Writer’s cave

I am sitting outside the entrance of Organ cave as I write. There are wasps buzzing around me, and I can’t get any peace. No shelter from the hot sun either. I’m baking and regretting my earlier decision not to follow my friends inside the cave.

A lot has happened since I last wrote, which was about a week ago.

In that week, I’ve found a freelance job that pays me twice as much as what my current one does!

I’m still keeping my daytime job for now, while I get used to freelancing.

I feel like I’m one step towards my dream life. A life where my time is my own, where I can be anywhere I want to be without being restricted by my job. A life where I have the time to write and make a living all at once.

Right now, I feel a nice cool breeze lifting the air, which makes writing a bit more enjoyable. The wasps are still circling me though, probably telling me to get off their territory. I must be underneath a wasp tree, I hear a swarm of wasps nearby.

It’s the long weekend over here, which means I get a three day break. I’m travelling up North with friends and trying to fit in a bit of freelance work.

This trip is also an opportunity to test out what it’s like to travel and work at the same time. If it’s manageable, I’ll take myself across Europe and go on a long vacation.

I’ve been writing for an hour already?

My friends are back. I hear their voices. I have never been so glad to hear their familiar voices, and to get away from these angry wasps.

Until next time.

Weekend getaway to a writer’s home

I’ve always wondered what a writer’s home looked like. Rooms full of libraries, books that span across shelves, a reading corner, a warm fireplace, something a little reminiscent of the Beast’s library.

Last weekend, I got a chance to see such a home with my very own eyes, to live and breathe the space where a writer once worked.

Let me describe to you every breathtaking detail from the drive up the long winded driveway, to the little speck of dust on the kitchen counter.

It was as if we had stepped into a house that was waiting for us to enjoy its simple pleasures.

The ferns waved at us from either end as we rounded into the driveway, the door swung open with an easy click that opened into a homely kitchen and lounge, and there were cats, all six of them, roaming freely, so that you never got to see them all together at the same time.

After we had settled our bags down and pinched ourselves in disbelief, we gave ourselves a mini tour.

A little note was stuck to the kitchen counter. “There’s pizza in the fridge. Help yourselves.”

We did more than just that.

We cooked in the kitchen. Roast chicken and salad, while my friend prepared dinner for the cats. There was a pantry full of all the spices one could ever need, and drawers and drawers of utensils.

As I recall, my friend got mixed up between the cat utensils and the human utensils. You can tell that the owners were very fond of their cats.

After dinner, we melted cheese on bread and sat outside on the deck that overwatched the sea, and later that evening, we spread ourselves across the warm rug in front of the TV, while the cats joined us, purring contently.

Even though it seemed like an hour, we sat this way for five hours. The house seemed to have its own time.

It was midnight, when we reluctantly peeled ourselves away from the warm rug and entered the cool night, leaving this oasis behind us.

On the drive home, I struggled to keep my eyes open. The next day was a work week, what was I doing out so late? Still, it was the best decision ever.

Yawning loudly, we drove towards a purple-blue horizon lit up by a single streetlight. Lights multiplied by the dozens as we drove on – out of the countryside and back into the city, with just a touch of remorse tainting this lovely Sunday evening.

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 shade of a tree

Right now I’m using my break to sit and write under the shade of this big tree. I only have 15 minutes to finish this post before I have to return back to work. So I’ve got to hurry.

Why am I writing under a tree?

Before my office moved to the other end of the street, I used to do my personal writing at the library, during lunch time. Now that I’ve moved further away from the library, I’ve been scrounging around for neat little places to sit down and write.

Sometimes it’s impossible to find the energy to write after work, so I try to write throughout the day, in bits of time between my working hours.

Finding the perfect space to write

Nothing can replace the feel of a nice, soft spot in the library, but if you have no choice but to sit outside and write, then find somewhere that’s partially private.

Writing delves into the subconscious, and if you’re one of those people who can’t think when people are staring at you, then a nice shaded area, dense with trees, is the perfect place to write.

I want to write more but I have to go back to work. I’ll be here again, making use of this private writing spot. I hope to spend more of this time working on my novel.

 

 

 

I live three hours away from paradise

As the summer holiday draws to a close, I refuse to resign myself to the usual dread that fills these last few days.

I have persuaded my friends to go on a spontaneous roadtrip with me in which we are all going to explore and be adventurers again.

Our planning for this one day roadtrip began on New Year’s day, right after 12am, and by 1am, we had decided to meet two days later to drive up North to a “developing” city named Tauranga, a three hour drive from where we reside.

I don’t know whether you know this, but here in New Zealand, developing cities don’t look like your usual slum of the earth.

Instead, picture a sunny harbourside town, where every street name and road sign has the word “ocean” or “coast” in it, and everybody in the neighbourhood looks extremely tan and fit. I wouldn’t be surprised if the whole town was selected to star in the next Baywatch.

Anyway, that’s where we found ourselves in, overdressed and overheated, strolling through a harbourside paradise.

To point out our exact location in paradise, we were in Papamoa, a suburb with a beach that residents actually use! something that rarely happens where I live.

Since I came unprepared to this harbourside town, without togs or a towel, I did not get a chance to bare my skin to the summer sun or dip my body into the ocean. I did have a front row view of the sea and watched longingly ahead at the surfers and swimmers catching their next big wave.

When the excitement seemed too good to miss out on, I rolled up my pants and ran into the crashing waves, not caring that my bottom-half was soaking wet and that I didn’t have a spare change of clothes.

The salt and sand was still on my mind when we left Papamoa. So I insisted we wrap up the evening by watching Indiana Jones late into the wee hours of the morning.

I want to wake up every morning in Papamoa. It reminds me of adventure and beaches, sand and sunshine, of things people should do more of to fill their lives with excitement.

As I wake up in my own bed with the wind howling outside, I ask myself, what can we do to make our lives more adventurous when we have jobs and responsibilities?

I hope to continue searching for an answer to that question as I return back to work next week.

Wandering without a religion

People always find it strange when I tell them that I don’t have a religion, as if I should’ve been born with one, like the hair on my head, or the skin on my back.

All I can say to them is that I never came with one. My parents aren’t religious, but they’re not atheists either. I always have to add in this last part as if not being religious automatically classifies us in opposition with whatever religion people believe in.

But from time to time, when I feel lost and out of my element, I have yearned for the guidance and support that people in community groups receive.

And the question that sometimes springs to my head is: How do I belong? Where do I belong if I don’t belong there?

Over time I have discovered that I belong in libraries and bookshops, in the comfort of an author’s words. Whenever I need guidance, I turn to books for advice and in them I find solace.

Who’s to say that reading isn’t a religion in itself, when it’s brought me great purpose and taught me how to have an open mind?

Wandering alone in the dark, I found my religion in their words.

Maybe this is why we read, and why in moments of darkness we return to them: To find words for what we already know. ~Alberto Manguel.

Is anybody still awake?

It’s 3 am on New Year’s day, and I’ve just opened up my time capsule. The sky is dark and I’m all alone in my new house. My friends have left and my sister is still out, so I’m curled up in bed reading my last year’s New Year’s resolutions. It’s funny how the air inside the time capsule smells like last year’s air freshener.

These were my new year’s resolutions for 2018:

  1. Write a book
  2. Open myself up to love and friendships.

Just these two things. Pretty simple, but they make up a huge part of who I am, the kind of person I want to be and what makes me happy.

So did I accomplish these resolutions?

Writing a book—I have written a story, a very basic draft outline, but I haven’t filled in the missing bits yet. The story is still in my diary and I aim to complete what I haven’t finished this year. So no, I haven’t completed this resolution.

Opening myself up to love and friendships—This one has always been a hard one for me. I tend to like my own space and I have to consciously remind myself to make an effort to hang out with friends. Last year there were so many ups and downs, I have strengthened new friendships and then loosened my grip on them. Opening myself up to people is a continuous process, I just hope that my friends are patient enough to wait for me.

I have realised that 2018 was all about setting up my goals, rather than finishing them. I try to set up goals that are worth spending a lifetime trying for, so that it’s a continuous process of change.

But I’m going to add something different this year. Not only am I going to write down my New Year’s resolutions for 2019, I’m also going to create a plan for how I’m going to achieve it. And I already have an idea.

Right now, I need to sleep. I have to wake up early in the morning and go to my grandparents because we are making New Year’s dumplings. It is now 4.00am.

Is anybody else still awake?