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Impressions on Limnisa

When I left for the writing workshop and retreat at Limnisa on the Greek peninsula of Methana two weeks ago, I was hoping that the trip would give me new inspiration to work on my writing. However, me being who I am, I was also overcome with feelings of anxiety and apprehension. What if, despite these ideal circumstances, my mind remains trapped within this barren landscape devoid of ideas and fantasies and I still am not able to make any significant progress with my writing? Am I then forced to conclude that the noble art of writing is not suitable for one the likes of me after all? And what if I can’t get along with the other people, or more likely, what if they can’t get along with me because I’m being such a bore? Sigh… in other words I was overcome by the same worries that always trouble me no matter what I’m doing. You would have thought I would have learnt by now. Fortunately, these worries did not offset my initial enthusiasm, and with the power of hindsight, I can now safely say that these were completely unwarranted, and that the last two weeks have exceeded even my wildest expectations.

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The sense of writing nonsense (aka Time to start again)

Even as I am writing this, I still have no clear idea what it is I’m going to write. Everything I can think of to write about seems futile and banal. These thoughts and words swirling inside my mind do not seem to make sense at all. I truly do not know what I want to write about.

However, what I do know is that I just have to write something… anything at all. It has been more than 3 months since I’ve last updated my blog. Since then it has been languishing away in a remote corner within cyberspace while I purposely avert my gaze and try my best not to think about it. But for days — weeks even — I can sense it calling out to me, gnawing slowly upon my guilty conscience until I could ignore it no longer.

“Come back to me,” it whispers. “Feed me with your thoughts. Nurture me with your words so that I may prosper once again.”

“How? How can my words and thoughts possibly do you justice?” I respond.

“How can your silence and negligence possibly do me justice?” it replies.

So I finally concede. This is why I am here once again typing these silly words on my keyboard. This is why I am here once again to reveal my foolish thoughts to the world (or more specifically the few people who read my blog).

“See, this doesn’t make any sense at all!” I cry out in a last-ditch attempt to stop writing this.

“It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t have to make sense. Sometimes the only way to make sense is to stop worrying about making sense.”

“Argh! I give up! I can’t argue with you any longer. There! I just published this stupid post. Happy now?”

“Yes.”

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Back from holiday!

Just a quickie before I start writing more seriously again the coming days (I hope)! I’m back home again after 4 whole weeks of holiday, which is waaaay too long and something I probably wouldn’t do again. Two weeks is fine. I can live with 3 weeks. Max. But 4 weeks? Ugh! I tell you, the past few days have been brutal. There were moments when I was walking around like I had been newly inducted into the Club of the Living Dead.

I’m actually anxious to get back to writing again. I just need to hold that thought before it disappears again. Still, as much as I loathe my writing sometimes, I do really miss it when I stop doing it for a longer period. Yet another confirmation that I will always keep coming back to writing no matter what. Which can be a good thing or a bad thing, entirely depending on if I’m in a positive or negative mood.

Anyway, just had to get that out of my system. Stay tuned for more upcoming posts 😉

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The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award

Cool! Out of nowhere I suddenly got this sweet little award last week from Thaumaturgist, one of my very favorite persons in the entire blogging community. Thanks! Means a lot coming from you.

Apparently, there are some assignments that come with the award:

Share seven random facts about yourself.

  1. It took me more than 7 days to come up with 7 random facts about myself. Yes, I stress about these kinds of things.
  2. I love, love, love singing. Love it. Most of the time I won’t actually do it while others are around, but sometimes…
  3. I was born in Singapore. I then moved to the Netherlands. Then back to Singapore, and now I’m living in the Netherlands again since my 10th. Whew, quite a roundtrip, isn’t it?
  4. When I was aged 10-16, I lived above a restaurant… which was in the same building as a bowling alley.
  5. I love keeping lists.
  6. When booking an intercontinental flight just for myself alone, I like to pick a flight with a stop-over with at least a couple of hours between flights so I don’t need to stress about being on time for the transfer flight. I just think it’s nice to visit other airports (feels like an additional mini-holiday!) and take the time to chill and read there.
  7. I love reading personality profiles. I started out with astrology, made a short side-trip to the enneagram, and now I read a lot about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). I’m an INFP and proud of it (when not feeling so insecure)!
Pass the award along to 15 deserving blog buddies.
Ok, this is where it gets tough. I really don’t have that many blog buddies, and even then I haven’t been keeping up lately with the blogs I’m actually following, so I’m just gonna cheat:
I pretty sure I’m not allowed to do this, but I would like to pass the award back to Thaumaturgist.
And although I know she also got one already, there is no way I’m not going to mention Ishana.

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The future of education?

The future is apparently a lot closer than I thought. Robots are teaching English in an elementary school in Daegu, South Korea. Ok, so technically speaking it’s not a real automaton, as they are being remotely controlled by teachers in the Philippines. And I can’t help but wonder what this would mean for real teachers if this phenomenon really starts to catch on.

Still, it’s pretty cool, and just think about all those story ideas you can generate. You can turn it into a sci-fi action story where the robot teachers go rogue (highly original, I know). Mix it with a dash of teenage drama, get some beautiful girl to fall in love with a handsome cyborg teacher and who knows? You might end up on the bestseller list! People are bound to get sick of vampires and werewolves soon, right?

On second thought, that’s probably not a story I’m going to write any time soon.

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Running Outside Again

Yaay! I finally ran outside again today for the first time in weeks. Or has it been months already? Anyway, it’s another area of my life I have been neglecting lately, and which I need to pick up again. I was so much fitter half a year ago compared to now.

I found that this is actually the ideal temperature to run outside, a few degrees (Celsius) above freezing temperature. It’s not too cold, and you don’t have to worry about overheating at all. Too bad about the squishy hybrid of water and snow covering the roads though. However, there is an advantage to that. One time I made the mistake of slowing down in the middle of a large wet patch. It wasn’t long before I could feel the cold, dirty water seeping into my shoes. You would have thought it wouldn’t matter that much once your socks are soaked anyway, but believe me, the feeling is still very uncomfortable and it makes me shudder to think about it even now. So you see, I can’t afford to be lazy and I had to speed up again. Touch, lift, touch, lift, touch, lift… just keep moving your feet and make sure they don’t touch the ground for too long, not at least until you hit a dry patch again.

Of course, the running itself didn’t go as smooth as it used to when I was doing it more regularly, and I was already pretty exhausted after 15 minutes (but I kept running thanks to the squishy snow!). Still, it was a little better than I had feared. I thought that after months of irregular or even non-existent training and not eating enough fruit and veggies, my condition would be horrible. But it wasn’t too bad really, especially considering that it was harder to run in the snow as well.

Still, even though it was extremely hard to start again after weeks of inactivity, I did feel much better afterwards. So let’s hope I can slowly get back into the routine again!

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Writing Workshop – Week 7 Exercise

This week’s exercise based on Shore Leave by Lynda Hull

Write a descriptive3rd person scene between two people. The main character is experiencing something that is distressing, but the tone is celebratory and lyrical.

Sam the squire enters the village grounds riding behind his master Sir Bruce Sans Pitié. Sir Bruce is perched atop his mighty black warhorse, towering above the simpering peasants, his full plate armor shimmering in the bright midday sun, as if he is being graced by the personal touch of God. He argues with the village elder who grovels pitifully before him, while the other villagers stand around them in a wide circle. Suddenly, a flash of steel appears from his right hand, and the village elder’s head comes tumbling down onto the dusty ground. Shrill screams echo against the blue, serene sky. Two male villagers hastily enter into a house and they reappear moments later with a struggling maiden in their grasps. She screams hysterically when she sees her father’s headless body twitching in the sand, but they are quickly muffled by the gag forced into her mouth. “Bind the maiden and place her onto my squire’s horse,” he exclaims. “It’s a gift before he enters into his full knighthood.” Continue reading

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