Dream Job

Can I seriously say something scary? I never had any good ambition. My mother said that I once told my grandfather that I wanted to be a millionaire. I was too little to even comprehend what that means. I told my teacher that I wanted to be a police officer or a teacher. The best joke was a stewardess.

I’m not even remotely polite and I have a genuinely hot temper.

“You want what? Fuck off!”

I don’t know about students nowadays. They gave an air of superiority yet clueless at the same time. Their long fingers typing rapidly on a flat touch screen pad and seemed to forget how to live if their smartphones ran out of battery. I’ve never bonded with anyone targeted within that age group as for now so I can’t possibly give an opinion. Honestly, all I knew by seventeen was that I should choose either medical, engineering, account or art. The school decided that science is the best bet for the future. I didn’t think I had a choice. It was always Math, Bio, Physics and Chemistry. So does college and university.

After graduation then you found out that all jobs suck. The doctors, the engineers, the customer service agents, the programmers, the government servants, the clerks, the accountants, the people that came to your school to give a brief introduction about their careers, all of them secretly hate their jobs it’s pathetic. They just want a regular tranquilizer to induce the comatose behavior 5 days in a week and rewarded by a collective payment so that they can buy happiness. A bag, a vacation, a bracelet – your pick.

I would hate to hate my job, really. This is my ultimate goal. I hated my life and to a certain degree my own self for a long time so hating my job is not something I would voluntarily do. Hatred is not good company for anyone’s mental health. Although I struggle now, I feel better and that’s okay.

I have to admit that I have enormous respect for people who stayed on a job they hate. I really do. Those people who cherished 5 o’clock exits and celebrate it in a crawl of traffic jam. The same people that hate Mondays and welcome Friday evenings like a close relative. I tried many times to do this but I couldn’t. I wanted to secretly gossip about boss and play games in office politics. I would like to go to meetings and justify a new procedure and moan about my late O.T. Mediocre life. Normal.

But routines are lethal – a slow poison that leached life out of your existence. Surely everyone has a dream job. Something they’d do for free. Something that makes them jumps out of bed every morning. Something that made them strives for progress instead of perfection. Simply put, the simple things, (like a hobby perhaps) that would only make them feel alive and fulfilled.

Writing is just something that makes me stay awake at 4 a.m plotting murders for the sake of fictional characters. Dragons, princess and poisonous toads. That’s my kind of story.

Fifteenth

She didn’t like her latest addiction. The previous one was quite alright. No one in her family liked spinach so it was not a question of competition or moral obligation to give it up for a younger sibling. Popeye approved. The one before that was boiled potatoes. She didn’t retain any memory before four years old but Mother mentioned it more than she would care to ignore.

She promised that it won’t happen again. It was a serious oath. She’s not going to break it. But it happened yesterday, the day before yesterday and even the day before that. In fact, it has been happening non-stop for almost two weeks straight. She remembers counting it. Not one, not two but fourteen, to be exact. Fourteen times she begged God not to tempt her with that scrumptious banquet. She dreamed about them. All purple and glitter under the candle light, smiling seductively at her. Waving their little silver skirt. Their perfume melting in her hair. She woke up, swearing up a storm and hope to repent soon. Today it seemed that the fifteenth promise is about to be broken.

She slipped into the small shop carrying her purse, bouncing it in her hands. Inside were layers of red and yellow notes and some coins. She could buy the whole damn thing! Her eyes darted towards the second last aisle on the left. Their scent is coaxing her to come closer. She forgot about her promises. Her mind clouded by overworking senses. Her mouth waters at the line of tantalizing nougat, caramel smothered peanut bars, marshmallow coated rice bubbles, blueberry swirled filling in chocolate casing, butterscotch layered wafers, the lot. Her hand grabbed the plastic lid and her tiny fist seized as many Cadbury bar as she could hold. Oh, she could almost taste it on her fingers! Her tongue drowns in a sea of chocolate, vegetable fat and sugar. She closed her eyes and brought that image clear.

The hand on her shoulder snapped her out of it.

She didn’t dare turn around. Humiliation is another form of punishment. Her temple pulsed with the song of the fallen. She thought that her blood stopped flowing. Her legs filled with liquid lead. She knew that this would happen somehow. It’s the end. She might as well admit it before anything else happen. She doesn’t want the cashier to scream at the top of her lungs telling the world that she found the thief.

The thief!

Even the actual word is plain disgusting. She raked her brain in less than a few seconds for some believable excuses. I was meant to pay that but I forgot. Maybe they would believe her. But does it explain how the bars got into her purse? She can feel her cheeks hot as coals.

“Hey, you okay?” asked a familiar voice.

She turned around and saw relief. Her lab partner was browsing some egg tarts on the display tray.

“I’m..fff…fine,” she replied.

“Haha! You looked like you’ve been caught stealing,” said the Chinese girl cheerfully.

Her face turned into a huge puckered fabric. She looked as if she just swallowed the most bitter of lemons.

“Let’s go. Recess is about to finish after all,” she said, pulling her friend’s dry hands.

“But I haven’t bought anything…You sure you’re fine? Your hands are cold,” the partner frowned slightly as she grasp the tiny, pale fists.

“Don’t worry. I’m okay. Just…just take what you want, okay? My treat,” she said. Her cracked lips curled into a half smile. Another half is visibly shaken. Her temples still throbbing.

As they climb up the stars, the cashier frowned at all the notes placed on the counter. She couldn’t see who left it and why. Both girls sucked the blueberry filling and one girl bounces her empty purse. Her chest puffed out her last shred of dread.

Writing November

A lot of things happening in November. I heard about NaNoWriMo and recently I stumbled upon NaBloPoMo.

For those who are not familiar with both terms, you can click the link above and it will take you straight to the aforementioned sites. Simply put, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. It’s held every year in November and thousands of writers from all over the world participate together. All you have to do is put some of your time aside and write 50,000 words in the span of 30 days.

Easy, right? *screaming inside*

[Four days to plot your story. Time’s ticking, mate.]

I am thinking of joining in the fun. The website is nice. Registration is free. You’re provided with all kinds of tools, tips and apps (not to mention the support of your fellow struggling writers) and please have a look at the list of sponsors and the bounty. It certainly sealed the deal. You win when you pass the 50K mark, much like a marathon.

The latter is held monthly, as I understood just now from browsing the site. NaBloPoMo is National Blog Posting Month and all you have to do is post one entry per day for the month you picked. Say you pick November then you ought to have 30 blog posts and post it every single day. I guess this one is easier. All you need to do is register your blog at the official NaBloPoMo blog and you might be eligible for the sweepstakes. Other ideas for posts are reviews, haiku, poems, videos, photos, Facebook statuses or maybe your tweets.

Let’s bleed ink in November 🙂

8 Hours

It was the best 8 hours I had this year.

I was really hoping that this trip would be better than the last trip to Kuala Lumpur. My book was launched in March and it did not quite go along the lines. I regretted ever having made that trip, to be honest. It’s the kind of journey that made sick people sicker. But it’s my first ever experience meeting other writers and some artsy people in KL and I guess it’s kinda awesome seeing Asian people pretending to be as hip as they could with their dreads and sarong pants with cotton sling bag stamped with elephant designs. I bet they must feel in the zone.

I cannot say the same for my part.

Well this time I felt better, not really out of space. I saw normal people around me and speaking the same language as I do (My English is not very good, speaking-wise and I have no intention of speaking English with people I knew whose mother tongue is Malay) The first day I was in Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair (KLIBF) was on the 1st of May. I chose the date because I knew for a fact that there would be a lot of people as it was Labour Day but until that day came that I realized it was deemed more that I could ever handle. Statistically, it was about 800,000 people. The enormous hall was cramped and though the air conditioner was in full blast, I was sweating though my blouse. It was hot and sticky affair.

Although there were so many people, I did not expect to have that many fans. My session was from 10 a.m until 12 noon and all I did was smile and signed and took selfies with them. It was indescribable, that feeling. I did not picture that some random strangers would put aside allotted time, some effort and money to reach out to me and honor my writing. It’s the most wonderful feeling.

The next day I have another 2 hours before another writer takes their turn. There were less people but a girl about 15 and her mother came at 10 sharp. They told me they drove 5 hours just to see me but yesterday I went back early (I have a lunch date with an old ex-colleague and her family and for the record I waited 15 minutes for the queue to clear) so they stayed another night in KL to catch me the next day. If I were them, I would have gone back yesterday because I would not have the determination of waiting another 24 hours for someone like me. The girl is a very fortunate child.

I think that gesture made my life, however insignificant I felt before this. Someone values me that much.

The last day I stayed for 4 hours along with other writers (an editor complained that maybe I overstayed my welcome) and did the same thing all over again. I quite enjoyed it though before this I find a lot of excuses to not take selfies or pictures in general. Something in the air made me wants to relieve the moment. I did not care how I looked or what I wore. I just want to commemorate the moment with a flash and a pose, like a proper youth obsessing her life with infinity of pixels.

I remembered not long ago, probably about less than a year ago I was shaking and anxious inside a bookstore. I went in because it’s a habit of mine not being able to pass Waterstone’s or WHSmith without browsing some things on the first floor but that particular day I went inside with a purpose. I saw the banner for weeks and I had this curiosity that cannot be quenched until I see it with my own eyes. There was an elderly guy with his three piece uniform, sitting next to a banner near the entrance. His face was all over it and his books were stacked like a DNA helix model in front of him. He was sitting alone and waiting. A fountain pen ready just in case.

I passed him by several times but I did not have the courage to ask him for his autograph. The task was overwhelming. I couldn’t do it.

I wonder how did my fans did it.

My Book Launch

I am already nervous since last week, when my editor mailed me and casually mentioned about my book launching party.

Was it necessary? And she laughed. She probably thought it was a joke but that, coming from a person who has yet to speak in front of public eyes for several years was really fear manifesting in a stupid question.

We were given 2 hours to talk about ourselves, me and other 2 writers. So I guess the torture won’t be as bad as I thought it would be. The guys already published several books under their belt. I am the rookie. They have the experience and I could pretty much ask them whatever things they went through all these while. I am anxious though. I wish someone I knew would come, someone I could call a friend but I have to remind myself that I have none and prefer to not have such high hopes on anyone because people leave and they are whole. I am mostly broken.

I have been playing my dreams over and over again in my head and none of the consequences of being an author involved in a book launching party. I must have had forgotten about that while preparing for my Nobel Prize speech. But I do remember some fantasy about some radio interviews and magazine spread and talk shows and even a moving speech in front of bright-eyed students writing everything inspirational that came out of my mouth. It seemed so bright and beautiful future I have for myself. Nothing like I am now; helpless and quite unhappy with my life.

But I must go on and to be honest I hope to gain a new perspective from this short journey to Kuala Lumpur.

I’ve sent my publisher 12 different titles and still they don’t like it 😦
The original title has been used by another author because I was procrastinating.

I hope they like one out the four I’m sending.

I am planning an intergalactic abduction sequence for my plot twist and literally wrote this on Google: How to kidnap aliens.

I should clear my internet history before sleeping. You know, just in case.

My publisher: How many percent have you done writing? Is it done yet?

Me: *freaking out but replied 70% and stayed up all night to finish my fabricated lie*

My publisher: Oh, by the way you have 3 months.

Me: *are you freaking kidding me? you sent me a mail like you want it tomorrow! aaaaaaaargh!* but replied thank you for your concern.