Saturday, July 18

On Muse and Metaphor

I have in my head a myriad of stories to be told, of characters to be released, to lead me down their own paths. I have a few drafts written between operations. But all half-written. It sounds romantic when I read books on writing, to write 1000 words, or at least a page, a day. But with a full-time job that requires me to work long hours, to stand between one to six hours while operating, the mental and physical tax may get in the way of creative thinking. I think I spent all my creativity opening up people's skull, and drawing my intra-operative findings on the post-op notes. Yes, people, I sketch down my findings. Yeah, yeah, excuses. But I have not slackened. I have been busy writing down comments on Sharon Bakar's blog, in particular responding to comments about racial discrimination. Click on the link here. I dunno. I get worked up when people wave about racial issues like a flaming torch, bright and hot, and also dangerous. Sure, you say. I'm a Malay. I'm on the greener pasture, what do I have to complain? My mother, my sister, and myself, have on occasions been branded traitors of Malay. Because my mother can only converse in English while doing business transactions, and on formal accounts. Because my sister is fluent in English, and does translation work as easily as breathing. Because she refuses to be restrained by the Malay stereotype. Maybe partly because both of them do not wear tudung. Who knows. As for myself? Because I'm generally closer with non-Malay friends. In academics I compete with Chinese colleagues. Because I defended the non-Malays during a BTN course back in university. I can go on about this, but I think those comments I wrote are more than enough. So I want to get back to writing. My muse is here, sitting on the table beside me, her feet dangling like delicate pendulums. Yes, my muse is a she. And she's smiling at me, her full lips in a cross between a pout and a smile. Her long, soft fingers ruffle my hair, paying more attention to the back of my head where it is the most sensitive. Her flaming red curls tickle my nose. I see more golden highlights now then when she first came to me years ago. Her eyes, half closed and hidden behind long lashes are the deepest emerald I have come across, with flecks of brown, drawing me in every time I look at them. What is she wearing? Today she has on a sundress, woven using leaves of all the hues of green imaginable. Hold on. Am I describing my muse or writing a foreplay in an erotica? I told you my muse is a feisty one. Alas, the stories have to wait. I can rant on, write crap. I can reach 1000 words or more, of crap. But what I want to do is to write from the heart, to write stories that will do my characters justice. So I have to wait for my mind to rest, to rejuvenate. In the meantime, I once shared a metaphor with Tita, sometime back. I've lost the original text, but it goes something like this: If we are a tree, our branches spreading wide under the warm gaze of the sun, then lovers are flowers. The scent is sweet, the attraction irresistible. Some are decorated with a multitude of brightly colored petals, while some only have a single stalk to grace them, but grace them these flowers do. Most wilt and die to be replaced by new flowers, but a select few bear fruit. Within this fruit of commitment, lie seeds that carry a new generation. But what about family and friends? They are the roots, unseen but run deep. The stronger the roots, the more sturdy the tree. They are most of the time unappreciated, but those who grow true provide nourishment for the tree, and protect it against raging tempests. Some friends, some roots, may also bear fruit. One has to remember that.