Two weeks ago, I had an inspiring talk. Glad I attended the craft lecture of Mr. Alvin Pang, a poet, writer and journalist from Singapore. I learned a lot about writing. He is well-travelled, gone to the U.S to study and to participate in writers-in-residence program, visited Finland, Slovenia, etc. I had thought about this before, that travelling could help a lot in writing. You get to experience a new culture, music, language, and traditions. The beautiful sight itself is inviting, and the different architectural structures could mark or speak about the identity of the place.
I’m not much of a poetry lover, but I do like songs which takes the form of poetry. The use of words of the speaker is very smooth and playful but also giving out an enriching message. He is right to say that yeah why we do write? Hoping to inspire others and be inspired as well. And it’s important that we enjoy what we do, have fun, make sure that is has value. I like Mayday’s A Xin and Soda Green’s Qing Feng, they both write great melodies and lyrics. He said that before becoming a writer, he tried to become an indie rockstar but didn’t make it. His friend was able to wear a leather jacket and thrived to be an Asian Popstar.
I could relate to what he said about reading and writing in the plane. There’s not much to do up there, so it’s a good place to reflect and let ideas flow through you. That’s the time I get to read and write or listen to good music from their in-flight amenities. I rarely watch a movie up there, so I missed the showing of the Hulk and other films which could’ve been crossed out from my to-watch list. But it’s definitely a worthy time to pen compositions while on a journey.
Before the day of the lecture, I googled the speaker’s name and found out that he already have a lot of books. I shared to my sister the information about the Singaporean author. She told me that I might buy all the copies of his book if we go to Singapore after I attend the lecture. I was indeed moved by the poems that Alvin Pang performed and might actually look for his books there. Good thing that there’s the internet and some of his poems are available online. So I reread his “In Transit” http://www.asiawrites.org/2010/03/3-poems-by-alvin-pang.html
and also shared to my sister his Singlish piece called “Candle” http://www.apwn.net/index.php/edition/more/candles_alvin_pang/ ,which I particularly like. It’s actually fun to read poems, not just humorous ones but even those with touching themes and talk about social order or politics. I’m having a hard time understanding poems that are too metaphorical. But I did enjoy some poems we’ve discussed in our Literature class, such as the work of Pablo Neruda “Walking Around” and I remember that our professor let us listen to a poetry reading of Walking Around by Samuel Johnson. Rumi’s Eating Poetry, The Diameter of a Bomb by Yehuda Amichai was a captivating and sad one. Other poems were quite deep but once discussed shed beauty to its composition. Poems envelope a sing-song note once read or performed. I’ve realized that poetry could be a in the form of conversation, and doesn’t need to have the right or definite form for it to be called a poetry.
Regarding questions about writing, the speaker also shared something along the lines of:
“Don’t stop writing. Yes, stop to take a break, but continue writing. Don’t finish your story all at once, leave out something you could go back to, a cliffhanger, that would motivate you to finish the whole story. Once you feel that the piece is ready, move on to another. A piece is just a snapshot of that time you wrote it.
“If you don’t know how to proceed anymore on a piece, or temporarily encountered writer’s block, then lock it on a drawer (or on document folders since we’re using computers), then go back for it once time passes.
Do something else when you don’t know what to write, like photography and cooking…whatever works for you.” I agree that taking photographs of our surroundings does help filter through our writer’s block and nurtures us with plenty of ideas to write about.
And I agree that there are things that we just want to get off our chest, so we write and it helps. Sometimes what we write is just what we feel at that particular moment, and for me writing aids in the processing and drawing realizations. It’s letting emotions flow through the words, a sudden release or a path to seeing things clearly.