Untitled (silverfish and snakes)

Looking at a bunch of paintings on my computer and feel like playing with my pastel crayons but I decided that it's easier to open up a new word doc than to dig out my crayons. The last time I opened my box of crayons, a big silverfish slithered out. Yikes. 

The biggest silverfish I've ever seen was when I was still working in the corporate world. It was around one inch. I won't blame you if you don't believe me. It's uncomfortable for everyone to think that silverfish that big exist. Apparently, they say that silverfish eat protein that exist in hair, and glue. So all that office carpet tiles that are glued down must provide quite a buffet spread. 

If you're reading from an office, that's carpeted right now, try not to think about the silverfish city that lives beneath your feet.

That silverfish must have been too full gorging itself, I think, for it was resting on top of the carpet (maybe it's like their beach, you know), and it was slow enough for me to stick a piece of tape over it to trap it.

That was probably the best opportunity for me to observe silverfish close up. But I didn't. I couldn't bear to, because they were so ugly. Then when I tried to throw the tape away it escaped. Duh.

I think the non-human creatures on earth will only become uglier and uglier. Only then, will we fear it, and only then, will we not want to hunt it down and capture it for gazing. Cockroaches, silverfish, and all the other critters which are ugly and inspire disgust or fear. Butterflies, ladybugs, and all the other sparking, shiny, pretty ones will be caught and tortured. 

The same goes for all the other animals - the beautiful birds of paradise and the colour parrots and parakeets are coveted for their feathers or as pets but perhaps the mynahs and crows are more likely to survive and multiply, although they might not mind being pets. 

Tigers, lions, pandas, rhino, giraffe, koalas, elephants... are beautiful. And then there are snakes. All snakes are quite beautiful.

As compared to like... rats. Maybe rats are not so beautiful.

But maybe I'm just being judgmental and shallow.

Alternative music influences alternative writing.

It is often more difficult to pin down my inspirations. Being inspired is something that happens in an instant, and in the present moment. And the word "inspiration" has too much baggage - promising too much, and the artist can't help but expects too much, and of course, that ruins everything.

It might be more relevant to look into the past and understand and decipher one’s influences. Influences are more fundamental and casual – casual because something may be influencing in many different ways. I'm influenced by Kurt Vonnegut for his content choice and writing style, and I'm influenced by Naruto (anime) for I'm moved by the central characters' spirit and remind myself to be like him sometimes. Through influences, I better understand my preferences, development, and inclination... and from here, I should know what kind of work I am more likely to create and will enjoy creating.

Although I had the regular crushes on members of Take That, I listened to the music of Queen and Sonic Youth. With my first computer and connection to the internet, I actually searched for their lyrics to print out to put in the front of my transparent plastic school file... I read and re-read about what happened that night at the opera and those non-existent panty lines.

So, why do people (myself included) expect me to write orthodox, descriptive prose? That'll be like for someone who enjoyed Sarah Brightman or Mclachlan. And literary stuff? Vivaldi maybe? I listened to nirvana and the pixies and the cure and marilyn manson and ben folds five and REM and... joao gilberto (though i didn't really know what he was singing about...) It was, after all, the glorious age of Napster. 

I write alternative stuff in my alternative style - it's alternative writing, ok?

Random good links - Jul 14

No time to go into details, but here are some interesting links. Thanks to friends who shared.

  • http://mattgemmell.com/working-from-home/?utm_source=pocket&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pockethits
  • Anti-establishment irony? 
    • http://zenpencils.com/comic/155-banksy-taking-the-piss-explicit/ vs
    • http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathryntully/2013/10/14/would-you-buy-a-banksy-from-a-new-york-stall-for-60-not-many-did/
  • http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_solomon_depression_the_secret_we_share
  • Where have all the flowers gone: http://youtu.be/T1tqtvxG8O4
  • Secret life of bipolar I & 2:
    • http://youtu.be/rGDl6-lyfMY 
    • http://youtu.be/uj8hqXd7N_A
  • BBC about lithium: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26993915

Pick one. Pick two.

Btw, my surgery went ok.

Writing is spending 2 weeks agonising over "that section" then deleting it altogether...

It's great fun, most of the time, writing and doing what I like doing... especially when everything is going right, and the paragraphs are looking better than they ever did before, and I think I am going to finish the project ahead of schedule, so I go ahead and adjust my expectations... then the mania runs out... and I get stuck on the same section for one day, two days, three days... back to it on the fifth day, then sixth... then again on the eight... ad nauseum, so I just delete the whole damn thing, the entire troublesome section, okay now what? I find that the momentum is broken and the confidence is undermined, because I cannot write! What happened to my winning streak? Can I ever get it back? I want to write like how i was writing before that bloody section again! 

But of course, there isn't a switch, or ignition key, or a petrol pedal to step on to rev up the engine again. I try to write when i don't feel like writing, and everything i write will be shit... so i think to myself, okay, I might as well just sleep... or... go for that long overdue doctor's check up! okay! yes! how constructive! plus, I get to take a break from my everyday routine! 

Alas! The doctor had to go and find something in my body, that's not supposed to be there and we decide to take them out next month, so, i go home, a little confused, and spend the next week worrying about it being cancerous, until the initial tests comes out and luckily, phew! it's not cancerous! i tell myself carpe diem man, but I still don't feel like writing, probably because of the pressure. so i research and read about grants and literary agents, and then i'm reminded of how hard it is for a writer to really make it, and then i think about how life would have been if i were still having a 9-to-5 job then i wouldn't have to worry about grants and i could enjoy the 7 days of medical leave that would have been the best thing about surgeries and shit but the piece of MC is now as meaningless as meaninglessness is to a writer working from home - i.e. it's probably relevant to some aspect of my life, but actually useless since i can't use it in the piece of writing i'm currently toiling over.

Tsk. but yes, okay, let's not go back there. basically, just go and get the gunk out like it's a root canal operation or something and get it over and done with. Since i'm feeling okay about it, it's time for me to finally tell my family that i'm going for the surgery, then they want to fuss over me, so i let them, and they tell me to eat more nutritious food, so i agree and research about food that's good for concentration and brain power, because i need that to help me write, so i conclude that i should take some good quality omega 3 to improve my writing, you know, then, apparently, this omega 3 business is very complicated because there are a lot of different sources, i go and buy some flax meal because of the marine toxins of fish oil, but then i find that they don't work as well so i have to go back and look for some fish oil but which fish oil, there are so many in the market, what DHA, LHL, EPA, HUH? AH! just buy something and hope for the best, and don't worry so much about the money, because you can't put a price on health, mental health, and maybe worry about the neglected blog and how to update it, to do the last month of absence any justice? I think... I shall begin with a catchy title about writing, and about how it all began:

Writing is spending 2 weeks agonising over "that section" then deleting it altogether...

Random good links - 16 May 2014


Why do people talk about speculative fiction like it's a new genre? Why question the existence or identity or the premises of surrealist fiction?

Surrealism is already everywhere!

Check out these women being fairies that resemble white egrets with lotus flowers sprouting from their heads!

Plus, they can also play the flute.

2014_03 speculative surrealist fiction.jpg

Recommending... 百家讲坛 《苏轼》

su shi su dong po picture.jpg

苏轼, pronounced Su Shi, and also known as Su Dong Po, was a thinker, poet, public servant, etc, from the Sung dynasty.

He is my idol and my favourite poet, so I found and watched a 百家讲坛 series of lectures about his life and philosophy. I enjoyed the series very much and just want to share the link with you: it's here.

百家讲坛 (Lecture Room) is a Chinese TV programme that invites scholars to lecture in their area of expertise. As I find listening to Chinese easier than reading, I really enjoy learning about Chinese literature and history through these online lectures. 

On a personal note, Jq, you and I talked about the things that had happened in the public service, and how my idealism and behaviour were like of a cartoon character (Gintoki Sakata). Su Shi is the guy I messaged you about. His behaviour was also very idealistic and absurd, and since he's a real historical figure... it kinda affirms that my idealism is really applicable, liveable, and protect-able.

And also, to Shir. We talked a bit about my cartoonish idealism too. But see, it's not just me! haha. Anyway, do check out the 百家讲坛 series when you have time in the US, especially since you may miss having some "Chinese culture" around you.

Loading up on Kurt Vonnegut

I've been reading and re-reading so much Kurt Vonnegut lately.

Recently completed: Wampeters, Foma and Granfalloons (Opinions), Hocus Pocus, Cat's Cradle, God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.

Ongoing: Timequake, Galapogos.

Still to go: Bagombo Snuff Box, Breakfast of Champions

My favourite so far is Cat's Cradle, but in my head, they're beginning to blend into one mega book.... Pretty much like how my weeks and months are blending into one mega... er, week and month... and then, maybe years into one mega year.

Happy holidays with Clair De Lune

Happy holidays, everyone. :)

Take a break from the jingling bells - here's something to accompany your reflections on 2013 as we cross over to the new year.

Clair de lune, by Claude Debussy, played by Stephen Malinowski, with graphical score.

Clair de Lune means "Moonlight". Here's more background about the music. It is based on a french poem of the same name.

Moonlight by Paul Verlaine, 1869 (Translated into English)

Your soul is a chosen landscape
Where charming masqueraders and bergamaskers go
Playing the lute and dancing and almost
Sad beneath their fanciful disguises.

All sing in a minor key
Of victorious love and the opportune life,
They do not seem to believe in their happiness
And their song mingles with the moonlight,

With the still moonlight, sad and beautiful,
That sets the birds dreaming in the trees
And the fountains sobbing in ecstasy,
The tall slender fountains among marble statues.

Okay, well, so maybe it's not wildly happy holidays.
But quite sweet, precious, beautiful, happy holidays.

"It doesn't really matter if your house is that dirty. Go ahead and do your thing. Don't pay too much attention to housekeeping." - A centarian thinking woman's mother

Ann sent me this link recently: A Centenarian's Advice to Young Women: Figure Out What You Want

Marian Cannon Schlesinger is a thinking, intellectual woman who's been living for a hundred years. Her advice to young thinking women was:

Just go ahead and do your thing no matter what...my mother had said, 'It doesn't really matter if your house is that dirty. Go ahead and do your thing. Don't pay too much attention to housekeeping.'"

On not housekeeping

I would have liked to hang a cross-stitched version of the quote up in my house. or have it printed on a girly, flowery piece of paper. But in the interest of time, i only printed the quote from MSwords in the most girly font installed on my computer, and have it stuck on the fridge.

It reminds me that, no matter how i may sometimes feel like reacting towards piles of dust or clothes or dishes in some corner of my sloppy home, I must be strong and not be distracted from my writing, my thing. OK?  =/

Working from home? Thoughts on an Oatmeal poster

G bought a book from the Oatmeal. And it came with a poster about working from home. We thought it's funny to just put it up just outside my study/office/writing-room, because I've been receiving questions about working from home quite a bit.

Tangent thoughts:

  • Maybe it's more sensible to stick it outside my front door... like as a warning sign to my neighbours and visitors?
  • I actually think one reason working from home is made harder is because it's so different from the norm. I'll just have to explain to why "i have to go back home to work". because no "boss" is waiting for me in my office, monitoring my movement. And I have to explain to myself too. the multiple roles can get very confusing. :$
  • The poster is more motivational than it is at face value. Because the Oatmeal and poster is a successful blog-to-print thing. Maybe one day, i'll also have a poster. ;)
  • Friends, please warn me if my social skills degradation gets too severe. If, er, you're still there by then...

A worthy accomplishment? Thoughts on a Charles Bukowski letter

V sent me this link sometime back.

It's a letter from Charles Bukowski (American writer) to his friend and publisher about how he felt about regular employment.

I usually feel like I can't quite find the right thing to say about a good piece of writing, because it kinda already says all the right things there are to say about it.

But I guess I shouldn't just put up links without sharing a bit of my perspective. (Since it's important to "value-add".) So, I'll just put down some of my notes along some tangent ideas.

  • I am, and have always been, really envious of Bukowski for having Black Sparrow Press.
  • I wasn't conscious of this when I started this post, but just this morning, I was writing a story on a similar theme. I didn't like how it was going so I didn't complete it. I hope I will be more successful with it next time.
  • If I'm writing a reply to him, what will I say? Maybe things like:
    • Not everyone working in those positions are emptying out. Because some may like their work. Or the money that comes with it. I know many people who are like that, and who won't even come close to understanding what he is writing about.
    • But yes, there are people who understand. And I think they might be better off getting out of the system.
    • And I think we don't need to worry about those who don't understand because they're fine. And they'll be fine.
  • The people who are laid off and don't know what to do can read my book, "Reflections on career transition", that I wrote for my Ministry of Defence. It'll be out soon. haha.
  • He only "got out of the system" at 49 and I'm getting out at 31? I hope I'm good or old enough.
  • What is a worthy accomplishment? To others and to myself?

How are you doing, this Monday morning?
Are you thinking about what to eat for lunch?
I tried spending the morning writing,
But I didn't accomplish much.