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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

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

110: the faces we make

Wrote this in the course of 2 and a half hours in the morning. Hopefully I got my point across and didn’t get too lost in myself. Actually, it is likely that I will change the ending

And so they gathered around me, clowns, ghouls, armless hands and fingers all, for I sat by the pool of immediate fortune with my head bowed. The clown, presenting himself and his pasty white face with a step forward and jazz step known as the shoe shine, waved his jazz hands and grinned, rhyming:

“A pensive look flutters in the air!

Such a face is often rare -

You don this mask when you start to care

So share! Share,

And throw your troubles to the air!”

He jumped from foot to foot with each rhyme he spoke, smiling his horrific, lipsticked grin. The audience simply watched in peace, for even though many of them were often butting heads with the clown, they propagated their assent with silence, waiting as the clown continued to hop from foot to foot.

I rose from my seat, a wooden log sometimes, when it was not a steel chair, or a lounge or ball and chain. I rose from the pool that reflected every face but mine, and where that was supposed to be was a blur, even in the eyes of those I gazed straight into. Yet when I touched my face I could feel the nose, poke an eye and pull the hair, scalp, eyelashes or brow all. The face existed, it simply had no look to it.

“I’ve been thinking”, I began, reveling in the vibrations of my lips and teeth, fleshy and bony as I spoke, “of the simple question, the question we always solve together. Who of you (and here I rotated full circle with a finger outstretched) will accompany me today?”

As my finger passed upon each choice, the disembodied hands from earlier pushed each candidate forward before they stepped back. When it was finally their turn, at the empty spot in the circle, they dashed back to position and quickly mimicked a mouse and keyboard. When I passed over them, they slumped in disappointment, and pushed no candidates forward thereafter.

There was silence, but breaking it was the ever fearless of the group, the ghoul and robed spectre of death. They too were faces in the group, and they stalked forward and peered down into the pool. With their approach, the pool fenced itself off with walls of stone and became a well. The earth shuddered as the ghoul on four limbs peered his frozen face over the rim of the water, his jaw unhinged and drooling, and the well drew well back as death hissed.

“I ssee nothing for you ssave another dull day on thiss plane of exisstencee… come with me, and I will bring you peaceee.”

He had always been coercing me from somewhere in the background to find peace. He was daunting too, but not because he was death, for death had no choice in the matter. He was daunting, because often there was a draw from him to me, and I found his opportunities appealing. That was the fright of death, and he curled his skeletal fingers forward. I stepped towards him, but not before all the other faces, save the ghoul pulled back. The strain of it all, coming from the child of memory, the adult to become, the imp of imprisonment and the centaur of wonder, those drew tears from my eyes, and they cried too, wailing and pulling me back. The smith, the jersey, the fairy helpers and hands pulled too, and dragged the droplets towards the earth.

“You have more to see, more to do!” they cried in unison. And then I whispered in reply to death.

“Not yet,” I said, even though death’s hand was calming and enticing. He hissed and shrunk away, disappointed. “But soon, my friend. Soon.”

Death smiled then, patting ghoul on the head as he turned away. But ghoul did not go, and he continued to look into the well and at me, expectantly. The chorus breathed a sigh of relief, but their eyes turned to me once death was gone. 

Once again, I peered into the well of immediate fortune, the liquid inside still colorless to many, and saw that the level of the water was rising. The day was fresh, but the day was looming on the horizon. The faces came closer, but none approached, but they made a wall as they stacked up upon one another. Only the ghoul stayed within the circle, and I looked at each face, each hopeful look to be my face for the day.

Seeing my hesitation, the ghoul became more lively. He was almost prancing upon his hands and feet, his almost hairless scalp flinging the tendrils that were left in wild spirals atop of his head. He was often like a puppy before he was chosen, and I knew that I would go with the ghoul again. 

I knew it, the clown knew it, the ghoul knew it, everybody knew it. I would speak the words of not knowing who to choose, then resign myself to a choice by making none. Indecision and no decision was a decision too, and that decision was the ghoul. The ghoul was the lazy one, the gnawing one, the biting one. The one who let my body rot by eating away at it.The imprints of his teeth would stay in my arms, legs, neck and mind, still there from the days before and invisible.

Death earlier had smiled because he knew the ghoul would be chosen. The ghoul would bring me soon to him, after the ghoul had eaten himself full.

The faces began to disperse as the brim of the well began to have liquid bubble over. The time of choice was near. As if on cue, the clown frowned and muttered to himself:

“There is no time, 

The well’s filled up

You’re resigned to grime

Fortune my buttocks

My ass and derrière

I’ll take my friend the pen here

And we’ll leave you today

For someone who cares.”

The clown had been my friend throughout many the hard day. He had been my face in front of others, even when the ghoul ate away. The child and fairies had kept me hopeful and young, but the adult in me in his rare showings, made the right decisions while the centaur kept my dreams wild. Still the ghoul howled on. He began to lap at the well as my fortunes began to overflow.

But then I did something that I had never done before. Something needed to change. Gripping my fingers on the edge of the stone well, I heaved upwards with my arms, unearthing it from the ground. With nothing to drink, the ghoul gave out a little whine, but some of the water splashed to the ground, but some on the faces of the faces about me too. I pulled and pulled until the well stood erect, the bottom sealed itself and made it a tall, stone bucket. Then I pushed it over. My fortunes poured out and flooded the planes.

“There!” I declared. “You hungry faces, yearning for a morsel of chance. Settle yourselves in one place each and take your share. I’ll take you each on then, when the time is right.”

The ghoul whined and howled, but quickly began to flatten himself as to take as much of the space as possible. 

Then I turned away and began to stalk back to my chambers. I had had enough, and the faces that each wanted to be on display would get their time. I contemplated death’s offer as I walked, but then I realised that I did not walk alone.

“What’re you doing?” asked the clown who held my pen. “Go back.”

He pulled me around with a yank of his gloved hands. His red nose was no more red than the area around his eyes. 

“Go back”, he repeated. “You didn’t have to do that.”

I looked in bewilderment at him.

“I only gave you all what you all wanted. A piece of me. Now you all have it, so let me be.”

“No.”

The clown did not let go of my shoulder.

“Let go. Go away, and talk in rhymes. That’s what you’re supposed to do.”

“Rhymes, lines, 

Lies, crimes,

Two of the things 

You’re doing to yourself
Out of four I do two

Out of four two is yours too.

Is this the rhyme you want?”

He pulled an armchair from out of the air and sat down heavily in it, and pushed me backwards into the catch of another that appeared. Stroking the two poles of his hair that came out of his head in diagonal pillars, he continued to speak. 

“Do you even know why I talk in rhymes? Or why I’m dressed like a clown? Do you even remember my function? I’m part you put on whenever you have friends over or whenever you have to go out and talk to people. Usually you put on Mr. Hidey over there,” and he gestured at a trench-coated, detective-looking shadow trying to find his own piece of fortune on the ground. “but once in a while you put me on. But I’m a clown.”

“So?” I said, defensively. “Everybody loves clowns. Clowns are fun.”

The clown gave me a quick slap across the face with his oversized glove. It was painless, but sobering. I could hear the din of the flood dying down as suddenly their attention was directed towards us.

“Not you. You hate clowns. You hate having to put me on. You like to think that people shouldn’t have faces, but that this clown-like you is the one that they’ll most accept. That this rhymey, chimey, fluttery you is the one that’ll they’ll like most, so you hate me the most out of all of them. That’s why you make me a clown. That’s why you refuse to accept me.”

My look must have been frantic as I looked at him.

“You’re breaking the rules. You’re in my imagination. You’re being too explicit. I want the story. I want the story version.”

He sighed and showed me the face that I had on now, the child, but not the child of memory, but the child who needed to get what I wanted. Then he pulled off his makeup and hair, and did it as if he was pulling off a mask. Suddenly his face appeared, not mine, but a wiser, friendlier friend who had come to visit and changed my life once, a long time ago. I had admired him. Almost worshiped him.

“D— tells tales too. Or, told, and you wonder what he’s up to now. Everyone liked him too. Admired him. You tried to be like him. Made me, to be like him. Then you made me a clown.”

My friend leaned forward and put his hand on my face, his palm, yes! On my nose. His thumb and pinky finger above the corners of my eyebrows. The base of his hand hovered above my mouth and ricocheted the air I heaved outwards back onto the surface of my face.

Yet in his eyes I could still see that my face was a vortex. Still a blur.

Then he was a clown again, and in his hand he held a wine glass, but filled up with the liquids of my immediate fortune, and he was walking away towards the debauchery being made over the liquids and what I had poured out onto the surface.

“You’ve lost yourself!” he said, sipping.

“Lost yourself and the result is this —

but nothing that can be lost
is something that can’t be found again.”

The ghoul was still swimming in the pool and the clown stepped on him to get across.

The water level rose and overflowed.

I took a sip of the fortune that drowned me and walking forward I chose to seize the immediate day.

-j. NG

109:

Sitting literally one second away from the tilted, almost-closed lid of my aluminium cased Macbook Air, I write by pen and pad when a notification blurts itself out from the laptop, a soft chime, barely invasive but just loud enough to signal some sort of urgency. I rise from my seat, the leather of the couch squelching as I approach the machine, but just as I touch the lid of it, another chime emerges from the kitchen table. My Nexus 5′s awake too. And so is the iPad, squealing from its bedside seat in my room.

Synchronicity. An orchestra of attention grabbers. A flurry of yes-men whose only goals are to lead you down the wrong path, to confirm with you that you are needed by others, that you have plans and that you have dates on your Calendar apps. Tick that habit-streak app to remind yourself that you’re being consistent. Flip to the news on your phone to keep yourself updated.

Separating ourselves from the roots of humanity and saying “Yes! I am my own leaf and organism!”, we should not at all be surprised when finally the fall comes, and we drift helplessly alone to the ground. When we lie buried and decomposing in the snow that soon follows, we are forgotten in mountains of white while humanity stays standing, moving forward from our deaths.

There is nothing that a leaf can do to prevent its demise. Some leaves simply wish though that they had gotten to know their neighbors before they fell, as had been done before in days of yore.

-j. NG