Maybe I’m writing so desperately because it’s in those words, in those stories I want to be. Not here. Maybe if I write enough, once all is said and done, someone will hand me a ticket on the other side. To ride the train that runs on rails of dreams.
Depending on how your life has fared, you may have heard of this person. They are one unchosen by fate and luck, one who has lost everything yet bears only pain, no resentment. They willingly carry the suffering meant for thousands and fight to prevent any of it from falling, so no one else will have to taste what they have experienced. They are nameless on the surface, always struggling with their pain when nobody’s looking, secretly pulling the strings that lift everyone’s smiles – they won’t stop, because failure is not an option. They are constantly afraid, afraid of watching tears fall from someone else’s face – because they know the image will remind them of the moment everything changed, but what they don’t know is if they could survive it. So pray for the Unchosen.
I’m a firm believer in the idea that the amount of satisfaction or pleasure you derive from something in your life is largely dependent on your attitude towards it. In this regard, video games are an especially powerful medium with the potential to deliver highly intense experiences. With the right mindset, playing a video game is no different from hopping into an inter-dimensional crosspod or some shit and zooming off to different dimensions. So here’s a project I’ve been working on for half a year which tries to sort of materialize/literify this idea. Go ahead and give it a read if you like – it’s your chance to experience what it’s like to play Pokemon as a crazy guy with way too much time and imagination on his hands.
The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh
There’s a funny story behind how I discovered this book. In order to fulfil my course requirements, I took a certain module in my first year of university. It was titled – Beasts, People and Wild Environments in South Asia. As an animal and nature-lover since young, the name of this module instantly stood out to me among the sea of cultural, societal and science-based modules that made up the list I had to choose from. This book was one of the very first readings specified for the module. And like all good university students, I didn’t finish it. I don’t think I even reached the quarter-mark. However, the book and its writing left an inexplicable mark on me. So when I started taking my writing career and reading more seriously, I decided that this was one book I had to eventually return to and finish.
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(a little Zelda fanfiction)
The wind shrieked, as if taking offense at the speed at which we sliced through the waves of East Reservoir Lake. Both rain and swash splattered against my face and clothes – a new slap every second. I rode on the back of Prince Sidon, the red-scaled heir to the throne of the Zora – a tribe of fishpeople that dwelled near the Eastern corner of Hyrule. How was he even going so fast? The water shattered with his every stroke, spraying out in the shape of an arrowhead spearing towards our target – the Divine Beast Vah Ruta, an ancient mechanical abomination crafted in the likeness of an elephant. It roared as we approached, endless water gushing out of the tip of its trunk which hung higher than the surrounding mountains. If we didn’t stop it soon, the reservoir would overflow – promising grave damage to both Zora’s domain as well as lower Hyrule.
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Tales from the Dead of Night – Thirteen Classic Ghost Stories selected by Cecily Gayford
Oooh ghost stories. They’ve been around a long time, which makes you wonder: back in the days without the graphics of games, cinema and TV, how DID people scare others with spooky tales? Of course, we’ve always had the traditional “telling of ghost stories in the dark around the fire (or on sleepovers)”. And of course, books. The art of scaring people with only words on paper has always fascinated me. How do people do it? It’s a world where jump-scares and vivid imagery fail. I mean really, no matter how well you describe something horrifying-looking, it’s going to be far less scary than actually seeing it in reality. And so I picked up this book in order to find out more about the classic written ghost story.
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The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley
I first learned of this book’s existence at last year’s Singapore Writer’s Festival where I attended a panel about writing the supernatural (The Allure of the Otherworldly) in which Mr. Hurley himself was present to talk about this novel and his relationship with horror. One of the audience members commented that she had screamed while reading the book on a plane flight surrounded by other passengers. As someone with an unhealthy interest in writing horror, that’s when I knew I just had to get my hands on this novel and give it a read. So with the conclusion of my finals last semester, I rushed to the nearest library and managed to grab a copy. And my god, it was incredible.
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