Archives for category: Imperfect Writer

A big thank you to Sharon Bakar, who turned me on to Guardian’s latest short story writing contest, called Nanotales. I just sent them one this morning, which is four words over the limit. Hope they won’t penalise me on that.

Wish me luck.

Ps. I don’t know how accurate my instinct is about this (or Xeus‘ for the matter, the lady behind Dark City, to whom I will eternally owe the realisation of my dreams to be a published author), but I may have tapped into a hidden vein of twisted little tales. Never knew I had it in me until Dark City. And now Nanotales.

As such, I have given myself a new one-liner bio, which I will attach to any and all of my dark and twisted short stories

“A Malaysian stay-at-home mom living in Washington, US. Nothing I write is scarier than motherhood.”

Motherhood. Scary and twisted.

Ah, now I see the connection.

I’ve been informed by Xeus that she has accepted my Dark City 2 submission!

She’s also written me some very kind words and asked if I’d wanted to submit one more. The story I’d sent her was a FOURTH attempt. Can you believe it?

I am blown away.

And am truly, truly happy. Thanks so very much, Xeus.

I wrote and completed two stories, TODAY.

One I submitted to Literarymama.

Another I submitted to Xeus for her Dark City 2 compilation.

Two very different styles, but both pointing to one objective.

Baby three, come to momma, muAHAHAHAHA!

Growing up with a pair of English teachers can be trying, not so much because of the ‘English’ but more the ‘teachers’. My life was full of rules and schedules and times tables (you read right. The timeS tables, as in multiplications!). My dad also taught math.

I remember very clearly that my father, being the gadget freak that he was even then, had recorded a tape with his voice reciting the times tables from one to 12 and he would play it on that chunky boombox of his (top of the line in the 80s, of course) during mealtimes to somehow subliminally program them into our heads (my sister’s and mine). Is it any wonder why I prefer total silence when I eat these days?

That said, one of the most valuable lessons imparted from this somewhat austere upbringing, was the love for reading. To this day, whenever he visited (or at least back home when I was simply two hours’ drive away), my dad would check out my little library and spend whatever days he had with us reading at least a book every three or four days, while cramming in our Star Trek: The Next Generation DVDs as quickly as he can because he did not have a DVD player back in Batu Gajah.

It’s a multitasking (task is not the right word, perhaps multi-entertain is more apt?) skill trained from having one’s telly hours severely limited during one’s childhood. Ask my husband. I’m able to do it too, watch TV and read at the same time. But only Star Trek, oddly.

Anyway, so reading. Need I tell you how marvellously important it is? Even as a writer – or especially so – reading is how I learn words and styles. Without reading, I would be dried out. And I was, for a very long time, ironically when I needed to be professionally filled up, and I wasn’t. Today, because of nap times and quiet times and early bedtimes (for the kids), I am able to refill that well of words and expressions and thoughts and dreams, to my hearts’ content.

Words I learnt from Claire Messud’s The Emperor’s Children (such an elegant read, almost like a 21st century, New York-style Austen, Messud is):

  • tchotchkes: As in, “she abhorred tchotchkes“. 
  • interlocutor: As in, “…and found his interlocutor was young, female, and attractive,…”
  • autodidactic: Having the characteristics of someone who is self-taught, aka, an autodidact (I lost the passage that contained the word).

 

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No, I'm not psychic. Talking about a new idol of mine: Philip K. Dick.

I have found new inspiration to continue forming the idea around my *cough* first science fiction novel within the works of this renowned sci-fi author, many of which you may be familiar with but perhaps only in the celluloid version, such as Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? which was later made into a movie called Blade Runner, starring Harrison Ford, as well as Minority Report, Impostor and so on.

Dick's book, A Scanner Darkly has just been made into a rotoscope wonder in both premise and presentation. Amazing.

Science fiction must be one of the hardest genres to write in, and yet it finds few fans who are willing to imagine more than six months beyond the present. Doesn't pay as well as 'true stories' and conspiracy theories, that's for sure. Ah, but for the love of true geeks.

Now, back to making up names like 'Aryhka' and 'Phrohna'.

Gosh, this is difficult to do sober.

To desire is the most dangerous sin of them all.

It makes your blood boil. Your heart race. 

Your imagination aspires, swelling and bleeding into reality.

Desire consumes and it consumes entirely that every fiber burns with need. Nothing saves you.

And the pain feels good.

If that is so, to be desired has to be the most thrilling sexual experience there is.

And all you thought would happen is breakfast.

====

Today, I begin writing. Again.

Wish me luck.

Another interesting Digg I dug.

This makes me think about three things.

First is literacy. Believe it or not, literacy rates in the US have changed little. What is our literacy rate in Malaysia? Still, more and more people will read one day, especially since emphasis on education has been strong everywhere in the last few decades. The generations born on and after 1990 are hitting blogging age (the youngest are 16 this year), and we will see the blog explosion continue to ripple through. What will a child of 16 years do today, if he doesn't read or write? 11 years still seems insufficient to me.

Second is separating the REAL reporting from the bad. Citizen journalism is on the rise, MSM is on the decline and/or looking to 'supplement' reporters with bloggers. This results in:

– more bloggers, good AND bad
– less jobs for reporters/writers/journalists – MSM becomes even more discriminating of who they hire.
– maybe rise in more jobs for fact-checkers and editors?

Which leads me to my third point: The rapidly declining worth of a Mass. Comm. / Journalism degree. Good luck to all who are still taking it. Might as well change your course.

And start your own blog.

My first copy of my first real subscription of The New Yorker has arrived.

Lokes: What magazine is that?

Me: It’s the magazine you read if you want to write.

 

Oo, comics!

Slater, bitches.