the accidental art of being and not doing (June 2020-June 2021)

I never knew then I would come to this page. No, I am not discontinuing what had started. Blogging is not like turning on a tap to wash your hand and then turn it off when finished. Is there a finishing line? Where or what the finishing line is? What is the goal? The terms “finishing line”, “goal”, or “goal-post” seem irrelevant for non-commercial blogging. It all depends on the blogger/producer for a blog to survive. In commerce it depends on the recipients/viewers of the blogs/products. In blogs like this the blogger merely does a creative thing and leave it on the shelf, not necessarily for any other purpose aside for the creation process.

Do bloggers ever visit their own site and view the things they have journaled in the dusty past?

Of course, some bloggers use the piece as an expression or a diversion. Perhaps there is something you want to tell a loved one or someone really important, but is unable to do so in person or in other forms of communication, like a digital text or audio/visual message, email, or even a longhand-written missive, well, the remaining option is to blog, hoping that the intended recipient will one day find this and read it (and perhaps respond somehow).

For me, I use this blog as a way to check on my writing. Am I still writing words and making sense? Is my mind still working and my use of language fluid? What are my trends of thoughts lately? Today I visited this blog and noted a post on August 15, 2016, titled “Leaving behind is like a taboo statement”, and the content stirred me to write this page. In it I quoted a passage about Paul, (the protagonist of a classic book) being left behind as a self-imposed derelict after the demise of his mother and the final leaving of his long term girl friend. Looking back now, that passage had wielded its impact subtly over my years of solitude, and that blog post has revealed a page which I had forgotten, but not entirely lost…

A blog expresses something a blogger wants to talk about. It is interesting that at that time I wanted to talk about a sudden sense of being alone after a rather fruitful event of writing a biography for a business missionary and her team in a distant land. It was a restful time for me after finishing the big task of writing and publishing the book in two languages. Yet, away from the limelight, I could sense the solitude of just being and not doing.

The year June 2020-June 2021 had been a “being” year for me. “Being-not-doing”. In a way, it is very much self-imposed. I returned from another foreign land, locked up another newly acquired academic certificate and an important license and rested. Over the whole year I did not get to use them. Are certificates and official licenses important? The Generation Zs know they are important for them.

For me? Really I have no imagination there. Meanwhile, I continue this blog and not abandon ship. Afloat with words. Effortlessly sailing ahead. Ahoy! Land!

PraiseWord, 2021-06-30

Return to the house of dreaming swiftlets: an announcement


I regret to announce that the above fictional series will be discontinued. The protagonists have expressed the wish for a non-fiction book to be written instead for different purposes. Thank you for viewing and clicking “like”. I really appreciate.
From this blogger.

a letter writer’s heritage

Heritage

I just received this WhatsApp message, “Would you please write another generic and/or personified donation letter for us on this new school project?” I cannot remember when I have stopped writing my own formal/informal letters. The last time I wrote was for someone else for charitable donation. As usual, when I receive a letter writing request I need all information of the project and meditate for a number of days, sometimes weeks. I could look at the numerous letters and newsletters I have received to find tips if any. But since they have not persuaded me to donate there is really no point looking at them.

In my recent month-long trip to clear a house of old stuff so that it can be put up for sale, I found and carried back some old books. They are mostly books printed in the 1950s. I asked for permission to keep some for myself. Here is one which I quite like: Ladies’ & Gentlemen’s Letter-Writer, printed in Great Britain, 1953. 

I cannot resist taking the liberty to quote the following sample letters. Enjoy.
All the names are fictitious of course.

November 20th
Dear Sylvia,
Here is a cheque for £5. I know just how difficult things are these days. In fact my own account is nearly overdrawn, so try and let me have the £5 promptly at the end of the month.
Love,
Pamela.

December 12th
Dear Sylvia,
What about my £5? Be a dear, and let me have it as soon as you can, since I’m getting rather short myself now.
Love,
Pamela.

December 20th
Dear Sylvia,
I wrote on the 12th, asking for repayment of my loan (which you promised to repay at the end of November), but I have heard nothing from you. I hope you haven’t spent all your last salary on Christmas presents, because I really need that £5 very badly. Could you send it by return?
Love,
Pamela.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hard times then and now. History does not change over mankind and circumstances. We now use digital ways to communicate instead of physical paper and ink. We gain speed. We can even delete our side of the record. But the mark is there on the other side unless he/she deletes too. In the house where I just cleaned up I found tons of paper records, old letters, magazines, books, exam papers, certificates, pictures, children’s school books, drawings, manuscripts, boxes and boxes of them. Some magazines are still in their original wrappers as though they have not yet been read. When I return to my own abode after a long absence, I too find many magazines (from some faithful mutual funds) in wrappers. I just do not have time to read them. The worst is that they come in two languages so I get two per month!

Many years ago I made a decision to get rid of my papers. So I gave away books. I burned my papers, pictures, certificates, thesis, whatever. Yet, many years later when I see some old pictures in my siblings’ collection I take a photo of those which depict me as a very young person. I find one such group photo lately. In those days people were expected to be respectfully serious and close their mouths when not talking. When all mouths were dutifully closed, me at five was captured in history with my mouth gapping, staring at the camera. Was it a premonition that one day I would do such verbose talking on screen?

“Every body allows that the talent of writing agreeable letters is peculiarly female.”
― Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

“Every body at all addicted to letter writing, without having much to say, which will include a large proportion of the female world at least…”
― Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

“Andy: But they gave us an out in the Land of Oz. They made us write. They didn’t make us write particularly well. And they didn’t always give us important things to write about. But they did make us sit down, and organize our thoughts, and convey those thoughts on paper as clearly as we could to another person. Thank God for that. That saved us. Or at least it saved me. So I have to keep writing letters. If I can’t write them to you, I have to write them to someone else. I don’t think I could ever stop writing completely.”
― A.R. Gurney, Love Letters*

*Love Letters is a lovely play. Quoting from online sources:

A new Letter begins
In the age of instant communication, iPhones and Twitter, Love Letters is bringing memories of a simpler time to Broadway in 2014, helmed by Tony-winning director Gregory Mosher. The limited engagement includes appearances by Carol Burnett, Alan Alda, Candice Bergen, Stacy Keach, Diana Rigg, Anjelica Huston and Martin Sheen. The first celebrity pair in the new revival is Mia Farrow and Brian Dennehy, who will reprise the role of Andrew. “[Love Letters] is an extraordinary piece,” Dennehy told Today. “You cannot stage a play more simply than this, and yet it’s about everything in life. First love, loss of opportunities, loss of life, loss of love…It’s a beautiful play, and all you do is speak it.” But there’s two things the play won’t include: “Tweets and twerks,” Dennehy joked. “There are no twerks in this play.”

May my readers find hope and strength in the small things in lives, just as these little endangered birds do.

It is hard to put into words a person’s life. But I try to do so. I perceive myself as a fluid, unhurried, unclassified blogger. Why blog? I like to test the water of the thinking river. Thoughts. Words. Pictures. Just as they appear. Like this brightly painted building next to the Amtrak rail on one fine mountain climbing day. I just happened to look out of the window of the train and saw it. Yellow is not my usual color. But it was a striking moment that appealed to me at an appointed time in space. I captured it. When I look through my pictures at random to find something for this blog, it comes out and so I use it to represent a view.

Roseville copy

I would describe myself as a mere keeper of some words which do matter to me a lot. I do not want to forget. I preserve good words. Preserving words is like preserving life. (I wrote this introduction two years ago)

Added on December 17, 2016.
In some ways, I am waiting with Anticipation.
Yes, an anticipation for a future. Come to think of it, our future can be a past soon, just as many futures of yesteryear. Here is an updated photo for this week’s challenge. May my readers find hope and strength in the small things in lives, just as these little endangered birds do.

micah-77

We all have a ‘magic’ tank, onto the next exhibit

aquarium-singpaoreMagic is not on my mind when I take out this picture from some old albums and decide to post it. I took this during a visit to Sentosa Underwater World in Singapore in 2014. It had since been closed down in June 2016. I read that the animals are being transferred to another aquarium in China.

I found a poem online at random and post below to reflect both sides of life one may stand at the same time.Inside and outside.Which side are you now?

Rebecca Leven-Hill
Feb 4, 2015
Aquarium
The world is an aquarium
We all have a tank
With a paragraph of information about us next to our tank
When people see you they notice your looks and move on

If you are a tall skinny blond boy with blue eyes the girls will stop and get to know you
If you are a shorter boy with brown hair who has acne and is wider people might just move onto the next exhibit
The people in the tanks can’t tell what they people on the outside are saying
But they don’t care
They are all unique and they know that
People will always judge but they are not the ones you should try and impress
You are the only one who can truly judge you