Would you believe me if I told you that I am a monarch of my own kingdom? Say, an empress who rule a beautiful and peaceful land and I get to kick butts freely and nobody would say a word about it? And people tell me that I rock the world and I look beautiful all the time? Would you believe it? No?
Well, I don’t believe it myself too, but it’s all possible when you can ‘create’ your own world through writing. Fantasy of what we could never be will be lost when we grow older and more realistic as well as materialistic things occupied our minds. But if we put our fantasy through writing, the dreams and fantasy as an innocent child would forever be immortalized as long as the eyes can see.
I started writing fictions ever since I was a little girl. I was 11 years old when I wrote my first ‘novel’. It was written on a thick, hardback, pink coloured exercise book that I bought from the stationary store nearby my primary school. It costs me RM3.50, an amount that was very big for me back then, because my father did not give me much pocket money when I was a primary school student. I bought it secretly because if my parents knew what the book was for, I’d be screwed.
Why would I be screwed, you ask me? Well, elementary my dear readers. It was because my father and mother did not encourage writing such things. Writing composition for homeworks are fine with them, but not novel length fictions. They thought it was a waste of time. They wanted me to study maths and science, and those stuff that they taught in school instead. I would probably be slaughtered by my parents and it’ll make a nasty scene where even the most bloodthirsty murderer would puke at the gory details if they found out what I did for fun back then.
But I did not let their discouragement and threats affect my little hobby. Besides, there’s little fun a sickly child like me could have. I was terrible in sports as I often get asthma attacks, and faints easily too. I was excused from all school assemblies, even, as the teachers were probably scared that I’ll die on them or something. It was growing pains, I didn’t get to do many things for fun, but I found joy in writing, where everything was possible and I am in charge of everything. That was probably the only thing I was good at anyway.
I wrote and scribbled on the precious fancy exercise book by using ballpoint pens during my free time and even during recess. Friends and classmates started to get curious and nosy, seeing me so immersed in writing, and I was asked to show them what I was doing. I was reluctant at first, as I feared that they would report to the prefects and soon my little treasure would be confiscated. But it did not happen. Other things happened. Wonderful things that I never even imagined in the first place.
My friends and classmates read my story and got hooked on it. They were interested in what would happen to the characters in the story and if the story will have a happily ever after or not. And so, I would write a bit by bit, and then would pass the book around for them to read each time I updated the story.(Sometimes, I wish there was such thing as Internet back then, it would have made my life easier and less complicated!)
My friends and classmates genuine interest my writing boosts my confidence, no kidding. And I made even more efforts to make the story interesting, and with less grammatical errors. After a few months of writing installments to my stories where it will be ‘reviewed’ by friends and classmates alike, I finally managed to finish my first ‘teenage adventure’ novel with the title ‘The Mysterious Attic’. I may not have published it, but my ‘fangirls’ made photocopies of the exercise book that I wrote the story.
I was embarrassed at first, but they told me it was a story worth keeping. They said the story was one of a kind, something they would never be able to buy from the bookstores. A friend who was good in drawing made covers for the photocopied version of the book and had me signed it. It was a nice childhood memories, and little did I know, professional authors around the world did similar things- signing their books. If only I knew back then, it would have boost my bloody ego and self confidence.
Truth be told. I am not sure if ‘The Mysterious Attic’ was a good story. I could hardly remember the story myself. All I could remember is that the story is about a young girl who found a gold pendant with little mirror on it while cleaning the old attic in her grandmother’s house, and was transported to a mysterious world. She found her greatest adventure and learn about love, friendship and sacrifices along the way. That’s all I could remember. I wonder if I could rewrite the story the same way. I doubt I could. After all it was my brainchild when I was younger. It would be different if I were to write it again.
By the way, a friend of mine made different covers for each photocopies of the book, and though I’ve lost touch with her, I wonder if she ever became a graphic designer, as she was so passionate in arts and could produce beautiful drawings even though she was just 11 years old back then.
It was unfortunate for me that my mother threw away the book when she found out about it two years later, when I was 13 years old. She accused me of fantasizing about boys and whatnot and thought the book was just my ‘coded diary’.
Naturally, I was upset with her action, but did not made any effort to argue with her, because I was scared to death of my father. What’s more, it would have been pointless, as I would be punished anyway regardless of my explanation.
And so, even though my first masterpiece was gone it did not stop me from writing more stories; on cheaper exercise books though, cuz I couldn’t afford anymore fancy, hardcover notebooks. I stashed my next handwritten stories away behind my revision bookshelves, and my mother never did found them til this very day.
Anyway, that was how I started to appreciate English language and literature and found the real use of dictionary and thesaurus. Writing your own stories are not a waste of time, though my parents would have me believed that back then. It taught me something that could never be taught by the teachers in school or any books in history. It taught you perseverance,creativity, patience, discipline, elusiveness and most importantly, passion. It is pure joy. At least for me.
I didn’t stop writing as I grew older, though I did went on hiatus for 3 years as horrible author’s block hits me. When I was introduced to the wonderful world of Internet, I began submitting my works for various fiction sites, and geo people from around the world to comment and criticize my work. I even copyrighted them so that they wouldn’t be stolen too as I go further along. The best part of technology is that it repelled my mother and father from throwing away my works, as I usually password protect my works, and I have back ups everywhere on the net.
Years passed by, I grew up and I don’t write fiction all the time anymore. I now write fiction only once or twice a year and my bloody production for novels and short stories went down terribly. I found newer kind of joy; social networking and blogging, and I figured that blogging is a good form of writing too.
Blogging made me feel happy too, as it is a reminder on how free and lucky I am to be able to enjoy delivering my thoughts, real life stories and opinions throughout the world. Writing entries for my blog affords me a chance every day to just sit and reflect my thoughts. I live in a city, with lots of rat race and fast moving things. I love where I live, and if I were to be tossed into some village, I would have probably suicide out of boredom.
I really love the city, but I also think it’s important to sit and be quiet with yourself and your thoughts. Blogging and writing for me is very meditative and calming, and helps to give me some sort of inner peace, though not that much.
Writing and blogging always reminded me of how liberated and lucky I am. I am lucky that I am able to use technology to have myself heard. And lucky enough to be educated and literate while some other people in the world are still trapped in poverty and conservative world where knowledge is pretty limited to them. Indeed, I am lucky.
But I mourn the fact that governments all around the world feel threatened by the written words. Writers who live in these countries are persecuted and imprisoned, their writing censored, their lives threatened every day,simply because they love to do what you and I love to do: write and express themselves and probably told ugly truths about the governments in questions.
Reading and writing therefore,become a constant reminder of how very fortunate I am. It also becomes a challenge to you, to me, to all of us: to face the fact that not all people are free, lucky and liberated as we are, and we have to work to change that, and made our voice and opinion be heard.
Cleffairy: Be a monarch of you own kingdom, for there’s much to learn. And please, do support you children’s hobbies if they are not destructive. You would never know that their hobbies might become their career one day.
On a lighter note, Paylessbok sale is back in YMCA, KL. If you like to read and wants to encourage your children to read, you might want to check it out.
Venue: 1st Floor, YMCA KL, 95, Jalan Padang Belia,
Off Jalan Tun Sambanthan, Kuala Lumpur
Please click HERE for further details:
Date: 20 – 22 November 2009 (Friday – Sunday)
Time: 10:00am – 7:00pm
ps: If any of the ‘friends’ and ‘classmates’ that I mentioned here happened to still have a photocopy of my work, would you please kindly email me at firstname.lastname@example.org? I really would like to see my first work again.