poetry in every day

I’ve been feeling like I want to get back into writing again, and I’ve had this itch for a while now. And by “get back into writing” I mean proper creative writing. I know blogging technically counts as writing, and I suppose there’s some element of creativity, since you are creating something, but I think I really want to write stories again.

The problem is I don’t know what to write about. My last serious attempt at writing a decent-length story started getting rather depressing, so I ditched it. (I couldn’t really handle churning through so much emotion, and I wasn’t sure how to pull the whole thing from the depths of misery it was drowning in.) Continue reading

learning how to learn languages

Every so often – maybe when I’m feeling like I need a bit of inspiration, or I’m just feeling bored and listless – I watch TED Talks. Usually these are TEDx Talks but they’re more or less the same thing. Usually I watch talks about psychology and human relationships, or about behaviour and the way the brain works; but a couple of weeks ago, YouTube was suggesting some talks about learning languages.

As you may or may not know, I’m currently in the process of learning Persian (AKA Farsi) and also kind of re-learning Mandarin, so when I saw videos like “How to learn any language easily” pop up, I figured “why not”. I used to be quite wary of these talks because I thought they would just tell me to spend three months in whatever country speaks the language I’m learning, and I’d miraculously master it (obviously I can’t just pack up and move to Iran or China for three months); but I had spare time that day, and I figured it wouldn’t hurt to watch one talk, and see if it offered anything worthwhile.  Continue reading

it starts with 1

The other day, a friend of mine shared a photo of a large-scale sculpture of a couple of fish made mostly from plastic bottles. The sculptures are displayed on a beach (I think in Brazil somewhere) and were intended to draw attention to the amount of litter found on beaches and in oceans.

However, scrolling through the comments attached to the photo, I found out that the bottles were only glued on (with an apparently flimsy glue) and, over time, have begun falling off the sculpture. Kind of ironic, but I suppose the message was still getting through.

The photo was initially shared on FB by an organisation called “1 Million Women“, and came with the harrowing prediction that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. After browsing their FB page briefly, I followed the link to their official website, and actually ended up spending about an hour just reading articles there.

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blue sky thoughts

Yesterday morning, I was watching the Today Show, and they interviewed adventurer Alison Teal. I’d never heard of her before, but apparently she’s been dubbed a “female Indiana Jones” alongside other fun nicknames. From what I gathered from the interview, she basically travels around the world for a show, through which she tries to raise awareness of how beautiful and precious our Earth is. She’s a big advocate of conservation and all that.

This particular interview was prompted by a recent trip she took to Hawaii. While she was there, she went surfing around an active volcano (the first woman to ever do so), and footage of this is supposedly going viral on the internet. In the interview, they talked to her a lot about what it was like to be so close to the volcano as it was erupting, and she talked about the extreme temperatures and the inherent dangers; but that wasn’t what really impressed me and made me actually stop and watch the entire interview.

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drafting inspiration

There are times when I get this overwhelming compulsion to write something – anything – but I don’t actually have anything to write about. And then I think about it a little bit, and I can’t think of anything that I really want to write about. It’s a rather strange and inconvenient predicament to be in.

But it is dispiriting to stare at a blank screen for too long, so I eventually move on, and quell this compulsion – or at least drown it out by doing other things.

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read vs write

I had a bit of a random thought the other day about reading and writing. I feel like I’ve written a post about this before, but I can’t seem to find it (not that I looked very hard), so please excuse me if you’ve heard this all before. (*Tangent Alert* It’s kind of like when you’ve told a story so many times to so many different people that you forget who you have and haven’t told, and then you kind of have to decide whether or not you want to go ahead and risk re-telling a story that people have already heard before. I know a few people who do this quite a bit, but they’re such fun to talk to, I usually don’t mind, or I’ll just subtly hint that that story sounds familiar…)

I had a conversation with a friend quite some time ago about the relationship between the love of reading and the love of writing. This particular friend loves to read, and reads a lot. I’m pretty much the same. However, she does not like to write, whereas I clearly love to write (I’d assume most people who write blogs like writing too). At the time, I remember thinking this was a bit odd, but I kind of just accepted it because, you know, “each to their own” and whatnot.

In recent weeks, while discovering new food blogs, and watching cooking shows like “MasterChef” and “Everyday Gourmet” and a variety of foodie shows on SBS, I had a thought that maybe the reading/writing relationship could be analogous to the eating/cooking relationship. Eating and reading both feed the soul. Cooking and writing can be such rewarding experiences that enrich the lives of those who undertake these tasks.

If someone likes to eat, and they’ve had delicious meals prepared for them all their life, I’d think it’d be reasonable for them to be inspired to learn to cook and create tastey dishes of their own. Likewise, if someone likes to read, it would not be out of place for them to be inspired to write – right?

I also reckon that people who love to write would also love reading; just as people who love to cook would certainly love to eat. I’ve never met someone who disproves this, but feel free to be the first. So much of cooking is tasting the components of the dish as you prepare it, ensuring everything is balanced, and the flavours are right. So much of writing is re-reading and editing your sentences so that the text flows as it’s intended. It’s hard for me to imagine someone who loves to write but detests reading (it makes me shudder just to think that anyone might detest reading at all, irrespective of their feelings toward writing).

The more I thought about this, the more I realised that the analogy could be expanded to include so many other things. For example, most human beings like music of some variety, but not everyone has an inclination toward singing or playing musical instruments. We can appreciate music (which also feeds the soul, by the way) without having an urge to sing or pick up a guitar or take up piano lessons. However, I don’t think it’s possible for a musician to not like listening to music. The analogy works, right? And it can probably be applied to most performing arts, and art art like paintings and sketches and whatnot.

Perhaps what determines whether you like both the process and the end-product, or whether you appreciate the end-product with minimal interest in the process – perhaps what it all boils down to is inspiration. It just depends on whether or not you reach that magical level of inspiration, where you’re moved to take action. (Sometimes I feel like I’m pretty easily inspired, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it also means there are a lot of things that I want to do.) I could hypothesise that it might also come down to natural talent or affinity, but things like writing, cooking, drawing, etc can all be practised and perfected over time (although generally people seem to prefer doing things that they’re naturally good at).

One last thing – I think reading makes one’s writing better, and writing can improve one’s appreciation of reading. Likewise, eating can help improve one’s cooking, and cooking is likely to enhance the eating experience. Each pair works synergistically.