, indentations, paragraph spacings, margins etc. Having completed the illustrations, along with the cover art for my book, I spent an entire week polishing said images to fit the prerequisite conditions for publication.

As of now I’m alighting upon the final few steps before clicking on that beautiful button “Publish” on my screen. I’m hoping to have the book out by next week, and prior to release, I will provide full details on the work (along with promotions), including where it will be available, and how you, my wonderful readers can get your hands on it. Following the publication, I intend to continue promoting the book on the blog, while getting back to the posts I had planned earlier.

I thank everyone for being patient, and I look forward to sharing my work with you very soon!! Have a great weekend!!

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Let’s get the ball rolling!

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to provide a general update, before putting up my review on Chapter 1 of Carl Sagan’s The Dragons of Eden.

I know it has been a long wait, and I apologize for the delay, but I’ve experienced quite a productive, and intense week. I was finally able to complete the content editing required on Agent X, and now have a first draft of the book. I hope to pursue further editing in the future before proceeding towards any plans to publication.

I had hoped for a wonderful beginning to 2017, and on the heels of this personal achievement, I can say my confidence is at an all-time high. Having just also traveled back to visit my family in India, I’m currently recovering from jet lag. Nevertheless, the wait is now over, and it is now time for me to get the ball rolling on my plans for the blog, but before that, I’d like to thank you all for your patience!!

Now, let’s do this!

It is done!

Great news everyone! As of yesterday, I have successfully completed the first draft of my second book (Agent X, as we decided to call it on my last post).

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It took a few hours…Well, actually, an entire day of exhaustive writing, and by around 10 p.m., I was typing the last words of the epilogue. The rush of emotions that accompanied the completion of my second work was exhilarating, and in a way, bittersweet. I spent the rest of the night reminiscing about the two year journey over the course of which I had written the book.

Of course, there is still much that remains to be done. I will now proceed with the most arduous task of content editing my work. On the other hand, the end of this project brings up the excitement of various future prospects. Apart from the accompanying art work I intend to do for Agent X, I will now slowly make my transition into Manga school, while brainstorming my next three writing projects.

I will also be making a few changes to the content presentation on this blog. The purpose of this blog is to provide a free space where I can express my thoughts, as well as share my knowledge with all of you. To further help facilitate these discussions in an interesting manner, I intend to go about categorizing my daily posts. I’m hoping that a few months from now, I will have set up several categories of posts in subjects ranging from:

(1) Critical thinking

This will primarily involve weekly discussions on an interesting article of my choice in science, politics, philosophy, and just about anything that can wrack my brain.

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(2) Teaching & Problem-solving

This will be a two-fold approach that would help complement my current duties as a student tutor at the university, where I typically face the following scenarios:

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 and which I try to resolve in due fashion, with ample flair,

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Let’s get this over with.

 I have yet to decide on how to organize this part of the blog, but it may predominantly involve discussions or solutions to the most interesting questions I encounter with my students on a weekly basis, or any other cool puzzles that catch my eye!

(3) Book reviews/Read-along

This is something I have always wanted to do. So far, I have done one book review (Star Wars, The Old Republic: Revan), but I would also like to try something new where I would provide a summarized read-along discussion of sorts of the books I read. An immediate choice that I will provide posts about in the near future is Carl Sagan’s Dragons of Eden, which I’m currently parsing through.

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(4) My daily adventures & lots of writing!

This is fairly simple. It is what I’ve been doing so far, and will be the primary form of my communication with everyone. There is a lot to life, and everyday proves to be a grand adventure!

And that’s basically it for my update. The purpose of this post was to keep you all informed. The changes will be gradual, but I hope that you will all come to enjoy the myriad selection of posts this blog will host in the coming days!

Memories of a Forgotten Summer

Hi everyone,

Firstly, this post doesn’t pertain to any discussion On the Nature of Knowledge. I’m still piecing together my ideas for that post, and will post it later this week. I’m here today to simply talk about the fun I had this weekend revisiting old memories! Just this Saturday, I attended a series of events celebrating Indie Author Day at the Edmonton Public Library.

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The experience was a lot of fun, and was a motivational reminder on my aspirations to become a successful writer. Having attended a few sessions ranging from discussions on self-publishing, marketing, to friendly advice on just getting your stories heard, I was thoroughly enthused to get back on my writer’s bandwagon by the time I returned home. For those among my followers who may not know, I’m a self-published author. My first book was Our Last Summer: A Personal Memoir detailing my experiences in Sudan where I completed my secondary education. The book is dedicated to my closest friends, in memory of our time together at Khartoum American School (K.A.S.), as well as my loving family.

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I started writing the book back in 2009, and it was published around the summer of 2013 after having undergone a tedious but highly enlightening process of editing, book binding, and marketing with the assistance of iUniverse, a self-publishing company. My original intentions were to continuously promote the book afterward and hopefully help in its sales. My earlier blog, ourlastsummer2013, was meant for this. But, life happened, and following the publication of the book, I became quite jaded about writing and myself. I was also enmeshed in my personal identity crisis. Consequently, my promotional efforts were cut short, and I took a break from writing.

Three years down the road, I found myself sitting in a room filled with Indie authors, spending a few hours re-reading the passages in my book, and revisiting many forgotten memories of my past. I had recovered from my identity crisis thanks to my friends, and family, and am now close to completing a second book that has been in the works for two years. By revisiting said memories of a forgotten summer, I was able to reassess my growth as an individual during the last seven years of my life, ever since I commenced my post-secondary education at the University of Alberta. I was also able to recognize the significant influence writing Our Last Summer had in my life, and felt sad that the book never got the personal recognition it deserved from its own author.

Ever since my childhood, I’ve been passionate about two things: learning and asking questions. These two attributes contribute to my personality as an autodidact and have been the main benefactors towards my motivation for higher studies, and academic pursuits in various fields from astrophysics, biophysics, plasma physics, and in the near future, robotics. My academic interests were also complemented by my love for writing, music, and art. Throughout my life, I’ve been able to engage and enhance my creativity and skills in these different subjects.

Having completed my Masters, and on the verge of finishing my second book, I’m now motivated to unite my interests toward a unique career. I have no idea what exactly it will be, but it certainly will have a mix of everything from being a scientist, writer, and an artist. It will be an infusion of the freedom and happiness I’ve found in my writing, engaging my imaginations and bringing them to fruition through my art and music, and sharing my comprehension of what I learn about the surrounding world to my friends, family, and to all of you! Part of that effort will now involve my dedication toward revamping the promotions on my first book  Our Last Summer: A Personal Memoir. I will use The Pensive Reverie (and the Facebook group) along with my Twitter account to provide for promotional materials every now and then ranging from tidbits from the book, to free e-book passes, and reviews.

I sincerely ask all those who follow this blog to help and support my efforts by spreading the word as much as they can and getting others to tune in to the blog as well as my book. The book is available online (just Google it), as well as on popular bookstores (Chapters, Barnes and Noble, Kobo etc.) I will provide more info, including some promo materials, and sneak peeks on Our Last Summer along with my next post On the Nature of Knowledge. 

 

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Until then, thanks so much everyone, and have a great day!

“An Incomplete Eloquence”

An Incomplete Eloquence – a pretty interesting article on the use of marginalia, and a reader’s relationship to a book.

I don’t agree with all the points made by the author. After all, it is quite possible a person who defers the use of marginalia, isn’t necessarily failing to build a “relationship” with the book, nor is guilty of not having “used” it well.  Simply, the book may just be boring, inciting no particular inspiration in the reader. It may also be a personal preference of the reader, who in reality, may enjoy an interesting read, and find the necessity to pause, and collect their thoughts rather distracting.

The article was a pleasant coincidence, as I’ve spent the past month raking in a variety of book purchases amidst the summer sales at Chapters (the bookstore), and been recently debating between either using marginalia in those books or to document my thoughts in a separate journal! For now, I’ve decided to use a separate diary to compile my ideas, and analysis of the passages on the books I’ve read.

Nevertheless, I must admit there is “An Incomplete Eloquence” in the extensive use of marginalia that I myself utilized to a great extent throughout the course of my undergraduate studies.

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I can testify that the content of a few of my undergraduate physics books in quantum mechanics, or statistical mechanics are pretty similar to this one, and could basically describe a book within another!