The Sounds of Summer

SURF

Surf’s up on Repulse Bay

So it’s goodbye to blue skies and long days drinking in the summer; hello to a work desk and clocking in/out again. Yes, ’tis the season for work after a long hiatus away from employment. (Blame it on the recurring blues) This is make-or-break time, unfortunately…my last-gasp attempt at middle-class propriety. But I’m trying to convince myself that I should treat everything with the utmost lightness.

Until it gets so light that I cancel myself out.

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The Road Home

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Around the Neighbourhood, circa 2014 (Home is just round the corner, after the steep stretch)

“In the beginning there was a river.  The river became a road and the road branched out to the whole world. And because the road was once a river it was always hungry.”  The Famished Road, Ben Okri

It’s a long strange road back to the land of happy valleys and blue skies, full of detours, dead ends and monsters in the disguise of white knights, as well as a few good men (and women). I’m not sure I’m fully there yet, what with the sudden darkening of my mind even on a good day like this (matched by the capricious weather, all sudden showers and squirts of sunshine), but slowly, laboriously, I find myself rejoining the ranks of the sane. This is a strange feeling, happiness, and I am unable to savour it except with caution, for fear it might disappear in an instant.

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The Anthropology of Hell

Hell is pretending to be well when you are anything but. It’s walking down supermarket aisles with next to no cash in your pocket and even less in your bank account, unable to buy even a chocolate bar for sustenance. It’s attending events and function where old friends gather and chit-chat about their various successes while you mime their gestures and try your hardest to blend in with the wash of small talk. It’s dressing in borrowed finery and knowing one day there will be debts to be paid.

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The Interpretation of Dreams

Woke up towards the early hours of the morning with a sudden and insatiable desire to post something on Facebook about the nightmare I was just in, a desire which I curbed. I haven’t posted anything there for ages and I don’t intend to start now.

But the nightmare stayed, lingering, sticky, radically unnerving. Somehow I need to deal with its spillage into my waking life.

And so I stagger to the computer, in hope of putting it down for virtual posterity.
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Unhappy Days in Happy Valley

Nostalgia is a bitter but useful drug. The best part of my memories keeps me going, reminds me that if things were that wonderful, they could potentially return to that state in the near-future (or to a state which is near that state). Of course, indulge too much and your end up denying the present, and as the Zen masters say, to pin down the gift of happiness is to live firmly in the moment…

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The Merry Month of March

I’m sad but I’m euphoric at the same time, a dangerous combination at the best of times. What this means is that I’ll probably spend too much, give gifts away freely, end up in the bedrooms of strangers, on the ledges of bridges and eventually inside a clinic or two. Yes, I’ve turned into a walking cliche.

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Miscellany

daisiesOnce there was a girl who wanted to be a nun.

 

Then she wanted to be a video store clerk, then a waitress in a 50s-style diner, then finally settled on ‘writer’.

 

Then she got greedy – she thought she could do more. She crammed things into her already squeezed brain. One day, it exploded. And slowly, she watched the proverbial figs ripen and rot and fall at her feet.

 

‘Plop, ‘plop’, ‘plop’.

 

Then finally, she went crazy, and nowadays it seems like an increasing likely reality that she’ll indeed spend the rest of her life as a waitress in a 50s-style diner, her love life that of a nun’s.

 

Except there are no 50s-style diners around anymore.

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On side note, this little girl once wrote ‘I want to be a boy’ when asked ‘What do you want to be in the future?’ during her elementary school days. But that’s a whole different can of worms, best left to another day.

 

The daisy chain of love

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  1. Grateful for old friends, for burgundy manis, for oysters, roast chicken and gin, but also frustrated that I haven’t seem able to make proper new friends since the advent of the, what can i call it, ‘mental accident’? it’s almost as if I’m stuck in a bubble in the past, and every time I meet someone for some everyday thing, I have to time-travel at an almost impossible speed in order just to catch up.
  2.  Have been to a multitude of weddings in the past few years,  and have grown used to the standard mix of boring/touching/yawns/tears. Some, of course, stood out because it was more touching than boring, some (acquaintances rather than friends) I have now half-forgotten because it was more boring than touching, and I was glad to beat a hasty retreat across the dance floor. But tonight I heard, from my parents, the strange story of a wedding they’d just been to – the bride was beautiful, the groom old and decrepit, albeit enormously rich, and also enormously gluttonous, egotistical and snobbish. Apparently, he said (several times) that he’s marrying her because she was ‘so beautiful’, but said nothing about inner beauty…whereas she remained dumb and silent throughout, as if posing for a shot in which smiling is strictly forbidden. Throw a loud, braying sister into the mix (‘I would just like to make sure that I’m understood, so for those who can speak English, please raise your hand’?!) and you get a Greek tragedy. ( the groom is Greek). My mum said the wedding left a nasty taste in her mouth – it wasn’t a celebration of love; rather, it was about two people using each other for their separate ends. But to each their own of course. And I trust that given the unreadability of this blog the stars of this story won’t ever read this? phew, indeed.
  3. it’s that time of the year, rainy, summery, in-between, whatever, when I feel like quitting again. Summer is a pile-up of courses I just can’t teach – Hardy’s poetry, random Asian poems, Balzac, things which I am no longer good at analysing, apparently.  Add to that my general traumatic experience with teenagers and I’d have to say maybe it’s adios between me and _ _ _, the three-letter company for which I work?
  4. Judging by the frequency of my meetings with Dora, I could almost conclude she’s the love of my life (Not). But there’s just something comforting about a face known of old, even if that face is framed by the worst perm ever. She lectured me half-heartedly about job/marriage as usual, but then relented and told me if i find things too stressful and my mental health too precarious, maybe I should find a part-time job which doesn’t require the use of my brain. But doesn’t she know, all jobs require the use of brains, even scooping ice-cream and tallying up the bill, maybe especially that? (not to mention that it’ll give me sore wrists as well)
  5. Everything I used to love dissolving in sea of fissures. Reading, writing, movies, men, women, animals – everything is cracked and fucked. I find it difficult to read more than a page before wondering if I’m secretly dyslexic, writing is becoming an increasingly uphill battle (unless blathering here counts as proper writing), intellectual movies I find a chore, and as for humanity, well, it has just stopped making sense to me, when everything used to be crystal clear, however complicated. Where will I ever be able to find my man/woman/animal if this continues? Will I ever?
  6. Lastly, reproduction, the final daisy in the chain of love. Everyone is having babies these days – pregnant is the new black! My best friend (ostensibly) is puking day and night because of said pregnancy. Ran into an old friend the other day at Eric Kayser and lo and behold, looks like the baby’s gona pop out anytime soon. And etc, etc, until it feels like everyone is on this mad dash to adhere to Nature’s timeline and reproduce before it’s officially too late.i’m jealous, but what can i do? out of the prerequisite ten strokes, i’m not even on the first yet, as my mum says. It’s odd, saddening, and frightening, but where they used to be electricity through my bloodstream, there’s a new sense of frigidity, and it shows in my body language. no longer can i hold someone’s gaze for a heartbeat before letting my eyes flutter to the floor; no longer can I say ‘come hither’ without it sounding like an imperative to be ignored.
  7. Trying to read so many things at the same time, and failing. The girl in the spider’s web, Between the world and me, Mona Awad’s 13 ways of looking at a fat girl, Chrstine Montross’s into the fire – perhaps I should just give it up and look at Bible verses instead, in order to re-educate my mind. For yes, there is something comforting about the fire and brimstone of the Old Testament – all that drama, all that punishment, and all that redemption.

 

Why/why not/why the fuck not?

marilynminter_blackorchid_homepageI’ve always trusted my gut instinct when it comes to love and career. Perhaps that’s why I’ve failed terribly at both. I quit before there’s any chance of failing or succeeding. I curtail things before they come to fruition, before even the words ‘I love you’ has been said. Basically, I try very hard to not try, most of the time, a depressingly teenage attitude I thought I would’ve gotten rid of by 2016, but clearly not.

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The scent of old money and cheap fabric

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Opened my wardrobe and realised I’m regressing in more ways than one – the babydoll dresses, the Peter Pan collars, the mini-skirts, the multi-coloured stockings. It’s the 1990s again, except it’s so blatantly not, especially when I encounter things like smartphones, ads of a half-naked Justin Beiber and my own aged face staring back at me from the mirror.

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