Writing: Fear/Regret stopping you from calling yourself a writer?

  

I loved this quote when I came across it on Pinterest trying to find pins to put on my ‘Rule of Thirds’ ChickLit concept board. Yes, I’m attempting to Pinterest. Can’t say I have tried it before, though I was signed up with it more than a year ago. Never really saw how I could use it to drum up interest for my book(s). But, ever since I came away from a day seminar at the Sydney Writer’s Festival last month, I may have been inspired to try it in a way I never thought about. Use it to create a page/board (still learning it’s lingo here) for the book/story in mind, helping create the look/feel of the novel. So, for the last week, I’ve been searching pins for weddings, love, romance, mother-daughter etc. and still going. Don’t know if it’s been at all successful but can’t hurt to try. 
What was the point of telling you all that? Well, as writers, and truly anyone who has a job that gets them or their product in front of strangers, go through this regardless of the career path you choose. We are held back by fear. Our potential squashed ruthlessly by the little devil that sits on our shoulders, and whispers ‘it’s not good enough’. Let’s give it a flick off our shoulders. Time to free them shoulders!
I believe regret is a painful thing to go through in life, but I’ve also realized personally that fear is the only thing that usually causes one to have regrets in the first place. 
If you fear about what people will think, then try and divert that fear to but what if they like it. You can’t please every one. This is not Pleasantville. 
I’m going to try and not fear too much about too much from now on, or at least attempt. After all, I’ve come so far from being that tiny girl who questioned whether I could even wield enough command to handle directing film cast and crew as short as 12 months ago. And now, I have made at least 4 short films, have 3 others in the works and a major feature in the planning. And most of all, those lovely folks who gave me and my tiny stories a go are eager to work with me again as I am eager to work with them too. What was holding me back all those years after finishing my study? Fear. What was I doing every single day till that fateful day after Valentine’s Day last year? Regret. Regret not having enough guts to go ‘hell, I’m gonna try before I die’. That was pretty much what gave me a final push, whether I was willing to let go of a dream and regret it all my life, or whether I was gonna give it a try. I voted for try, and try I did. Firstly, I released my debut novel despite fear of criticism. Then, wrote my first short film and took it by its horns. 
It is my deepest belief that one is not a writer until someone else gives you that title. Before this, I used to say I want to be a writer. Nowadays, I say I am a freelance writer and filmmaker. It feels bloody good to be able to say that. 
I may not be known yet, I may not have the whole skill set yet, but I am learning, I am trying, and most of all, I am happy. So, do yourself a favor. If I can give you one advice then it is this: truly try before you give up on a dream, you never know the strength that lies in you till you hit that fork in the road and you must choose. Choose wisely and give it all you got. 

All my best to you. 

Writing: FYI Writers have the most trouble writing of anyone!

Well, before I dig into this piece, I’d just like to express your surprise which no doubt peaked your interest in this particular post. ‘What the?!’, ‘How’s that possible?’, ‘Absurd!’, ‘Don’t be silly. Why would writers have trouble writing?!’

Yes, laugh at the idea, but this idea isn’t just mine but shared by a lot more people than one tinny-tiny Nepali writer and a naturalized Aussie (a.k.a, me!)

20131216-205125.jpg

Thomas Mann pinned that donkey’s tail quite accurately. I confess! I have a lot of difficulty writing. It’s not just the act of writing that is painful but all the aftermath, the emotions that are hard to handle, the anguish whether you did it well, how it will be perceived etc.

Think about it. A writer lives in the story realm for a very lengthy process: from inception of story, to character development, story development, writing process, countless editing process, and then the final draft! No one else, not the reader, nor actors of screenplay/plays etc. spend as much time being the character as much as the writer. Nope. No one but the writer knows that character, and ALL other characters, their motives and drive in a single story in such depth. In fact, I think I’m safe in telling you all that when these characters are written in stories, writers ‘become’ the characters. We don’t just understand the characters and try and portray them as an actor would, but for the duration of the writing process, we are the characters of stories, telling ‘our’ story. We see, feel, say, touch, taste everything the character does in that time we are them – or at least it feels very real, every situation they are in.

Now, go back to Mann’s statement; that writers have the most trouble writing. Can you not see why this is now? We are not only being the people who the stories are about, but we also have to learn to separate ourselves in an odd way simultaneously so than we may be able to jot down the story as we ‘play’ it. Then, to add more weight to this task, we have to constantly be aware of the POV of the story: whether first person, third/omnipresent, and the structure of the language, words and their meanings etc.

It’s all a lot to handle. No wonder sometimes the question ‘How do you write?’ gets asked, and I guess we will all tell you, we do not know how. All we know is that it is ‘one word at a time’ like Stephen King once noted. One word at a time; for our mental capacity is already so preoccupied with a hell of a lot more that is going on than on the actual ‘task’ of writing.

When I write, I’m not apart of the writing to be able to pause and look on what I’ve done so far. That tasks comes when we take a haitus from a story and need to jog our memory. No. When I write, my main trouble is in the story and how it may be unfolding.

After all the writing and editing comes the hardest thing I have to do; release the story with excitement and apprehension.

Will it do well? Won’t it? Will it read well or won’t it? Will they (the readers) feel the characters, be in their head, or won’t they?

Will they like me, or won’t they?

Yep. At the end of it all, the main reason we struggle to write reveals itself: me! The idea that the author invests so much time on their characters that it is said, (and I wholly agree) that each character possesses something of the author, they are the author. And who wouldn’t be nervous being scrutinized by readers such?

Not me. Hell, I’m even a tad nervous every time I post something or other in this blog. Why? Anxiety. Did you like it, or not? And that is the naked truth!

Poem: Thief

Come to me
in the silence of the night,
haunting the spaces of the dwelling,
like a lingering perfume from flowers long gone,
or the first light of the full moon casting.

Come to me in the quite of the night,
like soft crunching of leaves in autumn,
or the heavy fall of rain in spring,
rustling up emotions violently,
or the whisper of the wind that speaks in voices unbeknownst.

Come once all are asleep,
treading as light as a thief,
with your perfume enticing,
trick the mind with charms,
uttering words that weave a tale seducing,
and have me write,
your word per word,
as if without them I’m dying.

Come like a thief,
come duly,
make a habit of stealing,
my hours away from me.
…,your word per word
as if without them I’m dying…

Writing: Judging self worth and accomplishment

This is a very tricky topic for me, only because it opens up a can of worms; worms that question and squirm till they have left me feeling quite empty and no better afterwards.

As a creative person, the question of ‘worth’ and ‘accomplishment’ kind of go hand in hand with how successful we are at doing what we do and yet sustain some semblance of a lifestyle, however small or simple that may be. Until such moment, this notion of self worth and accomplishment are undeniably tied in a tight knot around our level of success.

You know how this makes me feel? And many others I assume. It make me feel worthless. That’s right, I said it. I finally said it. None of this writing post after post, nor poetry after poetry, nor insightful article one after the other, and not even novels matter at the end of the day. Why? Because these things aren’t tangible, we cannot hold them, we cannot prune them and make a garden, nor can they earn me a living. Not until some one out there thinks I have talent enough to make a life out of it.

You’re probably thinking what has brought this on today? What has caused my usual happy veneer to come crashing down and reveal the truth that lies tormenting me and other struggling artist? This is what’s bothering me. Ready.

The fact that we have to prove ourselves time and time again. More so than any other profession out there. It’s not about how well we perform in an exam, or how well we do a presentation, nor how hard we study. These don’t seem to matter. Not really. We can’t, like others, apply for a ‘writer’ position, nor are we given the same chance as an apprentice or intern, or even work experience. It’s a torturous loop, and we have no idea on how to navigate it so that we can put our foot in the doorway. I’m very frustrated with this whole thing I guess. Because, although I have two novels and scriptwriting experience under my belt amongst some other handy talents, none of it matters. I’m waiting for someone to even give me an opportunity to show what I can do, what I can learn, the effort I can put.

What’s my self worth you say? At the moment nothing really. I’m still that girl with the dream of seeing a book with my name on a shelf, but the more I look at it, the sillier I feel, this dreaming.

I am no one but a girl who is still trying to prove her worth. Still waiting for an opportunity – still waiting for the cloak of invisibility fall off.

But will I give up my writing? Perhaps not. Can’t imagine life without it. It’s a part of me, and let’s face it, turning a part of you off is one of the hardest things a person can do. All I can leave you with for the moment is, we are all fighting for something, it may not necessarily be writing for you, but we are all fighting. And some times we tire in between the quite period, questioning ourselves till the ceasefire. Some good days, some bad in the no-mans-land.

Poem: Silly

I write this in a sleep deprived state
hoping for coherence and some sense
yes some sense
a sense to my sentences
or perhaps some sense you display
or you
that why you be reading something silly
quite silly really
if it started with this
‘I write this in a sleep deprived state’.
Go on, take a moment and think
really think
what was it you were hoping for
a story
a scene
an emotion riddled piece
or an observation of life?
Or just something silly
really
since that’s how it began.
Here is what might astonish
or even despair
or you may laugh
or smile
that humans are curious
curious indeed
to know and discover
to expand beyond their own life
seeking knowledge
or a moment
or a new breath of life.
And that’s what brought you here
to this silly little poetry
that truly isn’t about anything
but you and me
being silly.
So go on
turn that frown
(if there is one)
till it’s upside down
as I bid you goodnight.
🙂

Urgent Poetry feat. ‘I See You’

I don’t really feel like writing anything crafty today, or for that matter even think about writing crafty. I tried. I really did, on the flight from Sydney to Melbourne today. I probably wrote about a page and a bit on the short story I’m writing, inspired by a famous actress’s life. However, such was my mood, or perhaps the fact that I was a bit on the tired side, that not much creative juices flew through me. Yep. Not even a tinny tiny micro-poetry. I know you’ve noticed that too. That I’m unusually ‘quiet’ today.

Well… Let me rectify that right now. Right now! Ok, here comes another poetry (this time forced!). This is ‘I See You’… (and don’t sing the song! You know what song I mean :p).

I see you
lingering there
beyond the dark corner
the crevice.
I see the glint in your eyes
hungry and leering
like a bogieman in the dark
waiting for the opportune moment.
I know you’ll launch
fangs bared
just when I let my guard down
and you coil, then pounce.

I see you lingering
eyeing me
as I take another bite
into flesh.

I see you,
just beware!

Lol. Well look at that! Geez. I don’t mean to sound like I have such a huge head that I’m constantly kissing the ceiling cause I can’t seem to land back down. It’s nothing like that. I was just thinking of making a confession – all the poetry (well, almost all, except the initial 4/5 I posted) were literally written on the spot and posted! I don’t really know how I seem to spew these out, I’m glad I can, ’cause it’s allowed me to keep presenting you with some reading material.

I just had to laugh at myself, because I usually don’t know what I’m about to write or how it will turn out. I just wanted to say, to you all who have kept reading my pieces, quirky or not, and by that merit, have encouraged me to keep enjoying what I do and keep presenting uncensored, unselected, and completely random works.

Thank you!!! And goodnight all. Hope you had a wonderful day, and enjoyed today’s little offering regardless. 🙂

Hoppitty-hopping 2: Transit in Kuala Lumpur

So, after a cranky Eva boarding the Malaysian flight to Kuala Lumpur, it’s suffice to say my love of flying returned and I frolicked the entertainment section, keeping busy etc. I attempted to chronicle my journey in a small diary I took with me for the purpose of making a log and later blog about it, but I didn’t get beyond 1 and half pages of cranky note taking straight after the full-body-scanner incident.

The flight was as normal as you could expect, though I do have a small complaint regarding the meals we were served. NOT ENOUGH! A snack doesn’t equate a meal, Malaysian Airline! I was starving by the time we got to Kuala Lumpur, and staring down the barrel of a 6 hour transit in the middle of the night in a terminal with a handful of shops open selling only alcohol, chocolate, and more alcohol! Well, at least we pre-picked a bottle we were going to buy for Dad on our way back! Though I was so hungry, I was tempted to buy a box of Lindt in desperation. Glad I didn’t, for there wasn’t even a shop where we could buy water, and the drinking fountains were far and few in between.

About two hours before our flight boarded for Nepal, at 6:30am, a café finally opened and Mum and I rushed in, got confused staring at a wide and long menu, of which most things we asked for were ‘not available’, so at the end of it all, there were only a handful of items we could choose from anyway. Why didn’t the lady just tell us what was available from the start instead of waiting for us to order, and then tell us almost mockingly that it wasn’t an option at all?!

Any way, after 10 mins of trying to get lucky and land on an item that was ‘available’, whatever it is that I ended up ordering with trepidation actually was a beautiful meal. I delightedly finished an entire meal (a feat!), like a starved soul, which I was.

We made friends with another Nepali girl traveling alone in the same flight. Actually it was Mum who made friends, and I stole her friend away. Muhahaha. No really, those 6 hours were very difficult to get through.

I couldn’t help but play few scenes from Tom Hanks’, Terminal, in my head during those few hours, but I did. The reason being, there was actually a real life person who had accidentally missed his flight to Nepal three days prior, and had waited out for the next one at the terminal. HOW did he not go crazy ‘living’ in that terminal for two and a half days? I have no clue. I was about to rip my hair out of boredom since duty-free stores were all but closed, food was none-existent, and there was nowhere to comfortably lay down.

And through the whole thing, somehow, Mum and I had acquired a posse! Not the ‘I’m your die-hard fan’ kind of posse, but the ‘Looks like you know where you’re going, so we’ll just follow you, okay?’ ones. Or a gaggle of middle-aged Nepalese couples who found comfort in the fact that I could figure out which terminal we were meant to haunt, or which gate we were to board from.

I guess it didn’t help them much with KL Airport changing boarding gates on us about three times in that 6 hour transit alone, and rightfully so, people were nervous about accidentally standing at an incorrect gate and missing our flight: Terminal 2 perhaps, casting an older Tom Hanks!

In the end, the man boarded our flight, and got home safe I’m guessing, but still. The moral of the story here is, never ever miss a flight in KL airport, and get stranded with nothing to do for days on end.

(Image: Cloud cover over Malaysia)

Hoppitty-hopping 1: Departing Sydney

Where to start? It feels like an age since I sat down to write something for the blog, approximately a month in fact, has gone since I wrote something substantial. Since I left you all to go frolic a bit in Nepal and India, I thought, why don’t I share some of my experience. Give you a little peek into the holiday, the sights I saw, the smells I came across, the treks I walked, or the road through which we battled our way to get to a destination, crossing off sites from my Mum’s massive list of Temples she wanted to visit (and let me tell you, there was a whole heap of them, a whole heap!)

So where do I begin? Sydney’s Kingsford Smith International Airport? Yeah, that’s a good place to begin this crazy recollection of events; the Departure. Mum and I said goodbye to Dad, my two sisters, two brother-in-laws, and a cutie niece by the departure gate with trepidation. My mum’s a nervous traveller I guess. So we waved goodbye, and wheeled out hand-carry behind and stepped through the gates. Nothing would go wrong, right? WRONG?!

How very wrong! I’m usually quite an easy traveller. I don’t normally tend to stress unless it’s like do or die situation, of which I’ve never had to go through (Thank GOD). But here we were, approaching the luggage scanner and metal detector gates. People walking in throngs ahead and behind us, and my mum starting to get a little flustered, because let’s face it, she is always in a hurry to get things out of the way as quick as she can. So she hurries me along, telling me to put this and that through the scanners. I listen. Shouldn’t have to be honest, but I did, and meant I misunderstood certain things as people behind me were rude and hurried and cutting in, and cutting me off from baskets etc. So I dump my hand-carry and my handbag on the conveyor belt and walk to the metal detector, and wait for my turn. Mum’s already riled up, for no good reason mind you, and suddenly starts telling me to take my watch off as well. So I oblige, if only to give her a piece of mind.

By this time, I don’t doubt I had started to look rather odd and fidgety to the customs people (WHY?) They ask me to step through, and I do… and suddenly the machine goes off. GREAT! Just great. Mum’s looking more and more panicky, asking me in Nepali ‘What’s going on?’ I look down and realise I forgot about my belt between mum’s panicky instructions, the conveyor belt operator, and the pushy people. So I do what normal people would do, take the belt off and pass it through, then line up to walk through the gate again.

To my utter surprise, I get asked to go through a full body x-ray scanner, one of those new additions to airport security, to see if I’m hiding any ‘suspicious’ packages on or in my body. I’m not dumb. I knew what was going on. Obviously, my mum constantly panicking, and having to battle through pushy people to put this and that through the scanner, I obviously looked very ‘flustered’ to airport staff, and I don’t quite blame them for making me step into the full body scanner. I had nothing to hide! But that didn’t mean I wasn’t annoyed. I was very annoyed! Because of other people, I was appearing as if my head wasn’t screwed on. If only I could have screamed at them, but I suspect I might have received worse scrutiny at that point.

To make things worse, I was further pulled aside, for ‘random’ drug test. Random my a**! (Excuse the language, but you can understand my sentiment). Obviously they found nothing, and I was allowed to go about my business. However, by this point, the whole thing was off to a bad start and I was pretty ticked off!

Why do people suddenly turn into anxiety ridden nerve-fest as soon as it comes to customs clearance and such? And where are they trying to go in such a hurry that they can’t even give the person ahead of them in a line one measly minute to sort their stuff out before shoving and pushing? The plane isn’t going anywhere before its scheduled time! Besides, everyone gets there with plenty of time to spare, so why this mad stampede of sorts to get to the gate? What are they trying to achieve? I’m simply dumbfounded.

Seriously, all I can say is that if I’m ever rushed like that and get pulled aside again, I won’t be so kind to the person behind me rushing me. I’ll point fingers, dammit!

Suffice to say, I’m still cranky about that incident almost a month on.

(Image: Kathmandu Valley, taken from the window seat – obviously! 🙂 )

Hopping Across the World: from Mt Everest, to Mt Cook and the Uluru. (Part 2)

Well, where was I? Oh, yes, our first night in NZ and we were totally screwed. Two adults and three girls who had no where to go in a strange land. You guessed right if you think we were all panicking. I mean, our Uncle was there but he lived so far away and didn’t have a place big enough for us, and it was starting to get dark. By the way, did I mention it was the first time in our lives we had seen the Sun still up past 7pm? This place was odd to say the least!

But back to the point, seeing my parents worry, the hotel owner came up with a suggestion. He offered to stay my family in his small bar for the night as a room was going to be available in the morning with another Nepali family were leaving.

The bar was a dingy and dark alcove almost, with few sunken booths. Mum was rightfully worried that we had to stay there and we were all girls except Dad. I remember really not liking that place but we kind of had no choice. Then, almost by accident Mum remembered she knew someone else who lived in NZ, old family friends, and immediately asked if we could use the phone.

I don’t really know what was said so I’m guessing they were able to ask for a favor, ’cause in less than half hour, we were being hurried out of the motel/hotel and into a cab or the friend’s car, I’m not sure.

Pretty soon we were in the house of people we girls didn’t know, but they were nice and offered us dinner and stuff. They had three kids two, two girls and a boy. They awkwardly asked us if we wanted to go for a walk and curiously we obliged. I don’t know where we walked, but I remember we came across a zebra crossing at one point. Out of habit we stopped and waited for he incoming car to go before crossing. I mean that’s how Zohar crossings worked in Nepal – people gave way, not the card. Odd we knew, but that’s how it was. When the trio urged us to keep walking, my sister nervously put a foot upon a white strip and immediately the car halted. It was a bizarre scene for us to behold – the power of a common pedestrian!

We crossed the street and bought ice creams from the diary shop and walked back home. Me holding a whole heap of little coins in my hands all the way back and counting them and grinning like a fool. You want to know why? Because I thought I was rich holding hundred dollars or so in my tiny fist. Excited, I was to tell both my parents that I had s much money in change. Lol! Dada sat there and counted it for me again and told me, ‘No honey, you have $1.20 cents, not $120.’ Suffice to say I was mighty disappointed when I went to bed and refused to wake up before midday the next (nah, kind of had no choice over the jet lag matter, but still.)

Fair to say, our first day abroad was all manner of crazy, fun, exploration and disappointment. Was this the judge of things to come? Who knew. I was still just surprised by the terra cotta roofs!