Isnin, Disember 27, 2004

( Saturday was a friends' wedding and Sunday was an event solely dedicated for kids. Fine experience from both outings; weekends never felt like weekends for the past few weeks. And 'Smallville' tasted a bit like 'The X-Files' for the last three episodes. No surprise there as the core crew are from the latter. )

PRELUDE TO 2005 : A New Year Resolution Preview

It occurred to me recently that if I were now to meet myself at the age of 12 – the age, as some know well, that has been called the Golden Age of my Comic Book collecting days – I would, I have no doubt, be an extreme fanboy to my twelve year old self.

He might be impressed by the fact that I’m a writer – but then, he knew he was going to be a comic book artist, or cartoonist. That I’m that one of a relatively rare clan, a writer who makes his living writing, would make a slight difference to my 12 year old self. He is, after all, convinced that the simple action of writing a short story and getting it published is like winning the grand prize at the end of a Quiz Show on television.

( My 12 year old self has not met any ‘real’ people at that time )

As I said, he knows he wants to be a writer at some point of his life. And, with a 12 year old arrogance that is utter and absolute, he knows what kind of an author he wants to be. He wants to be the kind of author who will someday wins recognitions and awards.

Which is to say he wants to grow up to be a fantasy or science fiction or comic book writer, and a writer of a particular kind. He wants to grow up to write the kind of story that changes how the people in Malaysia see the world. He knows there’s a difference between writing ‘locally’ and ‘internationally’, and he likes the way that some books have both of them. He wants to be H.G Wells, Asimov, or even Cricton and Aziz M.Osman(?). He wouldn’t mind being a copycat or a rip-off of somebody else. He wanted to learn. He wants to be a writer.

And I would have disappointed him. I didn’t grow up to be a writer, except possibly in the loosest most ‘story doesn’t stand for pleasure, passion and satisfaction, it stands for anything we damn well please’ sense of the word. Understand, this came as an enormous surprise to me. I was sure I was going to be a writer, as sure as anyone can be of anything. I just didn’t turn out that way… exactly as I earlier envisioned.

Most writers of fiction are dreamers, to some degree or another. We learn to teach ourselves what we need. We get in there fast and shallow and we suck the life and the juice from the subject in our own way. Then we manage to give the impression that we know everything about the subject in our writing.

I feel sorry for all the teachers who attempted to teach me the rudiments of subjects that I had no interest in. If I’d known that I’d need history and maths(fobia yang paling aku geruni!) to write with, I would have studied much harder, just as I would have paid more attention in Maths if I’d known that one day I was going to have to make sense out of my salary, KWSP, EPF, SOCSO, and other confusing financial statements.

The subject I paid most attention to in school was either BM, English and arts ( and for some particular reason, Pendidikan Jasmani ). They made a difference. It was what I was studying. I was reading all the things that was published and available, and, having finished that, I was reading everything I could find that was out of print, dusty, forgotten. I enjoyed the good books, and I enjoyed the bad books. I read everything. But most of all I looked out for and hunted down and read things that had won my heart. Because I knew it was going to be good. Not just popular good, but well-written, and wise, and that it would stretch my head into places it had not been before.

I am over 10 years older than that boy, and I have become both more blaze and more cynical about getting passionate of things that I like. I’ve won more than my share of achievements. I’ve been a critic, and have learned that some critics, like the makers of quality well-written books, do their business behind closed doors for a reason. I’ve learned that popular and democratic books are too often fickle, and easily manipulated, and no guarantee of lasting worth. Still, as individuals and as a group, writing and reading is a wonderful thing. It’s a fine thing to be a REAL writer. It’s a finer thing to be someone or achieve and win something in the long run – at least until the next morning, when you have to face a blank sheet of paper, and you find the writing no easier than it ever was – and, often, it’s harder.

But the real importance of awards is being appreciated from the people out there ( known or unknown ), I like to think, as in telling, and, more importantly; claiming that the next generations of writers, where to look, where to go, where the best writing and the coolest ideas are to be found. And after all, this is what I am are here for the whole of 2004. And let me tell you this : It is the most challenging year since ever. Ever.

Hoping that 2005 will be even bolder and more tantalizing than I'd foreseen.

I am ready for tomorrow.


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