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Hi, and welcome! (Scroll past this post if you’re looking for the updates :))

This is my new thought and fiction diary! Here I’m going to be posting whatever comes to mind, experimenting with whatever I feel like at the time. There will be a lot of first drafts coming through here, but the quality of stuff should reach at least a decent standard. The first post (‘#1: for the sake of flow’) is actually an example of experimentation gone very badly, but you know what? Next time it’ll be better, and that’s the point of this secondary blog!

My previous blog is at ChasjngDreams, a blog that’s taken more of the spin of personal thoughts and rants. If you like what you read here, maybe you’d like the writer behind all of this too!

Hope you enjoy!

- j. NG

121: watery eyes

Depression is like leaving your eyeball exposed underneath a running faucet. The water stings you with every drop but instead of closing it, you wrench the lid open, no matter how much your body tries to flutter in vain. Your eye grows redder and redder by the minute and you hate it, but something deep down inside of you convinces you that you deserve this. You need to expose your emotional highs and lows to the world. This is living, except instead of winning highs, you keep losing and get the lows. Your emotions are natural, you think to yourself, even as you stop for a second to look yourself in the mirror. You look yourself up and down from a drenched face, bloodshot face. This is natural. Then you start to spray yourself with water again.

From time to time someone will stop you. They’ll shriek what’re you doing to yourself and while you’re grateful for the reprieve, you’re so waterlogged and groggy that you even wonder why they stopped you. This is natural. I deserve this. Someone had to be like this. It should be me. Even while they’re drying you off with a towel, telling you they love you, telling you not to do that ever again, to wait because they’ll get you something warm to drink, you’re scared and still thinking the exact same thoughts.

So when they leave you stick your head underneath the faucet again. But this time it’s a little different.

You don’t do it this time for the same thoughts, but this time, you think that if you’re worth it someone will save you again. The person that loves you, the person that dried you off, if you are really worth it, they’ll help you again. They’ll come back, and if they don’t, you were right about yourself all along. You deserve this pain. You don’t deserve anyone. Red eyed, you wait and twitch. Grabbed by the hair you’re thrust upwards towards the light. Stop it, stop it. There’s wailing, echoing on the bathroom tiles. Let me help you. Let us help you.

Eventually you do it so many times that they look at you and say, I’ve lifted up your head a dozen times, a hundred times, if you do it one more time, I’m just going to watch. There. You understand now. That was their limit. One hundred times. One hundred times for your life. It makes you want to open both eyes this time, two fingers jamming the eyeballs open, both to be opaque red, what about now, is there one hundred and one?

Most of the time there is. Sometimes there isn’t. Sometimes they stand there and watch you, watching them. A standoff as your eyes sting with faucet water and theirs with tears. They walk away, hand over their mouth around the corner and you can hear them cry.

There. I made this person who loves me cry. I deserve this. I have proven to myself that I need to punish myself more.

——

During one of those hundred times we could have closed our eyes. Sometimes we do, too. But next time let us follow you down to make tea with you. Help us dry ourselves off, not to do it for us. When we learn that sometimes our hands can do other things than to expose skin to the frigid elements, sometimes we find that there are much better things to do with our time than to hurt ourselves.

You are not responsible in making us feel better, to feel good. Don’t pull us up – be there beside us when we try to do it ourselves. Believe it or not, we’re still learning how to be a normal human being, We’re worse than children in adult bodies. We’re high strung maniacs who wait underneath creaking tree branches to test whether or not we’re worthy of living or not. LET US pull ourselves up. Teach us how to do it, but don’t do it for. But that being said:

Thank you.

Thank you for pulling us up when we need it. For coming back when you don’t need to. For shedding tears for the people who feel that they don’t deserve it. For loving those who test you. For holding those who push you away with their actions when you’re gone. We want to stop it all, we really do. But we don’t know how. We don’t think we should. Little voices in our heads are infinitely more powerful than the loud ones coming from outside. Screams hurt us and shrieks bite at us. But a hand on our face, fingers and palm on our cheeks while we duck our heads down and burn them? Those make us cry. Faucet water and tears don’t mix. That’ll get us up.

Thank you for loving us and standing by. Thank you, for the next time that you put your hand on another’s face and help them grow. Thank you for not leaving them to burn in a cold, echoing bathroom with the sound of nothing but their own sobs and pain.

Thank you for loving me.

- j. NG

For those themselves who are depressed, try and do a few small things per day. Literally ask yourself – what ONE small thing can I do better than I did yesterday? One job application compared to zero is a small, easy step. 5 minutes earlier into the shower is a small, easy step. One nice piece of clothing, nah, screw it, one nice outfit compared to our usual attire is one small, easy step. Do the small things first. It’ll make you feel better.

120: A Wish

I made a foolish wish to God one day, as I sat amongst my stacks of papers. Upon a whim I had printed out every document and scrap that contained the beginnings, middles and ends of every unfinished tale that I possessed, making a printout on pink pages the plans that I had writ. There were crossouts of themes, of storyboards, of timelines and characters, and these were all in pink. Then there were the first drafts, the first chapters, second chapters in green, and these were all various stories, stories with morals, stories with love, stories with beauty and art. None of them had endings. Those I laid all around me before I sat crossed-legged in the middle of the room. In my lap I held another stack of paper, this time in white. These were the stories that I had finished. Even now I’m not sure which was more depressing, the lightness of the white papers, or the fact that the pink and green stacks didn’t add up to too much at all.

I hadn’t volumes and volumes of knowledge and tales tucked away. Just a tenth of a room’s full, two inches high.

Something overcame me at this point. Maybe it was the highly ritualistic way that I had made myself the centre of my work, or maybe it was the way that I despaired, my hands held high, clasping a few dozen, feeble pages. Maybe it was the pink and green and white, like a faded Christmas decoration that made me think of God. Whatever the reason was, I fell prostate after hurling my papers like confetti into the air and I made one wish.

“Please, dear Lord, God of all that is mighty and powerful, let me write a story that is of my own creation and of my own soul, in my own words. Let me write down my emotions, and until it is done, not to stop writing at all.”

It was a foolish wish and a long shot. I hadn’t been to church since twelve years ago, and the last time I went I had not said my prayers and I hadn’t washed my hands before using one of the Bibles kept in the pews. Yet in a divine comedy where wishes really do come true, I began to write.

What you’re reading is the eighty-sixth chapter of the third volume of my life. It’s Christmas Eve and I remembered this sad tale. I’ve written it down six times now, though with each and every rendition you taste a different flavour of it.

In the rare moments that emotions wash over us, perhaps it would be better not to wish something with all of our souls but simply to drink it, and to re-experience it on another day, in another way.

That brings me to another tale from my days of being a foolish youth. This one, I’ve written down eight times now.

 

-j. NG

 

119:

A boy was standing at the top of a hill, tending to his flock of sheep when from behind a tree behind him he heard growled:

“Little boy, little boy. Won’t you cry wolf?”

At the sound the boy shot up. The voice was sinister, low and hissing. Slowly turning around, the boy replied:

“Sir?”

Once again the voice came out, but this time there was a silhouette in the shadow of the tree that gave source to the growl.

“Little boy, little boy. Won’t you cry wolf?”

And the boy looked at the shadow, not much taller than he and then back down the hill to where the village lay. It was so small, he thought, from his view up on the hills. That very morning he had eaten a portion of his sister’s blueberry pie for breakfast and the smoke trail from the leftward side of the village marked his own house. The village head himself had said “Hello” on his way out to the fields, “Work well today and that’ll be a good, strong lad”. With those thoughts in mind the boy even admired the way the sun beat down on his face, shining brightly above him and felt kinship with the sheep who stood about graziing, showing no fear. The scent of pollen filled his nose. The boy stuck out his chest bravely, even though the sun was setting.

“I will not cry wolf, you mischievous fiend. I have heard the tale of the lying little boy, and I have never told a single lie in my life. You are no wolf! You are but a mischievous little thing and when I find out who you are — I will tell your mother!”

In that moment the boy even believed his words about not lying and began to approach the tree trunk. But then the voice rolled out again, and the boy stopped and remembered all of the fibs he had told.

“Ah, then what a delight you will be to eat, for the purer you are, the better. Innocent little boys and girls are the most delicious of all. I am going to eat you. This I can promise. Won’t you cry wolf?”

The boy shuddered and took two steps back. He was fully facing the tree now and the grass blades pricked at his ankles as he retreated. The silhouette – had it grown larger? The boy looked once at the tree, then down at his village. What was it to be called a liar, if he was really to be attacked? He prepared his voice to scream.

That was when a bluebird began to sing. The song emerged from the tree again and its tune was strong and her chirp soothing.

Tra-la-la-la, this blue bird sings
Perched in a branch in full view of all wonderful things
Tra-la-la-la, I am a bird singing
Tra-la-la, bursting into song.

Of course the words were just in the boy’s head, but he heard the song and thought – no bird would sing with a wolf nearby, and not a single sheep is bolting! The boy prepared to turn himself round to face his antagonizer once again when he heard a terrible screech.

Freshly cut the pale flesh of the tree trunk gaped like naked flesh exposed to a winter wind. The boy’s hair stood on end and his skin recoiled in the shape of four parallel scars. His voice shook and the sun shrunk behind a cloud. It was setting faster now.

“This joke has gone on, far enough!” He called out to a shadow that was no longer there, behind a tree. “I am not a liar, and you will not kill me, because you are not a wolf!”

“Won’t you cry wolf?” the voice came with the wind, on the back of his neck.

He began to brandish his walking stick and wave it menacingly towards the tree’s direction and then behind him, twirling around like a spinning top. A howl pierced the air and the sheep started, alert.

“That was just the wind! Whistling through the holes and branches of the tree!”

“Won’t you cry wolf?” this time the voice was a growl. The sun was all but gone. The sheep bleated as they sprung as one down the hill, knocking down the boy in a stampede of fluff. Hoof after hoof came down on the boy’s arms, chest and legs and he flailed to protect himself.

When the dust settled the boy groaned. He turned from side to side but shattered bones greeted him from every position. Then from a close distance two sets of shimmering white teeth approached, canines like daggers drooling as they opened and closed.

“You should have cried wolf. You wouldn’t have lied at all” the teeth growled.

Winded, the boy could only hiss.

“Wolf. Wolf.”

But it was far too late.

Underneath the full moon a bereaved sister wept as the village head held her close by. Inside the sister knew that it was her that had taken an extra portion of the pie. She was the one who had called him a liar and told him that nobody liked cowardly boys. But the head looked on, even after her confession.

“Liar or not, we would have come” he said gravely, stroking his beard. “Not one damn thing would have stopped us.”

The next day the sheep grazed once again. In spite of the blood that stained various patches grasses, their appetites remained intact.

— END —

-j. NG

The Writer and Editor (in me) (ChasjngDreams): Recently wrote a post on my other blog depicting how the writing process seems like it’s being slowed down by having an ‘internal editor’. I also want to write a related/similar piece on trying to be a writer while being an eng. lit major.

forthesakeofflow

If ever I used this blog for any base purpose, it was to express myself in writing. It was used to be a release that removed all other sources of thought and extracted from the innermost shelves of my soul, feelings that I would translate into words.

It was no complex sorcery to carry out when I was younger. But then as I grew, I began to think through the logistics of it all, deciding where to put words and how to connect them with themes, rather than to use them as transmitters of my feelings. Even now, I consider the translation of the thoughts from my mind to yours more than I think about the translation from my feelings to words. Feelings became essays, and essays are things where words need structure, a floor for each thought, content for each floorboard. And as I plan for more and more, planning a skyscraper or even just a house, I’ve begun to find that there’s no longer space in my mind for even the words anymore. I’ve planned for so long that I no longer know how to express.

Once again I find myself muted, bottled up but this time not by inadequacy or by others, but this time in a cage of my own construction. Worst yet is that this construction is designed to keep me in. Thoughts are not crafted, they are produced. I am not free to go or to see what I wish to see.

From a soaring bird who wished to learn how to walk soundly and with emphasis, I became a stork with lead boots, unable to fly any longer.

It frustrates me to see the ground that I have lost and to feel the shackles that I myself have placed on myself.

Where is the freedom and joy with which I once wrote?

Where are the moments where the mere construction of a sentence brought me ecstasy?

Gone.

And I did it to myself.

116: What you See is What you Get (incomplete 750 words)

It’s time to start writing again.

What you See is What you Get

Having had bad eyesight from a very young age, Neil had forgotten the feeling of having to stumble about without his glasses. It was a rather unfortunate accident that caused his spectacles to have shattered too; having just walked outside of his apartment building, a bike courier with sunglasses and a turquoise green helmet collided with Neil head-on. The clash sent the biker to his side and Neil to the ground.

For many seconds, Neil’s mind was blank. Lying flat and parallel to the street, he squinted, blinded by the sun far up above him. The faraway orb kept the rest of the street buildings dark and in silhouettes, and the shadow of a giant, rising up from beside him held out his middle finger for Neil to admire before pedalling off. All had become blurry. Where he knew borders should have existed, there were none. His apartment door and doorframe had no gap between them, and though he knew they ran down straight, one image overlapped over the other so that they zigzagged, creating a lightning dash concoction of door and frame. His fingers, when padding at the shimmering steel doorframe confirmed that his eyes were liars, so Neil began the painful process of sitting up, pushing off of the scorching grey cement while using the ice-cold door on the other side as leverage to pull his chest forwards. Around him parked cars began and ended in two different places. Looking back at his apartment door he saw that the number read as %&, even though he knew the number was 48. His head spun and he touched at his stomach. It was probably marked red. There was the groove of the handlebar’s corner too, imprinted in his midriff. Then he began to search for his glasses.

As any spectacle wearer would know, the biggest difficulty in having bad eyesight is not that one wears glasses, but that one can lose them. It’s not exactly like losing a dollar, or a dime. The accessory becomes a natural part of the body. It’s put on at the same time in the morning when the body’s engine is revving up, taken off when the body is beginning to sleep. Being able to see for the glasses wearer is as natural as any other human being possessing fingers and flexing them to stretch in the morning. Repossessing them after losing them then, is harder than one might think. It would be similar to losing one’s limbs or fingers, all ten of them. He has them in front of him, but without using the palms to hold the fingers together, he have to somehow screw them back in. One could try to use their feet, to screw those fingers in or in Neil’s case, to try to kick the eyewear accidentally. One could bend down to the ground and examine it, but that process is slow. Glasses wearers know one thing that is true no matter who they are. When you lose your glasses, you pray, even if you’ve never been to church once in your life, that a Good Samaritan might walk on by. And Neil’s prayer was answered.

“Hey.” A voice said, coming into Neil’s senses in a streetward direction. Neil spun towards it. “Lost your glasses?”

He nodded. He could barely make out the blurred line of a face emerging from out of a hole, from what he supposed would be a window.

“Yeah”, he replied, stumbling towards the non-face with a grey line to mark out ears. “Thanks.”

“Don’t thank me yet. They’re over here.”

The man’s voice, not young but not cracked with age seemed to be filled with pity. He wondered why. As he got closer towards the car and traced the man’s outstretched hand, from the window he saw why.

Even without most of his vision he could tell that one of the arms of his glasses was skewed in the wrong direction. The other was missing. A moment of panic rushed into Neil’s mind.

I can deal with this, he thought to himself. It’s actually no problem at all, because I’ll just hold the glasses up to my face when I go to get them repaired.

“Sorry”, said the man, as he began to drive off.

It was then when Neil’s hopes were undone. The ground tinkled and the car’s shadow left the black cement bare. The black cement sparkled with crystal sweat drops, and Neil knew then that his lens were shattered. A trip to the optometrist. 

I guess I’ll just have to get a spare.

____________

So… this story kind of has a continuation and an ending, but I’m actually 100% sure that I don’t want to write it. It’s really irresponsible for me to be doing this, but as you might have been able to tell, the writing’s getting a little bit overdramatic for the ‘value’ of not being able to see, almost making it put this Neil character into tears about it. At this point, the story’s lost all of it’s realism, and to be honest, if there is any message that I want to convey, it’ll be a little over the top and at least another three thousand words of a story that I don’t want to write.

The original idea was to make Neil somehow visualize things differently after he replaced his glasses with three spares – one for sports (as his parents had always requested of him), one for studying (as his sports glasses always get bent out of shape) and sunglasses, which change his point of view when under the sun. I want him to see things so differently (as each glasses represent a different activity) for him to the point that it’s almost entering different worlds, of course with the hidden two ‘states’ of ‘glasses off’ and ‘eyes closed’ states being separate planes on their own.

I would explore the different ways that people act when Neil can’t see their mouths moving or how he would see a landscape differently with the sun’s glory facing him full on or also with the sun hidden away (it’s really different, I tried it recently on my trip to Copenhagen).

That being said, the story doesn’t interest me that much, and I apologise for if you found it interesting to start with. My only goal in writing this was to hit 1,000 words (like my friend is doing on his blog 1kormore.wordpress.com) and just get back into the writing game.

I also feel that this piece has value beyond the ‘getting back into it’ feeling that I have tried to attain. I wrote the opening of this while reading the opening to ‘The Dead’ by James Joyce. It reminded me of why I wanted to write in the first place, to be able to convey not only emotion and thoughts, but also to create life in my piece, something that I’ve been missing in my opening chapters of my novels (which I’ll return to as a result of writing this).

There was value in writing this. I’m glad, and hope you are for me too.

-j. NG

115:

“To be dumb,”
I say (as a writer who speaks)
“Would be a fate worse than death.”
For to be unable to express
All the sounds that I hear
Would be like playing the a song of my heart
“With my ears dull and dead,
and with my soul — utterly deaf.”

114: some sights just have to be written about

I’m meant to be sleeping. It’s 3 in the morning and I have to catch a flight tomorrow to head off to Europe. But I saw something outside of the window. It was gorgeous.

It was a rare sight, he mused, his hand dipping into the can of already salted peanuts for another handful. The moon was full and took her place in the apex of the black canopy, but more dazzling than the ivory sphere was the icy clarity of the air, a smogless, 20/20 sight above the harbour of Hong Kong.

Silence filled his room as the waters rippled outside, the moon highlighting the transient, liquid surface with a light, pale touch. The distant rock crystalized the faraway, but much closer sea and created a meandering white highway, the edges of the path flickering as the clouds that framed it passed the sky by.

Yet he saw that the path was closing as more clouds began to trundle their way in, brought in from a northerly wind that welcomed them to the sky of the international city. Even the clouds from the north butt their way into what would otherwise be a perfect scene. Inch by inch the moonlit road shrunk. It was as if he were missing his chance to don his skates and to soar away into the sky, where the stars belonged. But he was flying already — wasn’t he?

Tomorrow he was jetting off to another continent, to see people and faces he had never seen before. Yet this city, on his last night for two weeks, beckoned him to stay with a never-seen-before sight.

It felt like a betrayal, to take the drapes from one side to the other, and to swipe it across, making dark the lovemaking of the sky and sea. Yet to not forsake the spirit of his trip, he closed the drapes with a heavy heart and eyelids that felt light. The sea of obsidian and marble vanished.

There would be no guiltless sleep tonight.

The iPad camera does not do this scene justice.

The iPad camera does not do this scene justice.

- j. NG