Monday, November 28, 2011

The Garden I Love.

I wrote this a long time ago.


The colours turn to gray that evening, as the sun melts away beneath the horizon. I miss the orange tinge it has upon my skin moments ago. I miss the smell of the grass while it was warm. I miss the birds calling to each other to come home. I miss everything there is to miss when you have been waiting for the night.

I walk the short pier and try to see beneath the waters. This rippling mirror is so rightly creating an image of how I feel inside. My turmoil is not too abrupt, just a subtle disturbance in my pleasant surface. I take my time to savour my alone. I take my time to feel the wind making fun of me, taunting me coldly. I take my time listening to the rustling of the trees as they whisper about my pathetic figure, low and alone, beneath their gaze. I take my time to see the stars blink in blatant astonishment at my unfortunate story.

And then they change their tune, ever so effortless, as if they’ve been singing in the same note all the while. I hear them say my prayers for me. I hear them caress my heart as if their own babe is hurt. I hear them come near to me, make me feel fine, make me feel whole, as if this gaping wound I carry so hidden beneath my smile is no longer bleeding but is a mere scar I tell stories about at night.

There is a sunken boat waiting by the river bank. There it stays until I feel it is safe to sit in the hole-ridden seat, take up its rotten oar and slowly make my way elsewhere. I am afraid of my journey. I am afraid of the unknown waters, unfriendly constellations and unfamiliar clouds. I breathe in the wet air of this place I like to pretend is home.

The pier I stay on is a polite goodbye to my reluctant body. I look across at the garden. I see the dark heavy trees, saddened by grief. I see the fireflies peeping in and out of the vines, like light signals to a missing person, calling them home. I see the brooding shadows that slowly envelopes the place, a shadow containing memories of sunlit merriment, memories I don’t belong to but wish I did.

I’ve walked that garden a short while ago. I tried to make the flowers grow, where the buds have withered away. I tried to push the branches of the trees to strike a pose that is familiar, like a smile across a beloved face but they deny my touch. I caught those fireflies in my hands and reached out to let them go again but they grew confused and scared and remained still yet lit in my palms. I traced the name upon the tree in the heart of the garden and wish it was mine. I traced the name as if I traced a scar and I feel a familiar pain in my own heart, as if a kindred feeling is calling out.

The garden I love. The garden I have always rowed by again and again, never brave enough to set foot upon, always circling the ones beside but never entering this wonder. I’ve worn my boat down because of you. I’ve rotten my dress as I stand in the waters, catching up courage to climb those cold stone steps to you. I’ve sunk my boat and left myself trapped on your pier.

I stand up and look past the river bank and see the boat. Maybe tomorrow I’ll patch it up. Maybe, if she comes, I’ll leave as fast as I can row away. I can still remember how the grass stayed brown under my feet, the flowers did not smell sweet for my nose and the leaves crumbled under my touch. I know I don’t belong. I know I am not the one with the burning touch, the fingers that etched the name upon the heart-tree, the fingers that made the fireflies burn brighter or the flowers bloom prettier, or that let the branches wave elegantly, or make the leaves whisper names.

But here I sit on the pier, let my legs dangle over the edge, my back to the garden, my sight on the horizon. I can’t leave yet. I won’t leave this garden alone. Not as it pines quietly for the goddess that walked its path. I will not let the trees die, although I will not be able to make it grow strong. I will not let the buds recede, although I will not be able to make the spring come. I will not let the fireflies stop their busy dance, although I will not be able to understand their movements.

I shall be the unwanted gardener in this untended beauty. I shall wait as it waits for the goddess that walked the path, the name that burned the heart, the voice that thrilled the flowers and the smile that lit the sky.

Until she comes, my love is the only tenderness I can offer.

The moon is up tonight. It is smiling at my braveness. I smile back at how wise he is. He shines on my boat, like a soft invitation to save myself from uncertainty, save myself from unwanted conditions. I sit and talk to the moon. I let him know his garden is in good hands until the sun rises again. Until the sun rises, I shall always be here on this pier, scarred but smiling, hopeful without magic.

So here I am in this gray world, waiting for the sunrise with the moon.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Of Life, Work and Play.

I am unemployed. Still.

I am going to apply for M.Phil / PhD in Cultural and Historical Studies in Royal College of Art, UK. I just need to sit for another IELTS because the last one was a bit over a couple of years ago. I already have a research proposal ready. So there. Let's try to get an offer and then go find a scholarship/loan.

I have been procrastinating on some illustration work. Actually, I'm feeling uninspired of late. Or maybe just lazy. I still need to make 9 watercolour pieces for a calendar. And some proposals for my friend's wedding.

I am such a slow reader. I used to be able to finish a novel in a few days but now it's taking me a few weeks. This is terrible.

I am convinced I'm turning into a vegetable. Or a rock.

I need to set goals. Like to write a blog post a day. A doodle a day. A novel a week. And I need to learn to meet my goals.

(Woman, get to it!)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Avalanche of Ideas.

I recently got ambushed by a group of story ideas, all twisted in their own sweet and creepy ways. I've written the synopses down but now I feel like writing proper short stories. Here are the breakdowns of the stories that visited me so far.

1. Nasi Lemak Mak
This story was really a result of brainstorming with my favourite married couple, Neem and Kawar. I think we were all drowsy and tired and hungry and somehow that was conducive to our creative flow. The story centres on a man who did not go through grief for his mother's passing yet he's showing signs of not letting go. He becomes obsessed with Nasi Lemak because it was his mother's famous dish. The story follows his journey throughout the country looking for compensations for Nasi Lemak. During his travel, he gets to observe and meet people who are also going through hardships and troubles but seem to be coping with it while being fully aware. He comes home changed, although not obviously. He finally finds the right balance between acceptance and appreciation, of letting go and retaining memories. I'm quite proud of how the ending turns out. *wink*

2. Susu Kotak
This is more of a short film / short story. It's a love story with a twist. A pair of childhood lovers got separated so young and long ago. The man finds the woman again 15 years later. They meet up and it is not to rekindle a fire like the woman hopes for but to give a final closure. There is a twist at the end that I think should be endearing and tragic for some people. I'll write this as a proper short story soon, I promise.

3. Jendela
I had this idea a couple of years ago. I woke up with a vivid dream about this. It starts off perfectly harmless but develops into a psycho-thriller. I had the idea of making a presentation of story through a series of photos. I won't spoil the story yet. This should be written down properly too. It involves a photo of a beautiful scene framed by a window in a stark white room, a curious woman and an artistic motive.

4. Project O.G.E.
Project O.G.E. stands for Project One Generation Entity. It is such a 'meta' idea, I can't help but get shivers the moment I thought this up clearly. It was actually inspired from a dream I had. Let me just tell you truthfully that I dreamed of Redza Minhat. Yes yes I'm a fan. *sheepish grin* Anyway, in my dream, he was writing a film and asking a bunch of people to help with his experimentation research. Anyway, it's a very long synopsis to write but let's just say it's about viral videos, film-making, propaganda, dystopia and meta. If this idea falls through, it would literally be a dream come true if Redza Minhat plays Uqbah Ahmad, the film-maker. *starry-eyed*

So yeah. Those were the ideas cluttering up my brain. Oh and the reason why I'm suddenly thinking up ideas for films is that an ex-university colleague of mine is looking for good film ideas. If you are interested in sending your stories to her, do drop a comment and I'll pass it on to her.

She also mentioned how there has been too many love stories and unfunny comedies given out as ideas for films and they are looking for something different to further help the film industries. Just make sure the stories won't require an extremely huge budget (like sci-fi with CGI or crazy settings and props).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Back to where it all began.

I am currently trying to put together a writing portfolio. I miss writing about architecture, about art, about life. I miss being a writer, a capable one.

It is a skill that deteriorates with lack of practice, unfortunately. But perhaps it is something you can regain like a familiar tingle of a waking limb. InsyaAllah.

Hello, everyone. I am Xeem Noor and this is where I will try to write because it is a need and necessity in my life.