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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

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

113: Coward.

Faces pass like bad dreams, but sometimes the ones you remember are the nightmares that cut you down and exhumed your greatest weaknesses.

The girl sat on a train next to a woman more appropriate for my age and I wondered what it was, beyond the age that made one more attractive to me than the other. Confidence? Whimsicality? No. The younger girl, wearing a striped white and pink T-shirt simply looked angry at everything. I wanted to tell her, making a face and with an attitude like that, life’s going to look real grim for you for years to come. It was advice that I wished someone had given to me when I was younger.

Then she started to cry.

It was the twitch of her left eye, the eye on the right side for me that gave it all away. Then a transparent bulb streaked down the centre of her cheeks and not the side. A pair of children continued to play, screaming as they twirled around a pole chasing one another. Two more tears followed the first in quick succession before the other side began. I dug into my bag. I was going to copy the move my girl had done once. I had brought tissues for my sweat but now they were there to douse tears. Leaning across the train, I handed her the tissue and she thanked me quickly as children do to kind adults.

Then I opened my book and started to read.

From time to time I would look up and see that the tissue had brought her some smiles. I wanted to, many times, approach the girl and in my stammering Cantonese ask her what was wrong. Yet I hid in Sylvia Plath instead, strangely fitting for the situation. I was too cowardly to speak to her, even when she moved over to face me directly, for a couple had strayed into the space between us earlier and the older, age appropriate woman had gone. The girl filled up that seat, and cried while leaning her head on the glass, waiting for me to help her.

I didn’t talk to her. We ended up by disembarking at the same stop. I let her walk ahead, her small bag of groceries hanging limply from her thin, and tired arms.

Even while I looked down at my book, I recalled her expression. She had a sad, angry face that I will always remember. And I didn’t do a damn thing to help her.

- j. NG

112:

I have been awake four hours and spent two of them waking, dressing, brushing the teeth and patting the hair. One a half has been spent writing, rewriting and not even the milestones of one proper chapter or five thousand words has been breached, though in discards and rewrites I’ve done four times as much.

I feel like Frankenstein, removing and placing bloody entrails of my thoughts into a pot of clay, shaping it as a potter as I go along, though feeling far from the god that the gospel song and clay might suggest. Indeed, I am creating a monster but I will give it the shape of a man. Still, as horrendous as the process might be up until (and perhaps even after) lightning strikes, I work diligently in the hope that my creation will contain a soul.

If not mine, then at least pieces of the secret whispers of yours.

- j. NG

111: seize the day! (with unhurried judgment)

Somewhat inspired by the last line of my previous story. Written in  a 30 minute train ride to a meeting between friends.

Seize the day! over a landless prize
So what we’re really seizing is time.
Sieve the waste that comes these days
Through unfiltered senses of mind.
Keep your mind open! but just closed
Enough for reason to sneak on through
But remember that reason twix not unflappable
So that judgment is not by, but is on you.

The beheld are held by the hearts of the beholders
The heard are likewise herded into popular world offices of order
What is right may not be right to another viewholder
What’s left is duress, but what’re we fighting over?
Points of views change but points are just points
Not lines or squares or spheres of disagreement
Change your point to point not at but from your neighbor
And suddenly the picture and view is that much clearer
Don’t move house, don’t move worlds
Not a favor is done to you or the others
But see past your past and see that past
Is shared by common humanity
Made up of different affinities
And that stories and reasons
Alien or not, spread into infinity
And that not might makes right
Smarts or the arts
Loudly spoken facts or secrets
The only truth is that we have no clue
(But we all think that we do)
About anything about the truth.

So let secrets remain secrets
And truth remain truth
But whilst seizing the day just remember -
A world of judgment lies on you.

- j. NG