They had to bully me more: A list of things I did during this summer

[This is a list of things I did during this summer; the list does not maintain a proper timeline.]

# Shopping and two covid testing before going to Bangladesh.

# Reached Dhaka after two years, and realized there are five less people in my family whom I would never see again, who were still alive when I left.  

# Cooked biriyani and beef for ammu for the first time ever. This might sound little, but when you finally learn to cook without your mother's help, the only thing you can think of is making her taste it somehow. Believe me, you will think it more when over the pandemic you keep hearing the news of deaths while you're half the earth away. 

# Read The Epic of Gilgamesh upto page 16, The Martian upto page 41, and Time Traveler's Wife upto page 39. I was reading these three books during the last week's breakfast before the travel.

# Read The Wrinkles of Time upto 40+ pages. 

# Rewatched 12 ANGRY MAN. This time, to show my sisters, but in the end, it was me too hyped about it again. This is the second time I admitted that just dialogues can indeed make things understandable if put rightly. The first time I admitted it was while reading Narnia.

# Read Rich Peoples' Problems upto page 8

# I was reading The Wise Man's Fear in CA; I read upto page 96, which I wanted to continue, but I couldn't take the book to Bangladesh. It weighs 1.2 kg. 

# Critiqued 80+ story chunks, ranging from 2k-12k words each, written by 31+ current critique-partners. This number excludes the ones who critiques my chapters for free without making me read theirs. They said they just want to read more of my three major characters.

# Of course, I edited mine when someone critiqued them back. I love these people. They give me the data my brain needs to actually see the reader psychology. I emphasize on the real 'seeing' here, and I personally believe there should be a new course introduced called Reader Psychology in the writing departments of all universities. 

# The next thing I did over the entire summer is, I added a tally mark beside each chapter after completing an edit when someone critiqued it. THE OLDEST DANCE has 240+ tally marks so far. Overtime, it turned out to be a fun game for me. I realized critique groups can be a writing-production engine. This is my one and only secret of writing ... umm ... nice? 

# I read Starfish upto page 5 (This one was during a short wait for something ... umm ... I forgot what. But I loved its cover.

# Read Skyward. This one was during the 17hr flight over the Arctic Ocean.

# Read Lord of The Rings upto page 37. Finally got reunited with this one--couldn't carry it along when I left Bangladesh. Factually, this weighs 1.2 kg too. 

# Baked Cream Brule several times. 

# Watched The Hobbit 1, 2, and the half of the 3rd movie. I just remembered while watching, how all the LOTR hero actors had Jesus-face structures, and how all the three female characters have glowing, motherly face with downturned eyes. If you don't understand its significance, I must add, all protagonist female characters in motion pictures and comics need to cover some physical specifications. Like downturned eyes for the heroines, upturned for villain stepmothers, etc. Same for the men. But to do that for all the good guys and all good gals? That's, umm, well, whatever. I demand LOTR remake. It's 2021.

# Watched Jujutsu Kaisen Season 1. My sister has a crush on the guy with white hair and too sparkly blue eyes; she forced me to watch it during my publishing week. I'd watched 40+ anime before that includes Naruto and One Piece. Yet I have to say, JK has some great characters, but the rival-school people could come in season 2 where they will probably be active.

# Reading Narnia, now at page 34. 

# Reading Assasin's Apprentice, now at page, umm, ok, I forgot the page number because the book's writing made sure I don't count the pages. I'm at where Chivalry met our protagonist, and he got some food, and the caretaker got some nice save-the-cat moments with him. This is in my Learn-Character-Building-From shelf.

# Reading The Wheel of Time and Storm Front. Started these two before this Summer though. Finished this years' page-mark long ago, but I still continued Storm Front. And about The Wheel of Time--I'm sure I'll watch it first, but this book's entry has the lyrical magic while multiple adjectives and adverbs precede the nouns and verbs, something that I never thought was possible. Even though I needed time to read each page, I found that it was flowing lyrically--the entry pages at least.

# Reading the first book of Earthsea Cycle at page I-didn't-notice. It's a book that I'm still nagging my sisters to read. They just have to read it. I'll make sure of it. 

# Watched The Exorcist Season 1 (They--Saad and my sisters--made me; they just wanted to bully me because I'm scared to watch horror.)

# Watched Conjuring 1, 2 (They had to bully me more with more horror. I couldn't go to the washroom without having someone turn the lights on for me. I also received lines like "What did you learn Kung Fu for?")

# Read The Perks of Being a Wallflower upto page 46.

# Painted the cover of THE OLDEST DANCE.

# Edited THE HIGH AUCTION cover again. I can't say enough how much scared I am about painting. The truth is I painted 8000+ illustrations for an educational website in over three years, and that gave me a painting burn-out. I can illustrate that website's style in under 20 minute each, true, but when I came to illustrate fantasy after three years ... oh god ... I don't want to talk about it. Definitely, a dark night of my soul. No wonder doing 80+ critique in two months while editing mine is nothing for me. Nothing I do seems like hardwork to me now. My scale of hardwork changed.

# Read 'Shinghobahini' upto page 25 along with several other Bengali books. I had to leave my entire shelf full of books in Bangladesh before I left the first time; I left them again when the summer 2021 ended. It was like a death.

# To speak of real death--a murder actually--my Mama (mother's brother; you probably call them uncle in your country) got stabbed at his throat on May 18, 2020. That was the day I sent my last query to lit agents (I had 183 more agent names in my to-query list; I read each of their bio 2+ times. I could parrot their fav movies and books in 2020). I was starting to hear back from them. But several things happened during that month that includes #BLM effect on publishing industry. The industry has lots of nice people--agents, editors, authors--they kept replying to my messages in twitter, answering my questions, hinting me things; these were personal scale stuff, and in personal scale, everyone is nice for real. But when it came to the larger scale, when it came to the industry as a whole, when it came to the system, the mechanism of it, I realized you can't handover 'the' work of your life without physically meeting people and trusting them like you trust your own sister. So, I was about to prepare a work--an entry, standalone work--and not the work, one that I could handover without worrying much, but then,  the universe had other plans. The universe didn't want me to write anything with entry as an adjective.

The universe took my Mama--my mother's brother, my inspiration to all things creative, and it didn't take him normally. It took him by making mean, egoistic, thoughtless people--the ones who want to win with loudness--stab him at his throat. And for what really? For small-world games?

You will be amazed at the number of DIY things my mama (my maternal uncle) made that includes a bus, a house, furniture--all real size and not toys. He had solution to everything. You state a problem, and he would just listen; he wouldn't say that he'd fix it, or he'd try to fix it, no, he wouldn't talk things about future. Perhaps he thought what if he couldn't keep his word? He couldn't see his youngest daughter's face who was born 6 months later. I will talk about him some other day. But Magic Mama from Junk Land in my books came after 18th May 2020.   

# Sometimes, I do wonder if this death began my resolution. If I'm living a story with just the perfect structure, with plot-points preplanned by someone else. This definitely was the point when I found my voice in full. This was the point when I wanted to scream with completeness. This was the point when I stopped worrying about word-counts and started speaking for real, instead of cutting words to fit a 110k frame. I needed my prana out now, not years later, but now (then). I feared my anger would die down over time. I needed my anger out through means that mattered. I needed to flush it somewhere but I also wanted to save it. Because in the end, it was not a gang of people that killed my Mama; it's people's lack of  wisdom; it's people's smallness, pettiness, thinking-from-within-a-tinny-tiny-circle-ness The result is the first two books of my Wisdom Revolution series. You're welcome to sample my voice anywhere, not just in my books. 

# Now, back to listing things I did in this summer: I did shopping on another day before coming back from Bangladesh, and had the first and only hangout with my sisters and my cousin--Mama's 16yo son--on the day THE OLDEST DANCE got released.

# Found a press to print my books for my readers in Bangladesh. Many readers asked why I have alternate cover editions too early. Won't that rival the original cover, and thus, affect the sales ranks? Yes, it will. But Bangladesh is a muslim-major country where covers with human paintings would get mixed reactions. It needs cover that fits its social context. And so came the alternate-cover editions with separate ISBNs. To be honest, I ended up liking this cover more when I saw its Hard Cover case-laminate edition printed in Bangladesh. 

# Read Invisible Life of Adde La Rue upto page 46

# Read Circe upto page 36. It might look like why did I start reading that many books during the publishing months. The truth is I was feeling anxious that I will be leaving my physical shelf in CA for three months, and I felt the urgency to sample as many. I felt the same when I was in Bangladesh, that I won't be with my even larger physical shelf for at least 9 months. So I felt even more anxious to read as many as I can. Does it hamper my enjoyment as a reader? Yes, it does. That's why I have a shelf called Read-When-Retire. I will re-read the ones I curate now. Sometimes, I read 10 pages of a book and decide it has to be in my RWR shelf. So, none of the books mentioned here is a DNF.

# Cooked biriyani again, and there was a failed attempt to cook pasta with wrong recipe.

# Did covid test  twice again for the flight back. I got covid vaccinated just before the summer, by the way. 

# Did I mention I published two books in the summer and did its marketing, too? 

Ok, that roughly sums up my summer of 2021. I forgot to mention, I ate a lot of chips in Bangladesh, ones that I couldn't find in CA, and I got fat. That ruined my plan for a nicer author photo that I thought I'd finally have since my sister knows my angle. But damn, things never go as you plan, do they?

You can get my books here. 
A tip: Prices are lower on Kobo. 
A better tip: You can read it for free on Nomad.

The next books of the series will come in the next summer. To let me update you about it you can join my email list. I don't email unless I have something important to talk about, and I still email personally even though I have an email service. So don't fear spam. 


  1. This is such an interesting post! I completely see you, Misba. I read your books; they're absolutely amazing!


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