Category Archives: Creative Writing

An Excuse.

Emails in the coming month,
May receive quite slow replies,
I write from within a pile of coursework,
For this sorry state, I apologise.

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Papa Don’t Preach

Still working on my radio script about kirtan this week. With each new draft I’m trying to distill what it actually is that I want people to feel and understand by listening to it.

It’s hard. Perhaps part of it comes from the difficult process of unpicking exactly why I think kirtan is so great? Do I really believe that it’s the greatest answer to the world’s problems, or do I just know that believing it gives me approval within my own society? If I’m not totally convinced myself, how do I communicate that doubt to an audience, without diminishing the message?

I understand more and more the gap between preaching and practise. I’ve grown up being able to explain some simple philosophy, as well as becoming a little familiar with more difficult concepts just by being exposed to them. This is one kind of spiritual knowledge. But I don’t think it’s really knowledge in a true sense unless it’s then internalised and practised with full faith. Is it?

Maybe the ability to preach or evangelise is no more than just being charismatic or  good with words. Without the truth of personal experience and conviction behind the exclamations,  I wonder if the message can ever have a very long lasting effect.

O, it is far easier to study and press a thousand truths upon others, than to feel the power of one truth upon our own hearts.

–  John Flavel, 1627-1691

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Filed under Creative Writing, Krishna Consciousness, Uncategorized, University Coursework

Surprise!

Spring bursts in like a popped balloon.
Crocus, snowdrop, daffodil,
straining upwards through muddy earth.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Nature/Gardening, Seasonal, Uncategorized

The Chicken Soup Trap

I’m in the process of creating a radio programme about kirtan at the moment, for a final year university project. It’s aimed at people who know little, or nothing about kirtan, and will include interviews with a wide range of people whose lives are affected by it. Yesterday I went for a tutorial with my project supervisor who picked my latest draft to pieces, exclaiming at the cliches and unnecessary sentimentality. It was liberating! It’s so wonderful to be edited by an unbiased ear. She advised me to be very aware of the fact that I’m a ‘believer’ and not to fall into the trap of telling the audience that they should be inspired, rather than simply showing them, and allowing them to decide. Another valuable point was that when writing about inspiring, transforming experiences, it’s easy to fall into the ‘Chicken Soup trap’. The Chicken Soup for the Soul books are a hugely successful American series of heart warming true stories and poetry that almost drip off the page with syrupy sentiment. Needless to say, that’s not the route I want to go down.

‘You’re not American, you’re English!’ she exclaimed. ‘You don’t need to write like this. If you put this kind of cliched writing on British radio, your audience will just laugh.’

So, it’s a work in progress. I’m just beginning to learn how to do the actual sound editing – another totally new venture. If all goes to plan, I’ll be able to broadcast it here once I’ve finished.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Inspiration!, Krishna Consciousness, University Coursework

La Joie De La Neige

I wake to quiet, muffled sound,
ceiling bathed in telltale light.
Each ridged roof, iced smooth,
the street transformed overnight.
Soft drifts piled against every door,
rows of cars, smothered and stilled,
cookie cut footprints, punched down a path,
tables covered, flowerpots filled.
Curtains part at a nearby window,
mother and baby watch, enthralled,
warm, inside their dark bedroom,
pointing at the flakes that fall.
More faces watch and children wait,
ears glued to the radio,
then at last, a voice with golden words,
‘All schools cancelled due to snow’.
Joy! Joy! Jump and run!
Slip and fall and skid and slide!
Scoop and shape and roll and throw,
Twirl and elegantly glide!
Stick your tongue out to the sky,
climb the trunk and shake the branch!
kick the heaps atop the shed,
start a garden avalanche!
Now hit the slopes with trays in tow,
handles clutched in freezing hands,
sail over glittering hills,
for today snow comes unto our land!

In case you hadn’t heard, England has received the heaviest and most concentrated snowfall in over 25 years. The country literally came to a standstill yesterday, and today wasn’t so different. My area, Hertfordshire, has been the hardest hit. Yesterday me and Tulasi walked to the temple through the white fields for a snowball fight and snowman building. More anon.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Seasonal, Uncategorized, Videos

Jala Dharam

Today the sky is white, trembling with the heavy weight of the water it holds. Puddles rise at the edge of every kerb, turning fallen leaves into sodden piles and catching wavering light, red, amber and green. Trees are washed, trunks slick; faces wet, bent down or only seen in snatches beneath umbrellas. Drops roll down each window: of my quiet bedroom in the early morning darkness, of the train as it speeds through tunnels and underpasses, onto the glass skylight of the classroom as the children sing about baby Jesus and cut coloured card into strips. Time slows down with the clouds that hang low – no telling the hour – just grey light and endless rain.

My mind is elsewhere. Caught somewhere between the dancers I watched yesterday, enacting the pastimes of Sri Hari, until tears rolled – quickly brushed. Somewhere between Goloka Vrindavan and the London Underground. I chant your name quietly to the regular rustle of the morning papers but can’t help getting distracted by the people opposite. The train rolls further and the rain falls still.

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Filed under Creative Writing, Seasonal

Propositional and Predicate

I feel clever,
just writing Calculus at the top of the page.
Even though it’s not real,
a brief,
dizzying diversion into logic,
sandwiched tightly between noun clauses and maxims of communication.
I smile inside, suddenly smelling my old classroom once again,
Sharp leaded tang of fresh pencil sharpenings,
and apple cores.
Staring at the unfriendly sheets of empty squared paper,
head pounding,
churning cold numbers that refuse to co-operate.
Fractions fold their arms, unwilling to help,
Equations turn their backs,
and even the beautiful angles turn a blind eye,
to my head on desk,
hot, bitter tears.
They splash onto the pages, wetting the formulae,
making them momentarily human,
making them share the pain of not understanding.
They know for a moment, the years of red penned notes –
the ‘see me’, and the ‘Don’t understand your method here’.
The empty years of accumulated noughts
and lines of crosses, interspersed with a rare tick

I remember as I write the word Calculus,
letters curving confidently above the neatly spaced, horizontal lines.
And though my head swims a little, as the teacher explains,
struggling to communicate abstraction to the roomful of blank stares,
I enjoy the momentary rush of fleeting numbers,
and the feeling,
just the feeling,
of being clever.

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