“What Do You Care What Other People Think?”



Let’s begin even when we don’t want to begin.

I had been busy working on the manuscript of my first novel, and while I am pleased to say (despite the daily dramas that occupy me more than you can imagine) I have finished it, it has already been refused by one agent. Yes, sure, I was disappointed, but really, what else was I hoping for a book that has no apparent story and can be best described as an exploration of a young woman’s mind? At the residency earlier this year, someone asked me where it was set. I said that it wasn’t set anywhere. Upon being insisted that it must be set somewhere, I answered: it’s set in the mind.

I have many thoughts on being a “woman writer of colour from a developing country”, but let’s reserve my opinion for another day. And let that day never come.

In the middle of all this, Anthony Bourdain died. Which is a particular kind of tragedy, especially at this time, when all we want to be is risk-averse in every sphere of life, making sure from an early age that we can afford the coffin we will lie in at the end. No, no, it’s a good thing. Please. Let’s all buy coffins, and lie in them already. I am saving for my first coffin, having already been left behind as my peers have already purchased their third. Tony, come back, we will give your coffin to someone else.

Earlier today, I read that a mathematician of Indian origin Akshay Venkatesh has won the Fields Medal in mathematics.

Paden (his wife) describes Venkatesh as a homebody. “Routine, consistency and home — these are comforts for him,” she said. They give him the freedom he needs, she said, to be adventurous in his mathematical life. “I feel like he takes leaps in his work that he doesn’t necessarily in life.”

To take risks in work without taking risks in life.

“Surely you’re joking Mr. Feynman.”

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