Posts Tagged www.cltc.org
This play is set in Montgomery, Alabama, a place that has so much historical significance, both as the Cradle of the Confederacy and the Cradle of Civil Rights. “Alabama Story” is a powerful play by Kenneth Jones and is inspired by real events in “the Deep South of the imagination”.
The incident springs from an innocent children’s story book published in 1958 (one may say it hides an apparent message promoting diversity). Author and illustrator Garth Williams (best known for his illustrations in Charlotte’s Web and Little House On the Prairie) released a book called The Rabbits’ Wedding, where a black rabbit marries a white rabbit. This gentle children’s book created a massive stir and ignited the passions of a State Senator who harbored strong segregationist agenda. Senator Higgins (Erik Gandolfi) issued a request for the book to be pulled out of state’s library shelves on the charge that it promoted “race-mixing”.
The story would end there, if it was not for a no-nonsense State Librarian, Emily Reed (Karen DeHart). She counters him saying that the book is an important vehicle for educating the impressionable youth and young minds must get all the information available so they can make their own decisions about people and circumstances. She in fact, ordered the book to be pulled out of shelves and out of general circulation and instead put it in reserve circulation so that it would always remain available.
This public feud unfolds against the backdrop of intimate story of childhood friends, Joshua (Bezachin Jifar), son of a house slave woman and Lily Whitfield (Maria Giere Marquis), daughter of a slave owner.
This is a simple yet powerful play that makes a bold statement about how a character may be tested at critical times and those who can withstand the test of character are the powerful figures that reshape the community; reshape a nation. Reed faced tremendous political pressure from the state politicians and at one time she said, “We have had difficulty with the book…. But we have not lost our integrity”. Mixed in with the politically charged focus of the play, there is some courtroom drama, childhood love, hint of passion, and a glimpse into how history may have unfolded in so many different ways, big and small, in private and intimate recesses of one’s mind and in public arena, during one of the most significant periods in America. Superb direction is by Lisa Mallette, who is in her 17th season at City Lights.
I declare, this is a not-to-miss play of this theater season and will be running at City Lights Theater in San Jose, until February 18, 2018. For tickets, check the website www.cltc.org .
“Laugh about it, cry about it, but a job is a job”. But is it really, and at what cost of personal credibility and supply of #alternativefacts does one maintain a job with questionable ethics? In “Ideation”, playwright Aaron Loeb addresses the issue of morality and ethics, through a group of corporate consultants working together on a mysterious, exciting, well paying, and ethically ambiguous project. Hannah (Lisa Mallette) is the in-house corporate executive and most senior member in the room. Her job is to facilitate and drive the project but more in a conciliatory manner than by controlling. She is joined by external consultants, Brock (George Psarras), Ted (Tom Gough), Sandeep (Sunny Moza). Additionally Scooter (Max Tachis) is a young intern, pushed by Hannah’s boss JD to do odd jobs like take notes, get coffee, get required supplies and get the room ready.
While extremely short dead line creates some serious pressure, super secret hush-hush project with obscure mission about disposal of dead bodies lands the group into giant quagmire of ethical dilemmas. As the group questions the morality of the tasks, goal, and strategy, suspicions emerges about who might be in charge of the project, could there be several such projects, could each team be privy to only limited amount of information, and who would bear moral responsibility for such a mission. The paranoia quickly escalates to break down the team, as the members begin questioning who in the team has how much information and who could be a plant from the top and the ethical dilemma begins causing cognitive dissonance regarding their role in the entire affair.
Directed by Mark Anderson Phillips, the play is thought-provoking, devilishly dark, and infuriating (because most of the answers never come), but also funny. In Trump era, marked by secrets and lies, it is also very timely. The interesting and thought provoking idea is that when a head honcho, someone at the top of the food chain refuses to be transparent and share the vision and properly considered tactical steps then there is a cascading feeling of paranoia and eventual breakdown in the team. Several times the team decides to stick to the project at hand and adhere to logic. But quickly the resolve evaporates in the looming cloud of suspicion, because logic and transparency go hand in hand, and in the absence of one, the other cannot be sustained.
Great kudos to Director, Phillips and the entire creative team, to production manager, Ron Gasparinetti and Executive Artistic Director, Lisa Mallette, for bringing such timely and bold productions to San Jose, CityLights. For tickets, please go to www.cltc.org . Ideation will run till February 19, 2017.
Based on a feel-good true story, “Calendar Girls” is adapted by Tim Firth from his original screenplay, for Nigel Cole’s 2003 British film, by the same name. The play focuses on six women and their resolve to make a difference in the world, with meaningful contribution. Members in a women’s club, these six women, Chris (Anne Younan), Annie (Deb Anderson), Cora (Caitlin L. Papp), Jessie (Ruth E. Stein), Celia (Karen DeHart), Ruth (Mary Lou Torre) often spar with the club queen bee Marie (Patricia Tyler) about how their club could be a more meaningful group. Opportunity presents itself when Annie’s husband, John (Ken Boswell) passes away and in memory of John, the women decide to raise funds for a new couch in the waiting room of the local hospital.
They imagined that ordinary, run of the mill calendars with flowers and landmarks would not sell easily. Chris and Annie came up with a unique idea (something they had jokingly discussed earlier in John’s presence). They decided to do a calendar with pictures of their group of mature women doing traditional Women’s Institute activities like knitting and baking, with a little twist. The women would pose in nude as they do these activities, with discreetly placed props to cover specific body parts with little exposure but more of a titillating suggestion.
The women were not prepared for the notoriety and eventually international fame the calendar brought them. It took a toll on their friendships and personal lives. Sometimes they lashed out at each other and at other times in their frustration they lost sight of the fact that they had far exceeded their set goal. While they had imagined raising a few hundred pounds for the couch, they ended up raising nearly 3 million pounds that enabled building of an entirely new hospital wing.
Eventually, these classy women found their footing and solace in their friendship. They recognized that “out of John’s tragic death came something very special; and acknowledged that “everything we do is born out of love for him”. Clearly their little act stood as a symbol of something much bigger than they had imagined. It was sexiness combined with spunk, mixed with a dose of sass that set them free and enabled them to create a work of art, in favor of a worthy cause, and the world took notice and found inspiration.
While the story is played on world stage, Director, Jeffrey Bracco, Scenic Designer, Ron Gasparinetti and Stage Manager, Kimberly Scofield did a fabulous job in bringing the world to the women, on stage. Calendar Girls will be playing at City Lights Theater in San Jose, CA till December 18, 2016 and tickets are available at www.cltc.org .
Written by Michael Golamco, “Build” is CityLights’ Executive Artistic Director, Lisa Mallette’s yet another bold venture aimed to bring thematically relevant plays to the Silicon Valley audience. Set in the heart of Silicon Valley, in Palo Alto, CA, this is a story about — what else? A startup! And what could be more hot than a video gaming company?
I am going to skip a more typical review with detailed plot description, in favor of giving you a glimpse of the future envisioned in this production. To give a little background of the plot, Kip (George Psarras) and Will (Max Tachis) had earlier conceived a brilliant game that resulted in a grand success, leading to what appears to be a milestone based buyout deal. Unlike Will, dapper and immaculate, Kip, the creative genius, with disdain for money, and for following procedures, and grave dislike for documenting details to make hand off of work easier for others, has a harder time with monetary success, fast cars, suits and board and shareholder meetings. Kip spends his days cloistered in his home mourning the loss of his late wife, and has abandoned social life, in favor of staying indoors, in his cluttered apartment, working on his next big project; only this time to give it away via open source and cloud. And who else to keep him company but an “artificially intelligent” being, an AI robot, oddly resembling his late wife Allison (Morgan Voellger).
If you think that it might be too far fetched, think again. Sometime back, IBM’s AI computer, Watson made history when it appeared on Jeopardy, the popular game show beat most of the contestants http://bit.ly/JOZmwH . Watson is a computer system, capable of answering questions posed in natural language. This is no small feat. Human language is infinitely complex. That alone makes for a huge challenge in building an artificially intelligent, interactive being. Puns, idioms, and other contextual expressions, and even the tone of voice http://bit.ly/17FvMmW and a pause at a different place in a sentence, can completely alter the meaning. In medicine, AI computer like Watson is expected learn the nuances of the language to offer complex diagnosis, and even indicate the level of confidence it has in the diagnosis offered.
In “Build”, Kip’s AI being is keenly aware of her identity “16 terabytes of data”. But she is far superior than any ordinary machine and he has built it in human avatar. The robot takes on Allison’s personality, even the loneliness Allison experienced when she was married to Kip and Kip was occupied with his gaming venture. This AI machine made out of code is incredibly smart (beats Kip in the word game they play), is intuitive and curious, and even talks about her dreams. When Will discovers Kip’s secret AI being, he is both astounded and concerned that Kip will forever stay a prisoner of his home, as long as he has the companionship offered by the robot. Along with this ulterior motive, Will also has fond memories of Allison and is mesmerized by Allison-like-robot.
This is not stuff of idle imagination. Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking and Bill Gates have all said that we should be concerned about the future of artificial intelligence. Louis Del Monte, an entrepreneur, has said that some day, machines could surpass humans and could become the most dominant species, and Hawking has said that machines could eventually “outsmart financial markets” and “out-invent human researchers”. Days may not be far when machines will fulfill the roles of companions and caregivers.
While it is challenging to imagine the future, this production is tackling the challenges of reproducing that “future” on stage. It takes the audience into the fascinating world of video gaming as Will and Kip work on deliverables, cleaning out bugs, and packet drops. Then with the help of high tech design and lighting, the audience is introduced to the AI robot. Video designer, Nick Kumamoto has worked wonders with some scattered computer screens and lighting. While AI robot appears caring and concerned, and seems to be a perfect companion, the story revolves around three human beings, one who has passed away, leaving behind memories, and two friends who struggle through their growth and transformation, to keep the ties that brought them together in the first place; gaming, innovation, and their urge to “build” something, in the heart of Silicon Valley. “Build” will be running at CityLights in San Jose, till February 22, 2015. For tickets, go to www.cltc.org
In World Premiere of “Truce: A Christmas Wish from the Great War“, at CityLights Theater in San Jose, through telling of the story of the historic event that occurred in December 1914, both the mindlessness of war and the mindfulness of peace, become abundantly evident. Playwrights Jeffrey Bracco and Kit Wilder have made this historic story personal, by telling it through four main characters, George Krieger (Max Tachis), the German patriotic soldier, fighting for honor, glory, and fatherland; Anna Friedmann (Cailin Papp), the German nurse who questions the wisdom of war; Tommy Williams (Drew Benjamin) English poet who is compelled to go to war by parental pressure and also pulled to write and pulled by his love for his young wife and by his friendship with Krieger; and Maggie Williams (Allison Meneley), young wife of Tommy who encourages him to write and waits for his return from war.
A little piece of history along with the events in the play
This history was also expertly and succinctly narrated at the beginning of the play. The world was polarized and battle lines were drawn, long before the actual event that ignited the region, the assassination of Austrian Archduke Ferdinand, in Sarajevo in June, 1014. As Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia, Russia (Serbian ally) mobilized its military. Like a game of dominoes, one by one the countries were pressured or pulled into the war, as Germany declared war on Russia, France, and Belgium; Britain declared war on Germany; soon thereafter, Japan, Turkey, and the Ottoman Empire entered the fight; and ultimately US entered the war in 1917. Ultimately, 70 million military personnel were mobilized.
While the obsession of the generals is with moving the pushpins on a map, war has an entirely different impact on the soldiers, in the trenches. As the characters recount, it was widely believed by common people that the “Great War” would be over within a period of months, if not sooner. Everyone expected their loved ones to be home by Christmas. Then Pope Benedict XV suggested a temporary halt in fighting for the celebration of Christmas, in December 1914, but the warring countries refused to create any official cease-fire. In fact, the generals declared penalties for what they considered amounted to fraternizing with the enemies.
During the four years that the world was at war, several deadly battles were fought. Nearly 27,000 French troops were killed in a single day, in the Battle of the Frontiers, in August, 1914. In the battle of Verdun in 1916, over one million soldiers were wounded or killed. In the end, more than 9 million soldiers and over 7 million civilians died, as a result of this “Great War”, making it one of the deadliest conflicts in history. It is then all the more remarkable that in the midst of the most deadly period of fighting, there was a brief period of calm, friendship, and camaraderie, moments of hope, reflection, and humanity.
This was a one time event. All future attempts to halt the fighting were squashed by generals’ threats of disciplinary action. It is even more astonishing that this period of calm emerged spontaneously, in the trenches. Those who were there, not to reason why, but to do and die, disobeyed orders, and for a brief shining period in history, humanity prevailed. The soldiers declared their own truce; they began singing Christmas carols to each other across the enemy lines. Entirely a different domino effect was observed, as soldiers in various places, crossed the no man’s land, and shook hands with the enemy soldiers and exchanged presents of cigarettes, plum puddings and beef jerkey and sang carols. Some soldiers even used this short period of “truce” to retrieve bodies of their comrades, from the no man’s land, between the enemy battle lines.
It is the brilliance of Jeffrey Bracco and Kit Wilder, in how this remarkable historical event is captured and reproduced on stage, in “Truce: A Christmas Wish from the Great War”. After deep research and from various documents and anecdotes, Bracco and Wilder put together the script. Ron Gasparinetti created the scenic design to conjure up images of the long ago war, Jane Lambert provided the costume design and Nick Kumamoto provided lighting and video projection to keep the time and place real. George Psarras composed music from popular WWI songs. (One popular song “pack up your troubles in your old kit bag” was one of the biggest hits of the Great War time).
This is truly a must-watch play of this theater season, and it beautifully captures the spirit of the holiday season. Truce will be running at CityLights Theater in San Jose, through December 21, 2014. For tickets, go to www.cltc.org .
In the aftermath of the #FergusonDecision, this respite is exactly what we need. Let us call “truce” and renew commitment to create conditions of
Posted by Darshana V. Nadkarni, Ph.D. in Hindi - Bollywood Movie Reviews-- Play Reviews-- NAATAK-- Poems-- Event Reports, Play Reviews on November 19, 2014
NAATAK company has exceeded all expectations in its production of “Andhera Hone Tak”, hindi version of Frederick Knott’s classic thriller, “Wait Until Dark”. The play is performed with English subtitles projected above the stage, and that makes it a must-see play, for a wider range of audience.
Stage versions of thrillers are rare because suspense and elements of a thriller, including murder, robbery etc. are hard to create on stage. Producer Surender Singh has made a bold attempt in bringing this production and the suspense filled thriller does not disappoint on any count. Clearly, Mukund Marathe has once again proved that he is simply one of the most brilliant directors.
Suneeta Saxena (Sareeka Malhotra) is a housewife, who is also blind, and is married to Sameer Saxena (Puneet) and they live in Shivaji Park, Mumbai. Sameer becomes an innocent transporter of a doll stuffed with contraband, when he brought it home, at the request of a woman, who is now surfaced as dead. Soon thereafter, Sameer is traveling again for business and Suneeta becomes target of three con-men, looking for heroin hidden in a doll. The doll is nowhere to be found because unbeknownst to anyone, a little girl, Aneesha, living in the apartment upstairs, has stolen the doll. The trio play initially manage to get Suneeta worried that her husband will be suspected of murdering the woman and the only way to protect him would be to enable them to have the possession of the doll.
Sareeka Malhotra’s performance as a blind heroine, is brilliant, both vulnerable and at the same time courageous and determined. The three con men, played by Varun Dua, Sanjay Apte, and Amit Sharma are so good at being bad that their performance holds you at the edge of your seats. Aneesha Nema, the little child star gives a phenomenal performance as a bratty but precocious kid. The set design is superb, easy for a supposedly blind person to navigate and yet complex for her to figure out the movements of the intruders. Juhi Mohan has done a great job with lights, helping create the perfect “dark”, that would give Suneeta an edge against the intruders.
Every theater season, I give my recommendation of a “must-watch play of the season” from among South Bay Theater companies, including (NAATAK – www,naatak.org, CityLights – http://www.cltc.org, San Jose Stage – http://www.thestage.org, Theatreworks – http://www.theatreworks.org, EnActe Arts – http://www.enacte.org etc.) and this season, unequivocally, I recommend NAATAK’s “Andhera Hone Tak”, as the “must-watch play of the season”. While the play is performed in Hindi, the English sub-titles, projected above the stage, make it easy for all to enjoy. So remember, you don’t need to understand Hindi to enjoy the suspense, heart stopping tension, spooky lighting, and climactic end, all delivered by flawless performance, in real time.
The musical, “Monty Python’s Spamalot”, a hilarious spoof on the motion picture, “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, has been showing at the City Lights theater in San Jose, to sold out audiences. It is based on the book and lyrics by Eric Idle and Music by John DuPrez and Eric Idle, and is brilliantly directed by Jeffrey Bracco.
King Arthur (Ken Boswell) along with his squire, Patsy, gathers his knights, The Knights of the Round Table, and goes about in search of the Holy Grail, as instructed by God. When King Arthur encounters Dennis in the countryside, Dennis challenges his claim to the throne. King Arthur responds that the Lake Lady herself (who emerged from the Lake with an Excalibur), proclaimed him to be the king. Dennis says, “executive powers are bestowed by the masses, not derived from some strange acquatic ceremonies”. The tone is set for rip roaring and blunt humor that is daffily delivered.
In the quest for the grail, the king and his knights go to the French-controlled castle and try to sneak into the castle in a Trojan Rabbit. Only problem – they forget to hide themselves in the rabbit! As the quest continues, each of the knights encounters various perils, including Arthur and Bedevere’s strange encounter with the dreaded Knights who say Ni, and the Three-Headed Giant who calls Sir Robin to a fight, a challenge that Sir Robin resolves by running away, as his minstrel sings, “Brave Sir Robin ran away”. When they try to enter the caves where the location of the grail is written, they have to defeat the rabbit, and they can only do it by using the Holy Hand Grenade. They have to consult the book of armaments to figure out how to operate the grenade and with great pomp they read, “And the Lord spake, saying, First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin. Then shalt thou count to three, no more, no less. Three shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three.”
In Monty Python, the irreverence is extended to everything, including the religion, the monarchy, as well as the Broadway, and Spamalot is “lovingly ripped off from the classic film comedy”, with great music, lots of dance numbers and a fantastic and large cast that rises to the challenge. Special shoutouts to Ken Boswell (King Arthur), Clara Rose Walker (Lady of the Lake), Nick Manfredi (Sir Robin & the Guard), Josiah Frampton (Patsy), James Snell (Sir Galahard), and Jeremy Ryan (Sir Bedevere). The entire cast participated with aplomb, in the tomfoolery, delivering one-liners and puns with slapstick wit and the effect is, the musical will have you laughing from the opening scene to the very end.
Monty Python’s Spamalot will be running at the City Lights Theater in San Jose, till August, 31. Tickets can be purchased at www.cltc.org.
“What is death to a language. There are 6900 languages in the world, Every two weeks, a language dies. This statistic moves me more than any other. It is death of imagination”. This heartfelt dialog comes from in Julia Cho’s play, directed by Virginia Drake, “The Language Archive”, currenty running at Citiy Lights Theater www.cltc.org in San Jose. George (Jeffrey Bracco) is a linguist and he documents and catalogs rare languages, their idioms expressions, before the language fades away, but he is at total loss for words, when it comes to speaking the language of the heart. Though he is troubled by his wife’s sadness and though he uses a lot of words, George can’t talk about feelings. George’s wife, Mary (fabulous Lisa Mallette) wears her heart on her sleeve and is looking for some passion and emotion, a spark, any spark.
George’s assistant, Emma (Kendall Callaghan) is deeply in love with George, so much so, that she is willing to sacrifice her own love for the sake of George’s happiness, and get him back together with his estranged wife. George and Emma are recording last known speakers of Elloway, Resten (Ben Ortega) and his spunky wife Alta (Deb Anderson), However, Alta and Resten refuse to speak in Elloway, since they are fighting and we are informed, English is a better language to express anger. While George is deadly serious about preserving dying languages, Mary is preoccupied with unexpressed emotions. Alta and Resten on the other hand, don’t seem to be interested in preserving the language or expressing love, but they like to talk.
Are there lessons in Alta and Resten’s relationship? What turn will George and Mary’s relationship take? Will Emma express her feelings to George? But most importantly, will George, the master of words, brimming with ideas and brilliant in mind, learn to verbalize what is in his heart and express his feelings? Can one learn to speak the language of the heart? What is your experience with words; words like a starter of a loaf of bread, that give sustenance and give rise to more nourishing stuff or words as ornamental expression of ideas? See for yourself and you be the judge of how well you speak the language of the heart. Audience also gets an opportunity to learn a lesson in speaking the language of love, as they repeat after George, “Mi estas amita”, “I have been loved”.
“The Language Archive will be running at City Lights in San Jose, till June 29, 2014. For tickets go to www.cltc.org.
In “The Smell of Kill”, Michele Lowe has given life to (pun intended) the “meaty” topic of unhappy marriages, where one spouse wishes the other to be dead or sometimes fantasizes killing the spouse. Director Virginia Drake has done a phenomenal job in alternating between comic relief and nervous tension, as three unhappy wives deny, discuss, and eventually unite in denigrating their husbands.
Nicki’s husband Jay has committed some legal hanky-panky and is likely to be indicted and to serve time. Nicki is bitter and edgy from the very beginning and tells the other wives, “Jay is not going to prison, because I am going to kill him first”. Debra’s husband is having an affair with another woman, though that does not stop him from flirting with his friends’ wives. Debra is in complete denial of her situation, at first. She constantly moralizes about appropriate role for good wife and a mother and looks down upon working women like Nicki. Debra says, “a good mother stays home for the first two years of a child’s life”. Molly is not quite so naïve, as she first comes across. She wants a child but is unlikely to get pregnant by her “asexual” husband. Molly has her own fun from having affairs with other men. Debra tells Molly, she should get a hobby and Molly says, “I got a hobby”.
It is the performance of the three women, Mandy Armes, Diahanna Davidson, and Morgan Allyne Voellger working together with impeccable timing that makes the play interesting. Husbands (played by Jimmy Allan, Frank Swaringen, and Max Tachis) are off stage during the entire play, and only participate through their meaningless comments and selfish commands, alternately demanding dessert, calling out little love messages or pelting golf balls in the kitchen. Needless to say it’s not just the wives who get annoyed and angry. Very quickly the audience joins the wives’ camp. The wives have had enough of these insensitive, selfish, flirtatious men who take little to no responsibility in the relationship. And then a situation arises where the wives are called upon to vote and decide, as Nicki puts it, whether or not they should play God and rescue their husbands from a fatal situation they willingly walked into. Will they? Won’t they?
Ron Gasparinetti has done a marvelous job in scenic design and Tyler Della and Ivette Deltoro has worked beautifully on the props. Immaculately clean kitchen, with skylights (windows towards God), and use of sharp, huge kitchen knife to tack the newspaper clipping of Jay’s antics on the kitchen’s broom closet, seems like a perfect setting. Amy Zsadanyi-Yale has done a fabulous work with the costumes, including the blah borrowed top, sexy lingerie, and blood soaked plaid shirt, that speak to the raucous, the risqué, and the gory aspect of the storyline.
Comedy plays are infrequent and often difficult to enact. So this is a rare chance to see a tragic/ comedy superbly executed with precision timing. The Smell of Kill is running at City Lights Theater in San Jose till February 23, 2014. For tickets, go to http://www.cltc.org.
This blog is part ii of series or 3 blogs. In part I, focused on “When NOT to Write A Blog” – http://bit.ly/13MqJFh. In this part II, I will focus on When to write a blog and what you gain from blogging, and in part III I will focus on “How to Market A Blog” and will be posting it in few days.
Top 10 reasons, you must start blogging.
No. 10 – You have ongoingly information to share that will resolve a pain point for consumers/ buyers/ sellers etc.
If you are knowledgeable about some technical aspects that could help people make better decisions for the products they want to buy, or regarding food choices, regarding their health etc. then you should blog. If you have technical information that can help people solve their technical challenges and you are able to demonstrate that effectively with step by step directions then you should blog. Similarly, if you have information about cars, cameras and more that can help people and you can clearly write about it then please consider writing a blog.
No. 9 – You absolutely cannot help yourself.
If your need for self-expression is so strong, you absolutely need to share, then you should become a blogger because this is an easiest medium to share your perspectives. For instance, one day early in the morning, I had put on some music and was dancing, rather vigorously and I bashed into my living room wall, and broke my toe. The pain was immediate and intense. I sat down and then crawled to my desk and with the support stood up and sat on the chair. Then I was thinking if I should call a friend, yell to wake up my daughter, hobble to get ice and through it all the humor of how it happened struck me. Instantly, I though of a poem http://bit.ly/XOemzn and I had to write it and post it on the blog. The urge to write and share a poem became stronger than the impending need to alleviate the pain and stop the swelling that was fast ballooning. You may not be world’s best writer, but if you must share then blog is the best medium J and you can ignore everything else said in part 1 about When NOT to write a blog.
No. 8 – Your urge to share your perspectives is consistent and frequent.
Sometimes, you see a wonderful movie and you want to share how absolutely delightful the movie was or you visit a gorgeous site and you want to share with others and tell them that they must visit the site and that may make you feel that you need to blog about it. For instance, I had to share about #lifeofpi – http://bit.ly/XizQZL or #BhaagMilkhaBhaag – http://bit.ly/1cUwG4o . However, if this only happened once in a while, then blog may not be the best medium. Or, you might be delighted but you may express it lamely in writing then writing may not be the best channel. But for the most part, if you are yearning to share your experience, then you should consider writing a blog.
No. 7 – Your access to materials worth sharing is frequent.
For instance, if you love to write movie reviews and want to blogg about it then you should be watching a lot of movies. If you want to write book reviews on your blog then you should be reading a lot of books; if you want to write about technology, then should be constantly accessing/ researching newer technologies and so on. I attend a lot of conferences and talks and write previews of upcoming talks or reviews of the events and talks at www.bio2devicegroup.org, www.eppicglobal.org, www.jpmorgan.com, www.tiecon.org and so on. I also love live theater and write a lot of play reviews and attend shows at www.theatreworks.org, www.cltc.org, www.sjrep.com, www.shadyshakes.org, www.naatak.org, www.thestage.org and so on. You might focus exclusively on sharing your own perspectives but share them with creativity and originality.
No. 6 – You are not targeting your friends to be your primary blog audience.
You have to target more broadly, outside of the circle of your friends. Even if you are a great blogger, all your friends will not have the same interests as you do. Although, your good friends will read, comment, give feedback, and will encourage you, so do share with your friends, but without pestering them, where they feel compelled to read your blog. I am forever indebted to my friends for bringing so much joy in my life that enables me to create a space for writing and here is my gratitude blog – http://bit.ly/ZaXuYj .
No. 5 – You have plans to market your blog.
I will write more on this in the last segment on how to market your blog. But remember that writing a blog is not like writing a diary. You want people to read and take interest in what you have to say. And only way people can do that is if they have access to what you have to say. As I have already said earlier, targeting your friends solely as your blog audience, is not a good strategy for long term health and vitality of your blog. (By the way, if you wish to follow me, my twitter handle is @DarshanaN and tweet the links to all my blogs).
No. 4 – You are actively accessing/ researching wide range of information.
One engaging discussion about some political topic and a perspective you want to share, may not make a good reason for starting a blog. Yes, people do that sometimes. But good blogs with wide viewership, come from bloggers who are doing wider research and share perspectives with more depth and value. For instance, I felt strongly about the declining status of education in the US and finally I put in time to do some research, before I wrote the blog – http://bit.ly/AwLq7G . You must enjoy reading and hearing different perspectives to be able to share your own thoughts effectively and authentically.
No. 3 – You are religious about not compromising on content and quality.
You can compromise on frequency but never on content. If you provide sloppy content, wrong facts, or poor quality material then eventually your readership will diminish and disappear. To keep up frequency, you can invite guest bloggers who can provide equally good content, as you.
No. 2 – You are not obsessive about privacy
Privacy violations are scary in the digital age. And we all need to take appropriate steps to protect our privacy. However, as I said earlier, if you want to reach a broader audience for your blog then you have to allow them a way to reach you. You need to decide the channel and the boundaries that work for you to manage your more visible public profile.
No. 1 – You want to focus on intentional living and self-development
It is my belief that blog writing gives clarity in thinking and brings greater intentionality and purposefulness to life. My writing has enabled me to pursue my disparate love for theater and for conferences on new technologies. I read books with greater focus, listen to speakers without ever falling asleep, and see little rhymes in life’s adversities and challenges. Writing a blog has helped me to prioritize my lifestyle, cut down activities that suck a great deal of time and bring little pleasure, and has enabled me to create more time, with minimal lifestyle. I credit my blog writing for enabling me to have a wonderfully engaged life, as an emptynester. I am generally a happy person but writing makes me happier. It is at once a social activity and yet a private activity. It helps you to retreat from people for some personal meditation space and it helps you to more meaningfully engage with the world.
So now go ahead and start your blog, give it a go, and in next part I will discuss how you can market it.