Fear

I have enroled in an online creative writing course. The first thing I have done for myself in 13 years.

I have just read through the intro of my coursemates. I have found myself to be deflated for the simple fact that others are better writers than I. They have done some serious writings from journalism, academic research articles, professional journals and book reviews. Here I am, struggling to get English spelling and grammar in check. And this is only a basic writing course. WTH?!?

Being Chinese, I grew up in a highly competitive academic culture. I was one of those students who failed in prepared exams while topped the class in spontaneous assessments. I failed to perform in high school entry exam and university entry exam. I struggled almost all subjects except chinese literature, English language and physical education. Jokes aside, I am truely one of the rare chinese who fails in mathematics.

My performance anxiety has been carried throughout adulthood although I have been mostly managing and coping relative well. It is in times like this I feel myself starting to buckle under pressure.

My brain is having a debate when I am writing this. It is not noisy, instead, rather frustrating.

I want to quit before the first assignment so nobody gets to read my dodgy writing.

Don’t quit! Readers’ comments help you to be a better writer. That’s the whole point for coursemate interaction.

How do you deal with the lukewarm comments? You know those too polite to tell you that your writing sucks? Or the perfectionists keep picking on your poorly constructed sentences? Or just heartless ‘good effort’ ones?

You are completely overthinking and freaking yourself out. Remember how to deal with overthinking?

I know! I know it may not happen (and as if it really gonna happen and people actually will be that mean) and I should dismiss the thought and not let it consume my energy. I may have great characters and plot to write. But I know they are just better writers who write stuff that makes sense to the reader.

Fear is a fucking liar and you are making no sense whatsoever…

Did you just stomp off on me? Hey….hey… I am all alone now to do this hefty thinking. I need my Pup…😔

Shining bright

There is nothing more rewarding than to see a constantly failing person succeed.

The first time we met, I still remember clearly how she came wearing defeat.

I asked an open ended question ‘What can you tell me about yourself?’
She told me she was an academic failure, extremely anxious and a snail learner.
Then I asked her ‘Who are you deep down?’
She had a long awkward pause, then…’I am a kind person always willing to help.’
I saw a sparkle in her blue eyes framed by an alabaster heart shaped face.
I probed ‘What do you think it’s standing between you and your success?’
The words fell out before she could even catch them. ‘Only if people see me instead of my disabilities.’

I shared with her my observation.
We all came with gifts and talents.
One’s disability in a different environment is a unique ability.
We are mostly ignorant to things which we don’t quite understand.
Therefore when people don’t know how to cater for your unique abilities,
they tend to reject you.
The key is to search for an environment where your gifts and talents are valued,
your ability will be seen and you will be a star.

Today I received an email from her.
She told me she has been busy using her gifts and talents
in a place everyone sees her ability to be kind and helpful.
I opened the attachment. It’s her selfie. Her blue eyes are shining bright like twinkling stars.

Mid-Autumn Festival

Mid-Autumn Festival is a “Harvest festival” celebrated notably by the Chinese and other Asian countries. It falls on 15th day of the 8th lunar month each year which is on 13th September in 2019. It is the second biggest traditional Chinese festival besides the Spring Festival (the Chinese New Year).

Growing up, the Mid-Autumn Festival was my favourite celebration. As kids, we made lanterns, lit them up and roamed the streets with them. We also played firecrackers and fireworks in small scale, which is no longer allowed due to the fire safety restriction.

There were always fresh seasonal fruits including starfruit, grapefruit, longans, watermelons and bananas. Fresh taros boiled in salt water made my mouth watering. Mooncakes are the indispensable delicacy which are generally made using lotus seed paste, red bean paste or nut mix filling the crust.

Family members would sit outdoor with the spread of fruits, taros, mooncakes and teas to appreciate the full moon on display while chatting away everything but nothing. We children were usually allowed to stay up to midnight as an exception.

Mid-Autumn Festival is a time for family reunion, sharing special food and celebrate good times. I love those times as I was brought up in a four generation big family in a close knit community. I got to hang out with kids on the street and listen to adults sharing stories from home and afar.

Last night I looked at the moon in a land that is foreign and distant to those memories. I still smiled and those memories were like yesterday’s, when in reality they were decades ago.

Impression of a couple books

To be honest, I haven’t read a book that left an impression for quite some time. Most books I have read in the last few years have been just for passing time. Once I had read them, I almost could not recall much detail.

There are two books are like gems. They are in different genres and presented in independent brilliance. I consider myself a serious reader, not in a widely read way, but in a focus on serious topics way.

l’insoutenable légèreté de l’être (The Unbearable Lightness of Being) by Milan Kundera.

amazon link cling here

It is a novel depicts characters we may despise according to our moral codes and yet they are us in the everyday mental struggle. It left me thinking long after I finished reading.

Notches by Mike Ennenbach.

amazon link click here

It is a short story collection filled with humour, heartaches, beauty and love. I have not been a short stories reader since secondary school. After reading Notches, I felt it was like a tasting tour in an ingenious writer’s mind.

Homelessness

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Mr Scribble came with his blue staffy
He hadn’t eaten for two days
Bluey was well fed though

I told him I missed his devil’s horns tatts along his temples
He grinned and said he would ban his children having tatts
cos the laser removal hurt like hell

Mr Scribble would be homeless for the night
Mrs kicked them out cos coming down from a bad trip
They escaped before taking her punches for the 26th times this year
and it’s only April

He knew I offered them no shelter
He knew I offered them the staff shower facilities
so he would be clean and human again after a day’s work
and back again the next day to demolish more buildings
He called that going to anger management therapy

They stayed for a bit
He told me some more tales of his 5 brothers
except the one visited his room too often

He told me God bless me and my family
like every time before they left my office
I watched their backs to see them off like every time
I prayed for a safe and cosy corner on the street for the night

Mr Scribble and his blue staffy
He was hungry and Bluey was happy

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Too far gone

You haven’t written about me for a while.

You haven’t checked my blog for a while.

Don’t change subject.

Don’t think my blog is about you.

It isn’t?

It isn’t! It’s about my life and people around me. I have told you before and the time before that.

Oh! I have been busy with work.

People work. It’s a blessing.

Why do you run out of things to write about me?

The world does not revolve around you.

But I thought we are special.

You are special! 🙄

Are you mad at me?

Nope!

You are mad at me, aren’t you? I can tell cos you look annoyed.

🙄

You are doing the 360° eye rolling thing and giving me silent treatment.

😶

Why don’t you write about I annoyed you then. Here you are some inspiration for ya!

Yea mate! 🤯

……

Far out! That’s why you are my ex ex ex, so far gone…😤

Atonement

Easter is one of those catch 22 scenarios. People around the world worshiping God and Jesus while some are down the ditch of darkness.

I am referring to the power of Good and Evil, Light and Dark, Jesus and the Devil. When the Good is so apparent Evil is doing its best to stay afloat. When the Light is so bright Dark is seeping through. When Jesus is the focus Devil is equally active in the spotlight.

The term ‘catch 22’ gained currency as the title of a 1961 war novel by Joseph Heller, who referred to an Air Force rule whereby a pilot continuing to fly combat missions without asking for relief is regarded as insane, but is considered sane enough to continue flying if he does make such a request.

Throughout and post Easter period this year, more than usual, I have received unfavourable news about friends and clients who are struggling with taking their own lives. Thankfully they reached out calling for help which gave me opportunity to support them hence they lived with their own will and intervention.

This makes me wonder about the futile effort the Devil attempts. Is he sane or insane knowing he will not and cannot win this battle because of Jesus’ atonement on the cross and yet he goes to battle in full force?

Easter celebration is about the atonement of Christ died on the cross and rose again to fulfil the prophecy and conquer death. The divine exchange took place on the cross:

Jesus was punished that we might be forgiven;
Jesus was wounded that we might be healed;
Jesus was made sin with our sinfulness, that we might be made righteous with His righteousness;
Jesus tasted death for us that we might share His life;
Jesus was made a curse that we might receive the blessing;
Jesus endured our poverty that we might share His abundance;
Jesus bore our shame that we might share His glory;
Jesus endured my rejection that I might have His acceptance with the Father;
He was cut off that we might be joined to the Lord;
Our Old Man was put to death in Him that the New Man might come to life in us.

Call it power balance, two sides of a coin, Yin and Yang, opposite attraction, walking contradiction, call it whatever tickles your fancy, it is actually our choice and our choice only that saves our lives. Jesus has done it for all of us on the cross. It is only our own free will determines the course of our lives and future.

I have chosen life!