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Young and Wild and (Never) Free

“‘What are you going to do with your life?’ In one way or another it seemed that people had been asking her this forever … Better by far to simply try and be good and courageous and bold and to make a difference. Not change the world exactly, but the bit around you.” (David Nicholls, One Day)

Not long ago, in the middle of the night, a good friend from high school messaged me. They were exhausted from overworking. On top of that, they had just split up with their significant other, who—hurt from a lack of couple’s time and communication—immediately booked the earliest flight possible back to their city. My friend was shattered, to the point that they could not shed any tear. They were in dire need of someone to listen to their story, but they struggled to tell it. Continue reading “Young and Wild and (Never) Free”

On the metaphorical laryngitis

An idea softly lands on my mind. Out of reflex, my hands start hovering over the keyboard. It is as if the clickety clacks startled the idea. It flutters its translucent wings and away it flies, leaving me empty and defeated.

1.

Around this time last year, I was—in the literal sense of the word—voiceless. As a 39°C fever turned me into a human heater, my vocal cords decided that enough was enough, got inflamed, and swelled up so badly they would not budge.

I wanted to say all the things, but I physically could not make a single sound. Even with my quiet nature (most of the time), it was a frustrating experience.

 

2.

It is now eight weeks into my Honours year, and I have not written a single word besides for my coursework assignments and the shapeless fragments of my thesis.

An idea softly lands on my mind. Out of reflex, my hands start hovering over the keyboard. It is as if the clickety clacks startled the idea. It flutters its translucent wings and away it flies, leaving me empty and defeated.

Sometimes, on the train back from work in Sydney, two days a week, I wonder if I really am so busy that I just cannot find time to think and write. But this would have been an excuse, and a poor one at that. The two hours each way, with my headphones on to put a soft line between myself and the world twirling around me, give me plenty of headspace to think. Contemplate. Mull things over.

Yet I still find myself staring at a blank document, the blinking cursor taunting my frustration.

IMG_20190104_144758
taken on a tranquil summer day

Normally, random bits of thoughts would be pouring like pieces of scrap fabric into a mental basket; I would sift out the ones that intrigue me, lay them out in front of me in the form of sentences, then sew them together with more words until a thinking-quilt would take shape. Now, the thoughts are there, the ideas are there, but it is as if I physically cannot pull them together into any meaningful form, that another person can look at and go, I get it.

The written word has always been my sixth sense, even at times when I was not aware that it was there, quietly piecing together all the stimulus picked up by the rest of my senses. Now that I have suddenly lost the ability to assemble my thoughts, I can feel its absence so acutely that it is paralysing: I am constantly being in that uneasy state when your eyes have yet to adjust to the darkness and you cannot tell when they will.

And so the helpless sense of voicelessness—this time mentally—consumes me.

 

3.

I have witnessed my (academic) writing go through a series of autopsies in the past eight weeks, more than I had ever seen in my three year of my undergrad degree. Each time, the verdict was slightly different, so I patiently changed my work little by little, for it to better fit a frame.

I am grateful that it makes me a better (?!?) novice academic writer, but the blinding side effect is that all the grades and the feedback have overflowed into every aspect of my writing. Now I second-guess everything I type out, judging if it is good enough, when I honestly am not sure what the standards are anymore.

 

4.

So here I am, trying to get back on top of writing not for a number on my transcript, but first, for myself, then to hopefully spark a serendipitous idea in someone else. It is harder than ever, but it is worth it.

Until next time.

Minh-Anh Mia Do

On the Right Foot

I am starting 2019 on the right foot, and to whoever is reading this, I hope you are, too. Happy New Year, and I wish you all the best.

My birthday’s in January, so naturally, every turn of a new year to me marks another year of age. I am turning twenty-two soon, and most of those twenty-two years, I have rarely ever missed a single moment of transition from one year to another, always stayed up past midnight. Last year and the year before, I was even among the crowd, counting down, bursting with joy when the Habour Bridge was lit up by fiery flowers in front of our very eyes.

This year, I’m sitting quietly in my bedroom, in a quiet house, in a quiet neighbourhood far from the excitement in the city centre. Continue reading “On the Right Foot”

Mirrors and Prisms

This session at university, I took a class that not only opened my eyes to the actual way uni and the work future are connected but gave me rich insights into what a beautifully tangled web each of us is in, in work and in life.

1. Webs

This session at university, I took a class that not only opened my eyes to the actual way uni and the work future are connected but gave me rich insights into what a beautifully tangled web each of us is in, in work and in life.

Continue reading “Mirrors and Prisms”

Get the Balance Right (a.k.a. An Intervention for an Intervention)

Why are us consumers the (seemingly) only ones responsible for changing all of our habits to save the Earth?

 

Assuming online magazines like TrendHunter are truly trend hunters, we are all in a craze for all things “design-conscious, cost-effective, and low impact alternative[s]” (Pijak 2018); from eco-packagings to eco-vehicle and eco-house, the slope sure is slippery. That is by no means to say we are a blind herd of trend-chasers, but it sure puts some wondering in one’s head—why are us consumers the (seemingly) only ones responsible for changing all of our habits to save the Earth?

quote
(Lukacs 2017)

Continue reading “Get the Balance Right (a.k.a. An Intervention for an Intervention)”

An interview with my mentor

or, as subtly aggressively subtitled, ‘The treachery of elasticity’.

or, as subtly aggressively subtitled, ‘The treachery of elasticity’

“… the possibility of narrating the lived and passing to another person his/her life experience, makes the experience that is finite, infinite, and of fundamental importance for the construction of the collective notion.”

(Muylaert et al. 2014, p. 185)

***

My gratitude goes to Shooshi, for her time, her guidance, her kindnessfor the person she is.

 

1.

I have always been an overthinker, a perfectionist, someone always looking for approval—all of which had led to tangled ruminations over whom to choose when I was tasked with conducting a narrative interview with an individual in my dream profession. What do I want to take on upon graduation? Who do I want to become? Who can give me the most crucial advice?

Continue reading “An interview with my mentor”

Reading {J}ournal—on Japanese Short Stories—2: Reflect

An autoethnographic look into my previous experience with Japanese literature–Kitchen, Socrates in Love, Norwegian Wood

Warning: Some spoilers ahead (Kitchen—Banana Yoshimoto, Norwegian Wood—Haruki Murakami, Socrates in Love—Kyoichi Katayama)

Analyticality

In my most recent post, I went down a nostalgic memory lane of experiences with Japanese literature, setting up a background for my upcoming Digital Artefact* on Japanese short stories and the culture’s reflection between the lines—the stories are like age rings of a tree, looking at which one can observe the subtle changes in history and culture, especially among the commoners. Now that I have had some time to distance myself from my writing, it is only apt that I practise looking at that narrative with some objectivity, dissecting the emotional with more logic to bring out an autoethnographic aspect. Continue reading “Reading {J}ournal—on Japanese Short Stories—2: Reflect”