On Merriam-Webster Online, there is no third definition for trifecta. The first definition is to the point: “A variation of perfecta in which a bettor wins by selecting the first three finishers of a race in the correct order of finish.” The second is merely a synonym — triple, as in <achieved a show-business trifecta: a platinum record, hit TV series, and an Oscar>.
In the blogosphere, Trifecta is a community of bloggers who share a love of “words, words, words” and express it via a challenge in which participants are prompted every week to use a certain word in a post. The rules are simple: Each post must be between thirty-three and 333 words and only the third definition of the word on Merriam-Webster must be used.
I am a young blogger, still wet behind the ears, and entertaining the doubt that, when I get back to my life, when the holidays are over, when the “newness” of this whole new adventure passes, I might not be able to go as far as I think I should with blogging, this great, relatively new instrument for writers young and old, amateur and professional, beginners and retirees. I started only in late November last year, prompted by the launch of my book, a physical book, a printed ode to writing – Write Here Write Now: Standing at Attention Before My Imaginary Style Dictator. Come to think of it, this book’s journey from the blank page celebrates a sort of anniversary this month. Before I bade 2011 goodbye, I resolved to write a book in 2012. I began writing it in January and now it’s done — a writer’s resolution that found the light of print, exactly twelve months later, after twelve months of alternating between ecstasy and agony.
This is why I am thrilled to have chanced upon Trifecta. I’ve been in love with words forever and I am hopeful that, through my blog, through writing communities like Trifecta, I could spread this love, nurture it further, enrich it more and more, and discover more of its joys and sorrows.
Below is a Q&A with the Trifectans, for whom, I hope, the right words will always be there, but not before a good chase. The chase, after all, along with the struggle, agony, frustration, blood, sweat, and tears, is what makes writing such a beautiful, soulful experience.
What is your name (real or otherwise)?
Describe your writing style in three words.
Slow, thoughtful, romantic
How long have you been writing online?
The first entry on my site aapatawaran.com was on Nov. 28, 2012. My book was launched on Nov. 21. I was giddy with excitement and finding new ways to share more of it — not just the book, but the joy of having written it — with the world. I was also challenged by a friend, who told me that technodinosaurs like me, those who could not embrace the new technology, were “The New Illiterates.” Plus there is the Yann Martel quote, from his soulstirring, heartstopping, lifegiving Life of Pi: “If you don’t let technology help you, if you resist good ideas, you condemn yourself to dinosaurhood.”
Which, if any, other writing challenges do you participate in?
I try to do the Post-A-Day challenge on WordPress. Also the weekly challenge, but postaday is a serious goal. I think a writer would do himself a big favor if he could write every day, without requiring the right mood, some inspiration, or a perfect blue sky.
Describe one way in which you could improve your writing.
Daily writing. I think I can do it. I used to work for a daily newspaper, where I cut my teeth in daily writing and sharpened them in a way that no other writing expedition or stint could. Online, however, I think I take more time figuring out the technical stuff. My goal is to be able to steal time for writing from my life, so I should find a way to write faster and post it faster, too.
What is the best writing advice you’ve ever been given?
Write every day — and that, as I wrote in my book, “the deadline gets the work done faster and better than inspiration because the deadline is always there,” except for the undisciplined writer, who does himself and his craft more damage than he does anybody else.
Who is your favorite author?
I am a frustrated Proustian, both as a reader and as a writer. In this age of short attention spans, I mourn the death of the long sentence, of which Marcel Proust was — and is — king, at least to me, even if, I think, James Joyce holds the record for the longest sentence in history for Ulysses . But I’m no purist. I read even trash. I’d read a Paris Hilton memoir, if she wrote one.
How do you make time to write?
As a magazine editor, I write for a living. Words are my currency. I’ve always been writing, but I was also uncomfortable calling myself a writer until I wrote my book. This blog is an extension of that breakthrough. Doors and windows opened when I finally mustered the courage to write a book and one of those openings led me here. But the truth is I only steal time from my life — from my career in publishing, from the time I spend with family and friends, the time I devote to watching movies, watching plays, drinking at bars, dancing at clubs, reading books, shopping, traveling, eating, living — to write my own stuff. I think to write it is important to live. I find it counterproductive to be so ungiving of my space and time in order that I could devote it to writing, so instead I steal it from my life – fifteen minutes between meetings, one hour during a car wash, a half-hour escape from friends at the beach for a writing quickie, a weekend off, the long, dark night. I wrote my entire book doing just this, stealing time, writing my ideas and my draft on scraps of paper or as notes on my iPad. So it works, but I have yet to accomplish my goal of going on a weeklong trip to a remote beach or mountain hideaway just for writing. Or a long, hours-long or days-long bus ride or train ride, where I can while away the time with pen on paper or fingers on the keyboard .
Give us one word we should consider using as a prompt. Remember — it must have a third definition.
I would have said fortitude, a strange word in this age of self-entitlement and easy-does-it. Alas, it only has two definitions, one of which is obsolete. So maybe I’ll say the closest word I can think of – sacrifice, the third definition of which on Merriam-Webster is the “destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else.”
Direct us to one blog post of yours that we shouldn’t miss reading.
“An Open Letter to the Blogger.”
Here’s the link: http://aapatawaran.com/2012/12/01/an-open-letter-to-the-blogger/