Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Relearning To Write

It's been over 7 full years since Twisted Tales came to life.

Back in October 2004, it was just a silly impulsion to start a blog. If I could go back in time, the first thing I would tell my 19 year-old self would be to choose a less embarrassing name.

Though I love the whole concept of keeping journals, I've always been pretty bad at it. I don't even have proper photo albums apart from friends tagging me on Facebook. Rather than apathy, I attribute it all to laziness.

Should I die tomorrow, or with the rest of the world on Dec 21 next year, Twisted Tales will have to suffice as the most accurate and comprehensive life journal that I possess. Sometimes on still nights such as this, I comb through the archives and relive the different seasons life has taken me through. Though my blog consists almost entirely of fiction, I am able to clearly see in each story the circumstances that compelled me to write it then.

When I started my first story in 2004, it didn't even have a name. I naively envisioned an interactive blog where readers would contribute ideas as I wrote, making the story flourish organically. Unfortunately, I possessed neither the writing flair nor social connections for this to materialise. Eventually, the story became a boyish man-versus-machine fantasy that wouldn't be out of place at a Digimon fanfic collection. It was entitled 'Blogspot'.

After that came 'The Secret Room' which was actually an expansion of a story in a book I wrote for someone many years ago. It still fell strictly within my limited repertoire of 'clueless boys trapped seeking for answer to  perplexing mystery leading to twisted conclusion' stories. Something notable about this period though - I averaged about two posts every three days. Craziness. I can never imagine getting back into that sort of blogging regularity now, even if I quit my job.

One season I particularly remember is late 2008 to early 2009, when I ditched the wannabe adventure tales and started writing simple stories that spoke of dreams, happiness and love (my favourite: The Toll Gate Girl's Special Ability). This was the latter stage of my working life in CC+J Adhaus (now Joescher+Adhaus), a time which I truly cherished and grew so much in. Of course, as with the best growing experiences, I came close to breaking point. I bore so much on my shoulders and utterly refused to let anyone else into my life. Eventually, this load turned into emotional baggage that I sometimes still catch glimpses of in myself today.

Around this time, I also started designing fancy 'covers' for my stories - a fun but ultimately pointless endeavour.

2010 was a good year too, as I churned out quite a number of good stories. I guess I was increasingly losing passion in my job and harbouring serious ambitions of becoming a writer. Some might even recall the email I sent to the Publisher Who Shall Not Be Named. Looking back at my submission, I'm thankful that they did not just reply my email with "LOL".

And now at the end of 2011, I don't feel like I have a lot to show for this year. I mean...13 posts? And most of them aren't even stories.

Maybe, just maybe, the time of fiction has passed in my life. In the past, I enjoyed hiding behind the facade of make-believe stories. Whenever I wanted to convey a message, I never needed to be specific. All I needed to do was sprinkle some wise-sounding words over generic characters in a preconceived scenario and voila! A story was born.

Yes, I wrote well but my stories always lacked heart. That's because they never came from my heart in the first place. They came from my mind.

I was never honest with my stories. Sometimes they feel like lies and half-truths.

I was afraid of my feelings, my experiences, myself.

When you write from the heart, it really, really shows.

So...do we have a new year's resolution here? I hereby promise to write with more honesty and sincerity. Ultimately, I still love stories. But I no longer want soulless, twisted tales.

Give me more of Life, One Story At A Time please. :)