On writing.

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Do you know how your voice gets rough after you have just woken up? I think something similar happens with writing when you don’t write for a while. My language gets rough from disuse, my pen gets tongue-tied. It takes a little time for me to regain my bearings, to know where I am going with an idea once it has passed through my head and has flowed to the tip of my pen. I experience momentary amnesia, as though I had never written before in my life and had just been handed a pen. How do I operate this contraption? How does one write? How did I manage to do it before? How can I replicate my earlier writing?

It’s always like this in the beginning: an initial awkward phase, an embarrassed attempt at catching up.

“Oh hey, how have you been? Haven’t seen you in a while.”

“Yeah haha, just…been busy and stuff, you know how it is.”

“Yeah, tell me about it, hah…”

“Soooo, what have you been up to?”

But after a while, it’s like falling into the familiarity of an old friend. After the habit of writing has taken form again, I no longer have to tiptoe around it, afraid of committing another faux-pas. I can be honest, too. I can say:

“Writing, you’re great and all, but I kindof hate you sometimes.”

And writing will be honest and say:

“Yeah, me too. You’re so flighty sometimes — you jump from one idea to the other and you don’t finish half of what you start. Your notebooks are filled with stuff you’re never going to finish. And we need to talk about all those run-on sentences and complex structures you use. Also, that’s not how you use a semi-colon.”

Writing is a terrible passion to have; I wouldn’t recommend it. But I’ve said it before: I am helpless to it. I have surrendered utterly and completely after years of denial, of convincing myself I was better off as something else, nurturing some other harmless passion like puzzle-making. It’s what I feel called to do, in a way. And it’s time I stopped rejecting the very thing I’ve been praying the Universe for.

Besides, there are benefits to it, too. Writing keeps me real — in no uncertain terms. It tethers me to myself, helps me to process things I would otherwise never notice. Writing provides a peek into myself, a reflection from the corner of a mirror. It is one of these things without which I feel I am incomplete. It’s like chocolate chip cookies without the chocolate chips. At this point, it is that central to my identity.

I wish it wasn’t, truly. Life would be so much easier without this kind of passion hindering me. I would be great at not writing, better than I am at writing, actually. I wouldn’t have to try to explain what it is I write about. I wouldn’t have to dissuade people from wanting to read my writing by saying:

“It’s just…it’s weird. It’s not fictional, but it’s also not non-fictional. It’s based off of reality, you see, but actually…”

But you know, que será, será. Or in the words of Lemony Snicket:

“Fate is like a strange, unpopular restaurant filled with odd little waiters who bring you things you never asked for and don’t always like.”

So I’m embracing it wholeheartedly: I’m a writer.

I’m not the best one around, my stories aren’t the prettiest, my characters aren’t that well fleshed-out and I could use some help with semi-colons and sentence structure. But in spite of all that, I am a writer. An imperfect writer. Before, I was an imperfect person who happened to write. Now, though the difference may seem small, everything has changed.


Note: I have used a semi-colon in this blog post and I am hoping against all hope that I have made correct use of it 😂. It’s just my favourite kind of punctuation. After the dramatic interrobang (?!), of course.

What the wild winds bring

“And scents, they have this unique ability to bring us back, to elicit images from our minds that had long been forgotten.”

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Gif by : Stefanie Shank

A floating seed fell on my hand yesterday, carried over great distances by a zephyr, lifted through the atmosphere as though a dancer, all supple muscle and poised grace. Beautiful little thing it was too, the stem thin and elongated, the top softly spread out like an umbrella, or a ballerina’s tutu. It settled ever so gently on my sleeve, caught on a bit of string. So easy it would have been to dislodge it, but for all the times I had chased these floating seeds in my childhood to the ends of the scenery, the idea never even crossed my mind.

And so I kept it close, safe from the winds that had brought it to me. All day long, with a recovered sense of wonder, my finger absent-mindedly brushed against the feathery extremities, sending a feeble yet sharp scent of wildness darting in the air. And scents, they have this unique ability to bring us back, to elicit images from our minds that had long been forgotten.

I imagined fervent wishes whispered warmly in a bunched up bouquet of dandelions as the sun set, and a coldness settled in. A dress billowed in the wind, grass grazed tender calves, and a girl stood alone in an endless stretch of scenery.

I imagined that it must have been a long journey to here. That Nature, the Universe conspired to send me this floating seed and the message whispered urgently into it that spoke of a gentle loneliness. A message in a bottle, sent through the skies. And so, hills, meadows, trees and breeze together decided on the little seed’s fate : “You will go there, to her.” and sent it flying.

So, I keep close to my chest the things the wild winds bring. Sometimes it is voices, other times, this.

Who knows, that I was that girl on the hill, whispering feverishly for a friend. Who knows that this, this little floating seed is a message from myself, from lonely summers back, spent chasing floating seeds to make wishes. I cradle the seed as though it is a present.

And I say to myself, to that girl on the hill from summers back, that it will be alright. Wait for me, I say to her. You must not give up. Just wait for me.

I am glad to know that she did.


I have been having these vivid visions lately, tracing back to innocuous moments I had not understood before. Moments I could not grasp, as though two worlds had collided and I knew only of one, as a life unknown to me breathed all around. Sunsets, days at the beach, or afternoons spent muffled in a blanket, staring at the ceiling, at stars through the open window. How was I to know a piece of Fate was shrouding me then ? That an unchangeable thing was happening, that certain parts of my life were being set in stone. How was I to know, as I breathed quietly the air of gentle, lonely days ? But the air changed, and my skin turned inside out. I could feel it, that something was irrevocably different. Though what, I could never tell. Was not meant to understand.

I look back now, key in hand. The murmurs of the future that I could not comprehend  then finally reach me now. And it was never the words that mattered, but the feelings. Strong, bold feelings that leave you staggering. Feelings that ran deeper than any ocean, that had roots as far-reaching and as invisible as that of mountains. Feelings that are the truths that hold all of our beings together.

Do not give up. Wait for me. 

And even though what followed then were all of my darkest days, this feeling stayed, even if sometimes at the very edges of my fingertips, ready to slip into the void. But the truth is not the kind of thing that leaves so easily. I knew that truth, even when I seemingly didn’t. Even when I gave up, and continued giving up, and thought all of life was going to be just that : a series of abandons, I think part of me knew. Must have known to wait, to not give up. Whatever it was that held me back, made me lift my head up, I suspect it has a little something to do with voices of the past, and things the wild winds bring. I suspect it has to do with seeds from the past, coming into efflorescence in the present.

There are things we forget about that can only be woken up by triggers as unique as scents. There are things, truths, twisting, writhing inside of us, alive if sometimes to nobody but ourselves.

A Timekeeper’s Impatience

“…gently, I will take the reigns. I will falter, I will fall. I’ll hurt myself trying. I’ll burn myself, trying to cup the light in my hands..but all this is better than the safety of routine and small, too planned-out lives.”

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Art by: Bruce Riley

I don’t have the patience to let life happen to me anymore.

I will seize the hands of the clock and turn them back if I have to, and even though I can’t turn day into night, I will twist the minutes and extend the hours.  That is because I have a power all my own—I can warp time, elongate my days by simply making them count. All by just breathing and living the moment. So, some days, there’ll be no time at all—just peace.

I will stay the hands of Fate, too, knitting my destiny away onto a broad, infinite tapestry. And gently, I will take the reigns. I will falter, I will fall. I’ll hurt myself trying. I’ll burn myself, trying to cup the light in my hands. I’ll even stray into the darkness and come heaving out of it.

But all this is better than the safety of routine and small, too planned-out lives.

My canvas is blank and I don’t want to keep it that way.

I’m not scared of dirtying it, not too particular about the kind of picture I want to paint. I just want to have enough colours to paint something worthwhile.

via Patience — Prompts – The Daily Post

Threads of Fate

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Art by 93.minho

Something you hold onto impulsively when Life suddenly yells: “Catch!” at you. Something you chase after for a lifetime. You can either be pulled by it or led by it. Either way, so long as we are alive, we are attached to one. A thread of Fate, with filaments made of meaning. Each thread adding to the Tapestry of Time.

You see, I firmly believe that Meaning, cumulating in a certain kind of Destiny, is out there for us all. I believe that we’re all standing on this good Earth with both arms raised, fingers twitching, trying to catch onto one thread as life goes by like a bullet train. And then holding onto a thread as though it were a hanging strap. Something steadying. Meaning is out there, for every single one of us. We need only raise ourselves to meet it.

But we can ignore them too, you know. Refuse to hold onto them because they lead not to comfort but instead down rocky roads, uncharted lands. Because they pull too strong and go too fast. But if it so happens that you meet a thread of Fate and refuse it, another will still weave itself around your finger. The antithesis of a decision is not a not-decision. All there is is a decision you make versus a decision that is made for you.

Deciding to not follow the thread that lies before you is a choice. It is a decision. If out of fear you renounce it, if you refrain from following it because you do not want change—you merely give up your part in the play. But the play goes on without you. If you do not respond to Fate’s call, you will still be wrapped up in it. You cannot live outside of Life. You cannot live thinking you will forever be safe from hurt or risks or difficult decisions. There is no life that exists without such change. In refusing to take risks, you relinquish all power. This kind of neutrality you aspire to can never exist outside of books. You cannot be Switzerland. Even Switzerland is not Switzerland. There are always consequences. And you cannot rid yourself of the consequences of living.

 

 


Note: A reminder to myself, first and foremost, to not let fear dictate the choices we make. (Unless that fear is the fear of being eaten by a pouncing lioness, in which case, please let fear dictate your life choices).

Lost Frequencies

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Art by: Elesq

In the heart and solitude of the desert where echoes of nothingness sink into the dunes, my weary hand turns the radio button and catches onto something that is not the static. A thread of Fate, a wave from the Universe. For no reason at all, the radio tunes in to the frequency of you. Your voice, like an old record, scratches first and then promptly fills the space between morning and night. It reaches miles across the desert, floating around like lost words from an old language. Something that, idly, the now-rousing desert recognises. Something it allows.

Yet, I think, there is no greater meaning to this connection. Joy is a mere season of life. It comes, it goes. There is no need to question it. Neither this, nor sorrow nor solitude, either. Each must happen. Each must succeed the other. But like the winter brings frost, all other seasons bring change.

And so, for a while, your voice makes the desert flowers grow. It teases out the small animals from hiding. For a while, the birds fly back to the heart of an all-encompassing nowhere, bringing back news of the port and trade and the people who left. The static and loneliness are only mirrors now of what they used to be. For a while, the desert is anchored to the Earth, and not just a piece of land floating ever further away from it. It is grounded to the world by your voice that, in all fleeting irony, is carried over by the atmosphere and a random, snaking wire of Fate. And so it is that in the essence of the season, all else is forgotten. Everyday becomes a ritual of turning the button to the frequency your voice lives in.

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And just like that, your voice fills the void.

Until one day, your voice turns loud and your words clash with mine. For a long time since you first spoke, the radio emits silence. Not static either, but smooth, cold silence. The next day, as I turn the radio on, the static is back.

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Static. Static. Static.

You did arrive because of exceptional showers, because of a bored, sneaky thread of Fate that was let loose. No, it was never meant to be, let alone last.

Yet I call out your name in the desert, beg the birds to tell me where you are. But you’re just a lost frequency now. A season in time I can never get back to.


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Note: I actually came up with the idea/keyword of ‘Lost Frequencies’ almost a year back. I couldn’t do the idea justice at the time, so I just jotted it down. I actually might redo this later though, I’m not entirely satisfied with it >.< But if I don’t post this now, I never will, so…

Fleeting Little Phenomenon

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Art by: David Ng

“Aren’t you angry,” you asked “that we met only now, and we already have to say goodbye?”

I would have been grateful for even one day. For even the blink of an eye. Shooting stars and meteor showers are fleeting, too. Should we be angry that they couldn’t last longer? And yet, with these goodbyes, it’s so hard to focus. All I can think about are all the hellos they will bring with them. We have too little time to be upset. Whether it is a week or 60 years. It will never be enough time. Only infinity would ever satisfy us.

Am I angry? I haven’t given myself time to be.

It’s so rare, this. I can’t complain. My days are filled with thank yous to the Universe.

It is paradoxical, too.

That there will never be enough time. And yet however much of it we will get will be enough. Because this, this is like a comet we could have never caught at all. Something that only happens every hundred or thousand years. The requirements for this to happen were something along the lines of: to have been born on a Sunday at 13:03:56, gone to 3 different high schools, have had a friend called Dudley, seen a peacock every 2.5 years, worn green every other Tuesday, taken the bus 156 times a year and hated watermelon for half your life. If even one day had happened differently, could you honestly say life would have happened the same?

This thing we have is as beautiful as a meteor shower. And how lucky we are to have caught it. How lucky we are, that we do not have to spend the rest of our lives wondering.


Note: Ahhh, today is the last day. This is Day 30 of my little NaNoWriMo Writing Challenge. I wanted to end on something that said: “Ends are beginnings”. I’ve strayed a little from the intended goal, but I hope you liked it and that you’ve been enjoying these 30 days of writing. It’s certainly helped me understand my writing better. And with this, I guess this is the end of NaNoWriMo this year. Who knows, maybe next year…

 

The Lost Red String of Fate

“Yes, somewhere—somewhere that is not here, some time that is not now— there is quiet, there is peace. There is a touch of happiness, slight as the sun before it finally disappears into the horizon line. Better than, there is home. “

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Art by: nile-can-too

The thing I want exists somewhere in this world. Somewhere, somewhere in this vast blue planet (and I dare not think, maybe even beyond that), it is waiting. For me.

Yes, somewhere—somewhere that is not here, some time that is not now— there is quiet, there is peace. There is a touch of happiness, slight as the sun before it finally disappears into the horizon line. Better than, there is home. But miles and years stretch between us and I am left with all these thoughts.

All these doubts, this longing— I wonder, I wonder— is it going to be too much to ask from the Universe? To plot the graphs of lives, to tangle the winding web of Humanity and the Tapestries of Time just right, so that one day…One day, while walking down the street, I can catch a silver, an atom of this feeling, this loose thread of Fate I have yearned to catch?

But dark thoughts have embittered my heart and I doubt. Inexplicably, I think that if Life is made of intersecting threads, then part of the thread of me is still hanging on the old, wooden spool.