“I believe in dragons. Of course.” (An interview with Thistle magazine)

Scrawled 6 July, 2015, 0 Comments

Hello, lovelies! I’m so sorry for missing Friday Poetry last week – it was a rather sad day, and so I wasn’t really up for writing much. Many apologies – it will resume as usual this Friday.

But to make up for that, I have some good news to start off the week! Last month I was interviewed by the unfathomably kind and wonderful Chelsea Scarnegie of Thistle magazine. It is, without a doubt, one of my favourite literary magazines – if you’ll recall, my poem “Ocean Song” was published in their Time issue – and I was so delighted to chat with Chelsea.

We talked about quite a range of topics, from poetry to writer’s block to dragons, and all in all, it was a lovely conversation for a lovely magazine. You can read it right here – and I do hope you enjoy.

Have a beautiful night, everyone. I’ll see you tomorrow. xx

Something a Little Mystic

Scrawled 2 July, 2015, 8 Comments

Here is a formula for magic.

First: you string together dots and lines. Smooth them out with curves and zig-zags, if you’d like, or scribble notes in the margins – raise the volume here; play gracefully; now back to normal speed, if you please. Place a clef at the beginning to serve as a language; arrange it all on a canvas of five horizontal bars. And now – you bring people to tears or to laughter or to their feet. You remind them of all those wonders they didn’t realise they had forgotten.

How utterly ridiculous. How utterly incredible.

Lately, I’ve had days that have felt cold and bleak and never-ending, and yet, here is a funny thing: even during the times when I feel most alone, music has yet to desert me. What a powerful and underestimated sort of loveliness.

You know, I think it’s time to pay it back.

Here is a formula for magic –

– or, perhaps not magic. Something almost like it, though, something very close. Something grounded in reality yet shrouded in enchantment; something that has made its home in the sparkling in-betweens. Born from stardust, bathed in sunbeams, magical and mundane all at once. A shattered epiphany of afterthought. A finite timeless paradox. Something, perhaps, that might be known as –

Half Mystic.

(Or: an independent journal dedicated to the celebration of music in all its forms. A home for creators with études nestled between their ribs and sonatas shivering beneath their spines.)

So here it is – finally, finally, finally! I’ve been working on this for the past few months (and may I say: not being able to tell anyone was torture), and I am so incredibly delighted to tell you that Half Mystic is real and it’s happening, right now.

And something that’s possibly even more exciting: I want you to be part of it.

You see, I need fellow music-lovers to help me take my baby journal to higher places – people who understand and adore music just as much as I do. And I would be absolutely honoured if you guys could be those people, and work with me to turn Half Mystic into a haven for those with grace notes coursing through their veins.

Which is to say: staff applications are open right now. There are spots open for writing, art, and other specialists – if you’re a music lover, I do believe there’s a place for you on the team. (EEK. Can you tell how hard I am trying not to melt into a puddle of excitement?!)

Or, if that’s not quite your thing, never fear – we do need contributors for Issue I! The theme for this issue, chosen after much deliberation, is Allegro: the skipping pulse, the desperate escape, the dash of fastfastfaster. But of course, twist it as much as you’d like – the more creative, the better.

So this is the project I’ve been working on! It’s something I’ve scoured the magazine scene for – and while there are dozens of independent literary journals (actually, I work on one of the loveliest out there), I’ve yet to find an independent music journal. And so, I absolutely cannot wait to see Half Mystic grow into something that all of us can be proud of – something that draws talented contributors from all over. And even more – I can’t wait to work with you on making that a reality.

This will be real and enchanting and magical and mundane and finite and timeless and paradoxical.

But mostly?

It will be a whole lot of fun.

(Apply as a staff member or submit to Issue I: Allegro)

Adventures in Zombieland: On Fault Lines

Scrawled 30 June, 2015, 4 Comments

Today I have been thinking about cracks and the things that slip through them.

Little things: window raindrops, Hachii yawns, New York pizza grease, favourite songs long since forgotten. Memory is such a fickle mistress – I don’t think one needs a mental illness to appreciate the fragility of things. The way we can’t hope to keep all of our memories locked up, or even most of them. I think perhaps our brains might explode if we tried.

Mental illness is something of a fault line, though. On days like these, I feel as if all of the lovely things have slipped away without a trace – into that yawning gap. And out comes insecurities I’d wished could stay locked up.

(You know the ones, I’m sure. What if all my friends secretly hate me? What if I was never all that good of a writer? What if everything I do and everything I’m proud of is truly laughable? What if – what if – what if – I never imagined two words could have the power to exhaust me so deeply.)

Here’s the thing: my brain tells me it’s unreasonable; my heart begs to differ.

Are we allowed to choose which memories to keep? At the moment, I feel like all the bad ones are coming to the surface and the good ones are lost somewhere far beyond the horizon. Or worse: they are there, but just out of reach. Just past my line of sight.

Today, my life feels like a patchwork quilt of blues and greys. All those warm sunshiny colours have been cut out meticulously, laid in a pile of scraps off to the side somewhere. (Thrown into the fault line, perhaps? Mixing metaphors rarely works out, but I hope you see what I’m trying to get at.)

Sometimes I think panic attacks would be preferable to this slow bleakness. Earthquakes are the natural consequence of fault lines, are they not? (Of course, whenever panic attacks occur, I could swear the sadness is much preferable. What a horrible, vicious cycle this is.)

So there are the good memories and there are the bad memories. And today my grasping fingertips are a bit useless to catch the former. The warm, dark cracks are a more welcome home than my thorny brain, I think.

And so it goes: I watch them escape, soft and sudden, like an inevitable goodbye.

Snapshots | June 29th

Scrawled 29 June, 2015, 12 Comments

Well, hello there. How delightful it is to see you again.

I’m home once more (or something like it – I think New York will always be home to me. But who needs all this complicated terminology?). I made a rather hasty announcement on Twitter, but I did not, unfortunately, get the chance to let you lovelies know that I was taking an impromptu break due to wifi making a vanishing act.

It’s good to be back in Singapore. Slightly bittersweet, definitely – leaving New York is far more difficult than arriving – but I’m trying to distract myself from that by throwing myself into working on various projects.

Frozen Hearts is, of course, at the forefront of that campaign. Also: writing lots of songs. Experimenting with different poetry styles. Fooling around on my guitar. Making some blog tweaks, as well, as you might see in the sidebar.

This is slightly random, but did I tell you that I saw Jurassic World? It’s good (though not as much as Jurassic Park. I think nothing will ever trump the first one).

Other frivolous things:

I’m planning on buying succulents for my room and I am so looking forward to visiting the local nursery to pick them up. Hachii has a new nickname – “Magnet Dog” – stemmed from the fact that he attempted to sulk + ignore me for about 24 hours after I came back and has refused to leave my side since. I’ve gone on a Hans Zimmer binge and have been listening to the Interstellar soundtrack on repeat. Spring has danced her way into summer and I’m debating whether to cut all my hair off so that I don’t melt every time I step outside.

And so forth.

(Oh, lovelies, I miss New York. More than I ever missed Singapore. And I’m trying not to be sad about that. But it’s difficult.)

There’s one project, though, that I am… ridiculously excited about, and that is making it a little easier. I’ve been tossing around the idea for a few months, but in New York I finally decided that I’d never do it if not now – so I’ve been working nonstop since I came home.

It has to do with music and mysticism, and I am sort of over the moon to tell you that it’s launching this week. (!!!!!) Which: look out. Because I promise, you don’t want to miss this.

So that is how I have been.

And you?

So, Carnegie Hall

Scrawled 12 June, 2015, 6 Comments

So, Carnegie Hall.

Soaring ceilings and itchy dresses and the sound of medals clanking against each other. Increasingly, I’m realising what a special thing it is to be part of community in which the first question asked of new friends is not what’s your name? but which award did you win?

I don’t think I can encompass with words how beautiful it is to be surrounded again by people who live and breathe their art. And oh how fortunate I am to be able to call this an again.

The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards ceremony was something rather magical this year – even more so than last year, I think, possibly because some of my favourite people in the world gave speeches.

(Among them were Chelsea Clinton and Whoopi Goldberg, and I’m still attempting to process the fact that I saw them. In person.) (Did I mention Chelsea Clinton and Whoopi Goldberg were there?) (And that I was in the same room as them?) (Breathing the same air?)

(Alright, alright, I’ll stop. ;))

Afterwards was the Maker Prom – a dance for the medalists – and although I am really not one for parties, it was most certainly worth it for the experience of meeting the intensely lovely AnQi, with whom I work on The Teacup Trail, in person. (Really, the number of blogger friends I’ve been running into over the past few months is a bit unprecedented. I love it.)

I can’t impress upon you enough how extraordinarily wonderful she is, even more so in real life than online. We talked about writing and school and mental illness and life, and it was like chatting with a friend I’d known for years and years. The Internet is an absolutely incredible medium, but I think typos and Instagram will never replace Freudian slips and eye contact.

On the downside: the constant balloon popping and loud music did not do wonders for my anxiety, but I did have the foresight to bring along medication, which helped quite a bit. Still, though, I had to evacuate the premises slightly early. I think it was wise decision not to push myself too much on that front, and besides, I am currently sitting in our hotel room eating room service-provided cheesecake, so I suppose it didn’t end up too badly.

Mostly I am still reeling because: Carnegie Hall. And also because: Whoopi Goldberg. And: Chelsea Clinton.

(I’m sorry. I promise I’ll stop talking about this. Possibly. One of these days.)

(You know I’m not really sorry, right?)

But I am also still reeling because I think I didn’t really expect to find what I did today. One tends to become a bit cut off from the creative world, with the notable exception of the Internet – but finding all these kindred souls in real life, no less, was something a bit enchanting.

I think I will go as far as to call us a family. All 900 of us, from the sculptors to the filmmakers to the short story writers to the poets, stuck together with love and Elmer’s glue and pencil shavings.

A rather disjointed and slightly eccentric family, but a family – nonetheless.