Category Archives : Musings


Writing again

Of everything I have ever learned as a literary agent and as a writer, there is one lesson that I think is more important than any other: you must write for your life.- Holly McGhee, Nanowrimo 2013 Peptalk

Nobita reading a Doraemon comic, from the 100 Years Doraemon Exhibit in Kuala Lumpur
Nobita reading a Doraemon comic, from the 100 Years Doraemon Exhibit

When it comes to writing stories, I’m not the kind that plans. I’m the kind that researches what I need, rolls into what I think I want to happen, and then see if there’s a correlation between what I want to write and the culture I’m taking from. Which is how I usually end up with stories set in different cultures, in piecemeal settings that merely hint at the culture I’ve stolen borrowed from.

So yes, I’m pretty much a pantster, as we’re called in Nanowrimo. It brings to mind one of my favourite mantras, which is “Write Drunk, Edit Sober” (side note: Since I can’t actually consume alcohol, I tend to substitute this with cheap sugar and/or food that loosen my inhibitions. Friends who’ve seen me get “high” know what I mean. No weed involved).

Ever since the submissions for Women Destroy Science Fiction and Buku Fixi’s Lost in Putrajaya anthologies were announced, I’ve been hatching ideas and short stories to submit. None of them though, fit what I wanted to say.

Till, appropriately, the very last minute. I submitted the Science Fiction piece the night before, while Lost In Putrajaya’s was submitted MINUTES before the deadline. I fully expect LIP’s piece to be rejected (received the notice for SF’s piece some time ago) but it’s made me want to write more. To let go and just let the words flow, no matter if they were nonsensical or simply words.

I missed that.


100 posts, 100 Stories

Image by Ramunas Geciauskas on Flickr
Image by Ramunas Geciauskas on Flickr.

So Rincredulous sent me a link to a very interesting challenge. It was quite simply, 100 topics to write about when you hit a block. However, while chatting with her, she suggested I do both short story and themed blog post (the result of which you can read here) but that’s neither here nor there.

So if you’re wondering, here’s my chosen 100 topics, taken straight from the 100theme challenge on DA. I might add a short story to it, I might not. Or maybe a blog post. We shall see. (more…)


One post a week?

And here I was naively thinking after Nano I’d be able to write more.

December’s here. Wow. Kinda hard to believe it’s finally here. This entire year feels a lot like a dream. So many things have happened. So many memories entangled within. I haven’t been writing much because the past two years have been… unusual.

I wanted to use the word crazy but it’s not really been crazy. It’s a lot like the wheel of fortune. A few good times here and there. Bad times to balance it. It kinda hurts, though, being here. Coming back from a world of grey.

The past few years have been like swimming in treacle. Or something sticky and almost fluid that doesn’t want to suck you in and freeze you like tar, but where it’s an effort. After a while, you start wondering what’s the point of it all.

The funny thing about running is that after a while, you keep going because… you just do. Your muscles keep going through the motions even though it hurts because stopping isn’t really an option. It feels a lot like that, the past few months. I keep going even though I can’t see the reason.

The will to live is strong.

In about 6 months, I’ll be turning thirty. I think I can kiss the possibility of having a child myself goodbye. It’s really hard to justify to myself why I should have a child when I often describe myself as one. I mean, I still have TWO milk teeth!

I tell better summaries than I do details, unless I get myself lost in the summary. So here’s a summary of my past two years; came back, got thrown in the deep end, found temporary joy, left my parents far enough that I’d have warning if they were coming to get me (see what I mean about details?), discovered new friends, held old ones, broke my heart, had my heart broken, forced into different roles with no warning, felt suicidal a few times, wrote a lot of words that didn’t matter, fell in love with a city, trained my mind somewhat, started learning to live in different stories, allowed myself to feel, allowed myself to mourn, allowed myself to just… feel.

I bleed. I laugh. I cry. I hug. I touch. I weep. I mourn. I smile.

Yeah, this is pretty much a whiny blog post. Why are you still here?

Oh yeah, cause this is a letter as much to strangers as it is to myself. We’ve been through a lot, you and I. Our bodies remember what our hearts and mind choose to forget. To forget means to deny ourselves. Our humanity.

Dying isn’t an option.

“We are more than what we be.

Each living thing carries within them that seed, to be more than what they are. The potential. As long as you are alive, you have this potential. We are our own universe. Even merely existing is enough. Because when we exist, then we can live.”

And really, what does it mean to really live? Is it to tell our grandkids stories? Is it to brag to each other?

Or is it to build memories, that when we go into that cold afterlife, there’ll be memories to keep us warm through the night?


Cities

Cities are full of humans. Like humans, they are complex. They are not soulless, colourless beings so often painted by artists and writers. They are colourful, bright, shiny things with dimensions rarely seen in nature.

Too often, we lament the emptiness of the city.

We call it cold and heartless. We liken it to a jungle, to nature, where the strong survive and the weak perish. We despair that the city drains our souls to leave an empty husk behind.

Too often, we forget, nature is a paradox. Where there is death, there is life. Where there are ends, there are beginnings. The circle of life changes, and yet remains the same.

A city is very much the same.

It is nature of a different sort. Humanity’s attempt to emulate a working, perfect system. Nature’s set up a series of systems that work well with each other. Compensates for deficiencies. Allows for deviation. Robust enough, to withstand whatever she throws at it.

We humans have not yet reached that standard. We have not discovered the way to make all the pieces fit. The compassion to allow each other to fail. The forgiveness that comes with mistakes. The release of fear that makes us fly.

The only thing we have perfected that we learnt from nature is how important it is to survive.