A Non-Update

Scrawled 5 March, 2015, stored in Life, 2 Comments

Hey guys,

Ugh, I’m so sorry, I’ve just been having such a terrible couple of days. I wanted to post something a bit more substantial today, but with the way things are going so far, looks like I’m not going to be able to muster up much of that.

Here, have Sarah Kay’s TED talk instead – perhaps that will work as a replacement. (And a teaser for what’s coming tomorrow. That is, if I can just get myself out of this state and enjoy it.)

I’ll see you guys tomorrow with Friday Poetry + updates on how the interview with Sarah and Phil goes. I’m sorry for the filler post and the repetitiveness, everyone – I do hope your day was a bit better than mine.

love,
Topaz


Adventures in Zombieland: Triggers, Therapists, and A(nother) Diagnosis

Scrawled 4 March, 2015, stored in Life, 3 Comments

Hi everyone!

Lots of ups and downs today. I started out absolutely and completely happy (mostly because yesterday was beyond wonderful), and I was hoping that would last for awhile, because you know how rare those kinds of days are. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be – my state of mind sort of got worse and worse as the day went on and I don’t even know what is going on with my brain right now. It’s not in dangerous territory or anything, but it’s one of those times where I just feel really inadequate for no particular reason. :/

Many things to update you guys on, though – it’s been some time since we last did Adventures in Zombieland, so, firstly and most importantly: I HAVE IDENTIFIED SOME TRIGGERS AT LAST!! If you recall, I’d been struggling with that – my counsellor and I had been combing back through all the panic attacks and the sadness and everything else and trying to figure out if there was a common thread, and, hallelujah, we’ve finally found a few!

It seems there’s an alarming prevalence of three things when it comes to panic attacks: very loud noises, very bright lights, and very large crowds. I hate crowds in general, as I’ve said before, but I’d never connected them to the panic attacks (and, er, now that I’m thinking about it, it’s kind of obvious, really. Oh well, I suppose I’m allowed a few oversights when it comes to such choppy waters, no?).

I’ll probably write up another post going into more detail on this, but it’s slightly surprising how quickly I’ve been able to adjust my radar to look out for and avoid those things. Although it doesn’t always work out (case in point: the Chinese New Year parade), I do hope it’ll decrease the volume of panic attacks – or, at the very least, help me figure out when one is about to happen so I can get to a safe space and calm down ASAP.

As yet, no triggers identified for the sadness itself, and we’ve run through quite a few possibilities – it seems to be totally random at this point, which is so not helpful. :P

Back to the panic attacks, though: there may be something more than depression afoot there. My counsellor has informed me that these things are mostly connected to social anxiety rather than depression (and that I am, apparently, exhibiting symptoms of that, as well). She hadn’t been sure enough about it to talk to me earlier, but now… well. It’s looking more likely that I have both.

So that’s just great.

Again, still not entirely certain about that, but as with all things, we’ll see. And in the same vein, I’m being “transferred”, which is a nice way of saying that whatever this is, it’s too specialised for what my current counsellor deals with and I have to go see another therapist. She gave us some recommendations, so I’m going to do interviews – trial runs, so to speak – with two therapists, one tomorrow and one on Friday.

(I feel a little like a beach ball here, you guys. Or a hopeless case. Or somebody who belongs in an insane asylum. None of the above are particularly pleasant sensations, as one might imagine.)

So yes, that’s the news: one very good development and two not-so-good ones. First therapist meeting is tomorrow – I really have no idea what to expect, considering I don’t exactly have extensive experience in these fields, but I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes!

love,
Topaz


Reflections on Censorship in Kidlit

Scrawled 3 March, 2015, stored in Bookish Love, Life, 5 Comments

Hi everyone!

Oh my goodness, I just had such a wonderful night. I’m smiling so big right now, you have no idea. To get the slightly sad part out of the way first: turns out the screenwriting workshop I mentioned is next Tuesday rather than today. The organiser got a little mixed up and sent over the wrong date, but nevertheless, still monumentally excited for that – I can’t wait!

I did go to the panel today on censorship in children’s literature and YA, and you guys, I am so happy I did. I was kind of debating whether or not I should attend, since it was pretty late on a school night (I’m writing this at about 10:30 PM, and I just got home!). But it turned out to be such a great experience – it’s the first panel I’ve been to, and while I don’t have all that much basis for comparison, I think I can probably say that this was a pretty good one. ;)

Just for some background: the full name of the program was “What Children Shouldn’t Read: A Global Controversy” and the panelists were four international authors who’ve been very active in this scene – some have had their own books banned, some have spoken out for/against book censorship, and all are award-winning and extremely prestigious authors. They covered topics ranging from LGBTQIA+ to violence to sex to drugs to rock ‘n roll (… okay, maybe I got a little carried away there, but you know what I mean. ;))

Seriously, it was so interesting to hear their different, and sometimes conflicting, points of view. For the most part, all the panelists seemed to agree that too much censorship (in kidlit and otherwise) was really not okay – but from there, it all dissolved into differing opinions. One panelist was adamant that she would never allow her children to read literature that promoted violence, while another thought that reading those kinds of books was fine, as long as there was an informed discussion about it. Some authors were sure that the cause of censorship was nothing but pure intentions – parents believing that they could shield their little darlings from the outside world forever – but others were of the opinion that it was mostly just adults projecting their insecurities into what they allowed their children to read.

The discussion continued like that for most of the time: panelists agreeing and disagreeing, audience members speaking up and asking questions, and quite a healthy debate going on. It was so interesting – I rarely get a chance to talk and listen about books IRL, so this was an awesome experience.

I didn’t ask a question during the panel, but afterwards I did get to talk to one of the authors about a topic that hadn’t been covered: mental illness and its prevalence in kidlit. It’s something that, as you guys know, is pretty close to me, so I was interested in hearing her thoughts. Mostly, she was of the same opinion as I was: there needs to be much more talk about mental illness, especially to elementary and middle schoolers; although it’s certainly not as stigmatised as things like sex or violence, there’s still a marked barrier between those with mental illnesses and what’s considered “normal”. Rooting out that issue from the very beginning through open discussion (and making sure mentally ill people are represented in kidlit) is so, so important.

AND GUESS WHAT. Saving the absolute best news for last: remember how Sarah Kay is performing at our school on Friday? Well, it turns out two of the students are actually going to interview her afterwards, and today at the panel, our librarian (who was there as well) invited me to join them!

SARAH KAY, MAN. I CANNOT CONTAIN MY EXCITEMENT.

So that is asdfghjkl; incredible!! I’m counting down the days till Friday (and, of course, frantically preparing the interview questions with the other two girls) – and I will, of course, let you guys know how that goes. It’s always lovely when literary events happen in Singapore, and I’m over the moon that we’re getting so many packed into this week! :D

*scuttles off to marathon Sarah Kay’s videos until Friday rolls around*

love,
Topaz


Me Me Me Monday (34)

Scrawled 2 March, 2015, stored in Life, 3 Comments

Hi everyone!

I tried to take it easy this weekend, especially after the events of Thursday and Friday – on the plus side, no more panic attacks, but I was ridiculously jumpy and just sad in general all weekend. Our school had its annual County Fair (picture a carnival, but sprawled across a massive campus) – usually I love going to that and hanging out with my friends and fooling around and eating far too much cotton candy, but this time I only hung around for a couple of hours before heading back home.

(Full disclosure: pretty much the only reason I went was for the used book sale. I got 10 books for $22. May I just say: I drive a hard bargain when I want to. ;))

Other than that, I mostly did homework and watched various films and, once more, tried very hard not to think too hard/get freaked out at tiny noises. Not much work on FH, since I wasn’t really able to concentrate all that much, but I’m hoping I can get more done this week.

And speaking of this week: it’s looking to be a busy one! I’m attending a bunch of events – tomorrow, right after school, there’s a screenwriting workshop with some people from the award-winning Mountain Film Festival, which I’m SO EXCITED for. Then in the evening I’m going to a panel on YA fiction and the controversy surrounding it. And on Friday, Sarah Kay and Phillip Kaye (ONLY TWO OF MY FAVOURITE POETS EVER OH MY GOD) are visiting my school, so I’m going to go watch them do slam poetry and generally try not to freak out and scare them too much. ;)

There are various therapist meetings sprinkled in there as well (three, to be exact) – things have progressed quite a bit on that front, so there’ll definitely be an Adventures in Zombieland instalment just to update you guys. Other than that, I’m leaving this week’s schedule free so that there’s ample space to share with you my thoughts and reflections on the various things I’m attending. I’ll be armed with my notebook for copious note-taking!

This weekend wasn’t the best, but the week ahead is looking to be much, much better – I absolutely can’t wait. :D Just out of curiosity, are any of my Singaporean friends attending the YA panel or the screenwriting workshop? (If so: we should totally meet up and flail together.) And international folks, how’s life going for you? Let’s catch up in the comments. x

love,
Topaz


Friday Poetry: “The Anatomy of Panic”

Scrawled 28 February, 2015, stored in Writing, 5 Comments

Hi all!

Ugh, I’m so frustrated with the number of posts I’ve been missing lately – far too many for my taste, unfortunately. If it helps, I actually did start writing yesterday’s post, but then at like 11 I had my first panic attack in… quite a long time. No trigger to speak of, either – just out of nowhere. (Apparently those B12 supplements are not all they’re cracked up to be.)

Also, even worse: we have a two-for-two. Today, because I am apparently a complete idiot, I made the questionable decision to go to a really big Chinese New Year parade – featuring fireworks, large crowds, and strobe lights (you know, only three of my biggest triggers ever).

*sigh* I think you can guess what happened next.

Just got home, and I am sad and exhausted and my nerves are shot. I kind of just want to cry for a decade or sleep for a century. Not entirely sure which one will win out.

But we’ve missed way too many weeks of Friday Poetry, so I thought I should at least log on and post this poem – I wrote it a couple of weeks ago (right after a panic attack, somewhat ironically) and at first I kind of hated it, but now I think it’s not bad at all. In any case, I’m really not in the best state of mind to write anything at the moment, so I do hope you guys like this one – it’s called The Anatomy of Panic.

love,
Topaz

The Anatomy of Panic

here is your downfall: history repeating itself.
turning, turning, turning pages. you know the
story. you read it or you wrote it or maybe –
maybe a little bit of both. times like this, all you
can hear is the thunderclap, the gunshot,
the beginning of the end.

hands like ashes and tears like shattered glass
and lungs fluttering like the broken birds they’ve
become. turn the page and now you are the witch
you’ve been running from: burned, burning, about
to burn. you can’t much tell the difference anymore.

hello, fear. how have you been, old friend?

here is your downfall: flying, flailing, gulping air
that only fans the flames. most days you skirt the
edges, but when your bones stammer the melody
with no words, smoke curls around the screams
no one else can hear. turn the page and understand
that whatever surrender is, it’s never tasted so bitter.

fear has found you, darling, one-two-three-four
knocks like gunshots outside. here is your downfall:
you are lonely enough to open the door to her kisses,
like blood, like wine, like the tragedy of knowing how
it ends. turn the pages, faster, faster, faster. the story is
done, the thunder is coming, you’re coming undone in
the middle of the demons you bled onto the page.

here is your downfall, the right way to die: flying,
flailing, trapped in a history that repeats itself, a clock
that doesn’t know how to stop ticking. you’re fighting,
screaming, burning up, but darling, you know the ending.
what makes you think this time will be any different?


On “Go Set a Watchman”: Please, Please Stay Informed

Scrawled 25 February, 2015, stored in Bookish Love, 4 Comments

Hey everyone!

It’s been a few weeks since the news was announced, but the buzz doesn’t seem to be dying down: Harper Lee, author of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, is publishing a sequel half a century later!

Mockingbird, for the unacquainted, is one of those books that is at once painfully honest and starkly beautiful. It’s about truth and justice, and it’s about how insignificant and how utterly important you are to the world. It is, to put it quite simply, a book that one does not soon forget.

So naturally, when the news dropped, people freaked out. I was no exception.

However, not long after I posted the above tweet, the lovely folks of the Twitterverse brought to my attention that perhaps not all was right with this seemingly too-good-to-be-true news. The literary world is a sceptic one, and there were people scratching their heads: Lee, now 88 years old, is an extremely private author, known to be in ill health and possessing the unfortunate habit of signing whatever’s put in front of her – and, on top of that, her sister, lawyer, and fierce defender Alice passed away only three months ago.

And here the terrible thought arises: could it be possible that Lee was coerced into publishing Watchman?

The suspicions sparked even more discussion than the original news, with reactions ranging from incredulous to furious to downright disbelieving.

Here’s the thing, though: at least there was a discussion.

What I’ve seen popping up on blogs and in my Twitter feed and tainted throughout the bookish community is something much, much worse: apathy. People are beginning to make up their minds, and the horrifying thing is, too many are leaning towards forgetting the controversy altogether in favour of focusing on the wonder of the book’s existence.

Don’t get me wrong: I was and am over the moon that Watchman is set to be published. But that’s only half of this equation. Is it not our duty as readers to stay informed and, if needed, speak up about what might be going on behind the scenes? It’s one thing to get excited over books, especially ones with such huge footprints to fill, but it’s quite another to sweep this controversy under the rug. Literature is like life in that it never promised to keep us comfortable – so why is it that so many of us are opting to ignore the less pleasant scenario, the cruelty that might be going on right under our noses?

Now, it’s entirely possible that all of this is a whole lot of fuss over nothing. It might be true that Lee is completely happy with her decision and knew exactly what the repercussions were when she signed off the rights. But at this point, we don’t know that. I don’t know it and you don’t know it and until we do, it’s so important that we keep our eyes open and actively seek out as much accurate information as possible about Watchman. Until we have definitive facts, all we have to work on is speculation – but we need to keep this conversation going, at the risk of a vulnerable author being exploited for her work.

Through To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee taught so many of us about justice, and honour, and what it means to fight for what’s right even when the odds seem impossibly stacked against you.

I’m no Atticus Finch, but I look at so many readers turning a blind eye and I can’t help but wonder: is it not our responsibility to return the favour?

love,
Topaz


“Ocean Song” Published in Thistle Magazine!

Scrawled 24 February, 2015, stored in Writing, 10 Comments

Hi everyone!

Just a quick note before the main news: my dad spent the majority of this afternoon doing research on Vitamin B12 and is now totally convinced that it is – and I quote! – the answer to all my problems. Mainly it’s because there have been quite a few studies on B12 deficiencies and their link to panic attacks + depression (among other things).

Personally, I’m not totally convinced – I’m about 90% sure the physical examination didn’t reveal any vitamin deficiencies – but he’s quite excited about it, and it’s not like it could hurt, right? We’re going to try supplements, which are supposed to have a pretty quick effect, so I’ll let you know how that turns out next week.

More importantly, I have been published once more, this time in the lovely Thistle magazine! A poem I wrote, Ocean Song, is in their 10th issue. The theme for this issue was time – the passing of it, the keeping of it, and the depths and dimensions it encompasses – and I’m so proud and happy to be part of this endeavour.

Click here to pick up your issue!

I believe some of you have read Ocean Song before, but even if you have, it’s worth buying an issue anyway, because hey, more support for my writing is always appreciated! And if you need an incentive, there are so many other incredible works in there – I must confess that when I received my copy, I spent far too long poring over the pages rather than doing my homework. It’s perfect for a rainy afternoon and a mug of hot chocolate – or, really, for any other (*ahem*) time. ;)

love,
Topaz


Me Me Me Monday (33)

Scrawled 23 February, 2015, stored in Life, 4 Comments

Hi lovelies!

Okay, so I lied. So sue me.

I did some thinking over the weekend and honestly, I was kind of disappointed that this whole fiasco was going to essentially make me run away from a place that I love hanging out in – and, more than that, for the sake of a person that I really don’t like all that much. I mean, there are a lot of things going on in my life that I can’t control right now, but this is something I very much can, and taking a break on account of somebody else’s actions just felt… wrong.

So I talked to the person and she told me her reasons for reading the blog and… what could I do? I asked her to unsubscribe, watched her do so, and walked away.

There’s nothing stopping her from reading it still, but at this point, I’m kind of done with the situation. There are some things that are worth time and worry and sadness and there are some things that are not, and I have a feeling this falls into the latter category.

Still, unless there’s huge news, I’m going to forgo Adventures in Zombieland for this week – if only because I’m not quite ready to be totally transparent yet. It’ll resume as usual next week!

Other things that happened over the weekend: I did copious amounts of homework, went to a Chinese New Year party, beat my little sister in 294856129304 games of Snakes and Ladders (stop looking at me like that! I play to win!), edited Frozen Hearts, and drank lots of tea. Saturday night was slightly sad, but it was nothing too terrible – and other than that, moods were pretty stable. :D

Posts this week include a publication announcement, my take on a bit of a controversial topic in the bookish world, some thoughts on the difference between loneliness and aloneness, and, of course, Friday Poetry. (Hopefully we’ll actually get to it this week – we’ve missed it for like three weeks in a row!)

And that’s about it! I’m really trying to put this out of my mind and move on – it’s tough, but I guess at some point you just have to – *cue Frozen soundtrack* – let it gooooooo. ;)

I’ll see you tomorrow, everybody!

love,
Topaz


Taking a Break

Scrawled 20 February, 2015, stored in Life, 8 Comments

Hi guys,

So today I found out that someone I asked not to read the blog is doing so anyway.

I’m very angry and more than a little hurt at the moment. Six Impossible Things is supposed to be a place where I can talk about things away from people I know in real life, and I trusted this person to respect my wishes. She’s done things like this before as well, so I’m not sure why I’m surprised, but still. It sucks.

I’m taking a break from blogging here for the next week or so – maybe longer, but I’ll make an announcement via Twitter if that’s the case – just so I can get my bearings and see what I can do about this. I’m going to poke around and see if there’s a way to block people from seeing Six Impossible Things – that might help the issue.

I’ll still be on Tumblr, so you guys can find me there if needed. (I won’t put the link here for obvious reasons, but I’m pretty sure most of you know it – if not, feel free to email me.) And I’ll be around the blogosphere and commenting on your lovely blogs as well, so I’m not disappearing entirely. I just need some time away from here, I think.

See you guys soon. x

love,
Topaz


So Much Closer: A Mix for Hope in the Darkness

Scrawled 20 February, 2015, stored in Music, 6 Comments

Note: wow, this mix took way longer to make than I had anticipated – apologies for the after-midnight post!

Hi lovelies!

I’m sorry for the lack of post yesterday. It was pretty rough, to put it mildly, especially when I came home from school… you know how it goes, and I wasn’t really up to writing anything. Today wasn’t so good either – it was Chinese New Year, so we didn’t have school, and I spent the majority of the day holed up my room rereading old Reader’s Digest copies + memorising poetry + watching Disney movies + playing video games (I’m actually not really a game person, but there’s something comforting about the repetitiveness during times like this) + generally trying not to think and/or panic at small noises.

I did manage to avoid having a panic attack (which: HALLELUJAH FOR THAT), but still. Crappy couple of days. Far too many tears than can be remotely healthy.

A few weeks ago Alyssa tagged me in the Lyric Medley tag – thank you so much, love! – but I never really got around to doing it. I was seriously considering it, but two things made me decide against it: firstly, the tag requires a somewhat cohesive music taste, which I do not have; and secondly, I detest and abhor playlists that are not cohesive.

So instead I decided to do a bit of a spin-off of the tag and make a playlist that, while certainly not encompassing my music taste as a whole, does encompass what’s been on my mind lately. This one was… difficult to make, especially since the theme is so tough to name, but I do hope you guys enjoy it anyway. You can click on the cover to listen on 8tracks (and about that, I’m sorry that it turned out slightly blurry – on the site it looks much better!).

Album Cover

i. facing west // the staves

ii. transatlanticism // death cab for cutie

iii. bones // ben howard

iv. state of grace (acoustic) // taylor swift

v. fever dream // iron & wine

vi. northern downpour // panic! at the disco

vii. she will be loved (acoustic) // maroon five

viii. sink or swim // lewis watson

This is a mix for the quiet warriors, for the people who have waged and lost too many battles against themselves. It’s at once a manifesto for those who have almost given up countless times and reminder that almost is an important word. These songs are a celebration of the beauty in what’s broken, and they form an intricate dance between hope and the darkness it so often hides in.

love,
Topaz