Work and Writing


A whole day spent working and writing: that is my resolution for the day. After the rather unsettling, rainy days this week, today seems to be a bright day, and I’m hoping it would stay that way. Sunny, so I can talk to my notebook in the sunshine, and go for a walk. Productive, because I would have written the ending of a draft.

It is important for me, I find, to try and live every day as if it were my last, and enjoy the small things in life…my morning cuppa for example, the view from my window, the run at the gym.

So here’s to a great day for me and everyone else, and happy writing!

Should I withdraw my story from the Colonial CCC Press?


CCC Press: Colonial, Czarlike, Covetous

Critical, Cultural & Communications Press/Colonial, Czarlike & Covetous Press?

I have been agonizing about removing my story from the CCC Press anthology.

It is supposed to be “post-colonial” literature from Singapore, but the behavior of the the CCC Press shows it might be stuck in colonial times. I’m not sure, but seems like that for now.

They want to retain the right to abridge my work and to continue to publish it not just for one year, but till they decide to let it go out-of-print.

And in the meanwhile, they are going to charge sub-licensing fees to any publisher who decides to publish the story again , including, hypothetically, my own anthology!

None of the other publishers I’m working with which include Monsoon, MPH and Marshall Cavendish have such rules.

I’ve never really thought of making money from my writing (or I wouldn’t be writing fiction at all), but it is the the attitude of CCC press that is making me re-think my submission.

So far, two people in the publishing world whose opinion I respect have weighed in, advising me to withdraw.

I’ll have to take my time over this one, because I want to be professional, not precocious. I’m a beginner writer, and do not want to shoot my mouth in an unbecoming way. At the same time, I’m not over-eager to publish “under any circumstances”.

The give-back of writing is in the process of writing—if it were in publication, I’d stop after my first book. So, is CCC Press really being unfair, or am I being sensitive? Time will tell.

Update: I’m still looking for advice on this. There is further discussion on the CCC Press contract problems issue here and here.

Writing about Love and Lust In Singapore


Imagine opening a book and finding your name under one of the stories published in it! I have imagined it the last two years, not with any conviction of it coming true, possibly somewhat like my fantasies of space travel during childhood.

But now, for the second time in a month, I have seen the cover for a book in which one of my stories would find a home. The first time was the cover on this page. Here’s the second one:

Love and Lust in SIngapore, by Monsoon Press

Love and Lust in SIngapore, by Monsoon Press

Love and Lust in Singapore is a collection of stories from some of the best known Singaporean writers, as is evident from all their interviews on the Love and Lust in Singapore blog, and their long CVs :)

I feel quite honoured, because I am such a beginner in comparison to some of the much published authors and poets in the anthology.

My story, though not explicit as indicated by the anthology title, is definitely my favorite of what I have written so far. It has been published before here on QLRS.

The proceeds from the book will all go towards charity, and so this book won’t bring me any money, but definitely a lot of happiness.

Am not really very obsessed with publication, the process of writing is its own reward. But it is always nice to be validated, and there is that sort of childish joy in seeing your name in print….:D

Writing, Chocolate, Writing Routines


Writing and Chocolate

Chocolate, Writing

Strength is the capacity to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands – and then eat just one of the pieces. ~Judith Voirst

I’m probably not very strong this week. Last night, while writing, I found myself devouring an entire bar of chocolate.It contained no added sugar, but still made me feel guilty. The only consolation I have for them are the 1000-odd words I wrote (which I might or might now throw out entirely).

I have heard of people drinking or smoking to get into the mood, some set music, each person has a different writing routine, addiction. They have on days and off days in their writing. I can’t call yesterday an ideal “on” day for me, but the chocolate salvaged it from being an “off” day.

Writer Al Kennedy writes here about her ideal “on” day. What does a good day at writing for you look like?


Reading writing reading


Lazing with Old Friend From Far Away

Oziare con Old Friend From Far Away

One of those days, yesterday, when I found myself reading, writing, reading all day. All day spent alone, with almost no talking, unless you count a phone call or two.

Best time I’ve had in weeks, months. Am really loving Old Friend From Far Away, and will soon fill a notebook with the exercises I’ve done from it, and move on to another notebook! I never thought writing exercises could be such a relief or fun or both, but they are.

And I recommend this book for everyone, writers, and non. Great way to pass away ten minutes, an hour, a day, a week, lazing and writing. I learned a new Italian verb, Oziare: to laze around, and I think “oziare” with this book is the best thing I could do for myself.

Writing about Blue Betta Splenden and My Conscience


Yesterday I brought home a Blue Betta Fish. One minute he was hanging in a tiny packet in a shop, amongst a jungle of other packets, barely able to move, and the next he was in his new 5 gallon tank.

Blue Betta Splenden, Siamese Fighting fish

Blue Betta Splenden

For the first few minutes, he kept perfectly still, as if he were still in that tiny packet where he could barely turn around. And then the aquarium was lit up by flashes of cerulean, aquamarine, cobalt, topaz, plum as he darted about, his long fins trailing him, making him look much bigger than he really is.

I am not sure what to think of myself. An year ago I would have not bought a Betta, thought of it as animal cruelty. The male of the species is very territorial and would fight unto death another of its kind. They come from the rice fields of Thailand, where I suppose they are used to big tracts of shallow water. That is why vendors keep them in tiny bottles, (because you can’t keep two in the same container) putting black paper between two, so they don’t get agitated. This seemed to me cruel and unusual punishment.

Then one day a few months ago I bought one because my better half thought a brown and purple Betta pretty. It jumped out and died when I went out of town for a while. I told myself this was a sign. I would not get another.

And then, yesterday, I just had to get one. From a shop where they were hanging in packets, in less than 100 ml of water each.

I’m feeling guilty now, having bought one fish, helped promote the shop.

I’m consoling myself from time to time. At least this Betta has a good home, not one of those 10 cm cube plastic boxes with fake plants that some people keep them in.

My conscience won’t shut up. But when I look at the blue vision my Betta fish makes as I walk past him in the living room, I feel I can live with the righteous noise in my head.