I have to confess – I had been working to the point of exhaustion. I have been working till I could not move when I hit the bed, I am dead weight. When I hit my head on a car leather seat, I doze off immediately. I have pushed myself way too hard, in a short time. I forget to eat my meals, I have lost too much weight. Sometimes I don’t even remember my keys, or to order groceries. Sometimes I even forget my name, till someone calls my name. I have been spending ridiculous amounts of hours in front of the mirror to perfect my dance moves. Some days, I am zombified like a walking undead. Emotions don’t seem to penetrate me, they brush past me like the wind.
I am aiming to achieve total mastery over my mind body and soul, but that stage is transient and not permanent. Sometimes I am in the flow, sometimes I am off the grid. Sometimes my mood swings get the better of me. I am, after all, a woman. Sometimes the past attacks my mind, and it fills me with anxiety that my pores are producing cold sweat. Whenever I encounter fights in public, I am filled with dread and an urge to run as far away as possible for safety.
I am fallible. I am human. I make mistakes. I am not perfect. I am not everything, neither, can I be anything.
I am doing all these for an impossible dream, but to dream is better than to not dream. To live in hope is better to live in monotony.
I am way past overdue to go to New York for an extended period of time for the final marathon stretch of my short film production.
My fan funding milestone is not on target as I had been distracted.
I will be self-funding on a low budget for this dream to materialise.
I could almost taste my dreams now.
“It has been my dream from the start of filming The Scarlet Queen in 2012, to eventually make it into a movie to be broadcast to the world. I was limited by resources hence I uploaded a video on YouTube every week. In my dreams and visions, all I see is the grand design of the movie I want to make based on what I had created for The Scarlet Queen. Now, there are over two hundred videos with thousands of minions worldwide. I am dedicating my life in 2018 to turn The Scarlet Queen into a 20-minute short film by elevating my artistry through dancing 20 hours a week, and attending acting classes, working out and keeping to a strict diet. I had lost 7 kg in 2017 in preparation for this role. Your support for my artistry makes it possible for me to pursue my dreams.”
I had a vivid dream of a young actor auditioning for a role. He was unassuming and plain. He asked the judges for permission to start the auditions and bam, he was waxing lyrical poetry with his emotionally filled dialogue. He truly captivated the judges who were awestruck. The judges granted him the lead role and he was on screens, and movie posters.
Sometimes I wonder if I am actually running away from my love for languages and the screen by dancing yet another night away. That all I have done so far (publishing three books, joining performance dance teams, randomly filming videos) is actually my futile attempts at avoiding producing a movie.
The resistance is so strong towards the pull of producing the movie that I dream about it (the casting, the scenes, the storyline) instead of enacting on anything concretely in real life. It is a mirage that blurs but crystalises in my sleep. I tell myself, I am not good enough. I don’t have funding or support from a studio. And why is this calling so goddam strong? I did not study in theatre. Yet, the images of Broadway and West End filters in and out of my visions.
Sometimes I see her in my dreams. She is calling the shots, acting in a solo production, and materialising each step. She has lost a significant amount of weight, and she is mastering her body movements. She is replying to hundreds of fan mails and teasing them into utter submission.
When I see her up close in the mirror, I am like holy my god you monstrous being. You are ruining my life, why do you want to evolve when I am happy where I am? Please spare me and take someone else’s soul. I am not capable of your task. You are asking too much of me. I need to rest, I need to make a living. You are asking me to risk everything I ever knew to become someone I am not.
Then, she smiles, that sinister smile. And she says to me. “You will do exactly what I say with no regrets.”
Do you have someone in your life that makes you want to transcend yourself?
That inspires you and elevates you to reach for the stars and beyond?
That supports you and cherishes you in your darkest moments?
That is always there no matter what happens?
The seasons change, yet, the love is constant?
Treasure them, for they are the hidden forces who make you who you are today.
I believe for Ayumi Hamasaki and Jay Chou, their mothers were the person behind their success respectively.
I wrote out my life and eulogy at 18 years old. The most irrational of which was to publish three books before the age of 30. I was young and foolish and needed to prove that I was an author. I spent winter nights in Melbourne working through the night typing on the keyboard till my fingers went numb from the cold as there was no heater in the room. I hated myself every single day for not writing fast enough. But being an author wasn’t about writing books but communicating ideas.
My ideas were lost in the process of hitting daily word count goals. In secret, I worked on short stories but I kept hidden from the world as I was afraid of myself. I was afraid my abilities and I sought to disintegrate my works by writing under different identities. I left all my short stories incomplete and unpublished. But there was one short story that lingered and haunted me.
It was The Scarlet Throne, but even which, I refused to name it it’s real name and called it “The Prince” when I initially published the first three chapters on my blog. The Scarlet Throne trilogy is the real deal and the legacy I will leave behind on earth. I will be working on this project for the next six years. I will be writing next trilogy (The Scarlet Throne) set in a science fiction dystopian post-nuclear holocaust universe with encoded with ideologies from French and Chinese philosophers from Feb 2018 to Feb 2024. The Hourglass Trilogy is available on Amazon.
Releasing a book on virtual space is like releasing an entity to the universal conciousness. It is scary. It’s akin to exposing my soul to the world, it’s worse than exposing myself nude in public. It’s exhibitionistic to the maximum level as it’s not just my body, but my heart and soul is released to the world. I don’t enjoy that particular feeling of being “exposed” or what the french call it, exposé. It’s a rather vunerable emotion. It’s like confessing my love to a secret crush after years of playing hide and seek. It’s like being a child all over again.
Flashback to the memory. I am in the school canteen, sitting alone. A girl comes up to me and tells me she likes me. She uses her belt to hit my arm playfully. She wacks my arm a few times as she gives a sadistic smile on her face. She was in pure delight, that she looks escatically pleased to inflict pain and red bruises on my exposed arm. As a socially awkward almost mute bookworm nerdish kid I was, I let her take control in total silence and obedience. She laughed and said this is how they treated animals. We humans deserve the pain we inflict on others. I could not move and I was rooted on the spot, on the seat. Her words lingered into my conciousnessness and the memory of which became permanently etched in my mind. Ever since then, I inflicted pain on those I loved.
Writing the Hourglass Series has been strangely theraputic. I am rather mixed. I hate and love it. But it would be considered my best work to date in my perspective. However, my best friend had advised me to work on The Scarlet Throne series (based on The Prince working title) to turn it into novel form. I can always continue the Hourglass Series at a later date. The Scarlet Throne would be my magnum opus, he said. I agreed. In fact, the visions of The Scarlet Throne is what penerates my dreams and visions in everything I see and do. It is probably the most soulful work what I will ever bring to fruitation if I start working on it.
I am seriously considering to stay in New York for a few months to work on my writings, attending theater and dance classes. Only by elevating my skills, I could then, elevate my art. I am in contemplation at the moment, but I am afraid of the person I would become as well. My heart calls for me to go forth towards New York and find the best teachers in the artistry I wish to pursue. Yet, I am in fear that I will no longer see myself in the mirror again. Every morning, I wake up nude and look at myself in the full length mirror before weighing myself to check my equilibrium.
I am unsure if I can do the same or start to hate myself all over if I go over to New York. I am afraid of losing myself, losing my mind, losing control. Or will it be the opposite – I will refine and gain more control over my identity through the pursuit of love, beauty and knowledge?
For this, I am at an artistic crossroads. I will be on a two weeks break to find these answers.
In the Effective Executive, I learnt that an executive can perform the functions of 200 people. Given the automation of technology, this is true. Given the easy availability of outsourcing – this is true too. I find most of the work I perform is automated by processes and are on scheduled releases. For example, I could schedule to release my blog posts every week. I could write five posts in one day and set it on an automated release schedule. I could effectively delegate someone to write my blog and release it too. But that’s not the point of my blog as it is a personal blog so that would entirely make no sense to outsource something I enjoy doing, so I keep myself on this task.
But there is many things I do not enjoy doing – like repetitive work. They are functions that could be automated. The number of vendors that I have engaged this year is astonishing even to myself, my phone rings non stop on some mornings by vendors – banks, deliveries, appointments. My calendar has a recurring automated prompts to do weekly tasks or monthly routines. The more I engage with the concept of time, the more I find that my time on earth is too short, and too brisk for what I want to truly accomplish. I have be content that I will only produce a fraction of what I would like to do in this brisk stay on earth.
Even the countries I will potentially be able to visit is limited by my actual life span. I met an American tourist in a cafe in Beijing who said he had visited Greece 30 times. He is 72, divorced with no children. I wonder if in my later years I would try to repeat my fond memories by revisiting the same location. Or will I be contented with a lifelong companion with a house by a lake in my later years, doing gardening and keeping ten cats. Or will I even have family members or friends in my later years, or will I be able to dance the way I do now. In times of my quiet contemplation of life, I look to my grandparents for solace.
As much as I could outsource and delegate the functions of my life till I could spend each moment in the pursuit of pleasure, I am met with the existential crisis that still, the greatest fulfillment I find joy in is to bring out the best in others around me, and to perform in my dance and song.
When I watch my grandparents, in their advanced years, traveling on cruise ships and visiting casinos to spend their solitary remaining years – I am filled with a kind of despondence that one day I may meet this end. Will I be indulgent in seeking for temporary highs from my winnings by an electronic machine? I have a romantic ideal that I will spend my remaining years writing books, painting and drawing, and if I could move my limbs, still dancing to no nights end. But it will all be too lonely if I had not found a companion by then. For in one’s advanced years, it is no longer about young love, but an old familiar love that one is content to have by their side in their moments of joys and sadness.
My third book is almost ready at this stage. I wonder if I look back at my life now 50 years on, I may have a few hundred published books by then, maybe I will be well known, maybe no one will remember me. Maybe I might disappear from the face of earth without a trace for history is continuously rewritten by those who want us to believe in their truths instead of the real truth of what it is.
I will never stop writing the truth for it is my duty and service to humanity to only speak the truth and no less. Even if I lose my popularity for revealing the true nature of what it is, I am willing to sacrifice my egoistical self to be secure and safe. Why will I be lesser than what I am? Or be dishonest with myself when I could, in full honesty, life my live to the accords of the highest fulfillment of what it is meant to be?
I choose to be myself.
Some quotes from The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde that is stuck in my head. I had finally finished the book after reading it over a period of a few months and I did a marathon stretch of reading it on a flight in between napping and reading. Much of the book is implied, and one has to guess what happens between the lines.
The procurement of sensations and replicating those sensations of pleasure.
From ugliness one can find beauty.
She had everything and I had nothing.
I had reevaluated my soul while reading the book, and from my revelations, I had found the ugliness of my corrupted soul and salvaged it from the brink of its demise. There were many of times I felt like Dorian Gray when I looked at the portrait of my reflection in the mirror. I wanted to slice it, cut it, kill it. There was so much angst that I abhorred myself deeply that I hated the way I looked. I no longer feel this way about myself this year. I had found my happiness in the pursuit of the arts and literature. I had fuelled my wanderlust by travelling to historic places and immersing myself in the theatre. When in London, I watched seven shows on the West End in one week. When in New York, I watched a line of shows at Broadway. When in Beijing, I watched the acrobats perform death-defying moves that could send one crippling should they fall by accident. I watched them perform world class acts like Cirque du Soleil in an amusement park. An artist can only create and further their own art by continuous exposure to other arts. My schedule is filled to the brim that my assistant thinks I am the reincarnate of madness.
It is true that it may be frivolous to indulge in endless travels and pursuit of the meaning of life. Looking at the hallways of the forbidden city that probably once upon a time, they walked through the same stone steps to serve the emperor of China as a scholar-official, and took the imperial examinations to be entitled to a lifetime of servitude to the country. That we had left the motherland to explore the world in Chinese junk boats. That I had inherited the same genes of exploration that I am unable to stay in one spot for too long without feeling an incessant compulsion to climb a mountain or swim in the azure sapphire waters of a Greek island. That I may never settle, that the future is uncertain. That my goal of becoming a published author of three books as I had always wanted to do in my life since I was a child – is almost at its final fruition.
What is the future? I have no clue. I had achieved so much before the age of thirty, that one may look at my track record and wonder how is it even possible to be so diverse in one’s rate of artistic production. I had lived my life on the edge of an adrenaline high fuelled by caffeine and lust. Lust. That’s the dirty word that is disguised by passion. My passion for life is ruled by my lust for life. I hunger so much for the very things I know I can’t have, imaginary worlds that I can never live in, and create realities for the future so they may not walk or suffer in my footsteps. In my ultimate exploration of my soul, I had acted in a solo production of over a hundred videos for five years running, written in all honesty about my insights into my three novels, danced the truth of my emotions in my poetry and movement. I had given myself completely to my art. At the end of it all, I may never be recognised or remembered. I may be forgotten like a speck of dust in the insignificance of this universe.
But I still do what I do each day in hope of a better tomorrow. This is my promise, and the reason I keep myself alive and well. To fill the world with my eternal sunshine of love, beauty and knowledge.
Every waking moment, I get to write, dance and film.
This is the life I love. There is no other life that I will trade for than the one I have now.
I had never imagined that it would be possible to pursue such diverse interests, but the internet makes it possible.
To explore my life to it’s limits, and beyond.
To create and chase my calling to the far ends of the world.
Somehow my personal legend has lead me here, and when I diverge from it, I feel lost.
The moment I am back on my path, everything makes sense, no matter how nonsensical it may seem what I am doing right now,
It is all linked to fulfilling on what is of importance to me.
Some days I feel like I am like the boy in The Alchemist, walking through the desert in search for a treasure.
The sweet visions of an oasis drifts in and out of my memory as I walk through the desert storm.
Some days I am digging in the sands, my hands and knees are bleeding, but yet I am digging for my treasure in front of the great pyramids.
I know that if I don’t follow my heart, I will be unhappy.
When I am unhappy, I can no longer write.
But as long I follow my heart, and chase my dreams, travel the world, and respond to my calling.
It will all make total sense.
As of now, my calling is to film an independent film based on The Scarlet Queen next year.
I will take a one year break from writing the fourth novel to the Hourglass Series and focus on marketing the first three books.
I am at one with the universe as I write this, and for this, I had finally found peace and tranquility in my heart.
Every now and then when my thoughts are still and quiet.
Before I sleep, and the moment I wake up.
I will visualise the aroma of my grandmother’s homemade coffee.
She brewed a fresh metal flask of coffee every morning.
She will scoop five tablespoons of freshly grounded malaysian coffee beans into a sock.
Pick up the handle of a kettle, and pour boiling hot water into the sock filter.
She would pour out the brewed coffee into a metal container before pouring it back to the sock about three times,
then she would cover it and leave it on the countertop for five minutes.
All this time, I would be sitting on wooden chair by a circular marble table in the kitchen, watching from the distance.
She walked with a slight limp on her left leg towards me and open a tin of biscuits and put some biscuits onto my plate.
Then she would pour a two full mugs of coffee. But she would serve my coffee while she left her mug covered on the countertop.
I would dip the large squarish yellow biscuit into the coffee to soften it before chomping it down. The coffee was sweetened with condensed milk and had a bitter aftertaste like dark chocolate. I would savour each bite slowly as my grandmother washed the dishes. After I finished my meal, I would run to watch television for the usual 10am cartoon show. Then, my grandmother would sit by the marble table with her coffee and biscuits while watching me from afar.
Years later, she is still with me in my thoughts and memories, and everytime I feel down or upset, I would go to a malaysian coffee store and purchase a cup of coffee. But no coffee tasted like the one my grandmother made, they made me think of her, but nothing in the world could replace the love and care and dedication she made to serving my meals every morning before herself. She made sure I was taken care of at every step of the way, and placed herself second in everything she did in relation to me.
I never saw or realised this when I was younger. I used to think she was annoying when she called seven times a day to ask if I would be visiting her, and she would be dead soon. I never understood she had dementia and could not remember if she had called just before. I never understood her love, nor did I see that I was her favourite grandchild and I was female, she didn’t care if I could not carry on the family surname for my dad only had one descendant.
Sometimes I want to write her a letter to express my gratitude, and I am lost for words as I could not speak or write in hokkien as fluently as I could in english. I wonder if she could read my heart, or hear my song as I write these words. That I miss her so much. I miss her coffee, her touch, her expression of love towards me. There are only so few people in the word that I would ever meet in my lifetime that would show unconditional love. She was my grandmother, and my one and only grandmother. If anything at all, she saved me from the blink of disaster during my dysfunctional teenage years, for her love was constant like the waves of the sea.
Slowly, she lost her mind. She would stare blankly into space while she lied in bed from day to night. She could no longer recognise my cousins, me or my relatives. She only recognised her caretaker and my uncle. She would call for help like a child to be fed and bathed. She jerked her body when she was cold. It was painful to see her deterotiation over the years as she became frail and skinny. We lost her to dementia.
When her coffin entered the furnace, it struck me that the very person I was running away from was now the person I wanted most in the world. I wanted her hug and to see her jovial smile once more. I wanted to hear her laughter and her voice as she spoke loudly to my relatives. I wanted her to call out my name. It’s been three years since she had passed on, but my heart longs and pangs for her love. Although I could not understand a word she said, all her actions communicated her love for me.
I miss her coffee, and no other coffee could ever replace the one she made.