Make progress

THE GAP by Ira Glass from frohlocke on Vimeo.

A few weeks ago, I had an epiphany: at this stage, I am only ever going to like a percentage of the things I create. Maybe 5% will be loved, 30% will be acceptable, while the remaining 65% will be sub-par/ mediocre/ stupid, talentless girl. This epiphany lead to a resolution: if I'm only going to like a minority of what I create, then statistically, if I create more, I'll like a greater volume of my work. If I can identify what of my work I like and what I find tacky/unoriginal/poorly executed, I can try to better it, or avoid doing it, thus improving the quality of my overall body of work.

I think my epiphany and the above video reach the same conclusion, just in two kinda different ways. It's important to remember that you're not perfect, and it's okay not to be perfect. With dissatisfaction, there is opportunity to self-evaluate and grow into or grow away from the gap. Try new things, and work on yourself often and regularly.


Other people's stories

I made a goodreads account last week, and golly gosh; combining my obsession for compiling lists and my love for numerically quantifying any kind of progress, goodreads has me hooked. Given it being almost May, as well as my book-per-year rate of one to two for the past three years, I set myself a (personally) challenging but very achieveable goal of reading 30 books this year. Come to think of it, by now that's probably like... one book per week.

My first book of 2014 (finished a third of the way through the year) was Light Years by Tammar Stein. It was one of my favourite books as a pre-teen reader. The first time I picked it up was at my major local library. I may be fooling myself thinking it was on the Premier's Reading Challenge, but more likely, I picked up the newly wrapped hardcover, flicked through it, and judged that it was going to be somewhat relatable and easy to read.

Light Years is the first full-length novel by Stein. The narrative follows Maya, a young woman, from her post- high school, post- military service life in Israel, to her settling into college in the United States. Throughout her year at college, she picks apart the feelings she holds towards her past; the grief she feels towards her boyfriend, and the guilt she feels about having provoked the suicide bomber whose attack killed him.

My second book, finished at 3:26am this morning, was The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. I was assigned this book in high school. My class had to read it in Year 12 as a part of Module A, area of study: belonging. Predictably enough, it's always after you've completed that class when you feel the itch to read the book again. I bought this book early last year, tried to get into it a few times since then, and finally, three days ago, I picked it up, opened it, and allowed myself to be sucked in.

The Namesake starts off with a young Indian couple, Ashoke, an engineering student at MIT, and Ashima pregnant with the couple's first child. Like Maya, they are recent immigrants to the United States. They name their son Gogol, after the Russian writer, whose significance to Ashoke is deeper than an admiration. As Gogol enters school, the novel follows the unspoken conflicts that arise between the boy and his parents as Ashoke and Ashima conflict with the Americanisation of their son, and Gogol comes conflicts with the Indian/immigrant ways of parents. As Gogol moves onto college, graduate school, a job as a practicing architect, and relationships, the novel takes a slightly different tone as well; Gogol is apart from his parents, exposed to worlds that are untouched by the life-in-limbo that is having immigrant parents.

Four years on from Year 12, I am almost 22 now, and I recognise some of Ashoke and Ashima's habits and traits in my own parents. I identify with Gogol on an even greater level; consciously departing from the standards and expectations in education, relationships, behaviour, as set by our respective ethnic backgrounds. It's kind of shocking how turbulent these past four years have been and the speed at which things have changed and fallen into place. The Namesake acted a bit like a comb that guided me to separate the threads of the past four years to trace how things and how I have come to be now. Lahiri writes with such clarity and detail that the lives of these individuals are plausible and 100% relatable. This is a book that I look forward to rediscovering again and again.