and the haiku-writing continues…

Looks like July has become the month of haiku-writing for me. I’m really enjoying this, and it really makes me smile to be able to look back on the haikus and the little memories they contain. I’ve tried the 100 Happy Days Challenge before, and I’ve kept daily gratitude journals before, but I think those things always focussed on the obvious joys (e.g. went to a concert, hung out with a friend, had dinner at this place, watched a movie, had a sleep in, etc)

And some days I had to search for little things to be happy/grateful about, but I also feel like it got repetitive after a while too.

It’s only two weeks into this daily haiku thing, so maybe it’s a bit too early to judge, but it feels like this challenge is making me look outside myself more, to seek wonder more so than happiness. I’m sure there’s a scientific paper somewhere that says wonder is an important feeling/sensation that all people should try to experience as much as possible.

But I think the other thing that sets this apart from other gratitude projects, is that instead of just taking and captioning a photo, or simply recalling every good thing that happened that day — instead of these relatively quick processes, haiku requires you to take inspiration, and then mould that to fit your finite syllables. In this process, you might have to shuffle words around, find alternative ways of describing something, and really focus on the most important aspects that you want to convey.

In short, there’s a lot involved! But it’s still pretty simple, and I maintain that anyone with a basic grasp of language can do it. Continue reading

blue days

The day started off blue.

Through the space between the blinds, all I could see was blue sky. It gave promise of a good day. But in the time it took for me to get out of bed and brush my teeth, the clouds gathered and made the world grey again.

Lifting the blinds, glancing out at the sky and the street below, I wondered where the clouds came from. Where did the blue go?

Still, it wasn’t raining yet, and I was determined to get some errands done. I’d had a good sleep-in the day before — a lazy, slumberous day — so I had to make this day productive.

The rain started as I approached the shopping centre. Several people were walking about without umbrellas, and I thought they must’ve been deceived into optimism by the early morning blue sky. A woman sighed in relief as she reached shelter and sat down on a bench.

By the time I was leaving the shopping centre — probably not more than half an hour later — the rain had stopped, and patches of blue sky could be seen once again. The sun shone brightly at my back, and I opened my umbrella so that it might dry before I got home.

The sunshine didn’t last long, though. Soon it was raining again. It has been raining on and off all day. Sometimes it rains softly, in a fine mist, coming and going in a whisper. Other times, the rain falls in a sudden rush — a torrential onslaught that drowns out all other noise. But even this dissipates after a few minutes.

And all day, between the bouts of rain, there have been patches of blue sky — patches of false hope. Even now, I can see mostly blue sky from my window, but the trust has been broken; I dare not hope.

a few thoughts on water

Walking through the rain the other day, I was thinking about the sensory assault one can receive from rain: The sight of it can be daunting or magnificent. The smell and feel of it might be refreshing or dampening to the spirits. And there’s always the sound – rhythmic and relentless.

Now and then, when I ruminate about rain in this way, I’m reminded of a lesson I received in Grade 2.  Continue reading

the solace of showers

It’s such a shame that water is such a precious and limited resource.

Coming home from a long day at work, or after any emotionally taxing day, there’s nothing better than a nice long shower – hot in winter, and ice cold in summer.

For me, I don’t think it’s as much about the feel of the water on my skin as it is about the complete immersion in the sound. Sure, the cooling/warming feeling (as the season requires) is soothing, and certainly helps to ease the tension from my body, but what I’ve come to realise is that the sound – the noise – is paramount.

Continue reading

sought & found

After a dreadful week-end of hot and humid weather where the very thought of going outside, away from the comfort of aircon can make you sweat profusely, it looks like maybe we’re finally getting some relief.

On Saturday, I went to the bi-annual Lifeline Bookfest, which is thankfully held in the pleasantly air-conditioned Convention Centre. As I still have many books from previous years that I have not yet read, I made a short list of wanted titles/authors, and set out determined to stick to this self-imposed limit. Now, before you all go and predict the obvious outcome to this, let me tell you that there were only eight things on the list, and at the end of the day I came out with only five books. Amazingly, one of the books was from the list. So, overall, I’d say that’s not too bad…

For those who are interested/curious, the listed novel was “Never let me go” by Kazuo Ishiguro. He was actually on my “authors” list, so I was quite excited when the one Ishiguro novel that I (eventually) found was the only one that I’d actually heard of before. However, as soon as I picked it up and saw that it had the film cover, I swear the change in my expression must have been plain as day. For one, I don’t like book covers with pictures of people (especially if they’re photos of real people), and secondly, I just don’t like movie tie-ins. As much as I try to not be judgemental of book covers, I will admit that these two, very superficial things are enough of a deterrent to make me put down a potentially very good book. Well, almost enough.

I did actually have to phone a friend on this one. Of course, by “phone a friend” I mean I messaged a friend who I thought could understand my dilemma (apparently there aren’t many people these days who like talking on the phone). So, ever the voice of reason, she asked me if I want to look at it or read it. That was easy enough to answer; totally put it in perspective.

The other four fortuitous acquisitions were “Wool” (Hugh Howey), “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (Truman Capote), a Readers’ Digest “Select Editions” book which included “The Rosie Project” and “Six Years” together in the one tome, and “Catch 22” (Joseph Heller). Strangely, the one that I’m particularly stoked about is “Catch 22”, even though that’s the one novel in the list that I have read before. The reason I was so excited to find it was because, as you may (but probably won’t) recall, that was the one book that I had really wanted to find a few Bookfests ago. After a fruitless search, I then despaired that I would never be able to find a second-hand copy, as no one who had read it would just give it away to charity.

I did buy a new copy after that time, but I subsequently lent this to a friend who, shortly thereafter, moved to the other side of the country… Not to worry! I have another copy now! Well, I had another copy; I’ve already lent this one to a friend as well. In truth, however, I’m not too fussed about getting it back any time soon. After all, I have so many other novels to read before I get back around to re-reading it!

As I’ve been typing this, we finally got some rain – some refreshingly cool rain. The only unfortunate thing is that we have to keep the windows closed when it rains, and hence miss out on the cool breeze. Summer rain also seems to bring mosquitos. Sorry, usually I’m more of an optimist, but this heat has just been positively stifling! But now, as I finish this post, the rain has stopped, which means it’s time to get the windows open again, and let the cool air in! I’m looking forward to not waking up in the middle of the night feeling like I’m in some sort of gigantic slow-cooker.