I wake to an empty, cold half of the bed where the pillow still sagged as if your head had rested there overnight. Your dark brown fur slippers that we bought over Christmas still sits beneath the bed frame, collecting dust where your feet used to slip. Did I mention that I get up much later than I used to? It’s not that I have become lazy and despondent with life but I simply cannot decide what to do with all this time. It is as if time had stopped and while I slept I suddenly became the center of it all.
I tried to keep up our habit of taking morning walks, but I think more people have moved onto our street – the crunching of leaves and the rolling of tires have become more evident. So instead of taking those walks, I lie in bed and make up my mind about what kind of breakfast I would like to have, sunny side up or scrambled.
I think about calling Amy all the time, but I’m not sure what to say to her. She probably feels the same way because the last few times she called there were such stretches of silences. It has been twenty-three days since I’ve talked to her. I often try to imagine what she must be doing as I sit in my napping chair, the one facing yours by the fireplace. The Christmas stockings we put up for the kids this year have been left untouched.
The neighbors dropped by yesterday to check on me. They said they were worried because they have not heard or seen me in the past week. I don’t know why they were so concerned. I definitely went out to the garden to weed the plants on Wednesday, and I have been good about taking in the mail and your newspaper. Nothing much has happened lately in the world, but I did see an obituary for Bill Hopkins. They didn’t even invite me to his funeral, but I sent over pie anyway.
I haven’t gotten rid of the bush in our front yard even though I had claimed that it would be the first thing to go. I always thought it was a very ugly thing but you had this unnatural love and appreciation for it. I saw Sarah’s dog peeing on it a couple of times in the past, but I didn’t want to tell you because I was hoping the dog pee had enough acid to just kill the darn bush. Who knew it would have such resilience to outlast…you.
When I first picked up this book I was on a bit of a dry spell with contemporary literature. I had read the beginning pages of Fault before but it never grabbed me immediately. Upon recommendations I decided to give another go at it, and I’m glad I did. The premise of the book is essentially a love story between two teenagers who have cancer. A lot of what the pair say are beyond their years, but I never felt it was impossible for them to speak such. There are many novels that give me a sense the author is pretending to be the characters, but fortunately it did not happen here. I was very clear who Hazel and Augustus are, and I almost felt a kinship with them. Perhaps it is because of that kinship I was also completely heartbroken the entire time reading it. In particular, I spared no tears reading the last part of the book, and the last time the waterworks happened was reading The Kite Runner five years ago.
It is true that John Green is incredibly gifted with making sublime sentences that make your mouth water. So often while reading I marveled at his ability to create these vivid scenes in my mind, and I was completely jealous that I was not able to do the same. After I finished I reflected on the message the novel wants to present, and I wasn’t sure there is one. This might be the one flaw of the book – the lack of a take away. It appears that this book is just a story, a beautifully made fluff piece, much like many Hollywood films we watch for enjoyment not for thoughtful reexamination of our lives.
Despite that, I would still recommend reading this novel, if not for the superior sentences, then for the fact that Green quotes William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” and William Carlos Williams’ “The Red Wheelbarrow,” all of my favorites. So needless to say it certainly struck a cord with me. If you enjoy a quick read that you can savor, but is not life altering, then this is the book for you.
Sooooo I did not write anything creative this week, but I did write, a whole lot in fact. Some times I feel like my day job interferes with my ability to think and write creatively because all of I’m doing is writing courteous emails and boring data reports, neither of which really allows room for any fun.
Let’s sidetrack for a minute. When I first started writing and thinking about actually letting other people see my writing, I asked my mom if I should have a pen name. She told me no because she wanted a famous daughter whom she can brag about, and if I had a fake name who would believe her? No, actually she did not say that, but no promises that she didn’t think it. She did encourage me to use my real name though because she felt like it was silly to make up a new name.
Well, like any typical teenager I did not listen to her. I like the thought of having an alter ego; it is just too much fun. I did go through quite a few really bad ones before I settled on this current one. Seeing how I have this whole blog set up and everything I guess I’ll stick to it.
But like any good daughter I did not disappoint mom either. She can see my birth name in shining light on grant reports. Cheers, mom!
I remember reading in a book that all good writers write based on experiences from the first sixteen years of their lives. I don’t know how true or untrue that is, but I definitely remember panicking and thinking that I was quickly approaching sixteen and have not gathered anything exciting yet.
So many years later and here I am, still without grand adventures to pull stories from. What has changed though is how I interpret what it means to write from experience. Regardless of genre or style I think what makes a story good is its ability to connect with the reader. And what can make that connection stronger than to focus on the most common human emotions and experiences? The key, however, is how to revisit the simplicity of life, chew on it, spit it out so it would look different from the first time around. I think if a story is able to do that then it is really worth reading.
Well, here’s to hoping that I can accomplish this task!
Grandpa turned eighty this year. He is getting so old I can’t believe how fast time went by. I still remember coming home as an elementary school student with a writing assignment about my favorite person. I think to avoid the often faced problem of picking a parent I picked my grandpa.
In retrospect my grandpa could very well be my favorite person. It’s not because he is anything but my grandpa. He is proud, stubborn and never tells me he loves me, but I never once doubted that it is true.
Grandpa was the one who took me to the open ground in front of the school cafeteria to teach me how to ride a bike. He was the one who brought me and my cousin to the abandoned part of campus to catch grasshoppers, and we kept them on our balcony until they died an unfortunate death. Grandpa was the one who showed me how to read time on his old brown clock above the dresser, and I in turn taught my cousin. He was the first to give me a real responsibility. I kept the time and prepared his medicine when he needed them. And when I could not resist the temptation of opening the capsule, and panicking as I tried to put it back together, he did not get mad but laughed it off.
And I also remember coming home one day and talking to him but suddenly he did not hear me. Grandpa was getting old and I had to start raising my voice. Now days I listen to him ramble on and on, repeating the same things he told me last time. Now days he has trouble zipping up his jacket, and I have to remember to slow down my pace. He also doesn’t remember much of the memories we shared together, but still though, he is my favorite person.
Grandpa, however, doesn’t pick favorites. He always gave me the same things he gave to my cousin, and he never loved either one of us more, at least not visibly so. I’m not sure how he is able to do that because I clearly have a favorite.
I always want to write from life, but I find it so extremely challenging. In any case, I put this together just now and I wanted to avoid keeping this one as a draft for the next a million years so I posted it! Hope I’m not going to regret this!
Who is your favorite?
Recently I read on a literary magazine that the editors prefer stories with characters who have names, because only then do they feel that these characters come alive and have identities. I couldn’t agree with that. There are plenty of wonderful stories with nameless faces. I don’t think the name is important at all; what is in a name anyway? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. As long as the character is described well, I don’t think it matters if she is called Janet or Catherine, or if he is Benjamin or Travis. Who really cares?
Of course, there are times when names are very defining. They can carry certain je ne sais pas with them, yes. But the air I wish to create in my stories often do not call for names, and I use them sparingly. Sometimes I don’t even want to make the gender known. Some experiences, I feel, can be shared between both men and women.
Maybe I’m just being difficult, but I can’t find it in myself to name them if they did not come to me with names already.
Did you think,
you were worming your way into
Did I surprise,
the soggy bits till you hit the rotten core –
ah, you found my dirty little secret.
Do you want me to help you disappear? I found myself say as your desperate eyes met mine. Before I could catch
You already sank beneath the sky. That wasn’t what I meant.
I decided today that I would go back to trying to write more often, and so I decided to visit Trifecta again. Silly me forgot that it is already Friday and they are no longer taking link ups to prompts. In any case, I wrote the above as a response to this week’s challenge, which is to write 33 additional words to “that wasn’t what I meant.”
This actually led me to think about my horrible writing habits. I have tons of unedited drafts in my phone that date back to 2012, but I have not successfully finished revising them. Every time I visit them I just feel like there is something that isn’t right and I cannot allow myself to show the world such ugly little compositions. They are like some overgrown, brittle, yellowing weed you discovered in your parents’ muck of a backyard. They are stubborn and insist on hogging up space, but you can’t find it in your heart to love them. It is a tragedy really.
Another problem I have is my crazy idea of “being inspired.” Unfortunately for me, my inspirations come at very inopportune times. For example, during my private one-on-one with certain bathroom utilities, or at 4:13 in the morning between act I and II of my dream. In fact, I have tried to record these sudden outbursts of brain fluidity. I clearly remember placing a notebook and a pen on my nightstand so I can write down whatever came to my mind in the middle of the night. However, it never seem to be as clever an idea when I wake in the morning.
I also tend to seek out inspirations in real life. I mean what better than to people watch, right? The best writers write true to life. But I think I have a problem with watching people too closely. Sometimes I wish I had the cloak of invisibility so people wouldn’t insist that I stop staring at them any more.
In any case, in going forward, I will try to take out time and write more. It is probably best if I read more too. It’s about time to graduate high school in my reading speed. I currently read at the speed of an 8th grader due to my weird obsession with touching every word with my gaze. I should stop that. Probably.
That’s when I saw him. I didn’t know who he was, where was he from and where was he going. His face was marked by this short stubby nose and a half crooked smile — there had got to be no charm whatsoever there. He was definitely far from what I considered to be handsome. I mean after all those Korean dramas I watched, I kind of expected my ‘love at first sight’ moment to be a little more grandiose — not that I had anticipated a tall handsome rich guy to fall head over heels for me (not that I would complain) but this was truly a little lacking. And yet here I am feeling some sort of weird attraction.
Koi no yokan. I read it about this morning on an article mom printed out about words that do not exist in the English language; it means a feeling that we will soon fall in love.
Heck, I didn’t even know if he was single, let alone fall in love, but I couldn’t shake off the feeling that this is it even despite all my internal complaints.
So there I stood, in my fuchsia coat, awkwardly holding my left arm with my right, in a room of people in black sweaters and navy blue blazers. Dreadful colors.
Continue reading “Koi No Yokan”
Trapped, in what seemed like eternity.
Wings of brilliant blue, royal plum, shimmering feathers, extending, as she glossed over, kissing every curve and turn, every nook and trap.
Doors opened and closed, but a prolonged gestation – a pregnant pause of indecision and she missed the opportunity. Her claws of faded orange could not find the place to push.
She was afraid, I think – of what the world was like.
She has been stuck, blind in this empty hollow place. Neither here nor there for too long; the cold wind didn’t even hurt anymore.
She has gotten used to the yellowing light on the ceiling as her sun. The buzzing of moths as her only companions. She has long forgotten if the sky is supposed to be this concrete blue, or is this even blue at all?
So no matter how she flapped or how she jumped or how she shot up so high, She could not soar.
The crashing of rocks hit the bottom of her stomach, and she could almost taste it.