Expansion

While the year is still pretty fresh and crisp and new, I ought to make it a point to expand the variety of content on this blog.

There are things I have carried in my head for months and years, but have yet to surface in writing in any of my (past and present) blogs. Perhaps it is time to put some things into words.

In addition to what I usually talk about here, which is mostly parenting, my writing career and life reflections, I shall aim to share more with you about the following:

  1. Food (because well, we are Malaysians and it is such a big part of our culture)
  2. Craftwork that I indulge in
  3. Quirky stuff I stumble upon online (as a vague means of continuing an old column I used to write during my journo days)
  4. Music music music (because I was raised on it)
  5. Books and movies (whenever I do get round to consuming any such forms of entertainment)
  6. My life as a church leader’s kid
  7. Marriage and love life issues in general (without revealing too much that it will embarrass my husband, hopefully!)
  8. Poetry (oh it’s been so long since)
  9. Photography (something I have always wanted to delve into but never quite got round to enough)

Alright, I think that’s quite enough to keep me occupied throughout 2018. If anything other than the above comes to mind, I’ll be sure to alert you to it. For now though, I think that’ll do.

I also have to forewarn you that I may, on occasion, go through random bursts where I put up more than one post at a time. Or sometimes none at all for a prolonged season. This being all because my life is currently unpredictable like that. Thanks to one growing and roving toddler.

Anyway, I hope to be back to see you soon. Need to focus on getting some work done meantime. Plus, son is snoozing on my lap and I need to dispose of him put him back into his bed.

TTFN!

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Blog buddy

I am happy to note that a friend of mine has recently joined the WordPress community. 

It’s becoming a rare thing indeed these days to have friends who blogs. I miss the time when nearly everyone was blogging and it was customary to include the links of your friends’ blogs in the sidebar of your own blog. Having friends leave comments in your posts was really fulfilling. At least you know they had read all that you had written. 

Well, those days are long gone. 

So you can imagine my glee whenever someone I know decides to start a blog of their own. 

MY is a churchmate and a most talented cook. She writes of her AIP journey, kitchen capers and other miscellaneous adventures at The Food Quarters. Do drop by to check it out. 

Shift, twist

I guess the way I blog really needs to change. No more long and windy posts. Mostly because there’s not enough spare time to write them. 

But still thoughts and feelings and stories aplenty. If only I can manage to find the words to describe them adequately… 

This shift in style and approach begins now. Let’s hope for better things appearing here.

How to catch a cloud

With your eyes tight shut and your arms outstretched,
Hopes held high, though not a dream in sight just yet
Open wide your mouth and rhythmically swallow
Before long you’ll catch some
A wind of change,
A path to follow; 
That’s yours, that cloud
So wait as long as you need for it
It will surely come soon 
Today or perhaps tomorrow. 

***
Been awhile since I wrote poetry. This title seems worthy of converting into a short story. Perhaps if I manage to conjure a plot, I shall. Someday. 

Failed!

So it’s August already and I might as well say it now. I failed at Camp Nanowrimo. Me and the word “Nanowrimo” really don’t seem to jive very well. It’s sad.

But a part of me knows that I had sort of already declared myself defeated (internally) before it actually happened in real life. Funny thing is that I did try at first. Yet I kind of expected it. 

And when that distasteful blowup occurred with family lately (an incident that I suppose I should address to some degree of greater detail at some point), I guess I gave up keeping on with the writing. Because it all made me feel so lousy. Like, why bother doing it when I’m such a horrible person inside?

See, the thing about this family issue was that it hits at one of my core beliefs that family is everything, and a huge part of my heart is broken when I realise that sometimes the things I felt about my family weren’t always valued as much by the people on the other end. Also the glaring reality that family members still to this day do not really understand what I am all about nor seem to actually care that I have an avenue to express my feelings or be myself. 

Well, this is something that has been brewing under the surface for awhile now, so I guess it’s no wonder that an eruption would take place at some point.

Whatever it is, it feels like there’s a splinter that just got embedded on the inside of my heart. And although melancholy does sometimes help writing along, something of this magnitude isn’t something you’d want to hope to have even if it is for art’s sake.

Perhaps I have myself to blame? For all these unfinished writing endeavours. For even starting in the first place yet being halfhearted and torn about it all. Ironic too that the theme of my writing project had been imperfection. Oh yes. Seemed like a brilliant idea at the time.

And then there are all these relationships I’m supposed to have nurtured better. Which I am apparently not doing too well at either.

It’s never fun when things explode or implode in front of you. I feel like I just had both.

Nobody reads this

It's just a hunch, but I'm almost pretty sure that none of the people I know in real life are actually reading my blog. Or even know that I have this one out there.

I could do the narcissistic thing of posting about it on social media like what most people might do. In fact, I had done so in the past. But then it feels so much like asking for markah kesian from the school teacher. I'd rather people stumble upon the blog than me having to stuff it in front of their face and make them feel obliged to comment or do anything about it.

But this isn't saying I don't appreciate you, my random reader. If even one person out there reads any of this and derives something positive out of it, at least I can feel that this is all worth it.

Anyway, whatever the case may be, I'm still committed to writing here and keeping this blog alive. For now. Unless and until something tells me to stop. That moment hasn't come yet.

Time and again

Ironically enough, it's become extremely hard to write anything that I feel is heartfelt and of significant worth nowadays. I've been feeling so ever since I made writing my official career path, I think.

Funny, isn't it, since you'd think that because you're devoting more time perfecting your craft, you should be better at it and everything should come so much more naturally than it did in the past?

But this is how it's been. Regrettably too, might I add.

I revisited the old, first proper blog I ever wrote, Veritas Project, recently. It surprised me just how differently I used to write. So uninhibited. So candid.

In some ways, I wish I was back at that place and time of my life, and that I had utilised those moments more fully to revel in the emotions of that season more, to write more wholeheartedly. Because now that I am where I'm at in life, here in my 30's, there's a great difference in the things I'd write and how I'd write them.

Yet, of course, I'm not discounting the value of experience and where it has gotten me. I write now through the lens of someone who has seen more, who realises what she is capable of, and who now knows so many more precious things about the world and the seasons and rhythms of life.

Time and again, though, I keep returning to this point of contemplation that I need to put forward a more genuine version of myself whenever I write. Particularly when I blog for a wider audience, like I do here.

The difficulty here lies in the fact that having been a journalist in the not-so-distant past, my writing disciplines have been shaped to habitually involve the practice of self censorship. We do it all the time in the newsroom, although the reasons for doing so may differ each time. The words we allow to escape our keyboard are filtered: tapered down in its depth of feeling, politically correct, shifted and sorted to take on a supposedly neutral form, appealing to the average reader. Which is, in reality, probably no one.

Here in Blogdom, everyone is writing nowadays to garner as much Likes as possible. Building a band of followers that will faithfully swallow whatever you put out for them, just because they feel like you know them. You are like them.

For that is what is being peddled. Writers putting on a front of being an expert and knowing something special. Teasing readers with minimal prose, abandoning the art of it all, and replacing it with GIFs, memes, haphazardly compiled lists of things that nobody needs but everybody identifies with and wants to know about. A place where words are money, so make as much as you can, with as little beauty infused into those sentences. Because, what is the point in poetry? It is unnecessary and underappreciated.

Then there are those writers' circles, those exclusive associations formed amongst writers on social media platforms. Where writers rant and rave about the perils of the realms of publishing and lament the naivety of rookies seeking their way into the fellowship. Spouting advice like, "If your writing is rejected by publishers, it's because it's worthless. Please move along".

I somehow cannot fit into this landscape.

As it is, I already have trouble believing that I am a writer, and even more so calling myself one. And all this… this massive community of successful people before me; corporations who make profits from the words crafted by others; the formality of it all; the formatting of pages, columns, fonts; the rigours of being part of the publishing process… all of this feels stifling to me.

I want to go back to that spot where simplicity and freedom of expression were. That quiet corner in the middle of nowhere that I could sit at for as long as I needed to, use as many paragraphs and pages as I wanted, and express precisely how I feel without fear of judgment or ruthless editing.

Where it was just me and you, my darling reader.

I still want to tell my story. But (and this may be hard to believe, coming from a person with a history like mine) I am having trouble finding the right words.