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Starry Complexities

“We could whisper to the stars and tell them what happened to other stars, billions of years ago, tell them how they shattered and turned into people. Do you wonder if stars tell their children that when you die, you become a human? A faraway life, on a small blue planet. “

luviiilove
Art by: LuviiiLove

I can already imagine it, with starry complexity. We will linger at the space station, floating around to haunting piano music softly diffusing across the universe, echoing down lonely black holes and asteroid fields. We’ll hang the clothes to dry on one of Saturn’s rings. On Saturdays (Or however we decide to name it) we’ll have barbecues on the sun and plant artificial roses on dwarf planets and dying stars for a pilot whose plane has crashed to find someday. We’ll pluck stars from space and rearrange the cosmos, play tennis with asteroids and write messages with our fingers across nebulae for Earth to see.

We can hide on the moon, sometime. Lie down in the sea of tranquility and tell corny jokes about how we aimed for the moon. We can close our eyes and move to the dark side, and pretend Earth doesn’t exist. We’ll live out our days in an alcove on a planet no one will ever discover.

We’ll make paperboats, watch them sail and burn in a constellation of stars. We could even reach inside one of them, our hands travelling all the way to the molten core, and touch someone’s consciousness. We could whisper to the stars and tell them what happened to other stars, billions of years ago, tell them how they shattered and turned into people. Do you wonder if stars tell their children that when you die, you become a human? A faraway life, on a small blue planet. So, children if you want to say hi, all you have to do is shine bright and they will know who you are? I wonder if humans are star-ghosts?

We could also hollow out one of the planets, and make home inside.

Trust me, we will never get lost. I have the universe inside of me. Did you know that there are more synapses in the human brain than there are stars in our Milky Way? And there are more possible brain connectivity patterns than there are atoms in the Universe? Our minds are larger and more infinite than the Universe. We are multitudes, eternal matter in perishable bodies.

“When we die,” you ask “do you think we go back to being stars? Do you think that some part of us goes into space? Like, the parts that used to be our eyes, when they rot and become dirt and minerals in the Earth, then feed a tree that later gets turned into wood brought on a spaceship—do you think I could see the universe then? Do you think I could get to be a part of it then? That I will be welcomed, like a missing limb, and I will finally remember? And slowly, like that, the Universe will start being whole again.”

“But you’ll forget me then, you’ll forget Earth.” I say.

“Not if you come with me.” you smile “Then we’ll forget about the lives we had here. But it’s okay, because you and I, we go way back, we were stars together. Then, we can remember who we were meant to be all along.”


Listening to:

Note: This is Day 25 of my NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge. I’m afraid with this one, I totally pretended like Science wasn’t a real thing. Don’t shove your hands down molten cores of stars, kids. You’ll be dead before you even get to try. You can read my previous entry for the challenge here. Also, ‘more infinite’ isn’t…really a thing. But eh, dramatics amirite.

 

L’été.

young adult old soul magic realism
Yours truly

Summer is sweeter this year, something that is very much at odds with the devastation and grief of a raging pandemic.

We have had a case of local transmission here after several good months of hugs and handshakes, masks hanging precariously on ears and no moisture-peeling hand sanitisers. The anxious fear has found me again, sprouting scenarios of endless grief and loss.

So I want instead to count the little things — each of them an argument against fear, a shred of reason to counter the rising irrationality of my reeling mind.

Summer is sweet and soft like a kiss, still clinging onto the last dregs of a delicious winter. Often enough in the past, I had known summer had come when I would have to woefully send my blanket to the wash. You know the kind: thick and fluffy like a risen pancake fresh off the pan, it traps in warmth and banishes the cold from your fingers and toes.

This year, I find myself sighing into this heavy blanket even now, during midsummer nights that should have been sultry and sticky and uncomfortable. Instead, these nights gather me close, they hold my dreams above my head like a mobile, like the universe has unravelled in my room to tell me all about where I am from.

You need only take a single look at me to understand what I’ve become: a creature of summer’s making… Flowy dresses in my wardrobe, pineapple-printed shirts, wandering without fear of getting lost, and — at long last — a little curious about love.


Note: I hope you are doing well, wherever you are. It’s tough times out there and I’m only beginning to realise that all over again.

Homeless thoughts, thoughtless homes.

My thoughts are a little homeless at the moment; I’ve said goodbye to yet another companion, this one endowed with thick, luxurious covers marked and embossed in golden motifs, regal against a smooth, creamy red. Its pages were pre-aged for comfort and delightfully thick, carrying a certain soothing weight to them.

And the size. Perfect for the crook of an elbow or for tucking at your side. Ideal to hold one-handed, to hide from curious eyes, for writing on uneven surfaces.

The new one is a bit too large in comparison. My thoughts swim in a sort of emptiness, with no lines to bring ideas together, to give them any kind of sense. Just an endless ocean of blank pages; a sort of void. It feels like a stripped-bare apartment. No touch of home. No cosiness. Just four blank walls and a lot of space that I am at a loss at how to fill.

Incidentally, the new WordPress editor feels the same now. Too open, too vast. Too much white. I feel a little overwhelmed somehow by its design; sometimes, I find that I am grappling to fill all this blank space with something, to make this blankness disappear. All this space is intimidating. I need corners, nooks and crannies; places to hide, to burrow into. I need bumps and dents in which to tuck my stories, somewhere safe where I can keep my words.

But well, about the new notebook. It’s no surprise it feels so impersonal: it’s just a heap of neat, spiral-bound A4 pages and was originally a company notebook. It’s not faring very well in the creative writing business. Office notebooks aren’t good homes for daydreams and words that only make sense upside-down.

Yes, yes.

It all makes sense now.

So maybe I’ll downsize, who knows. And keep these white, blank pages to draw these colonial-style houses I long to put to paper.


Note: While I am infinitely grateful for even having paper to write on and an internet connection to share this, I will admit to being a little bit of a notebook snob. It is what it is.

Listening to :

Glow up.

young adult old soul magic realism writing

The thing about shaking off the shadows and reaching for light is that it cannot be done in silence.

I had hoped I wouldn’t have to roar to announce that I had arrived, finally, through adversity and darkness, into the version of myself I was always meant to be. Naively, I had hoped that perhaps this transformation could pass unnoticed, like the water that quietly steals away under one of the city’s bridges — drowned out by all the other manifestations of life, melting into an indistinguishable symphony of sounds.

But to be yourself is to create ripples, echoes. And people listen, they pay attention.

The other day, I realised while watering a thriving Zenith the Zealous, that weeds had only started growing my little chia plant when I started caring for it. And I think it’s as simple as that: life attracts life. When you push through the darkness, discontent with the safety of mere existence and seek light, weeds will grow vicariously through you, envious.

So yes, I have attracted a whole lot of shallow attention.

People who call me pretty disbelievingly. Formerly indifferent men who now give long looks. Others who notice every little change as if it had been made on their own bodies.

I stepped into the light hoping to be seen, but instead, I am being viewed.

It’s disconcerting, to be sure. More than that, it makes me want to crawl back to where I came from. To safety. To comforting darkness. To being alone in my own little world, my lonely little planet of thoughts.

But these reactions are just passing distractions. My quest for light goes farther than them. There is more to me than what they see: I cannot be boxed into words like ‘pretty’, I offer no explanation as to why I am the way I am.

“I am not this hair,

I am not this skin,

I am the soul that lives within.”

Rumi

Continue reading “Glow up.”

Insomniacs.

Young adult old soul magical realism writing Pascal Campion
Art by: Pascal Campion

I am bathing in the comforting darkness of a late, late night, caressed by its sweet anonymity.

Beyond the window, leaves rustle, but no one save the insomniacs like me hear them. Somewhere out there, if you follow the dark long enough, you will find the light. Somewhere in this night, there is a daybreak. Not metaphorically. But very much in actuality. If you walk and walk along the deserted highways, if you are able to slip through the narrow pathways that open onto the ocean and if, after that, you reach the horizon, there will be a sun waiting — warm and glorious. A promised day.

Somehow, it is there that I find myself now. In this rising sun, kilometres away from this dark room and the cold circulating inside.

I’ve done nothing in particular to feel like this. At times, these thoughts catch me off-guard and I stay up waiting for the sun to rise, feeling eternal.


Note: So when I was little, I had really bad insomnia. Often I would just wake up in the middle of the night and sit by the window in the dark, waiting 3 or 4 hours for the sun to rise. I’ve tried multiple times to write about these weirdly formative nights but they were just that: attempts. Somehow, this 2-minute midnight scribble is the closest I’ve gotten to describing the feeling 🤷‍♀️

Beach days.

The sea salt is drying on my skin as I write you this, what once was the ocean leaving a taste of this morning’s swim on my lips.

Do you know what the beach is like when the sun has only just risen?

It is quiet, pacifying. New, as though the oceans hadn’t existed for light years prior to that morning.  There we all were, housing beautiful contradictions: we were star-skinned, yet pieces of a ticking clock, rewinding time yet moving forward.

I’ve known them for a very long time, these friends.

We were still tender when we met, eyes wide and cheeks plump, unaware of everything living entailed. We could never have known, 20 years ago, in between petty quarrels, skinned knees and games of tag, that we would ever reach here, now.

But there we were, making history, ignoring Time.

You know, Time is a mirror: when you ignore Time, it ignores you back. When you chase it, it chases you. When you check on it, it checks on you.

So because we did not care for Time, the morning passed slowly. The stories of our lives flowed like streams in the world we had created for ourselves, expanded the bubble that had unwittingly appeared around us. It is uncommon to feel both free and safe at the same time, but that’s exactly how I felt. Unchained yet protected. Another beautiful contradiction to add to the list.

Never let me forget this day, will you?


Listening to:

Note:
So apparently, you can add videos now, so I’m going to add a video just because I can. Did it have to be a vertical video though 😂

Good news!

Last year, I wrote about “taking my writing further“, beyond the safe space of this blog.

Well, guess what.

I received my first acceptance email 🥺😳

young adult old soul writing magic realism

It’s a fledgling local project, a prose and poem anthology, started by two twenty-somethings eager for change, passionate about the written word. So naturally, especially if you’re me, it seemed too good to be true.

But well, the book is being printed. All the proceeds are going to local NGOs, which elevates this already dizzying experience to heights that have me shaking from fear and exhilaration both.

And my name’s on it somewhere, among 49 other featured writers.

So thank you.

Thank you for reading, thank you for your kind words spread over 4 years now, according to WordPress. My writing would have forever remained between the lines of my notebooks without you.

young adult old soul writing magic realism

Note: I hope you’re all doing well, wherever you are.

Listening to:

Lingerer.

I’ve earned quite the reputation of being a lingerer.

I was always caught a little too long in the warmth of morning sheets, and I took hours steaming up the shower, only to emerge, skin flushed and thoughts nebulous. Voted most likely to run into a pole while staring at the sky. Serial latecomer, eternal late bloomer.

I settle too comfortably into moments — I melt into them like candy on a summer’s day: messy, gooey and all over the place.

I can’t help it though: I’m just so in love with the idea of being. It is magic to just be. To be able to create thoughts. To move your hand just because you want to. And feelings — how deliciously complex they are! Like scents, they have undertones and influences that make them unique. But there are always the classics,too: love, sadness, fear, anger. And how intriguing to have a place for your thoughts, for your dreams, for every unspoken part of you. Do you realise that every idea you have first existed as a spark of electricity in your brain? All of the world’s greatest inventions and art were born in that liminal space. Inexistant to the rest of the world, to MRI scans and brain surgeons but so vivid for you.

There are worlds inside my head always calling me. The worlds I knew first.

And then, there’s the world world.

How it is both overwhelming and small at once.

The sweetness of it amid its acridity. A flower bursting from the concrete, flocks of birds flying over industrial zones, the lullaby of the ocean, minutes away from the national reserve bank.

So I linger. There is so much to take in, to admire.

A lifetime will never be enough for this purpose: there is too much out there.

The sun, the sky, the progression of the day, mountains, the rain, the unnamed stars that light up our nights. The people.

How am I expected to be on time when all these ideas orbit my head? How am I meant to just accept it all, to brush the world and myself under a carpet and pretend it’s all…normal?

It’s not.

It’s exceptional, all of it.

So I will linger, charmed by the world and its ways, entranced by the inner workings of my mind. And I will call the clock a liar for saying I’m late. Because I’m not, I’m always right on time somehow.


Note: Still alive! Very much enjoying it, too. I hope and pray you are all doing beautifully as well. Also, are you or someone you know also a lingerer? Please tell me I’m not the only one lol.

Listening to:

In the universe.

young adult old soul magic realism
Art by: 9jedit

I like to take guesses as to what the universe is.

Some days, I think of it as a shell, washed up on shore somewhere on an odd planet, safe beyond even the reaches of our imaginations.

Other days, I wonder if the universe isn’t held within a dewdrop pearling precariously at the edge of a leaf.

Perhaps the universe is a pair of well-worn boots hanging by someone’s door.

Or perhaps still, it is hanging between the pages of an unserialised tome, tucked between a paragraph and a dried wildflower in someone’s attic.

Would that be so strange? It’s an odd life, to be sure. Can it not be that the universe that contains all of us — all we’ve ever been, all we are, all we hope to be — is smaller than we thought? What if we are a world within another world?

What if nothing was as complicated at it seems?


Listening to:

Zealous.

young adult old soul magic realism writing

I’ve been accused of hardcore cynicism in my time.

But well, life’s like a cat. It scratches me and then wraps itself around my legs. It finds me when I am feeling low and sits with me. Life endears itself to me, again and again.


In my hurry to leave for work, I left some chia seeds at the bottom of a jug of water. Without even seeing the light of the sun or caring to obtain my permission, these little devils sprouted on the side of my vessel. On one side, their roots unfurled all the way down to the shallow water; on the other, their long, green necks stretched to catch a taste of that promised glory, the nourishing touch of sunlight.

Eager, eager, eager: to grow, to be, to take up space.

4 days later, returning from the earthly matters that take up most of my time, I need my jug. And I find this illegal arrangement.

But really, at this point, what else can you do?

When you see these roots clinging, these tender leaves already crawling to the sun — when you see such desperation for life and you consider the pains it took to be itself, just, what else can you do?

I got my hands dirty digging around for some fresh soil. Out of an old cup, I fashioned a plant-holder and very gently peeled back every transparent root and laid them out into some earth.

I gave them fresh water and their first taste of sunlight. And a name.

Zenith the Zealous.

Wasn’t I once like that before? Eager for life, fighting for it. And now, if I can help another life grow, won’t that just be beautiful?


Quote of the day:

“There’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo, and it’s worth fighting for.”

— J.R.R Tolkien

Note: So this really is the day when I get emotional about chia seeds huh? 😂

Perspectives, intersections.

young adult old soul magic realism writing

I understand more wholly now the little insights and accidental glimpses I have into people’s lives.

I must have been too submerged into myself to notice before, too busy exploring my own depths to contemplate others’. It must be that you miss these sorts of things when you jump headlong onto a moving train — the bullet train of a 9 to 5 fueled by your days, months and years.


Every other life flashed by as minuscule dots of colour; blinking lights in the darkness. Only I was in focus. Only I was real. Everything else was mist: the buildings, the people, the rhythm of life.

Other people were…ideas, intangible concepts. They entered my life too rapidly for me to seize them, to feel the weight of their words in my hands, to connect to their stories.

I caught a flash of colour.

I blinked.

When I opened my eyes, it was already gone.

I would shake myself off, clearing the last of these micro-second mysteries from my mind.

“That was strange.”

And on my way I would be again, drowning in my loneliness, surrounded by millions of unraveling stories, wheezing past them.

I couldn’t exist outside of myself. It was impossible for me to imagine someone not being the way I was. Life was the same for everybody, with no more or less enjoyment for one or the other. It was a tacit piece of knowledge, understood through the narrowing lens of my perceptions, the shriveling of my imagination, the drying out of once abundant streams of consciousness.

That’s what happens, I guess. Your mind is cut and dried, uniformised, squared off until it becomes one-track only — the track designed by those that came before you, a path well-trodden.

Only vaguely could I acknowledge the idea that people were different. Of course, it was just surface knowledge. Statements you have to agree to, like terms and conditions you sign without paying attention. A distracted agreement, a “Yes, yes, alright.” you dismiss a child with.


But the bullet train has slowed down.

All these unknown lives are blooming in a million scents and textures: the mother who smells of baby oil, the couple that walks closely but doesn’t hold hands, the fastfood joint run by two bickering brothers, the papercuts on the newspaper vendor’s fingers, the spicy, taste-bud-burning noodle soup in China town, the dizzy children who fly kites come evening, the white-haired ladies bent at the waist to catch a glimpse of the life taking place beyond their doors.

Perspectives, intersections.

The train has stopped at an intersection, a cross-hatching of stories and identities, names and worldviews.

The world is large when viewed in its numbers, the summary of all it is: 195 countries, 7.5 billion people and counting, 6,500 languages — it’s impressive, awe-inspiring. But when you get into the details, when you stop to contemplate even a hundred of those 7.5 billion lives, well, the world becomes infinite.


Listening to: