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Artist’s Way Week 1 Day 2

Did my morning pages for TAW & worked a little on my monsters for the Hall of Infamy. I was surprised how easily I located 3 monsters and how I believed their views of me for years!

But instead of writing the nasty letter I wrote them a joint ‘Thank You’ note.
Because I’m glad to be who I am and where I am now.

Some of the things said to me were just petty meanness (1) based I think on her own feelings of inadequacy she switched between trying to push me to achieve what she hadn’t and punching me down when she thought I was getting too full of myself (ie succeeding at what she hadn’t). As a result I always thought it was bad to be ‘smart’. “Think you’re so smart” was a standard scolding. And when I did well & there seemed nothing else to say she said “You know how small Singapore is? The rest of the world doesn’t care who you are!”

For (2) I don’t know what it was. Certainly I don’t like her now but at the time I was open to working together. Before my ‘thank you’ letter today I wrote a long long letter to this one & it’s in my folder (I got 2 lovely 6 pocket folders and made Week 1 Week 2 etc labels for them) itemizing exactly where and what she did that I think was unfair and unjustified and just plain unprofessional. Of course I won’t be sending it but just seeing these things on paper and writing them down made me realise I’m not at fault. She behaved like a real cb. I don’t wish her ill but I don’t ever want to work with her again. But I realise my first reaction to what happened–“I am never going to write for theatre again” was a bit extreme.

On the other hand if not for that I probably wouldn’t have decided to try writing novels and I’m really enjoying this new experience! So yes, thank you to her too.

For (3) the problem was I didn’t want to do a writing project & said I was trying to take some time off for my own writing. He told me novels wouldn’t sell in Singapore, nobody wants to read novels these days. People only want to buy cookbooks and textbooks. (He was asking me to work on a text book). He also told me I was a snob and elitist because I didn’t want to work on his promote ‘good English’ project. I didn’t want to because I believe language grows and evolves and I’m fascinated with how it does. He said that because I speak and write ‘standard’ English I’m reluctant to help others do so because it would be competition for me.

Huh what?
Anyway he gets a portrait in my hall of infamy. But a thank you too, because that meeting made me think seriously about language and speech patterns and where I stand in all that. I want to go in as an observer and recorder and listen and watch and learn all I can because people and their patterns of love, life, hope, work, wants, dreams, driving, drinking, death and desires are all so very fascinating.

One of the Artist’s Way affirmations (well that I adapted for myself) that really worked for me was that I am just transcribing stories already in the universe. I still have to think about structure and character and presentation but I’m doing that with my audience’s receptivity in mind, not inventing crazy stories out of nothing but selecting threads I want to echo or sing out and then packaging them in ways that they can travel safe to their new channels ie new people.

And yes, I got up to 40,000 words today, went walking, went cycling, had brown rice with carrot-potato curry & garlic-tiwan choy for dinner… I should cut up the papaya in the fridge it’s ripe but I’m so tired that I think it’ll have to keep till tomorrow!

2 Responses

  1. P/s: Except that nobody has asked me to promote good English before. My punctuation is very weak even though I’ve worked as a freelance copyeditor before!



  2. Good for you, Ovidia Yu. You are an established writer, I am only a rookie. But I think I have already heard *everything* which these people told you.

    Right now I am so tired that I can barely think because I wrote 3,000 words today. AND the 97-year-old Amah had a bad fall (no broken bones, thank you Jesus) and my brother and I had to bring her to a clinic. AND my Stunt Nephew (aged 5) needed me.

    I write novels and I’m not trying to produce the ultimate “Singapore Novel”, my characters aren’t even Singaporean. When I get encouraging feedback from readers, I hang on to it for dear life! The discouraging comments tend to come from people who haven’t even read any of my books because they “hate porn”. I’ve been told, “Aiyah, AP, write romance novels better, people like to read that kind of book lah.” I tried (because I need cash!) and it sounded like a spoof. I didn’t know how frail my ego was until I began to write.


    Ovidia Yu, thank you for sharing your journey as a writer. You have no idea how your words can inspire people who are trying to learn how to write.

    Take care —


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