Writing, writing on the wall


Slowing down

Slowing down

The writing on the wall is clear. I need to slow down–doctor’s orders.

So the blogs would have to slow down as well.

Keeping in line with that, I think I’ll have to decide days on which I post on each of my blogs. I already have a Monday post on my group blog, so the other three have to have their days and that’s it. Once or twice a week on each, I suppose.

For today, I’ve done a post on my writing blog, another on my group blog (on plotting) and I’m now updating this one (however mundanely).

The only good news is that I’m writing a lot off line, and that’s got to count for something.

Writing about …


I thought I was hitting a blogging block, and I was right.

I am writing about a 1000 words a day, went to the KL International book fair and bought more than a dozen books, and am reading like a maniac. Just about the only thing I cant do is chat, blog, or facebook.

Dunno what to make of this.

Writing a daily writing exercise


For warm-up, I try a writing exercise everyday before I start my work. Usually it has no writing prompts, but some days, I will pick up a word or a picture.

The word that came upon me today is “leaving”. I do not choose the word–I pick a dictionary, point my finger randomly at any word without looking, and just go from there. And then I time myself for 10 minutes and just write, without thought, without grammar, just following my hand with an empty head.

Here’s what I wrote today:

Leaving. Such a lonely word, you say.

Leaving some thing, some place, some body.

Walking away from something

is sometimes a walk towards something else.

But it can also be a letting go and not stopping.

Letting the breath take you,

carry you with it

for you to float nameless and without address,

without friends or foes,

without relatives, acquaintances.

Just fall, fall, free fall away

and take it from there

to wander in through the window of one house

to float out the door,

to rise and kiss the tree-tops,

to skim the oceans,

to lie suspended over a snow-capped mountain,

to become one with a star or a grain of sand on a white, lonesome beach,

to be carried backwards and forwards upon the waves,

to be a plant drinking in from the soil,

to be a fruit ripe to the bursting,

to be a breast lovingly squeezed in a harem,

to be the gurgle of a baby,

to be the movement of the muscle on a woodcutters arm,

a cake baking in the oven,

a piece of music escaped from a violin,

to be a grandfather’s tears for a grandson lost,

to be grass munched in the mouth of a cow,

to be a soap bubble floating up from a tub of washing,

to be a tale sleeping in a book,

to be a fish born in an aquarium,

to be a taxi-driver chatting with a tourist,

to be a mother slapping her boy,

to be the toy he has lost,

to be the words in the mouth of a poet,

to be the honey in a hive and the bee that carries it there,

to be the prey and the predator,

to be fire and water, sleep and awakening.

Leaving is not a lonely word.

It is the joy of being alone, of being one,

of being all, and also nothingness.

Writing about a dream


I woke up this morning and stumbled on this video. It made me smile, and somehow the blue fog swirling above my head for the last few weeks has dispersed.

Thanks to Susan Boyle, who is 47, never been kissed, and sings like a dream.

If you do not know who she is, watch the video.

Writing about a break


Take a day off writing your blog, then make it two, and somehow it becomes a week, and even two weeks.

Lately, there has been plenty in my life to blog about, but most of my energies have gone towards writing in my notebooks. This blog, my writing blog, and my links blog have all suffered as a result.

When I have free time nowadays, I like watching the rain as it pours. It poured relentlessly all evening yesterday. And today the afternoon rain has clouded out the view for miles around.

I think I am in a blog fog, a place where blogging feels banal, unimportant, dispensable. So let me try and post this before I decide to delete it :)

Happy Easter, and here’s to a healthy blogging week for one and all! Let’s hope that includes me, sigh.

Writing about Singapore, then and now


Well, I’m hardly going to write. Instead I’m going to post two YouTubes, one of Singapore in 1938, and one of the city in the present day. How times change, and how fast a city can change with the times!

Singapore in 1938:

Singapore in the 21st century:

Writing about Luigi Pirandello, English, Italian


Eleven Short Stories- Undici Novelle- Pirandello

Eleven Short Stories- Undici Novelle- Pirandello

I’m reading Eleven Short Stories or Undici Novelle by the Nobel Laureate Luigi Pirandello. It is a dual language book, and for a lover of Italian and of short stories, a rare piece of indulgence.

What I love about the book is not just Pirandello’s masterful storytelling, somewhat reminiscent of Chekov, but also the lyrical quality of the Italian, when I read it just after the English version. With English you have to make an effort to make your lines sound lyrical, spoken Italian is music itself.

Here’s an excerpt from the short story Citrons from Sicily, or Lumie di Sicilia:

He leaned his head forward so he could observe the illuminated room at the far end, and he saw a great number of gentlemen in tailcoats talking confusedly. His sight grew dim; his amazement and agitation were so great that he himself didn’t realize that his eyes had filled with tears; he closed them, and he shut himself completely in that darkness, as if to resist the torment that a long ringing laugh was causing him. It was Teresina laughing like that, in the other room.

Sporse il capo a guardare in fondo la sala illuminata e vide tanti signori in marsina, che parlavano confusamente. La vista gli s’annebbio’: era tanto lo stupore, tanta la commozione, che non s’accorse egli stesso che gli occhi gli si erano riempiti di lacrime: li chiuse, e in quel buio si strinse tutto in se’ quasi per resistere allo strazio che li cagionava una lunga squillante risata. Teresina rideva cosi, di la’.