There is a lesson in everything

I received the kindest rejection letter the other day. It was such a polite mail, with just the right mix of information and hope without shattering my confidence.
Most interviewers in India, and I may be wrong, still use silence to speak *abundantly.
I am so touched by this letter that I am going to use it as a template to end relationships.

Dear Tatya,
Thank you for taking the time to speak to me a few weeks back — it was a pleasure.
After a number of interviews, I have decided to move forward with other candidates and will not be asking you for a [book] proposal at this time. It was hard to decide among the candidates, since each person would provide a unique perspective on XXXX & XXX. Please know that I keep every résumé on file for one year because you never know what else might come up.
Thank you very much for your interest in XXX and XXX. Good luck with your other projects and adventures!

Polite rejection letter writer who has my heart

Thank you for the past few weeks/months/years — it was a pleasure.
After a number of dates, I have decided to move forward with other friends/partners/roommates and will not be taking this relationship to the next level. It was hard to decide among the candidates, since each person would provide a unique perspective on life, the universe and beyond. Please know that I keep every phone number for one year because you never know how desperate I may get in the future.
Thank you very much for the affection and company. Good luck with your other projects and adventures!


*While I’m thinking, “Why haven’t they called? Was it that joke I made? Should I call? Would I seem needy? Do I write a e-mail instead? What’s a respectable waiting time? Maybe they’ve found someone else. Someone who doesn’t make jokes. THEIR LOSS! WHO WANTS TO BE WITH SOMEONE WHO DOESN’T HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOUR?! I’ll wait till _day and just casually call to see if they are considering me. And pretend I already have another offer. Yeah! I have another offer! And they’ll have to act fast if THEY want ME.”

I’ve got the grammar!

You may be pleased to hear that rhinotillexis is on the downturn, at least in public places.
This lovely term means “picking one’s nose with one’s fingers.”

Daily Writing Tips is a wonderful site for the word nerd. Subscribe if you live by the pen and don’t want to die [of shame] by it.

Go on… Destroy the fabric of the universe. See if I care

If you haven’t heard, Terry Pratchett has Alzheimer’s.



I would have liked to keep this one quiet for a little while, but because of upcoming conventions and of course the need to keep my publishers informed, it seems to me unfair to withhold the news. I have been diagnosed with a very rare form of early onset Alzheimer’s, which lay behind this year’s phantom “stroke”.

We are taking it fairly philosophically down here and possibly with a mild optimism. For now work is continuing on the completion of Nation and the basic notes are already being laid down for Unseen Academicals. All other things being equal, I expect to meet most current and, as far as possible, future commitments but will discuss things with the various organisers. Frankly, I would prefer it if people kept things cheerful, because I think there’s time for at least a few more books yet :o)

Terry Pratchett

PS. I would just like to draw attention to everyone reading the above that this should be interpreted as ‘I am not dead’. I will, of course, be dead at some future point, as will everybody else. For me, this maybe further off than you think – it’s too soon to tell. I know it’s a very human thing to say “Is there anything I can do”, but in this case I would only entertain offers from very high-end experts in brain chemistry.

Me and merlin are trying to hold our bleeding hearts together, and I cannot measure the hole this news has made in our universe.
I hated the world before I met Pratchett. It spun, for me, to the soundtrack of Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan’s dismal music. Living in a state of acute depression, hopelessness and hate is very taxing on the tear glands and grammar. My online persona was Ennui; this fucking pretentious nick should explain it all.
But then I read Good Omens and Interesting Times, and though I still love Cohen, he is just a mistress I visit with a bottle of cheap wine. Pratchett is my therapist, my bartender, the red ball to the dog of my soul. He has given me satire-tinted Jackie-Os to see the world. And it would not be an exaggeration to say it has been a life-saving pair of glasses.
A few months ago, when me and merlin were again at one of those places we go to often (Is This My Life? Bar and Family Restaurant), I wrote to Pratchett asking him if I could make a documentary on him.
His reply is fairly obvious, but precisely for this reason, I thought it could happen. In Prachett’s own words, don’t one-in-a-million chances crop up nine times out of ten? For do we (me and merlin) not have absolutely Zero knowledge of film-making? Do we not live for daring stupid acts such as these?
We do, but he doesn’t.
But he aten’t dead yet. And there is time for some more books. And if the universe still works as advertised, he’ll come back as an orang-utan.

I tag anyone who has run out of blog ideas

G tagged me to do this. She called me an unkind name. I finally got around to doing it.

I am a hoarder, a walker, a seaker. I am the universe’s ugly pet. I am an absurdist, selfish and self-centred. I am very worried about what you are thinking. I am rude, usually for humour. I am sorry. I am kind, just not careful.
I am creative, but out of time. I am an aesthete and analytical. I am apathetic and pathetic. I am benevolent, but with an intention. I am floopy and absent-minded. I am a lover  of fruity things. I am a fruity thing. I am blaming it on the boogie.
I am a reader of beautiful women, some men and mostly scenarios.
I am the population of one in my head. I am the population of two [or three or forty-four] in my mind.
I am quick-witted and offensive. I am not my job, but it won’t listen. I am trying to break up. I am very easily bored. I am wishful and forgetful and resentful. I am a refugee and a procrastinator.
I am a mystery inside a riddle, wrapped in an enema.
I am angry that I am not young. I am a man, just better than the average ones. I am the conqueror of fears and weakness. I am afraid of mediocrity.
I am not here. Please leave a message.

I try to be kind

Dear celebrity,

Some day you may die unexpectedly. And then you will get famous. Those you leave behind will fight over your babies, fortunes and rights to home-shot pornographic MMSes. Some journalist will be forced to carry these accounts because people are terribly interested.
She will want to use a picture that will lend you some dignity. But you have not been helpful in your short lifetime. All she finds is this.


And then she will worry about people thinking she is homophobic. She isn’t. She just likes good taste.

Educated Tatya

I want to bear his puns

The fantasy genre is often thought of as escapism, but is it escapism with a firm root in reality?

Fantasy IS escapism, but wait…why is this wrong? What are you escaping from, and where are you escaping to? Is the story opening windows or slamming doors? The British author G. K. Chesterton summarized the role of fantasy very well. He said its purpose was to take the everyday, commonplace world and lift it up and turn it around and show it to us from a different perspective, so that once again we see it for the first time and realize how marvelous it is. Fantasy—the ability to envisage this world in many different ways—is one of the skills that makes us human.

Are you cute enough?

Dear adjective ‘cute’,
What exactly do you qualify? I fail to find uses for you. In my younger days, the joke was that you meant: Ugly, but bearable. I looked that up in the dictionary and found no traces of it. You are defined as: charmingly pretty; sweet.
Well I don’t think so.
I think you are an ambiguous word that people lean upon when they do not know or cannot be bothered to find the right word to express what they mean.
You mean nothing. Your existence is futile. You are cute.

Educated Tatya
* Certain black dogs are cuteness itself because there is no word to contain their smooshability

Some more

A human is never burnt; he or she is burned [to death]. Toasts are burnt.
Similarly, a person is hanged, while meat is hung. Some men are well hung, which brings us to this poem:

As the poets have mournfully sung
— W. H. Auden

As the poets have mournfully sung,
Death takes the innocent young,
The rolling-in-money,
The screamingly-funny,
And those who are very well hung.

Can you help?

Read the following poem please:

Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird
— Wallace Stevens, 1923

Among twenty snowy mountains
The only moving thing
Was the eye of the blackbird

I was of three minds,
Like a tree
In which there are three blackbirds.

The blackbird whirled in the autumn winds.
It was a small part of the pantomime.

A man and a woman
Are one.
A man and a woman and a blackbird
Are one.

I do not know which to prefer
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendoes.
The blackbird whistling
Or just after.

Icicles filled the long window
With barbaric glass
The shadow of the blackbird
Crossed it, to and fro.
The mood
Traced in the shadow
An indecipherable cause.

O thin men of Haddam,
Why to do you imagine golden birds?
Do you not see how the blackbird
Walks around the feet
of the women about you?

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

At the sight of blackbirds
Flying in a green light,
Even the bawds of euphony
Would cry out sharply.

He rode over Connecticut
In a glass coach.
Once, a fear pierced him,
In that he mistook
The shadow of his equipage
For blackbirds.

The river is moving.
The blackbird must be flying.

It was evening all afternoon.
It was snowing
And it was going to snow.
The blackbird sat
In the cedar-limbs.

Perhaps you’ve read it before. Those below are inspired by it

Variations on a Theme
— William Carlos Williams
I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next summer.
I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to do and its wooden
beams were so inviting.

We laughed at the hollyhocks together
and then I sprayed them with lye.
Forgive me. I simply do not know what I am doing.

I gave away the money that you had been saving to live on for the next ten years.
The man who asked for it was shabby
and the firm March wind on the porch was so juicy and cold.

Last evening we went dancing and I broke your leg.
Forgive me. I was clumsy, and
I wanted you here in the wards, where I am the doctor.

Ten Ways to Avoid Lending Your Wheelbarrow to Anybody
— Adrian Mitchell

May I borrow your wheelbarrow?
I didn’t lay down my life in World War II
so that you could borrow my wheelbarrow.

May I borrow your wheelbarrow?
Unfortunately Lord Goodman is using it.

May I borrow your wheelbarrow?
It is too mighty a conveyance to be wielded
by any mortal save myself.

May I borrow your wheelbarrow?
My wheelbarrow is reserved for religious ceremonies.

May I borrow your wheelbarrow?
I would sooner be broken on its wheel
and buried in its barrow.

May I borrow your wheelbarrow?
I am dying of schizophrenia
and all you can talk about is wheelbarrows.

May I borrow your wheelbarrow?
Do you think I’m made of wheelbarrows?

May I borrow your wheelbarrow?
It is full of blood.

May I borrow your wheelbarrow?
Only if I can fuck your wife in it.

May I borrow your wheelbarrow?
What is a wheelbarrow?


Now I have been working on this for a while and am stuck. Can you help?

Thirteen different ways of looking at a black dog
by an Educated Tatya

Death looms over destiny
like a black dog over his ball

Who knows what wags
the strong tail of the black dog

Fate is a stealthy cat
Who is hunting the black dog

Rain pours like god’s mercy
The black dog rides it like a mean wave

The temple overflows with pleas for life
The black dog asks only for the peel of your banana

The black buddha waits
the eternity it takes
For you to lace your shoes
and throw the ball

The black dog knows not
For whom the bell tolls
He assumes it is for him