Once, many years ago, I knocked on the front door of a stranger’s house just to get a glimpse of what was inside.
Windows and doors hint at and promise so much. They are literal entrances into other worlds.
Someone did answer the door I knocked on, all those years ago, and I seem to remember a dark and empty hallway: Nothing to see, move along, move along. I don’t know what I’d expected. Probably nothing. It was not knowing that spurred me into action. The possibility of what lay behind the polished wooden slats was irresistible. The reality could not help but be a disappointment.
I recently realised that I’d gone four months without writing a WIP report that I usually update every two months. It helps me and my higher-up keep up with mss that I’m working on, but of late there’s been not much happening except a lot of reading and commenting, and then more reading of re-writes. Anyway, I could have sworn that it wasn’t more than a month or so that I’d last done a WIP spread sheet, but actually, the last one was for April/May 2017. Oh the horror.
Time is passing by too fast. That is the way it is when you’re a grown-ass woman with responsibilities. But maybe it’s also the case if you’re drifting, sleeping the days away and letting each day fade into the next so that they end up being indistinguishable. (One day I shall take a three-month holiday to do just that.)
I’ve been busy. Reading and assessing mss take up big, fat chunks of time and yet it feels like you’re not doing too much and you end up thinking that you should be more active and productive. Then there is all the usual management of the household, which is exhausting and takes up so much time and leaves me feeling totally zonked.
Then I went to Penang for four nights, and it was mostly lovely, but also stressful because I spent a great deal of time with family, and let’s just say that a couple of them brought out the worst in a couple of others. Also, there were two under threes present and just looking at children that age makes me tired.
I spent my final night at an airbnb, alone, and had two half-days pottering about George Town, which I loved. I was thinking of going to Hanoi, but I’m now thinking maybe I should go to George Town again.
I need more time alone, to do nothing but wander and wonder, and read and think about the million things I want to do.
I’m just gonna jump straight in (and I may or may not add to this list from time to time):
Do NOT ask me how I am/how I’m doing/if I’m OK unless you are truly interested in my answer. If you are hoping/expecting that I will respond with the standard ‘I’m fine/OK’, you may be in for a surprise. There are days when I will just say I’m alright regardless of how I really feel, but most of the time I will tell you how things actually are, and if you don’t want to know then it’s best not to start the ball rolling.
If I say I’m worried or stressed or unhappy, do NOT respond by telling me to ‘Relax’.
‘If I say I am struggling to pay my bills, do NOT reply, ‘Almost everyone has money problems’ and ‘There are a lot more people who are worse off than you’.
I have been distracted by various things and not been updating this blog.
It is mostly good though. I am actually writing stories and finishing them. Is it too optimistic to aim to complete my collection at the end of July? Perhaps, but that’s my goal anyway. Even if I don’t meet it, it motivates me to keep on at it.
I will try to pop back here every now and then, if only to post music I’m listening to.
In the meantime, here’s a short list of stuff that has happened:
Found out about Leonora Carrington and am now reading her short stories. Weird and wonderful!
Bought The Wolf at the Door by J. Damask who is my friend Joyce Chng. I am enjoying it so much.
I am reviewing Lang Leav’s Sad Girls. I hope it doesn’t have the same effect on me as her poems do.
Will be reviewing Felicia Yap’s book. She is that Malaysian author who was signed by Random House (I think) and paid a mind-bogglingly huge advance.
I joined Tinder, specifying that I wasn’t interested in hooking up or looking for a romantic relationship. Met a couple of interesting people (of both sexes), but also two complete fuckwits. I have deleted my account.
Met a farrier from Sweden whom I call the Neighsayer. He is black and has a weird accent that’s a mix of English, Australian and others that I can’t identify – from learning English while travelling. A nice, unsleazy guy whom I can hang out with and not have to beat off with my umbrella.
Don and I are still together and he is still the love of my life.
That skit in Little Britain, in which the Indian woman keeps getting asked to repeat a phrase that is totally intelligible? It used to happen to me when I lived in England, despite the fact that I set aside my Malaysian accent for the convenience of my British coursemates.
Once, when I was in a train from Oxford to Paddington, I chatted with a blind man all the way through and He never asked me to repeat myself. Not even once.
When it finally came up that I was Malaysian, he said he’d never have guessed from my accent. I was being considerate, as I didn’t want him to find it hard to understand me.
The difference between him and my coursemates was that my coursemates could *see* I was foreign.