Thursday, July 26, 2018

Books I chose for Scope Magazine

Happy to share these pages from Scope Magazine, a publication in Mauritius. Thanks to the editor, Khalid Atchia for asking me to write about four of my favourite books. I chose the ones that influenced me as a teenager. It was neat to go back in time, and recall the impressions they left on me. The editor's notes on the books are below mine.

We have all been affected by books. They touch our emotional core, sharpen our critical thinking, open new worlds to us and overall enrich our lives. I'd love to hear your comments on the ones that impacted you most.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Over-giving in relationships

People who are overly generous often amaze us with the extent of their giving. But what are the deeper implications of over-giving in relationships?

Generosity is natural for many of us as it feels good to help others. Over-giving however is different. This article explains the difference: How to know if you're a generous person or an over-giver

I'm intrigued by the emotional make-up of people who over-give, and did some research for the short story I'm writing. This article and the quotes below shed some light on this topic:
Being too generous could hurt your relationships

... over-givers and people pleasers go hand in hand. Over-givers use gifts as a way to gain and keep friends, because they think they need to be overly generous to be liked ... Most commonly, people who give too much are suffering from low self-esteem ... They think they have to rely on giving to be seen in a positive light ...

In my short story, a woman showers the man she's fallen for with expensive gifts, and devotes her time to gain his love. He is not physically attracted to her, but is taken by her generosity. Her over-giving works but at what price?  He cheats on her throughout their relationship ...

Just a teaser for you, readers. You will have a chance to dive into the emotional turmoil of these characters when my collection of short stories gets published. Writing is sometimes akin to acting but with words only. I need to get into the inner world of my characters, feel their conflicts deeply, to be able to relate the stories from their perspectives. Oscar Wilde in his 1889 essay The Decay of Lying, said, "Life imitates art far more than art imitates life." Does it matter which is more than the other? Life and art imitate each other interchangeably when you're an artist.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise

I recently watched this documentary on Maya Angelou's life, and I'm sharing it with you as I'm so awed by her expressiveness, honesty, amazing courage, and indomitable spirit.  We need positive leaders of her calibre to speak up, and inspire us to make this world a better one, especially at a time when we are being bullied by an American President who keeps lying blatantly, and stirring hostility.

Click on this link to see the full documentary: 

This poem of hers, which is also the title of the documentary moves me very deeply as it expresses so intensely the inner strength of the human spirit. When we're put down by others, lied to, and treated inhumanely, and have the courage to not let the horrors of others' meanness drag us down, we can rise above all the negativity, flourish, and inspire others to do good. What an empowering message of hope.

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Monday, July 16, 2018

John Lorinc is back at the Authors' Afternoon

By popular demand, John Lorinc is back with his new book The Ward Uncovered. 

Inviting you to drop by and chat with this award-winning Toronto journalist and editor
who has contributed to The Globe and Mail and Spacing Magazine, among many publications.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Dependency in Relationships

In the short story I'm currently writing, I explore the theme of dependency in a relationship that appears to be loving, but is fraught with emotional manipulation and dishonesty. Is it love or attachment that keeps this couple together?

As usual, my writing propels me to share some thoughts and advice from my research, which I hope can help those who are in such situations.

Many of us have loved to a point that we don't even realize we're in a toxic relationship until something drastic happens to open our eyes.

Sometimes, couples become dependent on each other, making it difficult to move on. It's especially sad for those who keep forgiving their partners, believing it's love when often, it is an unhealthy attachment that stems from low self-esteem. This can lead to problems in physical health as this article explains: The hidden health hazards of toxic relationships

For those who want to make it work, it takes two and a lot more work needs to come from the person who hurt the other one most. Some advice on the importance of owning up to it all, and being honest about why it happened:
7 steps in rebuilding trust in a relationship

If this fails, here's advice on how to leave, grow from it, and love yourself again:
Letting go of a relationship that is not healthy

Monday, July 02, 2018

Interview with the Mauritian Magazine Prions

Interview with Françoise Yaw Kan Tong - Mootoosamy in the June issue of the Mauritian magazine Prions. We talked about my work, my diverse cultural backgrounds, and among many other things, what prayer means to me. I thought I might offend the magazine as I'm not a religious person even though I grew up Catholic, but Prions seems very open to different ideas. For example, I cannot comply to organized religion. And I've never been able to see god as a person. For me, it's an abstraction, a spiritual force that expresses itself as love. So, a prayer is a spiritual communication with the love within us. I truly believe religion is not necessary to lead a life guided by love, honesty, and kindness.

Conversation avec Françoise Yaw Kan Tong - Mootoosamy pour le magazine mauricien Prions. On a parlé de mon travail, de ma diversité culturelle, et parmi bien d'autres choses, ce que la prière signifie pour moi. Je pensais que j'allais peut-être offenser le magazine car je ne suis pas religieuse même si j'ai été élevée catholique. Mais il semble que Prions est très ouvert à des idées différentes. Par exemple, je ne peux pas me conformer à la religion organisée. Et je n'ai jamais pu imaginer dieu sous la forme d'une personne, car pour moi, c'est une abstraction, une force qui est amour. Ainsi, la prière est une communication spirituelle avec l'amour qui est en nous. Je pense sincèrement que la religion n'est pas nécessaire pour mener sa vie avec amour, franchise, et bienveillance.