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Welcome!

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

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In order to shake some rust… a short story/scrap of nothing. I’m focusing on developing skills that can hopefully translate to my novel-writing. Excuse the cliche storyline for now ^_^.

My morning began with the earthy-words from my mother, strong and powerful, booming from downstairs, while after, as if her words were light and the smell of breakfast was the sound ever chasing the dreams behind her songs, the crisp scent of coffee and freshly toasted English muffins filtered through the gap between my carpet and door and into my room.

Lady’s singing like a hummingbird
And though she’s an angel
She don’t got the wings to show for it…

Today was a good day. The coffee was unburnt, the muffins a rarity. The paycheck had come in the mail, and since today was the first of the month, it seemed that rather surprisingly, it’d come on time.

“We got warm water, mum?” I asked, after pulling a tee on and rising from bed.

“We got warm water, we got cold water, we got it all hot, but your breakfast isn’t gonna stay that way unless you shower quickly, you hear me?”

With a chuckle I sauntered to the bathroom. Minutes later, with my mother’s rough hands tussling my hair through a towel, I tried to maneuver chunks of lukewarm scrambled eggs into my mouth.

“I wasn’t joking when I said that they were gonna get cold. I don’t have the time for looking after you this morning, they’re calling me into a meeting.”

“You getting promoted?”

“It’d be overdue, but I wouldn’t say no to it.”

“So I don’t have to do the paper route on Sunday mornings anymore?”

“If you still want your own spending money, you do. You done chowing down there yet?”

“You made too much. The coffee for me?”

“You eighteen and able to hold your own excitement?”

“Hell yeah.”

“Ain’t what the boys said about you going out with Charice last weekend.”

“Mom!”

 

Hm. I have a tendency to drop into the African-American vernacular when I do dialogue. It’s part of the movie culture, and literary culture that has constantly inspired me. This is particularly strange as I’ve never lived in the US, and I’m an Asian Canadian writing in Hong Kong around the world, but there you have it. I’ve already changed many of the ‘gonna’ and the ‘ain’t’ to other phrases, but it still lingers there. Let me see if I can translate some of this dialogue work into an extract of my novel. As a 15 minute exercise…

Not bad.

-j. NG

Dozen-Year Burns

I, when I was young,
Kissed with unwise lips,
My mother’s face with the wit
Of a child; ready to believe
And to let sink into my mind, beliefs,
As oil accepts all comers, swallowing them whole.

But little did I know
That my thoughts, being made of oil
Had, through my mother’s toil,
Left a jerry-can trail of love that,
Once either side was incensed,
Would set the two of us ablaze.

So whenever my mother claimed
Without creating the fact that her love
Was an unconditional one,
A benevolent one,
A radiant one,
And that I was to love her, because she was my mother:

Well, that radiance splashed us instead
Into a pandemonium of sudden color;
Our faces red with the wasteful squalor of spitted fire,
Our fists black lumps of charcoal, striking at each other,
Gritted teeth forming whitened burnt-out staffs of ash
That had exhausted all of its hard words…

We fought until the weight of all that hate
Swallowed itself and reversed the state
Of the oily slates of my mind and,
Made me as hard as fossil.
Yes, through meteoric flames,
We’d made my childhood extinct.

Now in these days, with a mind hard as stone,
But with at least eyes that are mine own,
I still watch from a distance, her on her Mt. Olympus,
Her raging for company, abandoned Hera, heart ablaze.
And despite all of the scalding burns that scar my bones,
I can’t help but to feel cold.

284: The Rain

A bit of nonsense I decided to write in the dark.

It was rain.
It was rain so thick and grey that it fell like drapes.
Three men stood in cover under the rain, at the top of a hill, underneath the bottom of a tree. They all felt like one of them had joined them later than the others, but each one of the three was sure that it hadn’t been them.
The rain fell.
It fell on top of the hill.
It smeared down spears of grass one at a time, but there was still grass left.

“You think that there’s still anybody out there?”
The first man spoke. He was lanky, and his nose and fisherman’s hat hid his eyes.
“Probably all drownded by now, doncha think?” Said the second man, whose eyes were bright and dumb grin kind.
“We’d be the last ones left, hum?” Said the lanky one.
The third man spoke.
“There are surrounding hills far taller than this one. I hardly think that we’d be the last of humanity left.”
“But if them others still alive, how come we haven’t seen them yet?”
“Well, I suppose they’re taking shelter from the rain too.”
“Are we high enough? The rain won’t get us here, will it?”
“Well, so long as the soil continues to irrigate the rainwater…”
“And if it doesn’t?”
“Yuh, if it doesnt irritate the rain water?”
“Well, then the water would run down to the sea or flood some poor souls in a lower place.”
“Might be us on our low hill.”
“That won’t happen. That won’t happen, will it?”
“Highly unlikely.”

The rain fell. It fell in a musical notation that the earth felt in allegrios, crescendoes, in swing, in hushes.

“Do you think the others know we’re out here?”
“Do you think they would send help if they did? If not, then it doesn’t matter either way. The answer changes nothing.”
“Nuh, I wouldn’t… I’d want to sit here with you two folks and chatter.”
“And to think that this would be the last intelligent conversation I would ever have.”
Rain fell. Like buckets of beads spilling off of an overturned table.
“We’re like Pachabels Cat. Alive but not alive.”
“Schrodingers.”
“Like the tree that falls in the forest.”
“…Maybe.”
“Well, I dunno whatchu two talking about, but I reckon I’m not a cat or a tree. And I think i must be very much alive cause i know im here with you two.”
The third man, who had been lying down, stretched his feet into the rain from under the tree. The rain touched his ankles and made them cold, a cold tjat spread through his bones.”
“Well, you might just be the wisest of the three of us.”

The rain fell.
It fell so thick and grey and fell like curtains.
Two men waited under the cover of a tree. They both felt like one of them had joined the other earlier, but they were sure it had been the other who had joined them.
The rain fell.
It fell on top of the hill.
It smeared down spears of grass one at a time, but there was still grass left.

64: Smoke in the Heart

My father, I don’t so much mind the smoke.
You’ve already shown that you know how to burn
Sixty-four sticks till nothing but white ash remains,
Fluttering, in the wide, wet paint of the wall.

You’ve taught me how not to look for it too –
The remains, so that if I try to count five-hundred
Thirty-five specks – you’ve made that groundable too;
You’d keep me in a cage – Father’s love is tough, after all.

Wasn’t that why you took the children of other homes,
To show them that you didn’t accept anyone’s idle talk?
They’d done some doodling, written, spread some wild sayings,
So you took them to your home when they went out for a walk.

You made them cry, cry in front of their fathers,
Cry in front of the neighbourhood police –
Made sure that where you beat them, it was neat;
Covered your lies as only you, father, can.

Because you’re a businessman.
Because you’re a smoking gun.
Because you’ve learnt that with time,
You can teach your children how to squeak new lines.

See this square? It’s a heart.
It takes real art to be able to say this
With a straight face – especially when
All straight lines are curves. Like your smile.

So when twenty seven years ago you replaced 3000 of your brightest tiles,
Cleared up slogans in mosaics in a space less than a fifth of a heart mile –
Did you regret in your head, that replacement with hard lead?
You must have – for you immediately hid it deep. Left history for dead.

Father – I don’t so much mind the smoke anymore.
You’ve shown me before – I just need a new gateway for peace.
I’ve an idea. Let’s tell the heavens the truth. I’ll start.
You’ve broken our square, daddy. You broke the hell out of our squares.

photo1.jpg
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-j. NG

283: Where the Shadows Thrive

In Plato’s cave where outside the fire flickered,
The shadows dashed from crack to crack,
Crevice to crevice, until the first baboons –
Dumb humanity – ignoring curiosity,
Let shadows run free once again.

In flame, the shadows – were they made?
Nay – just captured, to the frame of those
Dull humanoid shapes.

And underneath, where the evil things sleep –
Are they vile, or evil, or live, or veil’d?
Are they the harbingers of dark,
Or unaccustomed to the starkness of non-dark?

Are we shallow – callow, sending to the gallows
The dark we fear, that formless, free, uncompromising dark?
Do we cower in the power of showered light,
To take away our fright of the unseen?

Are we now but prisoner’s rows,
Facing each other, weapons in hold,
Holster by the side, firing lines –
Ready to draw, fire, execute anything unknown?

(Have we shaped our ammunition
With the fine teeth of education?)

How we dream of dreaming now.
In mine I can almost hear the baboons’ laughing hoots,
Lying in the dark, kissing.

-j. NG

282: Undisciplined Bile

Do you know what I’ve tried?
I’ve tried to write the poem
With straight lines and regular jumps;
Like stitch lines,
With syllable stresses weaving
Up above, below, up-high, down-low:
Visible, invisible, and stopped with a knot.
A pause. A meaningful glot that stops
Your breath like a clot but I prefer when it begins
To twirl and swirl, curl out of control –
Like a bag of tricks that’s spilled onto the floor
And the words that were rigid
And should have clattered, instead splattered,
And gathered and ran towards the drain
Of my brain that leads just a little bit down
To my throat.

I prefer it when the words flow –
And not when the words come out square,
Structured and puzzling like a Rubik’s Cube –
I like it humming and buzzing unlike words
That stay true to a style. Not that I don’t have one –
Or that value’s none in poems that adhere to one.
I just prefer to let my poems run.

-j. NG

281: Bubble Trouble

To be curt, I am an introvert.
I huddle in my bubble
Waiting for a cuddle or if not,
I won’t ask, because asking
For a hug is especially sad –
Especially from those extroverts
Giving free hugs for, well, free.

I don’t like to socialize.
I don’t think it’s lying I just
Sweat when I see so many people
Who want to see me and I think
Well, hello, I’m here, what do you think?
Don’t tell me though, don’t talk to me,
I’ll walk away – I won’t scream;
But when I get close to it I squeak:
“Oops! Be right back! Gotta pee.”

I don’t mind embarrassment like that,
I’m already feeling like a sack of fool,
Like a bag of idiot, like an oversized mole
So big that it’s bigger than my head
And growing out of it a hair that Rapunzel
Wishes she could have had to
Climb out of her tower on.

I don’t envy extroverts, that’s so much energy
That doesn’t go to me, it’s like, radiation.
In the case of a sudden winter freeze
Where most of us die, the extroverts are gonna die first
But of loneliness, introverts will be warming up from the cold
Extroverts go sightseeing for ravines just
To have conversations with their own echoes.

I’m getting married to an extrovert though, so look,
Either way, some sort of balance is struck,
Extroverts go out, introverts have the good luck
To stay home until we moan and grope after realizing
That staying at home really, really sucks, and then
Our bubble pops but not in a good way – we go nuts:
Then our extroverts come home just in time to save
The day and they, with their extra energy spend it
Patching up the holes with conversation anecdotes,
Quips and threads of their day that they’ve left unseen
And brought out only for you to breathe in,
Soothing, your meditation, your conversational hot chocolate.
Now it’s your warmth, your cuddle, your word hug, your snuggle.

When you’re lucky, you have an extrovert who cares enough
Not to drag you out of your bubble, but to cuddle in it,
And to fix it in the case of bubble trouble.

-j. NG

280. Truth in a post for fiction.

I am sitting in a coffee shop wearing new earphones and a denim button-up shirt. I have always loved coffee, but it has in the past made me too angry and too energetic; anger and energy are a bad combination. It is not an obviously bad combination when you are the miniature Hulk in a world that is much realer and harsher than Hollywood, but that’s what remains dangerous about the movies. You start to think that everything is obvious, when nothing is.

In my earphones I listen to jazz. My ears are filled with it and my feet are worn in three ways. I possess a job where my superiors possess my time and energy. During it I pace around classrooms and I bend down to check answers or whisper disciplinary actions or I seat myself quietly to not be a nuisance. Afterwards I will dance; dance to jazz, dance to swing, dance with an invisible partner that might as well just be a ball of energy, elasticity, but there’s no fun in the perfect dance so we strive for it, and always make it a little bit wrong to keep things fresh. Lastly I will vibrate the soles of my feet and toes with the battered hush of a bouncing basketball, bounce, silence — silence, bounce bounce, silence. Silence. Swish. Bounce. Clatter.

I am also drinking coffee. More specifically it is a cappuccino with a ratio of milk and espresso that eludes me. The knowledge is not mine, I have been taught this, I used to prefer latte’s and flat whites. I used to love the hazelnut vanilla stuff, till my coffee grading friend brandished his ire in laughter that sang of sheer — 

Misunderstanding. Not me, but him, and coffee, and his understanding of it. When I drink coffee now I still try to smell it, and have a guess at whether or not the roast is dark or light or just right. It’s more of a 50/50 than a 33/33/33 if you really think about it. To be just right – that’s a sliver of chance. Dark or light or the line. Not binary, but close enough to it.

When I think about writing I am reminded that my teacher was the one who brought me to literature by saying ‘Hell no’ you are not slacking off in my class, you jackass. Out of respect to her I threw myself into her work. First time throwing myself into anything that wasn’t mere entertainment to pass on days.

I have coffee, earphones, jazz, worn feet, a degree that says: this is me.

I also have poetry, and I finish off the fiction of reality with a poem:
For what is poetry to me?

It is:

An orgasm of thoughts put into order

A cartwheel of cadence

A picture of a pitcher of pitch

Sound, not tar

Rising up and down

Dropping words so that

They splash and in reaching ear drains

Spiral and gurgle round.
Poetry is a rumbling resonance. 

A drumroll of morse code.

But in reading, hearing, 

The same rhythm flows –

Heartbeats – heartbreak –

Eyes closed – daybreak –

Symphony – harmony –

Disaster – relief –

No ABCs except for sheer mental meaning;

Poetry by myself is meaningless to me

Poetry to you all, individually – 

That’s the world.
Poetry is the world to me.

-j. NG

279: The Heart of Art

A little poem I wrote on the spur of the moment just minutes after waking and reading an article on Brain Pickings (https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/03/28/annie-dillard-writing-the-abundance/). I wrote this with ‘writing’ in mind, so excuse the second line for seeming to be exclusive!

The heart of art is to want to share
The will of words: to find mastery there;
Therefore the artist is the one who cares
To dedicate hours until their work bears

Some semblance to the senses they cherish,
Some lens to understanding their experience,
Some flavor and romance to what they deem important:
Art is work, but the rewards: magnificent.

278: Word Counts

Word counts don’t count in good work.
Good words are squintless surprises in sound.

Good words can be small.

They are always useful;

Good usage is using them for their use.
Word counts are not always useful nor good.
Good words in word counts are equal to words.

Word counts can hide useless work, disguising it as good.

Word counts are like drugs. The higher you get, the better.
That being said, word counts can be useful.

Sometimes word counts are all I have left.