Friday, November 11, 2011

I'm Still Here

I've been busy with work and a writing workshop I'm participating in, but yesterday my cousin reminded me of the existence of my blog. So I'm back.

Thanks to being cooped up online for two hours every week with other would-be writers, I have been forced to think about things like Derrida and post-modernism. (Luckily, adulthood has bestowed upon me the diminished attention span of a housefly, so I don't actually have to spend that much time thinking about those things.)

But sometimes I worry that I'm too laid back, that I'm no longer smart enough to get excited about deconstruction and semiotics. At the same time, I don't want to churn out tedious romantic novels or chick flick screenplays, lucrative as Twilight may have proven to be. What I want to produce is the novel equivalent of a great rock anthem - something loud, fast and aggressively dumb, with sly flashes of virtuosic brilliance. Something that won't get relegated to the ghetto of weepy Asian women's literature, next to the Catherine Lim.

Maybe this dumb-jock inner self is why I was always bored by the precious, Literature student convent girls who should have been my best friends, based on all the surface commonalities like a love of Jane Austen. At age 13 and 14 I was well on my way to becoming that person: glasses, modest skirts, sentimental-minded, always toting around a book far beyond my maturity level. The Girl Most Likely To Get An English Degree, Fall In Crush With My Professor And Compose Sad Moleskine Poetry While Sniffling Over Tea At Starbucks.

But there was this older kid at school, whose name I can't remember now - Reynard? Raymond? Ray-whatever was two years older and a fellow prefect. He was a goofy slacker with bad posture and a permanent deadpan expression, master of the one-liner. By teenage standards, an incredibly funny guy. The Bill Murray of Presbyterian High.

One afternoon I was sitting in the canteen with several other girls, and Ray-etc stopped by to say hello. He was in top form that day, probably encouraged by the favorable audience reaction. All the girls were giggling non-stop, pausing only to give him speculative looks along the lines of "Why, hello there, funny man! Keep this up and I just might let you slip a hand under my school skirt!"

I don't know why, but instead of similarly dropping my panties, I felt compelled to keep up with him. I wanted to make him laugh as much as he made me laugh. So I slung a few of my own - nothing outstanding, I hadn't put in any practice in front of a mirror - and to my dorky surprise, he actually laughed. In fact, he laughed and said, "Hey, you're pretty funny!"

It was the best feeling, ever. And it sparked an undying craving for more. And more.

Ray-(mur?) graduated and went on to the local university and I never saw him again, but who cared. Far more precious was the realisation that I didn't have to be the appreciative audience. I could be the one getting the reactions, the creator with the power to make people laugh, cry or throw up.

So that's why I didn't grow up and get a job, instead choosing to work a couple of dead-end freelance gigs so I can stay up until 4 am writing paragraphs I'll delete in the morning. I'm 27 years old. I'm worried it's too late for me to accomplish anything noteworthy, and too late for me to find another foothold in the workforce I left behind. That's why I ponied up $400 to take part in a workshop, just for the vague promise of having my work reviewed by an agent at the end of it all. What happens if it doesn't work out? I don't know. In the spirit of my unwritten novel, I try not to think too hard about anything. And that's why I'm still here.