Failure and other things
Every week I think ‘what a week it has been’ and then another one comes along.
I have been writing a lot of short pieces in the last few weeks, some related to my forthcoming book, and some completely unrelated.
Not all pitches are successful. In fact most are rejected. I was thinking about rejection, and how much of a knock-back it can be. But then I was also thinking of how everytime it happens, I somehow pick myself up and move on. I have realised that while they can be so demoralising, it is also a reminder that we might be doing something innovative, revolutionary, non-conforming that people are finding diff to fit into neat boxes. And this is what keeps me going.
(M)otherhood is so much about failure, and what we perceive to be failure within ourself, and how we keep blaming ourselves for these perceived limitations.
An excerpt from (M)otherhood:
Having grown up in a world where women are ‘the Second Sex’, still considered the ‘other’ with a man still being the default, I’ve become accustomed to assigning my value to success. Failure has not been a part of my vocabulary, because I did not have the luxury or the freedom to fail. Every failure, even the tiniest one, is hugely personal.This failure to conceive is something I cannot share with anyone, not even my own mother. I have pretended to be strong for so long, with that unwavering sense of reliability and solidity that others fall back on, that I cannot share my hopelessness and desperation, and my crushing sense of despair with anyone, not even those closest to me.
But what it really does is to questions why we consider our limitations and our faults and assign our value to these specific determinants that society tells us to conform to.
It is out in just under TWO WEEKS now, and yes, I am feeling the anxiety but I am also in a calm place because it is a huge privilege to have a book out in the world. No matter what happens, this book will find its readers, it will find its community by word of mouth, because this is what happened with SWAY that came out also in lockdown last year. Slowly and gradually it found those who loved it, who didn’t resist the idea of being challenged and those who did not mind sitting in discomfort for a while. Because this is where real change happens.
This is what Lighthouse Books just said about (M)otherhood and it made me cry a little bit.
This week I had a few pieces published:
I tweeted (and posted on instagram) about how the term ‘Indian variant’ was making me feel very worried 10 days ago when I first heard it on BBC. I wrote this piece for the inews yesterday about how language creates stigma and bias: Naming Covid variants after countries is inaccurate and can lead to discrimination
Naomi Campbell became a mother at the age of 50 and I saw so many discussions about who the father was, how it was conceived, what privileges she had to be able to have a child at such an ‘old age’, why it might be better for people to have their children in their teens…and so on and on. I was asked to write this short-ish piece about this. I wrote about how Naomi Campbell’s motherhood at 50 has caused a stir, but older dads do not get this reaction. Women’s choices around their fertility and reproduction are still open to debate and examination. I do not remember similar questions when George Clooney became a father at the age of 56.
For the latest issue of Grazia, I wrote about the notion of body clocks that creates this immense pressure for women, that makes them feel like a failure at times, that makes them (us) feel that our bodies are not doing what they are supposed to do.
Women, from a young age, often as young as twenty-one years old – depending on cultural context – are reminded of their body- clock. Tick-tock, tick-tock. ‘Your body-clock is ticking, you better hurry up,’ they are told again and again. Much of this is unsolicited advice, but female fertility remains an open subject of public discourse. Female bodies are time bombs. (extract from (M)otherhood)
Much like my book it is backed & informed by science and data that show how the narrative and discourse around fertility has to change.
Waterstones Digital Event with Nikita Gill. Instagram Live 2nd June 7.30 pm
Launch Event. Join me via LightHouse Books. 3rd June 7.30 pm.
Some other books I have been reading recently and have loved:
Final Reminder/Request: Pre-orders are a huge help. Preordering books IS good. It sends signals to publisher and bookseller, ensures stock on hand, can increase early orders, etc;. Helps indie stores most! So definitely worth doing. Supporting independent bookstores is vital right now.
(M)otherhood is available from most Independent Bookstores. I have just finished signing hundreds of bookplates, each with tiny hand-drawn illustrations so that each copy comes with a little piece of art.
If you have a local, independent store, please ask them, share this with them, request a signed copy through them. And I would love to send them some of these bookplates.
That is all for now. I will be back with more. But if you have any comments, I would love to hear them. I would love to hear what more you would like to see in this newsletter.
Lots of love,