Phew!

So I was flipping (surfing?) through Facebook when I found a picture of a guy I had a massive crush on when I was a kid in High School. Would it be terrible if I said I did not end up with him because currently, he’s not as hot as I remember? In fact, he isn’t that hot at all.

Phew! Note to self. Sometimes life does work out for the better. =)

Written on the Wall

Over the weekend, I’ve spent whatever free time I have between the boyfriend (the Eizwan) and spring cleaning (even though it’s summer, it’s odd to call it summer cleaning. Odder still when you live in the tropics because there’s no spring or summer. It’s just rain or…no rain), I’ve been putting up the first part of my plot on the wall.

Plot blurred for...obvious reasons

Plot blurred for...obvious reasons

This isn’t a usual habit of mine. This came about when I realized, writing crime and mysteries require a little bit more organization compared to writing well, anything where I can just draw out what happens on my rabbit notebook (another habit I’ve picked up. I have a Mequelrius notebook that frequently have silly pictures in front. Current one is a rabbit eating a snake, previous one was a monkey playing guitar) and then sit down on my pc writing.

This time round, I need to figure out each character and their movements and where on earth do different hints get dropped. I’ve always found pacing very important in everything I write and I do but I think that’s the result of being an internet and movie generation. My music teacher once said that I live life way too fast, way too vicariously. I want to be there, and I want to be there NOW! One of my ex-colleagues blamed me for being part of the Internet generation, for not understanding what it means to queue at the bank and wait three days for something to be activated. I said huffily then, “Of course I’ve queued at the bank. It was to re-activate my internet banking.”

You get the idea.

Now mysteries, I need to have pacing and I need to slow down my writing and speed it up at the right places. Whilst some thrillers and crime novels tend to have a linear progression, I tend to want a combination of both, a linear progression of a modern detective story but with the complexity of a classic detective series. The danger of a classic detective series is that sometimes, the murder is just so implausible: “Aha! The murder happened when he took the pipe, stuffed it down X’s throat and replaced it with Y’s pipe.” I think I read somewhere most murders are not premeditated and rarely as sophisticated as the ones Poirot solves.

Which brings in realism. Being realistic is awfully hard. Research is even harder. I have a tendency to over-research and not JUST BLOODY WRITE (a sore point that I was reminded off whilst watching Get Smart yesterday. Most of the jokes were recycled from a bajillion movies and yet I laughed my head off. I bet you the writer didn’t take years to come up with THAT) and sometimes, the danger is that once you’ve over-researched and poured blood, sweat and tears at the photocopy machine at the National Library in KL (since despite being a LIBRARY, you can’t actually borrow anything), you want to pour everything that you’ve researched in into what you write. IF THAT INCLUDES TELLING YOU HOW THE POLICE FORCE IS ORGANIZED AND THE PAPERWORK THAT GOES INTO AN AUTOPSY, SO BE IT.

Yes, I do know which forms you have to fill up if you want to have an autopsy on someone. Hey, in fact, I have the forms in my room!

Hmm…an exciting thought suddenly occured to me. If I need to figure out how a gun is shot, should I go to a shooting range? I suppose sometimes writing is an excuse for me to do new and interesting things. It’s not like I’m going to figure out how to kill someone and actually do it, to see if it works.

Shudders. Surprisingly, despite wanting and loving murder mysteries, I find planning the killing the hardest part. I suggested to David that it might be because I’m too nice. I can’t and won’t go around killing people. It feels awful. David said it was nonsense and proceeded to suggest multitudes of ways to kill people.

Anyway, I’m off to the wall in my bedroom. The plot is nowhere near completion and I need to complete my murder wall before getting some other work done. And it takes forever to paste ribbons on the wall. So anyone would like to be kind and donate that lovely glass thingie that’s on House MD, feel free to do so. It’ll be much appreciated.

Journey’s End

So it has been one helluva week. Well, it was one hell of a week for DW fans as it marked THE END OF SERIES FOUR Doctor Who. I was so traumatized by the ending that I spent most of Monday moping. And whenever the Doomsday theme played, I’d burst into tears.

I’d like to come up with something more coherent for Journey’s End but I’m so awfully tired right now that it’s going to be impossible. The best I can do at this point is to post an incoherent thought at 12am.

*Spoiler alert for DW – Highlight if you will*

It took me a while to get over Journey’s End. At first I wasn’t so sure how I liked the ending. Granted, I loved how emotional and weepy it made me and my sister. We started crying from the moment the Doctor decided to let Rose go on Bad Wolf Bay and I was pretty unsure about human!Doctor. Losing Donna of course, was painful and Wilf’s homage to the Doctor made me cry.

Loads of fanfic later and writing one for myself, made me realize that I was pretty okay with the human!Doctor/Rose ending. I love the human!Doctor, he’s as real for me as the timelord!Doctor and I can make peace with that. And nothing remains impossible in DW, Rose came back, the Master came back and the Daleks came back every season. So, in my mind, Donna will come back too. Or at least, that’s what fanfics are for.

BUT, we got our Doctor/Rose kiss!! Which made me so happy! I love Rose so much as a companion and as a female character on TV. I love how flawed she is, I love how hard she tries and how often she gets it wrong. I love how petty she can get and how much she loves the Doctor. So, even though I’m a little sad that Mickey left to join Torchwood in their real universe, I’m happy she got one version of the Doctor who was willing to give up the universe to be with her.

And Martha and Rose liking each other! Awesome possums, considering how much their fanbase hated each other. I knew they’d have liked each other having met!

*End spoilers*

Alright, originally I planned on writing loads about this week. But it seems that by 12am, I’m out like a baby and it’s difficult to form intelligent thoughts much less regurgitate them into a coherent form of prose. So instead, I bid you adieu with fandom squealing and then write on my blog things that I’m going to write about tomorrow: plot on wall (well, literally) and a new project am working on. Been a busy, busy bee so probably why I’ve been so tired!

Bye bye!

Growing up with Who

*Mild spoilers for DW: The Stolen Earth. Don’t read if you don’t want to know the flavour of the episode*

It’s crazy on how much I adore the series Doctor Who and I’ve tried over and over again to express the best I can why I adore the series. It really isn’t about the an alien who looks awfully cute and travels in a time machine that looks like a police box.

After postponing as much as possible, I finally decided to watch “The Stolen Earth” with my sister. Both Hani and I broke down at the ending, possibly not as much as I did for “Doomsday” but enough nonetheless.

Later on in the evening, I tried to explain again to Eizwan on why Doctor Who resonates for me so strongly. I said  that it had something to do  with the fact that I could watch these characters on TV, fall deeply in love with all of them, the Doctor and his companions and be taken on this incredibly complex and emotional journey, one so emotional that it really felt like someone had taken your heart and ripped it apart. This is, in my mind, the ultimate skill of a story teller, to take the audience on a journey with you, to believe and to love as deeply as the writer/creator does.

This morning, I found on the Guardian, an article analysing the impact of the Doctor’s emotional journey on children. It never occurred to me, as deeply affected as I maybe by the episodes, the kind of impact it had on children. The parents wrote in about how their kids would be unable to sleep at night and parents would spend Saturday evenings calming down their kids’ hysterics.

According to child psychologist Charles Fernyhough,  empathetic sadness, or feeling unhappy because something unhappy happened to someone else, is the most complex of all emotions and parents try their best to shelter their kids from a difficult emotion. Doctor Who, the writer claims, is teaching children a very difficult and sophisticated emotion where their hero goes through devastating tragedy after tragedy. This is in contrast to  most happy endings (or surrealism if you watch Spongebob) in most modern Western fairy tales. I say Western as Japanese anime tend to have a darker flavour to them most of the time.

It’s not to say one is more superior over the other: a Disney fairytale where there’s happily ever after vis a vis Doctor Who, a darker fairy tale where the hero does not get the princess (or in the case of DW, the hero loses the girl to another universe, the only other “family” left in the universe dies etc etc) but I do wonder, what it means to force children to “grow up” so quickly with darker fairy tales. In a world where nine year olds where high heels and make up, do we need them to understand devastation and melancholy so early?

But I am not a parent, so I cannot imagine to comment. If I were a parent, I’d imagine I would love my kids to watch Doctor Who (not because I’m a psychotic fan, that’s besides the point) but to share with them the wonderment of the Who-niverse and the complexity of understanding grief, sacrifice and happiness from a hero who is always optimistic about the future.

….and possibly to scare the hell out of them, because DW is awfully scary.

Meeting Gordon Ramsey. Sort of.

Last night, I dreamt that I got a writing mentor by the name of Gordon Ramsey. The rest of the dream was spent doing a tomato run at 10pm and getting my ass kicked in the kitchen. GR made me cry really, really hard.

Thank God it was just a dream. Although, I would really like to meet Gordon Ramsey.

Preferably from a safe distance though.

Capturing the Mood

So in my previous entry, I tried to do something that I’ve not done in a while, write a blog entry with subtext. For some reason, about an hour after publishing the entry online, I decided that I didn’t like it at all. For some reason, I find it rather insincere and a wee bit pretentious. Or a lot pretentious, yadda, yadda, yadda.

I do feel like deleting it completely but I don’t think I should. I think its best I leave it on my blog as a reminder of what I should try and avoid doing.

This is one of the many challenges that I find in writing. I have a picture in my mind, a scene that I see and then to put that scene across is incredibly difficult. Sometimes, the words come off…well, just wrong and it doesn’t give out the feel that I want. My biggest problem is coming off as sincere as possible without sounding either pretentious…or well, angry. Or sometimes, when I’m trying to write noir, I end up sounding pretty goofy. I think sometimes despite my attempts at projecting a cynical image, I’m a pretty cheerful gal.

I was writing a “mood piece” yesterday which involved romance between two of my protagonists. I can do violence pretty okay, tension and suspense pretty well, but romance? I find it really difficult and despite tinkering with the story, I just couldn’t get the feel that I wanted for my piece and then hence, the rest of my *fingers crossed* novel. I don’t quite enjoy the way romance is portrayed in noir and hard-boiled detective novels: I find them mechanical and often times, perfunctory. The greatest challenge is pulling off a romance scene in a darker genre that is subtle and sincere, without sounding either cheesy or epic. Or naive.

I’ve finally decided the best way out of the funk that I have would be to read more poetry. Shamefully, I have something against poetry after two years of suffering in IB English. Each time we did poetry, I’d be incredibly clueless of the meaning and interpretation and then I’d just give up. And cry a little. And have this deep fear of poetry.

But it’s time to overcome it, so the very few people who read this blog (or lurkers out there), I need your help. Tell me your favourite poems and your favourite poets and why? Give me a feel for what a novice can do to attempt understanding poetry and widening my world to something a little more than just mystery and suspense novels and Doctor Who.

Spring Cleaning

With the economy going through a massive downturn, it is hard to find anyone feeling cheerful as of late. Oil prices have started to creep into every day affairs and I am really starting to feel the pains of inflation. Knowing full well income has not adjusted for the rise in the cost of living, times are going to get real hard for a while.

So, what is a girl to do?

The answer is clean the house! Really, it is an odd answer to the economy but when times are hard and you start clinging to the old ways, you realize that the best thing you can do is to keep treading water and keep your head above. This is my attempt at trying to live an efficient and a less wasteful lifestyle and hopefully, a more economically viable lifestyle. The other added bonus is that it allows me to distract myself from the reality that is Malaysia: high food prices, high fuel prices, sodomizing politicians etc.

One of the hardest things about cleaning up is letting go. The rule of thumb is that if you had not looked at a particular item for over a year, just throw it out. Heh. Easier said than done. After going through my stuff from over the years: from high school days up to my time at work, I feel like I’m ripping my heart out of chest when I have to throw out at some of the my notebooks that I’ve kept since I was 11,  my old music pieces and souvenirs from India. But I have to accept that these little treasures of mine are ancient and useless. Unless I become famous, which is unlikely in the foreseeable future, these items are certainly not E-bay worthy. Even the late Heath Ledger’s signature could only garner 500 USD so I doubt my hat from the Tibetan Children’s School is worth anything.

Except my heart and soul. Boo hoo. But who could put an Ebay price on unquantifiable things like heart? There’s no economics of love. So out it goes.

As the clutter goes out, I hope that I am opening doors for newer and greater opportunities. This is me trying to be optimistic. I understand that optimism isn’t a very fashionable trait for a write and cynicism is far more worthy a trait of an artist. BUT cynicism has a tendency to make you curl up in your room, write emo poetry whilst listening to emo music. There’s a charm in being optimistic, it allows you to forget reality and stay deluded. If delusional is what keeps me fighting to survive, I’ll choose optimism any day.

Bwahahahahahaha. That’s hilarious. Optimism over cynicism. The next thing I’ll say is that I’ll start singing kumbaya and holding hands around the campfire and be all hippie. Right.

Seriously though, it does feel good to throw your old stuff out. Out with the old, in with the sustainable life. And knowing I am changing my life to make it more viable economically and environmentally, it’s something to make me feel good during these hard times.