info, works, shop

Currently updating past and present projects on this site.
Just finished David Sedaris’s When you Are Engulfed In Flames. Very enjoyable weekend read with bits that made me laugh out loud.

I came across an article today by Emily Rudow on Medium. She wrote about her experience of running 10km everyday for a month. It’s a personal challenge she decided to do after reading Chris Guillebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life. I think it is true that we all need to be on some kind of a quest daily, no matter how big or small. It is the daily action of putting one foot in front of another that helps to put things into place. It is also a form of hope. I think of the things that I have done this year, and truth be told, I haven’t done much things to shout about. But I am feeling happier and more stable than I did in a long while. Most of my energy is spent on just taking care of the normal aspects of life. Things I didn’t do a good job at before. The process of it helps me to feel happy and calm in a way I didn’t feel before.

As an avid diarist, the decision to stop writing can feel rather unnatural. I did not write to recount my day, I write because I felt overwhelmed. This realisation happens as a result of going through my archive – tons of writing that represent versions of myself I didn’t like. It feels scary to confront my own history sometimes. I realised that I could have used some help before, but it wouldn’t have been easy to ask.

Writing now feels unnatural. There are long pauses between each sentences. Before, the words flowed easily. There was no control.

I suppose this is how I realised that I am completing a personal quest. There is some difficulty in creating all these sentences now. There are multiple times I have to press the backspace bar, multiple times I reread the things that I write and noticing how they lacked a certain smoothness. But it’s okay. I am learning to write again everyday, in a way that is new and feels like the person that I am now.
To Write Again

︎ 18 August 2018

I deactivated Facebook for a really long time. All of this is difficult to describe and write down. Once in a while, I go back on to look for something on my feed. I die a little inside everytime I scroll down my feed – I am overwhelmed by the images and words, those that I’ve written, those contributed by others. All of these things do not exist anymore. I feel a little like that when I scroll through my own Instagram, but not so bad. I’m still on my Instagram break, I don’t forsee myself returning yet.

I thought about how Kenneth Goldsmith writes about Facebook and our browser history a form of a memoir. It is a little too honest, I suppose, way too autobiographical for my liking. I go through all this writing I did on my blog, but I did not die a little inside everytime I scroll down the page. With words, with blogs, it is possible to craft out a personal history the way you intend it to be. To call my Facebook feed a memoir is a bit of a reach for me. To be able to write is... in some way, to be able to romanticise things. There is some kind of a romance, I imagine, that is associated with memoirs, which is not what I would think of my Facebook feed. If anything, it is a collective effort in describing who I am in relation to the people I interact with, which can be painfully honest. Writing only involves my own point of view after all, and those that I wrote about were only figures, and not voices.

It was painful to go through my own online history. Despite keeping a blog for most part of my life, I did not feel this sinking feeling when I read those entries again.

no money

‘The Best Work In Literature’ by Manjula Martin

︎ 16 August 2018

Lately I feel a shadowy sense of anxiety over me again, after looking at my bank account and realising that most of my funds have been depleted after clearing my debt and getting an insurance plan. A kind of displeasure and unjust I haven’t felt for a while crossed my mind: Worked for two years and I am back to my penniless post-grad self. I used to feel bitter about this and that was the feeling I got when I first started working.

I recently applied for another job, doing something similar. It pays more, so I hope to save more towards my MFA.

Someone had this to say to me regarding this decision: don’t you think that you are selling out by getting this job? I don’t know if I would want to sell out by taking that job if I were you.

It was the second time that someone had implied I was selling out, and I was pissed. I wanted to tell them, you couldn’t even sell out if you tried. I was damn fed up. I know these people, I could empathise with their struggles and I know they did not say it with ill intention. But I also wish they could just suffer in silence and not be catty about it with me.

I wish it wasn’t such a loaded conversation: this whole thing about making a living. Even if I feel fairly comfortable about the decisions I make, I did not like the reactions that I get when I am asked why I do certain things. No one should be judged for their worth based on these decisions. Jobs are not a measure of our worth.

I decided to continue working within the military because I think it fits my needs for now. I appreciate not having a network – no emails, no phone calls, no connection. I go directly to the person I need to work with, if necessary, and vice versa. It gives me time to work on my projects and live my life. I don’t hate it. Most importantly, it keeps me grounded.

Manjula Martin pretty much sums up this idea of being grounded in her own essay from the book Scratch:

Empathy is perhaps the most valuable skill a writer can possess, and I found it at work. There, I was becoming myself, figuring out my values, where I stood in relation to the world and what I wanted to say about it. My art wasn’t doing that for me, art was what boomeranged off me while I processed real life. Would I quit working if I could? Of course I would. But I’d do so with the knowledge it might make me a person who is less engaged with life, and possibly a lesser writer.

The people I work with are very different from me and I appreciate that about them. The environment teaches me to be kind and patient, which are things that I am not really good at doing. Given the kind of person I am, to be completely involved in my art means to make a show of my flaws. It means to accept and celebrate things about myself that I should improve on (or change). Working with others help to build character. It is a simple way of explaining things, but it is an important truth. It really benefits the creative process. At this point in my life, I think I needed to learn about this, instead of going to do a job that is expected of me.

not a minimalist

︎ 8 August 2018

This week I finished Marie Kondo’s book on tidying. Found it at work, the last place I’d expect to find that book. I did not care much for the book at first. The phrase ‘spark joy’ seem to be a rather trite and flimsy piece of advice, especially after making its round online, but after going through the book in a day, I think it deserves to be described as more than just that book that instructs you to pick up whatever you possess and ask yourself if they spark any joy in you.

It was a helpful read, since the previous weekend I just got rid of my wardrobe — the whole thing, whatever’s left of the Ikea wardrobe I got as a hand-me-down from my sisters. I tossed away many bags of clothes.

The thing about Marie Kondo’s book that speaks to me is how our possessions can impact so much on who we are and what we want to do in life. I care a lot about this, since I mostly spend my free time just assessing whatever I own. On my computer, offline in my own space In my own projects, I go through whatever I have collected and written, and I hold on to them and hope that there is some meaning to these things.

I clean my room most weekends and toss away things generously. When I do so, I always feel better, and sometimes I get a clearer picture of what I wanted to do with other parts of my life. Recently, the slow progress on this site got me feeling really down, and I entertained myself with fantasies of a new wardrobe filled with clothes that I liked to wear — I did my math and research and found a cheap wardrobe from ikea and spent a weekend tossing and arranging things.

There are some really helpful tips that I get from the book, and I feel like I can apply to other parts of my life as well. The truth is I’ve felt suffocated for a while, a long running list of things I wanted/should do. I know I will never get to most of it and I feel horrible that I will not do so. I am afraid to know that I don’t know what the fuck I am doing. And living day to day is frustrating if I allow myself to brood upon it.

My life can and should be more minimal than it is now. There is a lot of noise inside my head and I am burdened by the things I desire to do and realistically will never get to. Even by some miracle that I get the chance to start working on that list, I don’t know if I feel that strongly about some of the projects anymore. I don’t like that I can feel so strongly about one thing and then I feel nothing the next moment.

Anyway I know that complaining is a waste of time. I think I can definitely try to KonMari my idea/project lists.

free entertainment

︎ 8 August 2018

This week I decided to visit the library again, a choice I made after opening my wallet and realising I have no more cash and I’ve exceeded the amount of money I’ve allowed myself to withdraw in a month. Going to the library is free and entertaining, of course. Came back with a couple of short stories which I quickly finished.

I felt good after reading the books, and I was entertained in a way I didn’t feel so for a while. My brain is stuck from not getting any progress on my website done. I didn’t do much in the last couple of weeks — sure, some of the things on my daily lists are checked, but I didn’t feel like I’ve gotten anything significant done. I go through this periodically and it hits me harder the week before I get my period.

It hits me hard when I write the days of the week and I realised it’s a new month and I am reassessing the same tasks again. Take this sitefor example — I must have made a dozen in the last five years, I am still not happy with it. 

reading list 2018

more recommended reads:

︎ 6 August 2018

1. Ongoingness – Sarah Manguso ︎
2. What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Haruki Murakami ︎
3. How to Walk – Thich Nhat Hanh ︎
4. Flow – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi ︎
5. The Importance of Living – Lin Yu Tang ︎
6. The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Marie Kondo ︎
7. The Nakano Thrift Shop – Hiromi Kawakami ︎
8. Strange Weather in Tokyo – Hiromi Kawakami ︎
9. Men Without Women – Haruki Murakami ︎
10. Whatever you think, think the opposite – Paul Arden ︎
11. The end of the moment we had – Toshiki Okada ︎
12. Ms Ice Sandwich – Mieko Kawakami ︎
13. Let’s Talk About Diabetes With Owls – David Sedaris ︎
14. This Is How – Augusten Burroughs ︎
15. Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott
16. Scratch – Manjula Martin ︎
17. Waste Time On the Internet – Kenneth Goldsmith
18. Six Memos for the Millennium – Italo Calvino
19. Ignore Everybody – Hugh Mcleod
20. The Lonely City – Oliva Laing
21. No Time To Spare – Ursula K. Le Guin

It is mid-August already but I just want to share my reading list for 2018. I currently have some free time so I want to catch up on my reading.

notes on diaries: David Sedaris


︎ 6 August 2018

David Sedaris on keeping his diaries:

I note how my entires have changed over the years, becoming less reflective and more sketch like.

From the essay ‘Day In, Day Out’ (Let’s Talk About Diabetes With Owls). I enjoyed that essay very much.

Although I noticed this a few years ago about my own writing, I was more worried that I had lost all the ‘poetic nonsense’ that comes with being an ‘artist’. Those definitions have changed greatly for me, and so has my own perspective on writing and life. Growing up, right?

Sarah Manguso says the same in her book Ongoingness. She mentions that in her early thirties, her diaries lacked a kind of romance, and have been reduced to some kind of a list. I can relate. The stuff in my own notebooks are less dense, curt words, lots of bullet points.

I couldn’t think of a better way to explain these lists, other than that it would have been quite worrying and rather pathetic to yak on about certain things after a while.

John Gorman charts his life for 30 years and this is what he finds out about his life, relationships and himself.

in spite of everything writing does one good


︎ sometime in July 2018

I haven’t written anything in a while. I collected some notes on my readings here and there, trying to find writers and artists who might share a similar feeling in their process, but nothing that really expresses my thoughts. It is true that I have avoided writing for a long time, the long process of reflecting upon my journalling habits while working on my book projects had stopped my crooked hand from writing. Kafka, it seems, in his days of despair and struggle, did not stop writing. But I did. He makes a very apt point on the problems of reviewing your own writing (as I’ve done in the past two years): writing makes everything clearer and worse. Bleisdall added on to this point by saying that such artistic insight and revelation we achieve as a result of soul searching can be devastating.

I guess that’s why I put down my pens. I don’t feel bad for not writing, and I am comforted by Kafka’s own admission that indeed, in spite everything writing does one good. Only by keeping such a prolonged account of my own journey can help me to be more appreciative of life in general.

blogged out

︎ undated, compiled from a few other blog entries

I’ve been busy with consolidating my notes from various wrecked notebooks and pulling up docs from the virtual drive – they need to be synthesized before I can move on to other things.

I would say this is the way that I make my work for the most part, and I only come to this understanding rather recently. Poking at old shit. For a while I didn’t do anything, just picked at things,  write ideas, start something, and then get overwhelmed and then I stop. I will most likely pluck out something from this blog to describe something that I make in the future, because over here I’m conditioned in some way, to write about work in a way that I reckon hits the sweet spot of a) telling it in my own voice b) telling it at the right time c) and telling it honestly. And I don’t write like this on any other platform, not in my books, so many times when I am required to describe some work, I come here to find the words.

The logistics of setting up a blog can wear me out, just thinking about it. There are very good platforms out there to showcase my thoughts/works, but there’s not a perfect, one. I am able to lower my expectations of what is ideal/perfect in my work, mostly, but I think to find that one online platform is really difficult. I don’t want to be that person with a few URLS to their name. I am in between Tumblr and Wordpress. Tumblr for the ease of customisation – sometimes you really need to get your hands dirty and manipulate a generic theme’s functions, and the ability to incorporate static html pages is something I really appreciate. A page built into a theme does not always allow one to be fully immersed in the experience of the content. Customisation is always fun and it’s the only way that I can still continue to learn about building sites. Wordpress, on the other hand, is a really sophisticated system. High quality database management that will be useful in the long run. And offers an entire world of customisation, if only I find enough time to teach myself of its workings.

A Cabinet of Curiosities

sometime in September 2016

I was thinking of doing a thematic scrapbook/zine, putting together a collection of what I find around my workspace and what I’ve learned.

I don’t really know what to title it. It’s not really a zine, not really a book. Perhaps a scrapbook.

When I look around my workspace. I find there are so many things that I can talk about and share, and for a long time, I kept talking about the interconnectedness of the things around me and how they have contributed to my art process. But all these are rather vague sentences, overviews even. I think the thematic scrapbooks could allow me to break down bit by bit, about my own findings.

For a start I want to talk about my inspirations and influences. I want to collect and talk about the things I’ve amassed, how they contribute to my own influences. It’s kind of like a blog? But I think it combines all the things that I like to do, like drawing, sharing, telling stories, collaging.

First Drafts

sometime in October 2016

First drafts are hard to make but important to keep.

I like to be impulsive and not sit on the fence on execution. To me, harnessing on the impulsiveness of creating helps my work to speak for itself, since I’m generally shit at doing so myself. That candid element is more important to me than perfection.

This year I spent way more time sitting on the fence and it’s kind of depressing. I wanted to be understood, and I was pressured to be understood. I have to constantly remind myself that I don’t have to create the basis for understanding before making anything. I guess that is the thing that kept holding me back this year. Shifting the photos around for after school gave me a chance to play around and be impromptu again.

So many larger projects that I’ve left sitting on my drive, waiting to be edited. I wanted to play again. The tactility of shifting things around makes me excited. And I needed this feeling again more than ever.