2/365

14 March 2017

I procrastinate on my procrastination. That’s how grossly uninspired I’ve become. I wrote a grand total of 200 words today. Hip hip hooray.

I don’t know. I don’t know. I get an idea, a good idea, like, why don’t I write about my dad? And BAM, I start thinking that is the stupidest thing ever, who wants to read about “He was*disappointed in me, bla bla bla.” But then I’m sitting there, alone, in front of my typewriter all day, and maybe I get something to eat, and all I can think about is how every second I’m getting older and he was right, what am I doing with my life? And also. Also I am feeling ambivalent about Scotty.
Replace Scotty with Society* and that basically sums up my daily woes.

I try not to be too harsh on myself because, on the bright side, I’m still constantly making art. There are many ways to be creative, and writing doesn’t have to be the only way to live a creative life on an everyday basis.  When I’m not writing, I’m drawing. When I’m not drawing, I’m engaging in stories. Be it in fiction, in films, in comic books, even in Youtube videos…

But recently, I find myself really interested in listening to verbal stories from people. My grandparents, for example, provide me with endless amounts of new stories every day. It’s pretty wonderful to see their eyes brighten up when I unlock and draw out those stories buried and hidden within them. The best part is when they take a long exhale at the end of the story, and you can see the pensive nostalgia in their eyes. I remember my grandfather saying wistfully, “When I look at Basil (my younger guy cousin), I’m really reminded of myself back in the old days. The young, reckless, cheeky, creative, determined boy that I was.” A smile, sad but alive, tugging at the ends of his creased lips, his wrinkled eyes.
I don’t necessarily need to be a writer in the future, but I do want to be a vessel filled with stories. Maybe a more specific title to place on my dream would be ‘storyteller’. I want to preserve these stories. I want to keep them alive and to rescue them from their dark reserves.
Also, a friend of mine posted this on his Instagram today, a quote from an author he loved: “Over a decade ago I said that writing must touch the most painful spots in one’s heart as it records mankind’s most unbearable memories. Now I believe that one must write things about which people feel most discomfited, about people’s most uncomfortable conditions. The writer must put himself on the dissection table and under the microscope.”
Interesting, but I can’t say I wholeheartedly agree.
On the contrary, I believe that your stories don’t necessarily need to have a deep meaning. Your stories don’t need to be written with the goal of saving lives or something. It’s purposeful and great if you do have that ambition, of course, but writing can just be a form of entertainment. An emotional release. A way of communication. Heck, I’m even going to use this word that I kind of loathe at the moment. Be frivolous, if you must. If it makes you happy.
I also feel that you don’t always need to be original. Ideas can be recycled, that’s fine by me, but always try to be as authentic as you can. Authenticity will stir me, always.
One day, I’m going to churn all these collected stories into something worth reading and sharing. I’m going to give these stories an amplified voice. But first, I need to get over my crippling fear of judgement.
Huge sigh.
Song of the day: Tell me you love me // Bolbbalgan4
Quote of the day: “Recognizing that people’s reactions don’t belong to you is the only sane way to create. If people enjoy what you’ve created, terrific. If people ignore what you’ve created, too bad. If people misunderstand what you’ve created, don’t sweat it. And what if people absolutely hate what you’ve created? What if people attack you with savage vitriol, and insult your intelligence, and malign your motives, and drag your good name through the mud? Just smile sweetly and suggest – as politely as you possibly can – that they go make their own fucking art. Then stubbornly continue making yours.” // Big Magic – Elizabeth Gilbert
Art of the day: Big Magic // Elizabeth Gilbert

1/365

13 March 2017

It’s beginning to dawn on me that perfectionism is really just fear and laziness draped in really fancy clothes. I felt a shiver travel down my spine as I typed in the title, as some synapse in me started to short-circuit, crying out, “Code Red! Error 404! Did you mean:73/365?”

I am a big worshipper of Beginnings. The beginning of everything means everything to me. Mornings must start off on the right note; perfect playlist, good weather, stepping into familiar routines and breezing past to the start of a new day. The first five pages of a book is immensely important to me. Similarly, I must nail the beginning of my stories, or I’ll never be able to envision the end simply because I lose steam right from the start. 

It’s exhausting, I know. Why put yourself through this mental torture? I’m almost repulsed by the idea of starting a new conquest in somewhere as insignificant as – I don’t know – the middle of March. To me, Beginnings and Middles are mutually exclusive. 

But I’m starting to shake off that horrid mentality because it’s stupid. I’m slowly realising, and accepting that while Beginnings do hold potential, it is the actions and the drive in the “in-between” stages that allow this potential to blossom. This applies to friendships as well – a spark, in the Beginning, can only kindle a fire, but it cannot sustain its flame for too long. 

(Also, Anne Frank didn’t start her diary on 1 January, and it became a big hit anyway. Why start something when that very day when everyone’s trying their best to start something as well? That’s like so basic. Kind of like queuing up for llao llao during the frozen yogurt craze.)

Two (Three?) reasons I wanted to begin my daily musings on the 13th of March. The first may sound dumb but – I have to be honest – everything beyond this point of time has muddled together into a blur. Fibres of thoughts have entangled together and it is simply hopeless trying to detach them from each other, so I’ll let go. 

Secondly, it’s the birthday of an important friend. We’ve had our trials and tribulations; stable beginnings, rocky middles, but I’m thankful that our flame is still going strong. You remind me of what it means to truly have a “low-maintenance” friendship, and your struggles allows me to question what is truly worth letting go. 

Low Maintenance isn’t long stretches of silence with the expectation that the magic of the friendship has been protected from the forces of Change. Low Maintenance is an accumulation of small efforts, so small that it doesn’t even feel like an effort at it. It fits seamlessly into your daily routines, flows easily into your system like air rushing into your lungs and water trickling down your throat. The moment when you become conscious of your breathing, it gets difficult, somehow to breathe. Likewise, the moment you are conscious that the friendship is becoming an obligation, and there is a subtle friction between you and your friend, that’s the moment you should be aware that your friendship is far from the “low-maintenance” that you yearn for. 

Be clear about what are excuses, what are priorities, and what are essential to your life. And sometimes, it might be hard to acknowledge, but understand that people place different values on top of their lists, and you have to forgive them. After all, it’s their life. It’s their loss. 

Stay constant like the river in the currents of change. Keep going forward. Let go, let go, let go. Surrender to the crests and waves of the ocean. It takes you where it might, and you let it. Sometimes this is better than putting up futile fights – choose your battles and conserve your energy for things worth fighting for. 

Five glass balls. We all have them, but we can’t possess all of them. At one point of time, it will become too heavy to hold in the capacity of your hands. Love, Friendship, Family, Career, Health. Which one would you willingly let go?

Lastly, 13 March is a day where I came to the revelation that the Universe sometimes throws you a curveball, without rhyme or reason. As much as you try to rationalise it, you simply can’t. The impact of the curveball may bring about intense pain and suffering, and you may feel like The Boy Who Cried Wolf; but take it all in stride. 

Bad days all have 24 hours. When you wake up the next day, take pride in the fact that you’ve survived all your worst days so far. 

Sometimes I hear the things that are coming out from my mouth, and I go ‘Oh my god, can you believe what you’re saying?’ Most of them are ridiculous, on hindsight, like the time when I complained about not being diagnosed with anything after all the pain I’ve endured and all the time I’ve spent waiting in the hospital. Then it struck me: God, please get a grip. It’s a blessing that there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s like you’re obsessed with a bad ending or anything. 

Today I learnt that not everything needs a full stop. Not every question mark is followed by an answer. And that’s okay. The rules of English do not apply to the rules of Life, and the secrets of the Universe, and the mysteries in You. 

“So many big questions, so small brain.” I’ve read this somewhere, and I laughed at that time, but it makes so much sense looking back, in all its simple, unrefined glory. Give your brain a break and stop wrestling with questions that don’t necessarily need an answer. 

All in all (Yes, Jean, a wonderful, eloquent, totally-not-contrived way to conclude this musing), beginnings and conclusions are overrated. Focus and enjoy the process, because there is something to be learnt in the good and the bad. Choose what you want to fill yourself with – but do yourself a favour, and don’t pick any of the following: Friends that treat you like a task to be ticked off, Unnecessary worrying and resentment, Big Questions that are better left a mystery so that there is still some wonder left in the world to live for. 

Song of the day: Bye // Cheeze 

Quote of the day: “So many big questions, so small brain.” // The Memory of Light – Francisco X. Stork

Art of the day: Ruby Sparks // Screenplay by Zoe Kazan