Headway With Writing…

clueless (Photo credit: vajlentka)

.. or NOT!

Since writing that post, the other day, some weeks ago, NO words have been put down on paper or typed out on keyboard. (Hangs head in shame…)

i know that this is where i am: How to Write Your Book Even When You Feel Clueless

i need to know how to go on writing even when i am clueless. i have a hundred questions and doubts having a party in my head; should i write this story? What about the other one? Oh, and that first one, i quite like that one. This story is rubbish! Who would care? It may even cause people to throw up. i’ll never find the bridge between the middle and the end. It does not make sense. The main character is stupid! Come on, this is not creative at all. Stop using the same phrases. NO! That idea would be overkill… and so they carry on dancing… sigh!

i am exactly where she describes… blank and cringing in the corner. 😦

BUT… i will pick myself up and put pen to paper… i promise…

So in the name of taking that plunge, i’m going to post my favourite scene from one of my work-in-progress here:

I race up the three flights of stairs to my little two and a half room apartment, completely ignoring the beautiful sunset over the lake this evening, fumble for my keys, crack the door open, slam it – not caring that the old woman downstairs is going to complain – again, kick off my shoes, drop my bags on the floor, throw my jacket onto the sofa, rounded the corner and hit the power button, before finally collapsing into the chair to catch a breath.

The computer beeps to life and takes what feels like an eternity to come on and connect to the internet. I open up Skype as quickly as I can make the mouse fly across the screen.

I type:

i’m here. Add me pls.

I wait.

Freedomi1 has been added to the conversation.

And three familiar faces fills my screen.

“You are late!” is the chorus which greets me immediately.

“So sorry guys. Last minute my boss had something for me to do lah!”

“You are always working. Working too much. Working too hard.” says my little cousin, Tiffany. We call her Tiff the Whiff because she is always following one trend after another.

Tris answers, “Tiff, you can keep telling her that but it won’t make a difference you know. That’s why she moved all the way to the land of the cows. So she won’t have to hear this from us face to face.”

They all laugh. Oh how I miss seeing them laugh. We laugh a lot together. The four of us have been inseparable since childhood.

“Hey, stop laughing and catch me up on what you guys have been talking about till now.” I ask, anxious to get the focus off me.

“Well, we have been discussing Tiff’s strange lecturer at NUS.” Twyla fills me in.

“Yah, my lecturer has hairy armpits!” squeaks Tiff.

“No so loud lah! I’m sitting next to you, you know.” barks Tris.


“Wait! Wait! Tiff’s at Tris’?”

“Yes lah! Today is Saturday, you know. She comes over for dinner and then stays over.”

“Oh yeah. No wonder I feel as if I am home earlier than usual. Sorry – blur.”

Once again, their laugh fills my computer speakers, “Yes we know.”

Twyla continues, “Anyhow, Tiff was saying she – her lecturer, huh – not her, has these hairy armpits”

“Hairy armpits? What?!!”

“Ya! Full on black, long and bushy!!” Tiff screams across the many countries which divide us.

“Ooooh, disgusting! I feel so uncomfortable just hearing you talk about it.” exclaims Twyla, who always looks her best. Actually she always looks perfect.

“Well, Lala, you are not the one who has to face her ok? I have to look at that while she goes on and on about the society’s responsibilities to the environment and all that crap.” says Tiff.

“So what do you do about it?” I ask. Then realising that it was a stupid question just a second too late – as always.

“Aiyoh! Do? Nothing lah! Just try to ignore loh! Actually I might change majors.”

Twyla interrupts, “I can not believe that in this day and age that women with hairy armpits still exist.”

“Yah loh!” we reply in unison. Collapsing into a fit of laughter.

Even with thousands of kilometers between us, I can still feel each of them next to me. Sigh! I miss them.

“So what does she teach anyway?”


“Oh, maybe she is trying to make a philosophical statement?”

“Yah right. Like what?”

I try to sound intelligent, “Like hairy armpits do not make her less a woman.”


“Hmmm… I am not sure about that. But I could try and work that into my assignment she has given us.” jokes Tiff.

“Ok enough nonsense talk.” says Tris, putting on her ‘i-mean-business’ voice.

“Yes madam.” we all tease her.

She ignores us and carries on, just like her.

“Grandma’s birthday – her 90th. My dad wants to do a big celebration and has put me in charge of getting all the younger generation together, confirming attendance and all that jazz.”

“When is it?”

“Well, her birthday is on March – thirtieth if I am not wrong.”

“You are never wrong about birthdays – I still can not wrap my head around how you remember everyone and I mean EVERYONE’s birthdays, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, even cousins’ children. If I had that sort of memory, I would be aceing my European history class.” remarks Tiff.

“Never mind about European history – so who’s coming?” Tris gets us back on topic.

“Me – I am here – stuck on this small, hot, humid tiny island of a country.” sighs Tiff.

“I will have to check if Eric can come with us. But I think the girls and myself should be able to come. It’s around Easter holidays, isn’t it? I will ask for a few days extra off school so we can make the trip worthwhile. I hate going just for a couple of weeks.”

“Yaya? What about you?”

That is what they call me – Yaya – my nickname. Apparently it was because my Grandfather had difficulty with saying my whole name, which is really not that difficult. It’s Tanya. How hard can that be? But my cousins have insisted it is because I always answered ‘Ya. Ya.’ to every question when I was little. I do not remember but the nickname is here to stay. There are days I wished it never was, but there are days when I long to hear someone call me by that name – Yaya.

“Er… I am not sure I can get off work.”

“Yaya!! You need to take a break. Stop working so hard. Money is not everything you know. One day, you wake up and then will realise that you have no one, then have money also no use – right?”

And so Tris goes off on one of her famous family comes first lectures. It is unbelievable – because she was always the one who painted the town red when we were teens and now she is the one always talking family this and family that – who would have expected it. I guess that is life.

“Yes Tris. I know. I know. I will ask my boss tomorrow ok?”

Twyla giggles, “My dear Yaya, you sure you ask tomorrow?”

“Yes. Of course. Why?”

I can hear their muffled giggles across the electric lines and then realise I have done it again – said a silly thing. My brain forgot it is the weekend.

“Oh ok. I ask on Monday then.”

“Ok you send me email ok? No delays. You know my father likes to get things organised well ahead of time.”

“Yes Tris. I will.” I reply, wearily.

This is the opening scene and it is about halfway through at this point. It’s a little long i know. It is very unpolished and full of cliques and lame phrase/dialogue but i do love the interaction happening. i’m afraid to ask… but… (breath in, breath out) what do you think?


4 Replies to “Headway With Writing…”

  1. I like your voice that comes through Ya Ya’s character. I could imagine the conversation going on as I read it. Good job, keep up, and fight back those voices in your head that tell you to stop and give up.


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