Revision of the exercise based on John Jin by Rose Tremain
Even though I missed two previous sessions, I decided to do a revision of the Tremaine piece instead of bringing one of the exercises I skipped, because it is definitely a piece I want to develop into a real short story. I’m not too unhappy with how the piece is developing; I think this version is already stronger than the previous one, and I’m starting to get a real sense of direction on where I am heading with the story. I do believe the final draft will deviate from the original exercise, but that’s ok. The exercise has given me the structure to develop the initial ideas, but now I just have to work out the story according to my own vision.
Although there are some autobiographical elements in the story (as people close to me will undoubtedly notice), I would like to emphasize that more than 95% of the story is fiction, and thus have little bearing with the situations and characters in real life!
I often held my auntie’s hand whenever we walked together to the hawker center, a few blocks away from where we lived in Singapore. Once we arrived however, I would always yank my hand free and run off. My auntie always struggled to keep up, shouting at me not to run, while I was zigzagging between the many tables and stools and evading the hordes of hungry people, while I explored the stalls that went round and round the entire hawker center. There were hundreds of them, thousands, millions, as far as the eye could see, and every single one of them held the delightful promise of a delicious treat. I want the Mee Goreng! Or maybe the Hokkien Mee? Or do I want Otah? No, no, wait! I see Roti Paratha! I want Roti Paratha!