Ordinary People

So, as I was saying in my previous post, I finally finished watching the first season of Insecure, the HBO series starring Issa Rae and Yvonne Orji.

I don’t watch much telly and don’t keep up, so I had not heard of the show. I happened upon it when googling about Nigeria: one link led to another and I suddenly found myself watching a recording of a radio interview with Yvonne Orji.

Orji is my partner Don’s surname and in the interview the radio host remarks on how it sounds like Orgy, something I’ve always laughed about.

Anyway, I looked up Insecure immediately after that, started watching the series, and binged on Season 1’s final three episodes today.

OK, if you haven’t yet watched the series and intend to, there will probably be spoilers after the ‘read more’ tag.Read More »

I Knew a Woman by Theodore Roethke

I Knew a Woman

 I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,

When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
The shapes a bright container can contain!
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,
Or English poets who grew up on Greek
(I’d have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek).
How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin,
She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and Stand;
She taught me Touch, that undulant white skin;
I nibbled meekly from her proffered hand;
She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake,
Coming behind her for her pretty sake
(But what prodigious mowing we did make).
Love likes a gander, and adores a goose:
Her full lips pursed, the errant note to seize;
She played it quick, she played it light and loose;
My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees;
Her several parts could keep a pure repose,
Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose
(She moved in circles, and those circles moved).
Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:
I’m martyr to a motion not my own;
What’s freedom for? To know eternity.
I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.
But who would count eternity in days?
These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:
(I measure time by how a body sways).
~ Theodore Roethke (1908-1963)

Book Review: How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

Here is my review in all its original smutty glory.

Actually, I have a confession to make: I don’t consider the reviews I write reviews at all, not according to the Wikipedia definition anyway: ‘A book review is a form of literary criticism in which a book is analyzed based on content, style, and merit.’

Once upon a time I wrote those kinds of reviews, now I guess I just talk about what the books mean to me.

How to Build a Girl reminded me of growing up ‘fat’ and doubtful in 1980s Batu Pahat, Johor. Left to my own devices I would not have doubted anything, least of all myself, but encouraged by some friends and some family members, I suffered from periodical bouts of self-hate and self-doubt. Sure, I should not have let what they say get to me, but hey, that was before I knew anything about life, or myself, way before I became the fabulous Me that’s typing this post.

Anyway, I should perhaps write a post about being a ‘fat’, sexually-frustrated teenager for my personal blog. It would be a book-length post though, so perhaps I should think of writing a memoir. That would be one way to get thrown out of the country.

Until then, my review of How to Build a GirlRead More »

Smouldering Scottish Folktales


The Faery Host by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

First published in the August 2008 issue of in Quill

THE IDEA for this piece came about when one of the editors of Quill and I were discussing ‘hot men of literature’.

I meant writers who got one hot under the collar, but she was thinking along the lines of Heathcliff, the moody bastard in Emily Bronte’s gothic romance Wuthering Heights. I am not a fan of either the novel or its hero. In fact, I have never lusted after any storybook character although I do still have a most innocent crush on Laurie in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women.

I am also rather intrigued by Bran, the white-haired boy in Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising Sequence. However, that was well and good when I was 18 and the character was about 14, but rather dodgy now that I’m 41.

Anyway, I jokingly said to the editor that if I had to pick someone out of literature to do the horizontal lambada with it’d have to be Tam Lin. ‘Who?’ she’d asked. Was this someone from the classic Chinese novel, The Dream of the Red Chamber? No, despite the Oriental-sounding name, Tam Lin is not Chinese, but a character in Scottish folklore.

The editor was intrigued and Wiki’ed him. ‘How fascinating! Yes, do write something about how you’re in love with Tam Lin,’ she said. I agreed despite not being in the least enamoured of him: I have feigned devotion to men of flesh-and-blood before so why not one of ink-and-paper? So long as it pays the bills, I say.Read More »