A Space of My Own. Time Pending…

Snowdrop: Hope

The city ruined me.

When I was a teenager, I lived in a quiet little town in the countryside by the river. My parents worked 12-hour shifts, and I was often alone. Cautious with ironclad morals, I never caused any teenage ruckus in town, attended impromptu bonfire parties, or dabbled with either drugs or alcohol. With dial-up Internet, there were very few things I could do but write.

Alone in a quiet house, accompanied by freshly mowed lawns in the summers and blankets in the winters, I was forced to imagine an exciting life for myself, craved other worlds and other people – fabulous, magical worlds and fabulous, magical people.

I created Nocte as my better shadow, her siblings as my brother’s other faces, and her friends and enemies the friends and enemies I did not have, not the sort of friends who were as unwavering, creative, strong or distinct as Nocte’s.

Alone. Quiet. With my own space. I could hear myself think…I could hear the worlds and people I created very clearly and without obstruction. At 16, nothing was too ridiculous to imagine, nothing too strange to dabble in, and nothing too true to lie about. Everything was raw and came out in a stream of words and jarred grammar. There was nothing that could stop me from writing anything I wanted, me included. Especially myself.

Nocte Yin was an escape, a saving grace, and a gift to my boring, everyday life.

I was able to conceive and maintain a certain discipline and talent in writing.

It all changed, however, when I moved to the city for university. The city was bigger with more people and more activities. More to see. More to feel. More to be. I found myself diverting my focus to the latest anime, the latest get-together with friends, the latest career choice. There was so much to be happy about, be sad about, be worried about.

But mostly worry. So much worry.

Being a teenager, my parents were able to cushion me from the hard, jagged pains of life. Being an adult, I now have to fend for myself. School, job searching, maintaining a livelihood. So hard, harsh and horrendous. My reality became more ridiculous, more strange and more truthful than the worlds and people I had created years before.

I found myself struggling to write about them. I found myself without time or space to write about them.

The self-discipline and talent for writing I was once so proud of…waned in the face of reality.

I frequently think of this great loss in my life. I remember the time and space I used to have, and try to recreate it. I would go back home, to my parents’, and think that, for that weekend, I can relive that inspiration and creativity and write something – anything. I would wake up early in my current house in the city, earlier than my brother and his girlfriend, just to recreate that quiet time I used to have in hopes of writing something – anything. I once went to the park late in the afternoon, alone and quiet and surrounded by freshly mowed lawns in the summer, hoping to write something – anything. I managed a paragraph.

Things are so fast and jarring in the city – so distracting. I cannot manage myself.

Time is not malleable and hard to control. Space – but space – I can manipulate.

The house I currently live in, in the city, is owned by my parents, bought two decades ago for the sole reasons of giving my family of immigrants a chance in the big city…and a home base when it came time for my brother and I to leave the small town for the city’s many post-secondary schools. This house was built decades ago, with old wiring and no space between the walls for insulation. It was cold and drafty in the winter.

I say “was” because my parents have decided to renovate this drafty, old house this year. In fact, we are undergoing renovations as we speak. I was not only able to retain a room for my bedroom, but also another room for a living room/office. I have so many ideas (also distractions from writing) about this office. I want to recreate that quiet, alone space so that I can write again.

I want it so desperately that sometimes all I can imagine in the space is a desk and my desktop – the bookshelves, sofabed, coffee table, lamp, elliptical are only at the peripheral.

I want, desperately, to have that again: a space of my own.

A space where nothing is too ridiculous to imagine, nothing too strange to dabble in, and nothing too true to lie about. A space where I can be raw and open, and not afraid to share and be all that I am capable of communicating and being.

A space to be free.

A space where I can be surrounded by all the things I love.

A space where I can find my better shadow again.

A space of my own…with time pending.

Snowdrop | Hope

甄雪清

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What’s Your Passion?

zhenxueqingHeaderPassionFlower

It was a small room: two windows, two desks and two desktops. There were three of us: the senior manager, the administrator and me. They were staring at me. I was staring at the ground. They were waiting for an answer I could not give, not at the time – not ever. He, the senior manager, had asked me a simple question that would have been easy to answer. However, the setting, the time, the situation – a small office, 11 in the morning, and a job interview – made it hard to think; I drew a blank.

“What’s your passion?” he asked.

My first thought was: anime – manga – fanfiction. Not exactly the most professional response in face of a prospect. But as soon as the thought came, it went. I knew, instinctively, that they are not my true passions. They do not move me deep enough. They do not pull me hard enough. They do not fan the fires of my heart and soul. They are not passions, but interests.

So I answered truthfully. “Um… I don’t know.”

Today, on the streetcar riding back home, it suddenly hit me: creative writing. Nothing moves me more than writing. Nothing pulls me as hard as writing. Nothing fans (and drains) the fires of my heart and soul quite like writing. When I’m inspired, I lose sleep, I forget to eat and I even stop in my work. Literally. When I’m at my job, in the middle of the day,  I would just stop everything to write down a brilliant combination of prose and wit.

It defines me.

It comes and goes without warning, very sudden and sharp and absolute. It’s a feeling – right there – that pierces my heart and pushes me forward. It makes me lightheaded and invincible. It makes me more than I am. It leaves me breathless, shaking and hungry. When I’m in the middle of the street, take-out sushi in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other, when I feel that urge to write, it literally propels to walk faster, my mind spinning with all the possibilities of all the worlds out there in my imagination.

It gives me purpose, and I lose myself in the words, thoughts and dreams as I’m writing.

There is no one else in the world.

Not even me.

There are only the ideas, characters and worlds being transcribed into words that are not enough to describe them.

That is my passion.

Writing is my passion.

If I could go back to that interview, I would hold my passion close. My passion is too private for them. Too personal. I will, however, tell them that I’m still trying to find it because, ultimately, my passion cannot be grasped. The inspiration behind writing ebbs and flows on its own – it is uncontrollable.

My passion is mine, and I love how powerful and happy it makes me feel.

So I ask you now, whoever you are out there: what is your passion?

甄雪清

Passion Flower | Passion

In Which I Had a Momentary Lapse in Sanity

It’s 11 in the morning on a Wednesday. I’m sick and I’ve been told by my boss to work at home. On my schedule today include: e-mails, blogger outreach, a blog entry for the company (check), grocery shopping (check – did it at 7:45am), and laundry (will do that now). Working at home enables me to multitask much more effectively in that, evidently, I can get personal things done as well.

Including this very, very late blog entry.

If you haven’t noticed by now, nearly a month ago, I deleted, rewrote, updated, deleted, rewrote and updated again the latest chapters in Nocte Yin: Anti-Villain, Anti-Hero and Anti-Everything-Else. I know that it was confusing for a lot of people, and I wrote messages and comments in answer to these questions. Of course, not everyone knew about the rewrites or had their questions answered, so I decided to write this blog entry to detail my momentary lapse in sanity.

As I was writing the next chapter (Chapter 34), I suddenly realized that I didn’t like how things ended with Earth. I wanted Nocte to say goodbye because, frankly, I couldn’t handle the angst. (This is surprising what with how many unfortunate events I’ve flung at Nocte over the years.) So, in a random and crazy fashion, I rewrote Chapter 33 and then wrote a whole new Chapter 34 whereby Nocte says goodbye to Alex and Chantee.

You’d think it’d end there, wouldn’t you?

Well, unfortunately, it didn’t.

No sooner did I upload the new chapter, I decided that I liked the angst. I realized that I liked the abrupt ending in where Nocte just suddenly gets transported to Erisire – no goodbye. I liked that extra kick and punch! So… I deleted the “goodbye” chapter and uploaded the old chapters (with a slight edit).

I don’t regret the rewrite or the roundabout method in which I reassured myself that my first instincts were right. I do, however, regret that I’ve publicly humiliated myself by deleting, updating, deleting and updating again.  I apologize to all my readers for the confusion, but I’m not exactly the most secure author there is in the world. (I’m pretty sure all authors are insecure.)

I wish I had a Nocte update to make up for the confusion, but instead I have a 13|thirteen update.

甄雪清

Alyssum | Insanity