Poetry Jam: Dirty Laundry

wooden-laundry-washing-clothes-line
http://gratisography.com/

The rain pelts down.

My heart stops.

Did I leave the washing out?

Scrambling quickly, I

trip over the doorstep and into

the mud.

There I start laughing – my hair drenched, my backside sore.

Oh well. 

At least the clothes are clean.

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I Don’t Have a Good Reason

Shrug

I’d like to apologize for being away and neglecting my blog, but I actually just don’t have a good reason or even excuse to back up why I was gone for so long. I didn’t go overseas and I wasn’t so terribly ill that I couldn’t type. Sure, I had a cold and a few appointments here and there. I watched the summer intern that I helped trained go back to university. Went through a bunch of interviews and a manager who only lasted a month. But so what? That’s not an excuse for not writing.

But what about offline? I’ve only just gotten back into the hang of writing into an actual book. I haven’t been working on any offline writing projects, yet I know the story is in my head. It’s not like you would just forget about the characters that you’ve painstakingly been holding in your mind, after all. In fact, I do still write, but you just don’t see it. I write in indelible ink that doesn’t touch paper.

“The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. ”
― Agatha Christie

The thing is, I write in my sleep. Agatha Christie wrote her books while she washed the dishes, and I do my writing in my dreams. And if you think I’m crazy, then you’re probably right.

That being said, there was something that I did before I unwittingly decided not to return for awhile. This story –  a fiction piece that I had in my mind for sometime but only had just put down to paper had resonated with someone. That person is Nancy J. Walker. Although that story may be fiction, her’s is linked too. Of course, life is always more painful and stranger than fiction. Now I believe everyone has a story to tell but there are just some stories that are more compelling and worth the read. And as writers, we all should read a bit more. As people, I think we should all read a lot more. Reading is akin to listening to someone’s tale and from that you learn, taking in perspectives you never knew.

Remember, I don’t really get any monetary gain from doing anything like this. It’s true, I may get a new follower or two but if you’ve followed me for this long, you’ll know my follower count isn’t very high. It’s never been my prime goal to have a huge number. It’s more important that my pieces stir something inside you. That being said, I’m still intent on growing my reader list but I’d rather they be people that hang around for the long run and actually read and engage with the pieces I produce. If you don’t feel anything from reading any of my pieces now, it’s unlikely that you’ll turn around one day and follow me. That’s fine.

If you got this far, then thanks for coming back. And if you’re new, welcome. I’m not promising anything, but I am going to write more. You’re probably going to see the return of Poetry Jam and more 100-Word Stories. Okay, so maybe that is kind of a promise. But I don’t know, seems silly to apologize for that too.

May, a 100-word story

She was only 18 years old, and I, twenty-three.

I had worked my way up to become one of the youngest journalists in the country.

But I have to say that all I wanted to do was hide my face when she told me her story.

“So why are you here?” I asked.

“My mother sold me. We didn’t have enough money,” she whispered back.

“Are you angry at her for doing that?”

She shook her head. “No.”

In that moment, everything I had ever stood for, everything I thought I knew, had come crashing down.

I picked up my pen.

Hello?

Fountain Pen

A very late thank you to Daniel of the Oddity Writer who went out of his way to write about this lil’ ol’ blog. Again, he’s been extremely kind in sharing the word, even though I have been (embarrassingly) missing-in-action. It’s good to be back. What I like is that Daniel can appreciate the diversity of writing styles.

I don’t think he realizes this, but that is a huge step in acceptance and peace. Recognizing the differences between yourself and another being and celebrating them is what makes us unique. A point of difference is all it takes to either make peace or start a fight. And for those who have experienced pain in forms that most people don’t have to worry about, you have my respect.

There are some things that still haven’t changed. I still don’t have a smartphone. I’m no hipster, but I just don’t really see the point in one right now (I’m a sucker for screenlogging). However, I have a weakness for stationery and I just bought myself my first fountain pen. It may seem outdated in the day and age of computers, tablets and smartphones but there’s just something extremely personal about handwriting. I’m glad that I have at least one friend that shares my point-of-view and she will send me things through snail mail just because she knows that I enjoy reading her squiggles and loops. It’s also reassuring to know that other people make mistakes when they write too.

Perhaps this is going off into a tangent, but in the name of privacy it isn’t illegal to read another person’s email. It is however, illegal to open another person’s mail. The messages that pass through the Internet are like postcards or Post-It notes. And depending on where you put these Post-It notes, someone with malicious intent may come and ridicule your writing. Likewise with postcards, depends if the messengers are snoopy enough to read your scribble.

I remember being surprised on one of our high school open nights where they used current students to boost the image of the school and do some shameless self-promotion. On a screen with blue knitted fabric, in my English classroom there were student pieces of literature pinned on. One of pieces was particularly striking to the eye. We leaned in closer and my friend commented on how beautiful the handwriting looked. We figured that because it was so aesthetically pleasing it must belong to a female.

“James,” I said, as I eyed the bottom right corner of the page. “Wow, it’s a boy.”

His letters were evenly spaced, adorned with beautiful loops and legible. I was used to seeing uneven, sloping letters from boys my age and this completely blew me away.

I had always been praised for my handwriting during my childhood until my late teenage years. And after all these years, I think I may just be able to take James on. Maybe after a few weeks practice, though. Have to at least finish writing the lyrics out to Lionel Richie’s, Hello. I mean, hello!

I Admit That I Have Commitment Issues

No I didn’t die over the last couple of weeks (although at times it felt that way).

I just have trouble sticking to routine and keeping things in check sometimes.

What has happened over the few weeks involves: me catching a chest infection, a colleague handing in her resignation letter and a round of interviews conducted by yours truly. Which is why you probably haven’t seen me in awhile. Now something’s gotta give and I’m going back in to step on my pile of work. Just like crushing recycling cans. It doesn’t go away, but at least if I make it smaller, it’ll be more manageable.

I finally mustered up the courage to talk to my boss about having keys to the office. As some of you know, I started about 7 months ago. Now work (or I) finally dictates that I should have a spare too. Weekend work it is for me. Luckily I don’t have kids or a spouse/significant other (actually, why would that even matter? If I was attached, they probably wouldn’t care) or things might get messy.

As for my colleague? Sure, I can understand why my colleagues, manager and boss were irked when that happened. But I can also understand why she’s leaving. In her current role, she’ll always be someone in the background. And as wonderful as it is to get a quiet thanks, volume does have a lot of impact. Hopefully she’ll find happiness in her new role and hopefully we’ll find happiness (or at least competence) in someone else.

When The Tables Turn

“Mr. Anderson, I’ve been expecting you.”

I honestly didn’t think it would be this soon that I’d be on the other side of the table.

It’s been less than a year and I’ve had to take up the role of co-interviewer to find an assistant for me.

It wasn’t so long ago that I was sitting in that chair. It feels strange, but I’ve been told that I’ve been playing the part very well. I swear that I am not a sadist, but at times I feel that I eat away at the candidates too. It’s been very interesting to say the least.

We’ve interviewed three people so far – one who was terribly overqualified, one horribly underqualified and the other, well let’s just say that communication isn’t her strong point. Though I could tell she was very intelligent, she was an Asian migrant who struggled to communicate efficiently. Unfortunately, communication is pretty much the whole point of our business. Otherwise, she had enough of the technical knowledge and skills to be part of the team.

I had to interview someone older than me, who decided that she wanted a career change after many years of working in a field for which she gained honors as a student. Go figure.

The last candidate was your typical graduate who had no work experience. Zip. Nada. Not even a short stint at a supermarket, or a part-time job. As you can imagine, it was quite difficult to get any useful answers out of him. We talked about his projects while he was studying, but it was a lost cause. I also felt a little bit of animosity because I’m 1) a woman, 2) East Asian, 3) almost the same age. And if anybody thinks that these things don’t matter or I’m just being sensitive probably isn’t a woman of East Asian descent who is in her 20’s.

No one likes being rejected, but I think it’s good that we were quick to let them know. Nothing is worse than stringing someone along with false hope if you have no intention of taking them in. That way, they can have a sense of closure and move on with their lives.

If I could say anything to these people, it would be to keep trying. Just because this shirt didn’t fit, doesn’t mean others won’t!

And as soon as this interviewing thing is over, I’ll be glad to go back to my seat. Or I could just flip the table.

Breaking the Code: Imposter Syndrome

You probably remember the case of the golden child, Jennifer Pan who became embroiled in a plot to murder her own parents. As a result of tiger parenting, it’s obvious that she had her own personal struggles. The heartbreaking part of the story is when her mother pleaded with her conspirators to not harm her child, and with that, her life was gone.

Actually Jennifer, though not a straight-A student, was gifted. Though I do not condone lying, she was intelligent. She knew what it took to get her parents to believe her and how to use this subterfuge to her advantage. She could have channelled that talent and intelligence into other activities – be in piano or some other creative endeavor. Living a lie is one of the ways that is sure to hurt you in the long run, as well as those around you.

Even though my parents have never been tigers, have I ever felt inferior at any point? Of course. They never placed a lot of pressure on me – mother would always (and still does) tell me to “do my best.” Her reasoning was that since that was all I could give, then there’s not much to be said or done after that. So quickly, I came to learn I should only be ashamed if I had not given it my all – the best of my ability within the circumstances at the time.

And from time to time, I still feel a little stupid, like I’m a massive failure that drags her heels instead of walking behind others ahead of her. Sometimes I can’t solve a problem and I know that at times, I have trouble letting things just go. These are one of those times where I’ll stare at the screen or paper for hours and feel like banging my head on the desk. Thoughts like, ‘Why haven’t you thought of anything yet? You’ve been sitting here for 4 hours,’ creep in. Then when I can do nothing but go home from work and think about it more, I get stressed about stress that hasn’t even occurred. And that’s exactly the wrong approach.

Sometimes taking time to do something else is more productive than just trial-and-error (wish I actually did that last week). That way, your mind gets a rest, you don’t become so bitter about everything and you get to enjoy a bit of your time. And eventually, you’ll find the answer. Between two paths – one with multiple hurdles and one with multiple rest stops, it just doesn’t make sense to torture yourself. Well, unless you’re masochistic or something.

When I do solve a problem, that feeling is often short-lived. It sometimes feels as if I didn’t do it at all, a.k.a Imposter Syndrome. When things go wrong, I have a hard time of putting them down. It may be the odd perfectionist streak returning or maybe I’m just stubborn. Who knows?

So what comes of this? I would only teach my children to be good and kind. To be the best version of themselves they can be.

I know you all probably don’t want some cheese for dinner but, just do your best.

P.S. It’s been a year since I’ve been with WordPress. Time sure flies.

Public Enemy #1: Self-Improvement

Winston Churchill Quote

I had forgotten how many people hated me until the late Winston Churchill reminded me.

Everybody talks about making friends, but whenever I do, it seems that I make at least one or more enemies. Every single time. By having any values or morals, you create a distance between you and other people. Distance – I’ve found, is good. Every time my friends or family stand up for me, they make enemies for the sake of me. Strangers that have stood up for anyone risk being ridiculed or scorned by others whose values don’t align. Sometimes it also means leaving people that affect you negatively and calling your loved ones out when they do something wrong. But hey, if they truly respect you, they’ll come back. They may hate you for awhile, but Arnold Schwarzenegger was always true to his word.

Definitely risky business.

But that goes to say that anything that’s worthwhile is hard. Yes, you may have talent. You may have lots of money. But without actually applying yourself, you haven’t really done anything. You know who are the only kinds of people who don’t seem to make mistakes? People that do nothing. Zip. Nada. And that in itself, ironically is the biggest mistake that you can make. There is a fine line in patience and waiting to make the right move and there’s just procrastinating.

Winning the lottery is just as hard (if not harder) than good old-fashioned hard work. The odds are always against you, at least a million to one. Selling your body (some people call it renting) or dealing drugs is fast money, but it isn’t easy money. This is where misconceptions start to build. It’s not exactly smart to trade in your health and safety if you’re no longer alive or well enough to enjoy life. I don’t know about you, but who wants to live in constant fear of being murdered? But they’re prostitutes. That, they may be. Just as that almighty famous quote from Batman Begins:

It’s not who you are underneath, it’s what you do that defines you.”

Well, to the naked eye, perhaps. But then how much do we see what everyone does? We all eat, we breathe, we bleed. But would we really call ourselves bleeding-breathing-eaters? And we have to remember that we are very much responsible for the predicaments that they’re in. One of my very good friends since I’ve known since my freshmen year of high school asked me at university one day, “What if there was no prostitution?” I just couldn’t imagine it. I said, “There can’t be. There can never be one. There’s just too much demand for it.” 

Though we may not directly contribute to the situation, turning a blind eye certainly doesn’t help. It just enables the problem to carry on, like a cancer to eat away at the flesh.

I know that I’ve turned a blind eye more than a couple of times in my life and every time I’ve been ridden with guilt. Now I can’t do anything about those things now. But I can change what I do now. I can choose to make a stand.

Just like this blog, my writing, with everything I do – I’m a work in progress. What about you?