of gatherings, saggy middles and a crush on an author (and yes, pretty faces)

Monday! 

I like to start off the week catching up on blogs. Laini Taylor’s blog is always a mood-lifter: she writes about her travels to exotic places like Morocco and takes beautiful shots of France, and her daughter Clementine is soooooo adorable and happy, and her husband is as creative and fun-loving and sweet as her and they all seem like such Shiny Happy People.

Is it possible to be entirely in love with someone you’ve never met and only know through her writing? Because I am head over heels in love with Laini Taylor and her fabulous, creative, artistic, whimsical life and family.

How I see Laini and her family

And oh, just a little piece of news: SHE’S FINALLY COMPLETED DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS!!!!! 

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APRIL 2014, COME QUICK!!!!!! I need to devour that book now!!!!!!

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Okay. I’m done spazzing.

 

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Literary agent Victoria Marini has some timely advice for this writer struggling with her first draft, the one so raw you can hear it moo or caw or whatever sounds animals make when they’re alive and kicking and not ready to be served on a dish. (It’s also what I like to call Draft Zero – capitalisation for dramatic effect – so raw it’s not even entirely in prose form, just scattered prose and mostly dialogue and stage directions.)

 

“I suspect the main reason that people who wish to write, but fail to write, do so because they want write well. You must, first, be willing to write terribly.  If you want to write a book, your goal should be to write a book. Not a good book. Just a book. Worry about the “good” part later. Ms. (Annie) Lamott is a huge believer in “the shitty first draft.” She argues, rightly if you ask me, that a first draft is just for getting it out of your head an onto the paper. It’s sort of meant to be bad. Just get it out; word vomit! You don’t even need to show anyone (certainly don’t show your agent ;). It’s just getting the bones of your story on paper. Once you have that version done (and most people don’t get THAT far)  you can start to worry about being good.” 


I hate to say this, but it’s become increasingly undeniable that I AM STUCK for Neverland. Ugh. Ugh ugh ugh. The pace is flagging, and I can’t think of a dramatic or emotionally-gratifying way to weave my characters and their dreams and fears and motivations together. Every idea I have just falls flat like the way tepid tea sits on your tongue. Completely disappointing.

Still, I shall take the above advice and plow through the crap. Hopefully, I’ll have made some headway the next time I blog.

 

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So last weekend, I managed to extricate myself from my computer, on which I’ve been watching the old episodes of We Got Married, a Korean “reality TV” show  that brings celebrities together in a make-belief marriage and then chronicles their lives as they do couple-y things that make us sad single people even sadder. I’ve watched the Leeteuk (from Super Junior) and Kang Sora episodes, and now I’m watching the Nichkhun (from 2pm) and Victoria (from f(x)) ones.

Fine. You caught me. I only decided to watch this for the pretty faces. Whatever. Nichkhun is CUUUUTE.

Seriously, who can resist that face? Plus, he’s such a sweetheart to Victoria even when she’s being difficult. 

ANYWAY. That wasn’t my point. My point is that I went out and socialised! Broke out of my isolation! Stuck my head out of my hermit cave! (And other annoying cliches.) And I attended not just one class gathering, but two! So yes, break out the champagne.

There was no champagne at the class barbecue last Saturday at my primary school gathering, but booze was definitely aplenty. Plus, seafood. And chicken. (Oh god, that chicken. It could be the most divine thing I’ve ever tasted.) 

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It’s funny, but I used to get so nervous about attending these class gatherings. After all, these are the people who have known you since you were a kid, and they are the ones who bear witness to the crazy stupid shit you did then. But we do crazy stupid shit now anyway, so I guess  craziness and stupidity isn’t something you leave behind once you cross a certain age threshold.

Here’s a fairly normal shot of us

 

Before we decided normal is over-rated.


Last Friday night rolled out in a similar fashion, despite the drizzle.

 


Socialising is like running – for me, at least. You have to drag yourself to gatherings/events and convince yourself it’ll be fun, but then it turns out to be really rewarding, just like you have to tow your ass to the track (although I don’t run anymore since swimming is my cardio drug of choice) but then you experience runner’s high and it becomes all worth the effort.  

Still, that’s enough human interaction for one week. I shall retreat into my cave now. Merry Christmas!

Night time. The time I usually get all nostalgic.

Tonight, I decided to pull out the World History book that I bought from a second-hand bookshop at Bras Basah and do some reading. I was reading about the fall of Greece and got so confused about Macedonia and Sparta and all the Peloponnesian wars that I needed to hunt for a map.

Which led me to riff through my drawers and boxes in which I’ve stored all my secondary and JC textbooks.

As usual, I got distracted and ended up doing some H2 Math sums. After getting sick of it after an hour, I decided to read Wendy Clark. For those who don’t know who she is, she’s all O’Level History students’ saviour (as is Marian Chong O’Level Geography students’ saviour). We swallowed up that book (practically every sentence was important – I remember my dad telling me I might as well highlight the sentences that weren’t important instead, so the pages won’t be filled with highlighted chunks) and vomitted everything out for the Cambridge examiners.

And reading Wendy Clark made me think of Mrs Haridas, our History teacher. She was always so maternal. Wonder how she is now.

And thinking of Haridas made me think of Mrs Singh, the best Chemistry teacher I ever had. Her explanations are so lucid and she’s the no-nonsense kind of woman. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

I unearthed my secondary 1 science notebook, and read through the atoms and molecules notes. I kind of miss studying Chemistry. Too bad I suck at practical. It always pulls my A down to a B. Chemistry class was always so productive.

And then, later, I was just sitting there reading the notes I had scribbled all over my secondary 2 Geography textbook, when Don’t Tell Me by Avril Lavigne comes on the radio. It seemed like not so long ago that I was in the same circumstance, reading my Geog notes while Avril wails on in the background. Wonder how Khrish, Yvonne and Stacy are doing now. Haven’t met them or caught up with them in ages.

I guess the reason why I enjoyed mugging for O’Levels (yes, I realise how geeky that made me sound, but wtv, geeky is the new chic) is because I had great influence, in the form of my friends, around me, especially Gerlynn. My friends made going to school and attending lessons fun. Thanks, Ger, for staying with me after school in the library everyday to mug. I remember we’d force ourselves to sit at different tables just so we wouldn’t get distracted and talk. People would think we had a fight, which was sort of funny.

A’Levels wasn’t as fun to study for, because, well, circumstances were different. And it was a hell lot tougher, especially Geography. I was besotted with the subject in secondary school (I think everyone in 4E2 were) – I loved my subject combination – but H2 Geog is so much more demanding, and I ended up finding it a drag sometimes.

Ah, well.

I just miss school and studying so much, all of a sudden. Maybe it’s this looooong break that made me yearn to employ my brain once again. I don’t ever want to go out into the working world; I want to stay cocooned in school forever, where your worth and performance are only determined by the grades you get. It’s simple and clear-cut. Not much depends on chance or luck, like in the real world.

Dammit, I miss school. I miss studying for O’s. That was, in fact, the best time of my life. I know it sounds sad, but it was. Studying for A’s wasn’t as rewarding, because you don’t get your A’s as easily even though you put in the same amount of effort. In my case, I didn’t put in the same amount of effort, because I guess I lost the drive after O’s. Which made it more difficult to get the A’s.

In short, can’t wait for school to start.

By the way, I unearthed ONE diary that I had left out. I’d decided to throw away ALL the diaries I had written in the course of my secondary school years (at least 10) one day, and this is the only one left. It was the sixteenth one (I label my diaries in chronological order) and was written from after secondary 4 Prelim exams to the beginning of J1 in the best junior college in the world (come on, I love SA).

I really regret throwing away my diaries. How could I? Those were my formative years. Sigh.


I told you I get awfully nostalgic at night.