Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Chronicles of Jenny

Well, fuck a duck (that's for you Antonia!), it's that time of the year again. Independence Day. Merdeka. Julie's birthday (the last being the most important). Thankfully this year, since we were robbed and most of Jules's valuable stuff taken, picking a present was easy.

I made it easy for my Chubster of a brother too.

Phone beeps. Chubs answers.

Chubs: Yeah?

Me: Hey Chubby Chub Chub. Wanna share Julie's present with me?

Chubs: What you want to get ah?

Me: Camera. She lost hers, remember?

Chubs: Oh what were you thinking of getting?

Me: SLR lar. Monkey wants to be photojournalist what...think we should support her.

Chubs: Expensive what?

Me: That's why we share lor.

Chubs: Aiya OKlar. How much?

Me: Um, your share will be....

Chubs: OKlar

(one thing about the chubby boy - he may be lazy to go pick presents by himself but he's usually quite generous if you pick one for him)

But Julie didn't want an SLR. She said it would be too expensive. Not to mention heavy. She said she was touched, but she wanted a camera she could carry around and use. So I took her to a shop in Megamall and we spent all of half an hour picking one. A Canon Ixus - small, cute and about 8 megapixels...

The photoshop guy kept trying to sell us a cheaper Nikon which didn't seem half so cool. Julie and I politely indicated we weren't interested. Man kept pestering. Finally, I asked in exasperation:

"Hey, don't you get more commission if we spend more money?"


OK, so it figured.

Anyways, we got the one we wanted and made tracks for chicken rice upstairs. At least, I made tracks for chicken rice. Megamall chicken rice is the best in Malaysia, I think. Julie had sushi because she's more of an arty farty babe. (the guys at The Attic actually know who she is, I mean to say what? Of course, they know who I am as well, but that's only cos I went there a few times and was noisy as hell and made myself known, n'am sayin'?)

The Mumster is back from England. She had a great time but hated the food. She is so very Malaysian and intends to stay that way thank you very much. She got along like a house on fire with most people there, talked to strangers, asked the guy at the Kerala restaurant where he was from and discovered that he lived up the road from us in JB and had gone to St Joseph's, flew business class where she had the royal treatment, indulged in chocolates and desserts that she was not supposed to, drove a Kew Garden's buggy like it was stolen - Jackie sent me an email: "senior gets fined for speeding at Kew..." and generally bugged Jackie about her hair and how she dressed. She also sent me an SMS which was the weirdest bit of all, wishing me luck for a presentation. I didn't have any presentation, but I thanked her anyway. Then I texted Jackie to ask what the Big M was doing SMS-ing me. Jackie said:

"She wants to show you she's down with the latest technology, n'am sayin'.

I called her yesterday and she was nineteen to the dozen about her trip. I can't go back this weekend (what with it being Julie's birthday and all) but will probably go back next.

She said Helen (Simon's mother) sent me a big book. A biography of Thomas Hardy. OK, counting the Wodehouse and CS Lewis biographies - that makes three literary biographies I have to read. Cool!

If you are too lazy to be a writer, read about other writers. Or books about writing.

Katherine, where are you when I need you??????

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Here's to the incredibly petty person who decided to print out copies of one of my more lighthearted posts (and we know those are few and far between) and scatter them on the desks of a few good people.

With an intention to injure.

OK, so you've forced me to make this blog private. The people who want to read it will be invited. So, no loss there.

It won't be open and nobody will stumble upon it by accident, but really, that's OK.

It's better than having your ugly paw prints all over my posts.

To my friends, I'm really sorry about this.

Please email me if you want an invite and I've unwittingly left you out.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


I was having breakfast with this guy who wanted to hire me for some job for which he was willing to pay me a lot of money, when we got to talking about this and that and he told me he was currently dating this nice lady - and that there was no such thing as love - just the physical act which was sometimes nice, sometimes not so, and that performance depended on not indulging too much in that bottle of red as he could not hold his liquor and too much tended to knock him out. (OK, do I get the prize for like, longest sentence ever?)

I wanted to beat him up:

"That is such a, such a...reductionist view of love...I mean, what about the sublime, what about transcendence? We're not just physical creatures! We're not just a collection of chemicals and hormones!!!!!!"

He was taken aback by my violent reaction. After all, we were engaged in a slightly academic, rather cynical discussion about the state of politics in Malaysia.

Where did THAT come from?

And I left feeling that slight deflation that comes after interacting with someone who does not believe in art, beauty or poetry, who persists in seeing the world through their own messed up shades of grey.

Maybe he was right. Maybe I was the one who was unrealistic. After all, I sleep which a bunch of healing stones on the side table, near my head - rose quartz, carnelian, hematite, what have you...when I take my aura picture (yeah, I actually do that!) it usually comes out purple - magical - my sister Jackie took to calling me leperchaun briefly.

I exist in a world of magical realism. I swoon over poetry (but mostly the Romantics, whom, in defiance of three years at university, I continue to adore). Van Gogh can make me weak in the knees. And sometimes words or phrases disengage themselves from books and settle in my heart. And sitting alone at Coffee Bean, I am horrified to find myself weeping and trying not to be too obstrusive about it.

I do not belong to this place or these people...

Then I picked up The Treehouse by Naomi Wolf, a sort of memoir about her father as well as an essay about how we've disconnected from the sublime in our lives and how embracing your own creative vision is all that can save you:

He believes that each of us arrived here with this unique creative DNA inside us. If we are not doing that thing which is our innate mission, then, he feels, no matter how much money or status we might have, our lives will feel drained of their true colour. He believes that no amount of money or recognition can compensate you if you are not doing your life's passionate creative work; and if you are not doing it, you had better draw everything to a complete stop until you can listen deeply to your soul, identify your true heart's desire, and change direction. It's that urgent.

And then she talks about the members of the postwar generation who were looking, not for conformity, but for the magical power of art:

They wanted to demonstrate how in America anyone can live a creative, individuated life. These young men and women longed to find a transcendence implicit in everyday experience.

And there it was. I reeled back, stunned. A transcendence implicit in everyday experience. Bet Leonard Wolf wouldn't think we're chemicals reacting to other chemicals.

We're artists. We're creators. We're full of colour and song and poetry.

That's what we are. I knew it, I knew it, I knew it!

And then I came across this description of what books used to mean to people - quoted from the memoirs of one Anatole Broyard, a critic: 1946 in the Village our feelings about books - I'm talking about my friends and myself - went beyond love. It was as if we didn't know where we ended and books began. Books were our weather, our environment, our clothing. We didn't simply read books; we became them. We took them into ourselves and made them into our histories. While it would be easy to say we escaped into books, it might be truer to say books escaped into us. Books were to us what drugs were to the young men of the sixties. They showed us what was possible.

It's nice to know there are/were others like me at least once upon a time. And I'd rather hang with their ghosts than conform to this prison block gray everybody seems to have going.

Forget about fitting in. I never will.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hurry Up Please, It's Time!

It's that time again, when I throw a few clothes into a knapsack and take off for the wild (three volcanoes in a week, to say nothing of one earthquake, wild) green yonder.

I will pack along one battered, much-thumbed copy of Anne Sexton:

A woman like that is not a woman, quite
I have been her kind.

And my trusty notebook and new fountain pen with an endless supply of ink (by myself, without voices to distract me, I will write, I will pour out all I have inside me, all I have until I've bled out the last phrase, and then I'll sit quietly and count gray hairs till I'm ready to fall. Asleep. Again)

I will go far away, far away from you, because

The day I died,
you were away from home.
You said, I should be on my own,
and that you were through,
living my life for me
Which was a good thing,
a very good thing.
I knew it.

The day I died
I less body to breathe air
To add to contamination,
I was free to fly to the clouds,
But I would never be rain
I would never come again
And you knew it.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Glamour and the lack thereof

I spent the day wrestling dust. Literally. I dusted out corners of my room that hadn't seem a broom since old Methuselah was regaling us with tales of the good old days. I cleaned the windows. Wiped the fan. Thrust a broom at sundry cobwebs on the ceiling. Mopped the floor. Washed the bedsheet.

Well, anyway, you get the picture.

Then I sat down to watch The Secret while epilating (OK, you didn't need to know that, but I've just been reading Liz Wurtzel, which means I share disgusting details of my life, unashamed) and then, for good measure, I watched some Shakespeare in Love. Rewinding that montage bit:

My bounty is as boundless as the sea
My love is deep
The more I give to thee
The more I have
for both are infinite.

Stay but a little, I will come again.

Oh would thou leave me so unsatisfied....

You get the picture.

Then I thought I should round off a productive day by going to the gym. I needed to do some shopping at Megamall, so I figured, shopping first, gym later. Especially since the gym is open till midnight and the shops, well, aren't.

Anyway, there I am, at my favourite Clarins counter, chatting with the sales assistant, (she had this big beautiful smile on seeing me and I love the love of shop assistants), and after I made my purchase she said:

Jennifer, you wanna makeover?

And I said: huh? why?

Was she implying that I looked less than perfect?

OK, I was in my chappalang, unironed tee-shirt and jeans, hair uncombed as always, I did look less than perfect. About the only thing about me that looked halfway passable was my new pair of sneakers.

And she said, for funlor...they do your make-up, they do your hair, then take picture. RM20 oni.

Hmmmm...I'm a little shy (which is why I blog and put my picture up for all the world to see, cos I'm shy!) and I was not comfortable with someone slapping makeup on my face, while passer-bys stopped to gawk. (Like real, oni, as if passer-bys have nothing better to do)

Anyway, she talked me into it.

So there we are, walking out of the departmental store, into the concourse (Oh God, publicker and publicker) and she stops at this huge Clarins booth there in between the Bobbi Brown and Watson's stores. Two make-up artists are busy beautifying two different women.

My nice Clarins lady said Thomas would "do me". Oh whoppee do! I get Thomas! To do me!

Anyway, this lovely, gregarious, friendly make-up artist, who rejoices in the name of Thomas shows up. After making sure my face has been suitably cleaned with Clarins products, he gets at it.

"There are no ugly women. Just lazy women. And Malaysian women are so lazy about make-uplar."

He squeezes something onto the back of his hand.

"Look this foundation, we call it Apple Glow in Taiwan. Asian skin too yellow. This brings out the pink."

"Um, does it have a whitening effect," I ask, unable to keep the accusation out of my voice. I don't like whitening products. Love me, love my tan. Or as my Mummy would say, my BLAAAAACCCKKK!

"Nolar, it just pinks you up. See, see, this half of your face I put the foundation, see the difference?"

The only difference I see is that one half of my face is whiter than the other. My forehead crinkles up doubtfully, but Thomas is so enthusiastic, I don't want to disappoint him.

He then put tons of concealer to hide the Guccis under my eyes.

"Smile! Look in front and smile"

I oblige.

He slaps on the blusher.

Then he applies eyeliner. And brushes my eyelids a reddish bronze.

"You know Beyonce, she likes these bronze autumn shades."

"You know what Beyonce likes?

"Yeah, we keep in touch with all the latest trends, see what the stars like, see what colours are in..."

"So, what colours are in, then?"

"Donnolar, that's all bullshit. It's basically whatever colour you're comfortable with."

(Brushes my eyelid some more).

"Your eye shape nicelar. Indians so lucky. You see my eyes? I put a tape to get a fake double eyelid."

I hadn't noticed so I look up and he shows me where he taped his eye to get that double eyelid. I grin at him. What will people do next?

Then he outlines my eyes and puts the mascara. "So nice, no need to curl oso, long lashes." So I bat them at him and laugh.

In between painting my face Thomas regales me with the story of his life. (I always love listening to the stories of other peoples' lives. They are usually interesting). He started out as a make-up artist with RTM1. That is, government TV. He made up the stars for the soap operas.

"I tell you ah, government oso, not good. They kept holding back our pay. Sometimes two months oso, don't get paid. And I would be like, hello, I need to pay bills. I don't even have money to buy Maggi Mee."

I nod sympathetically.

"What about the other TV stations?"

"Aiyo, all the samelar. So I went behind the make-up counters. Started out with Mac. But I tell you ah, so bitchy those people. All fighting for sales. In front of you, smile smile, behind your back, so kiasu. And I hate fighting for sales. So I quit and went on to Dior. Then Clarins came in with a better offer. I lurve Clarins products," he finishes enthusiastically. I am now under five layers of Clarins products and counting.

Finally, he adds the gloss...."oooooh your lips are so voluptuous." I smirk and wonder how that would sound if this guy were not so obviously gay.

"I don't look like me," I say, staring at this painted visage.

"Hmmm...I would be a very bad make-up artist if you still looked like you lar. A make-over is a make-over."

Then it's time for the hairstylist. This very interesting woman (she's attractive, but more interesting than attractive), takes my hair into a curling iron and starts teasing it into curls.

She is not chatty like Thomas, so we proceed in silence for a while. Then she breaks the ice, asking me which country I'm from. I gape. Isn't it obvious than I'm born and bred Malaysian? Don't we have a certain look about us?

Seems that one of the other girls who was having her face painted is from India. The hairstylist thought we were part of the same gang. I set her straight. "Aiyo, Malaysianlar! KL-ite some more."

Anyway, we chat some and I tell her I like her hair. And she says she did it at the Regent Hotel salon. Wow. Must have cost a pretty penny, but it looks good. Professional. Sort of layered and tapered and flyaway.

Then it's time for my close-up. The photographer keeps saying, head down, look up. Spread your fingers. Touch the wall, hold your collar...I fight down laughter. This is just too ridiculous.

He takes me in three different tops (Purple, you wanna wear purple?) and then hands the disk to his compatriot to transfer to the computer. The computer guy chooses a shot. "OK this seems to be the best, what say, we print this out?"

He spends a few minutes airbrushing the chosen photo. (I never knew how much help I needed to look even halfway OK)

Then he asks if I'd like a copy of the other shots on a disk. Like, of course, man. I mean, when would I do this again?

Probably, never...

I didn't end up going to the gym.

But I did end up having to buy make-up remover.

Oy vey.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Terminal Exactness

The effort of The Waves is an effort in exactness. To test experience against language and language against experience is a task that traditionally been the job of poets It is the poet who must work at the image until image and meaning can no longer be separated. The force of poetry lies in its exactness.

-Jeanette Winterson-

I want to say something and I find words, my traditional buddies, poor substitutes. I cannot encapsulate the phrases. I am a stranger to myself. No sooner do I net a feeling in words than it escapes, the slippery eel, to mean something else.

What in the world is a poet to do?

What in the world is a non-poet to do?

So I chew on my asam and ruminate heavily. Words were meant to convey meaning and yet they fail as vessels.

How then do we communicate? When will we be able to move ideas mind to mind so what leaves one mind can find the other - without loss, without wastage, without misunderstanding?

A conundrum.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Drop It Like It's Hot

OK, I've spent the whole day skiving off work. There's nothing like a good day of skiving to put one in a better mood. Anita and I have been Facebooking to glory, which is kinda naughty because we're both supposed to be terribly busy with other things.

I added applications, nominated superlatives, messaged people and generally made a nuisance of myself.

I also called up parts of the working population who were actually working and disturbed them. Of course, in some cases, I had the grace to SMS them first.

"Are you busy?"


"Can I call?"

"Sure, no need to ask."

Then the guy, who is bureau chief of a wire service, regretted being so affable as he could see there was no urgent business, no press release to send out, no story to discuss, that I was simply bored and looking to waste his time.

Oy vey.

So Nits called and we just yakked and yakked and yakked and teased some poor sod on Facebook because he was so teasable (he got offended some, but what can you do, jocularity is not necessarily catching) and finally she had to get off the phone because she got an actual call. Important and all.

And I tried calling Hab to ask him something I actually needed for work, but he was not in his office. Still not in his office. Which is why I'm hanging around here when I could be hanging with my dear cuz Praby who is off for Canada in a week or so.

I'm happy for her and sad for me.

Oy vey.

Everyone around looks busy and I wonder if they are actually busy, or busy surfing "men in thongs" again.


OK, obviously, I'm in a much better mood than yesterday.

A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds...

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Sometimes even my hair feels tired. The world loses its colour and taste and song. And everything shrinks to this small space I occupy and I just want to lay my head on this desk and disappear for a while. Yes, a while.

I don't know why the despondency (or maybe I do and don't want to admit it to myself).

I love Elizabeth Wurtzel because she is a riot unashamed. She just is. Take her or leave her, that's the way she is. The rest of us spend all this time apologising for who we are, afraid that nobody will ever love us if they really knew us, warts and all.

Kinda reminds me of when I went on a drunken binge some years ago. It was winter. We didn't have heating so the inside of the house was colder than the outside. My favourite housemate had taken off to see her boyfriend in China. It was the break between semesters and I had nothing to do, nobody to see.

So I would stock up on wine from the bottleshop. Cabernet Merlot for choice and I would take whatever was on special. Sometimes, you could get a really nice bottle for $12. That's $12 Aussie. And I would stuff the bottle beneath my armpit, carry it home, make myself some dinner - sausages, rice, whatever - and then pour myself a glass. And another. And another. By the third I would be suitably sozzled and maudlin.

Then I would call people I hadn't kept in touch with for years, comparative strangers who were once sort of friends, and tell them I was feeling crappy and I may be an alcoholic and life was shit.

They would be puzzled, to say the least.

Not my finest moment.

No matter what I say, I don't think I like being alone very much.

And yet, I want to disappear to a place where no one can find me.


I am one massive contradicton, oxymoron, whatchamaccalit.

Later for you.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

You're My Ritalin

I love you, I love you, I love you, when I sit on orange plastic chairs in depressing little cafes, sipping chicken soup, after everyone else is gone, I think of you, I think of what I will be saying to you, through you.

And as I watch handsome Pakistani men cavort around heavy wooden furniture tossing off ghazals in Urdu, I take note of the hilly-shaped spikes in their hair so I can come back to tell you about it.

When I taste the ginseng chicken soup, I close my eyes and try to come up with words to describe that strong herbal taste so I can tell you just how it was, flowing down my throat - comfort, and maybe something stronger?

And when I visit the doctor's - a nice specky Chinese man with a kind smile who, contrary to (my) popular belief, did not dish me out a load of disgusting antibiotics, my eyes roam over his kind, lined face, his office, while my mind skips merrily over his words, so I can come back to tell you about it.

He takes note of my pale, strained visage, my panda eyes, (I had one of those nights where I thought death would be a relief from the coughing) and asks me how long I have been sick.

About a week, I tell him. I fell sick last Monday. Then it got really bad on Friday and I lost my voice. And he nods, checks out my throat, presses a stethoscope to my back, says breathe deeply, and asks what happened on Monday that precipiated said illness.

Stress, I tell him. We were doing a function with a partner from hell. He nods comfortably. Well, are you still doing it? Is it resolved? And I say, yeah, that function is over. And he asks, can you rest now, for the next few days, knock off early, no spicy food? And I say, yeah, I guess.

And he asks if I have been taking anything for the cough. And I say, yeah, this pharmacist prescribed some amixicylin (I know I spelled that wrong but I don't care). He frowns slightly. A pharmacist prescribed you antibiotics? That's not allowed. That's against the law. Luckily it was mild and didn't do much damage.

No offence, but why did you wait so long before coming to a doctor? I'm feeling too weak to prevaricate, so I tell him that doctors just prescribe antibiotics that make me throw up. I feel worse rather than better.

He laughs and tells me no antibiotics, just something for a scratchy throat and something for the cough. I don't think you have an infection. But if the cough doesn't stop in three days, come back. In the meantime, rest.

Nice guy. I take note of his name, so I can come back here if I'm sick again. And I can't wait to get back and tell you I've found a doctor.

And since I'm reading More, Now, Again, I decide you're my Ritalin.

And since, I'm listening to Michael Buble, I think:

It's you, it's you,
You make me sing
You're every line
You're every word
You're everything...

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Time for a little Edna

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my head till morning; but the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply;
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads that not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a cry.
Thus in the winter stands a lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet know its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone;
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

She was only 32 when she wrote this so we're not supposed to take the first person seriously. But I know what she was talking about. You can be 32 and feel 60. You can be 35 and feel 70.

Midway through the journey of life I found myself in a dark wood because I had lost the right path.

That ever elusive la verace via.

What lips my lips have kissed.


It is the blight man was born for
it is Margaret you mourn for.

I Want My Mommy!

It's the nights that are the worst. Somehow all the phlegm rises up in my throat and I spend the nights coughing, coughing, coughing and wishing my Mommy were back to take care of me.

The pills seem to be pretty ineffectual and I've lost my voice again. There was some work I needed to do today, and I've just done it and now I'm contemplating going out to buy know, as in when life hands you lemons, make lemonade? Ho hum.

Actually, I've had a shitload of people tell me to make the honey lemon drink...the latest being an old French guy, casually sprawled on his seat at the Mont Kiara Coffee Bean, reading The Star. I asked if I could borrow the business section to see my friend's worldwide exclusive with Richard Branson (she went to Necker Island, woo hoo!) and he frowned at my gravelly voice.

"You 'ave a cold? How do you 'ave a cold in Malaishia? It's so 'ot here. Now in France, it's very cold, so it's easy to 'ave a cold."

I didn't really have the voice or inclination to explain to him about things like damp and viruses and stress - other factors that could contribute towards the cold, and losing of the voice. Instead, I sat there and listened to him explain about honey lemon drinks just before bed which would make a tremendous difference to my throat, and also offer to take me to his apartment where he had just the right medicine.

He must have been at least 60 - a lean, grizzled fellow. Some things don't change.

Anyway, I made the mistake of going for a long walk yesterday with some friends - going for a long walk and sustaining my part of a long complicated conversation - which was not a good idea when I was not all better. Result of which, I started coughing up my lungs after, and had a really bad night.

This morning, what do you know, my voice has bowed out once again.

Someone called to ask if I was using my loss of voice as a reason not to talk to him.

I mean to say what??????

As I croaked my answer, I was floored by the irony of it all.

Jenn, the big mouth, the one who always has something to say, is speechless.

Ye gods, and I'm master of ceremonies at the function tomorrow.

I need a miracle.

I want my Mommy!

Saturday, August 11, 2007


It's interesting to lose your voice so totally that all you can do, when forced to speak by people who insist on calling even though they know you have lost your voice, is favour them with throaty whispers.

At least two of my friends thought I was being cheeky with them and waited for me to say:

"Hey, you wanna hear me come?"

One thought I was in a meeting.

Most yelled: "Hey, I can't hear you, speak up, speak up, your stupid phone ah, why don't you throw it away and get a proper one?"

(Did I tell you my phone was a cheap Motorola I picked up in Australia when my cheap Nokia gave out? Totally unacceptable in a Malaysian context where your phone has to be funkier than your boyfriend. The only benefit I can see to upgrading my phone, other than having space for more than 20 text messages in the inbox and outbox, is to be able to be always connected to my facebook....woo hoo!)

Anyway, my dear friend Mary, who is part doc, part-Mom, part kooky adviser, brought along her Louise Hays when I went to pick her up to try and help me figure out the metaphysical ramifications of laryngitis.

According to Hays, my total loss of voice could have been attributed to one of a few things. Either I was so mad it shut down my voice box (possible, we just did a function with the partners from HELL), I was afraid to speak up (no, I don't think so, I offered to kick partners from hell in the balls with my stilettos) and I can't remember what the third one was.

I was stunned that my anger (which caused me to imbibe a mix of different wines on an empty stomach) could flame me like this. Wow. Forget anger, this was pure, unadulterated rage.

Anyway, there I was, munching on my Chipotle Roast Chicken sandwich at Coffee Bean, while Mary was going through the book. She carried on a dramatic monologue and tried to lip read or interpret my gestures. Sometimes I took out a notebook and scribbled notes at her. I realised my sign language leaves something to be desired.

Neways, Mary decided that as much as I hate meds, I would have to get some going, especially if I were to be better by Monday, during which time I would be MC-ing an event. We repaired to this pharmacy that had a proper Scottish-trained pharmacist (my sister Jackie is Scottish-trained so I have a particular affection for those) and she was very very nice and gave me mild anti-biotics, an anti-inflammatory and some cough pills. She could tell I was not an anti-biotic sort of girl (they make me throw up) so she advised me like a hundred times to complete the course. Or else I would be signalling to the virus that it was OK to party in my throat.

Ye gods.

Mary stood by and shook a little finger at me and reminded me 50 times after that to take my meds that night. I was going to take the first set of pills at a kopi tiam (coffee shop) right in front of her. I said, yes, yes, OK. And she said, angelchild, set your phone alarm so if you fall asleep you wake up and take your meds, and I said yes, yes, OK and she said, come let's go buy some buns or something, so when you wake up, you can eat something first, no good to take anti-biotics on am empty stomach especially since they make you feel sick and I said yes, yes, OK.

Actually I didn't say anything at all because I couldn't, but just nodded vigorously.

(And you'll be pleased to know, I did)

I think there is an inverse relation between how little you can speak and how many people call you. Because, of course, the bloody phone never stopped ringing. I alarmed a reporter I had never met (who called to ask where Monday's function was going to be held) by whispering fiercely at him. He must have thought I was trying to come on to him.

The office called to alert me of yet another crisis. Changes would have to be made to speech and press release over the weekend. OK no problem.

Friend called to gossip. I couldn't speak and ended up yelling in whispers: "Go, go, go see Richard, or you'll regret it."

Another one called to ask if we were supposed to catch a movie tonight. "Um no, I think not."

Yet another called to find out how I was. He was very sympathetic. Ended up laughing fit to kill himself at my voice. Or the lack thereof. (Sorry Jenn, I couldn't help it, you sounded so funny!)


I woke up today feeling rather poorly. But got my voice back. Or at least the Scooby Doo version of it. It is gravelly and if my sisters were here I would make them laugh.

"Hello Raggy!"

Friday, August 10, 2007

In the Mood


"Mmmmmmmm...." I grunt.

"Darling?" she pauses delicately. "Maybe it's not the best time to be reading Darkness Visible. Or listening to Fire and Rain over and over again."

I hear her and I don't. She is just this voice in the background, this overlay, this quietly plaintive nagging music I'm used to. When you don't listen, it goes away. Eventually.

"Mmmmmmmm..." I grunt again, refusing to lift my head from Styron, or change the CD.

She comes forward, a hopeful smile plastered on those neat, pretty features, everything in the right place, just the right size, just the right amount of make-up, a skirt that flares enough to be pretty but not enough to be retro. Funny, what you notice without noticing.

Then she proffers a handful of pills which I take without looking up.

I stuff them into my mouth and crunch like popcorn. The bitterness rises and blocks my ears.

I've seen lonely times when I could not find a friend assails my blighted ears. I know what he's talking about.

"Darling, maybe you should, um, have a shower?"

She walks on eggshells. I continue to pretend to be absorbed in the book. Actually she's broken my concentration, she's interfered with the mood and I hate it when that happens.

I have to punish her.

I raise my eyes to her sweetly expectant face and frown slightly.

"You little bitch!"

A rending of silk. Gracefully, with the all the breeding and poise of a southern belle, she shatters, each crystal piece melting as it touches the ground.

She's gone.

I mop up the puddle and get back to my book.

Endlessly Deferred or Copies of Copies

My uni mate Barry wrote to me today and he referenced Derrida so casually I was charmed. I miss that. I miss someone throwing literary critics in my face and speaking about simulacra and simulacrum or the concept of the signifier or Bentham's Panopticon or why we still discuss April being the cruellest month.

In short, I miss my people. The ones for whom other things mattered. You know, like a concept, an idea, a line of poetry?

Here we're all about networking and presenting just the right surface - polish the surface ever so well, and you're still empty inside. Maybe even emptier considering all the vital energy you expended on all that polishing.

I've lost my voice. My throat decided to take a vacation (much to the relief of everyone around me)and the most I can manage is a whisper. A wispy whisper in your ear and I'm not really trying to be romantic at all.

I'm sick of surfaces.

Be they ever so glossy.

I need to get back to me.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Wild Thang

The Universe must have been reading my blog. Here's what S/He/It sent me today...

Do you know what happens to wildlife when left alone from intellectual minds? It thrives, because thriving is its default setting. Just look at a forest.

And do you know what happens to wildlife when given just a little direction by intellectual minds? It still thrives, because thriving is its default setting. Just look at a rose garden.

And do you know what happens to wildlife when there is too much thinking? Yeah, what wildlife?

Same for human beings.

Wild thing -
The Universe

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Jackie's List - Christmas Edition

Things have been getting a little dark here lately. I thought I would let my sister Jackie lighten things up (if not her, who?) with her Christmas list from last year.

We're very proud of our resident genius.

I mean it!!!


Dear All,

In keeping with the crass commercialism of the season, I've produced my own definitive Christmas list of all the things I absolutely can live without but wouldn't mind having anyway. Let's further exploit our already beleagured planet's diminishing resources as much as we can whilst we still can.


- a good pair of black jeans- the kind that has to be hand-sewn by little Indonesian orphans for the benevolent multinational corporations who take such good care of them;

- rubix cube, rubicube or whatever- I think it's gonna make a comeback and i wanna be at the forefront of this retro revolution;

- chef's hat and/or apron with funny and/or ironic message. (Ironic means ready-to-wear);

-comfy sandals- the kind Jesus wore. He walked a lot of miles, on land and water and didn't get corns;

- contact lenses- my New Year's resolution is to periodically stick my finger in my eye, so give me a reason to otherwise I'll be displaying behaviour that deviates from social and statistical norms and that can't be good for my image;

- Peace on Earth

Well that's all folks. Hope this gives you an insight into the complex inner workings of my mind... or whatever. Btw I was just kidding about the peace on earth bit.

Let's tear this century a new one!!!!


Saturday, August 04, 2007

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold...

She was as fragile as a beefy red-faced man with beer on his breath and tattooes all over his trunk. As fragile as a vagrant at the end of his life, staring down the dregs of his toddy bottle. As fragile as a shard of shattered crystal.

She lifted me up into spaces I wanted to travel. I needed some life in my arms but what she gave me, what she gave me, what she gave me...

Sometimes I flap my arms like a hummingbird
Just to remind myself I'll never fly.
Sometimes I burn my arms with cigarettes
Just to pretend I won't scream when I die.

And now she sits huddled in space. And I sit huddled in time. And we sit together and dream of what it feels like to be drunk by noon. To never feel the sun whipping through our hair. Or the wind scorching our faces. To never feel starlight glint on the waters.

If my life was as long as the moon's,
I'd still be jealous of the sun.
If my life lasted only one day,
I'd still be drunk by noon.

Crimson is the tide in my veins. It surges and ebbs and I want something I cannot have. I want something, something, something that I grow so big I disappear into a great steaming mass of longing.

Nobody sees the shadow in the mirror.

Nobody sees the people draw skeletons in the sand.

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Friday, August 03, 2007

A Tired Sort of Waiting

It's quiet all around me. A hush, a trembling of air, a mistake, a disaster.

I can't seem to catch my breath. I made a mistake, a huge mistake, borne aloft on the wings of arrogance. And today, there is the sour stench of disappointment all around.

I feel slightly hungover (you try drinking a whole bottle of wine, on a stomach filled with nothing but a few nuts and see how you feel the next day) and slightly out of joint. I have got to shake myself out of this. This quicksand, so easy to sink into, so easy to lie down and let gravity do the rest, but where is the fight, where is the impact, where is the anything?

I think if we fail to imagine better tomorrows, the tomorrows can come along and bite us in the butt with their lack of spectacularity. I thought I drank myself out yesterday and first thing this morning, I am craving another drink.

Could this be a start of something wonderful?

Like alcoholism?

What an easy answer to life's troubles...oblivion and then feeling like you want to throw up. A purge, a cleansing, so to speak. Solving nothing and with a headache thrown in for free.

It seems like everyone is mad at me today, and no one is talking to me. But maybe I am just imagining that, projecting my own dark thoughts onto the world around me.


Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Don't Touch Me

Mornings I sleep off
nights of red wine.
Nights, I go
out of my mind.

But my nights remain
empty of you.
My life remains
empty of you,
My heart remains