A jar of quotes

When I was teaching myself how to write, I kept a small jar of quotes beside me. They kept as a reminder of the reasons why I chose to become a writer.

If there was ever a day where I was easily discouraged, I would pick a few quotes out of the jar and read them silently to myself.

Afterwards, I almost always found my courage again.

Today I picked a quote from the jar and it said:

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it’s the quiet voice saying I will try again tomorrow.”

These are the quiet steps taken by a writer. And if not tomorrow, then the day after tomorrow, or even fifty years later, all these words will culminate into something it was always meant to be.

As I close the lid to my jar of quotes, I know that there are many more writers hiding out there.

How do you find your courage to write?

Writing under the full moon

Today is the Mid-Autumn Festival. The moon is supposed to be at its fullest, but its been raining, so we can’t see it.

It’s a great time to finish the short story that I’ve been writing, the one about my Grandfather.

When I get home from work, the table is already laid out with roast duck, pork rib soup, and The Ant Noodle (the name my dad came up for a dish he’s made since I was a child.) There is a festive vibe in the air that reminds me of family, that’s why it’s a good day to write about my grandfather.

After dinner, I have a conversation with my mum about my writing dreams, conversations I’m getting more comfortable talking about in front of my family.

I tell her I’ve saved up enough money to work part-time so that I can focus on my writing. I write almost everyday, but I haven’t made substantial growth, because of time itself.

Still, my mum says that I’m not ready.

Sometimes I just want to take a leap of faith and deal with whatever comes my way, but I’m a little too sensible for that.

I feel like the moon tonight, covered, when it should be full and brilliant.

How far can you go?

My grandfather walked 156km from his farming village to the city, when he was just a small boy, so that he could attend middle school. A journey like that would’ve taken him days, but he did it alone, all by himself, with nothing but the road signs to guide him.

I learnt about this story on my last visit to see him, when he was lying in hospital, in a vegetative state.

When I asked my mum why he had done that, she said: “He had a vision.”

What she meant was that he was the first of his family to get an education, when nobody else thought to do so. And in doing that, he led our family out of a life of poverty.

My grandfather had such strong blood in him. I didn’t see it then, because he was just a tiny, fragile old man. But I see it now.

He fights and claws at the caretakers when they stick tubes down his throat. He stares them down if they cover his hands with mittens because he likes to take the tubes out of his nose.

He is very much a leader trapped inside a dying body.

But he was strong enough to wait for us to come back so that we could say goodbye.

He was strong enough to walk 156km for an education that would otherwise never have been given to him.

I am not strong like him, but on the day of his passing, I realised he had left a legacy.

So I asked myself, what would I walk 156km for?