Sunday, October 31, 2010

Fantasy prompts

I have decided to share the little pieces that I have been writing over the last week. The past week has been all about fantasy! I think I might do this on a weekly basis and post all the little pieces that I have written over the week. Sharing is caring after all! What a cliche! Anyway here it goes starting with most recent first.

The last princess

In subdued sleep, she lay
As night broke into day
A princess who held no disdain
‘twas in her destiny to be plain.

The knight and the squire

The air was filled with exciting anticipation and all eyes were on the clock tower. It was only a matter of seconds and the parade would begin. Then it happened. As the bells chimed signalling the start of the festival, the dragon appeared. He swooped across rooftops and trees with his wings spread wide in majestic awe. On his back rode the knight in all his glory with sword in hand and his shining armour reflecting the happiness down below. Cheers and confetti rose in unison at the sight and the musicians belted out. There was nothing to fear from this day on. The knight had arrived and had saved them from the threats in the land. A gory battle had left many dead but those remaining were no match for mighty Hagan, the chosen knight.

The trumpets sounded and the crowd’s attention turned to the castle gate. The drawbridge had been lowered and was decorated in all manners exquisite. Hagan’s squire was riding high on his silver horse, leading the rest of the herd. The knight’s shield was slung across the squire’s arm and in the other hand, he held on to Hagan’s flag. He loved all the attention that the crowd was giving him. The squire puffed up his chest, tilted his head slightly to the side as he scanned the faces in the crowd and broke into a wide smile. Horses in readiness, the dragon made another low swoop above the crowd. The trumpet sounded again as the squire threw his hat up in the air to cheer which Hagan, the mighty knight, caught in timely fashion. Music broke the excitement in the air once again and the squire advanced the horses. The parade had begun.

The Dragon's Birthday

A birthday today, fit
for a dragon who
just found his wings to fly.

At trees and men, they
breath fire and roar -
Dragons celebrating.

The King

The king looked up and indicated to Phineas with this head. Words were not necessary. Phineas knew that it was his duty and knew exactly what he had to do. The responsibility and trust that had just been thrust upon him was overwhelming but he had no choice.

“I will not fail you, your majesty.”

The king placed his hands on Phineas’ shoulders, “I know you won’t. My son,”  the king smiled softly to himself, “you have always been the one with strength. You will succeed if only you believe in yourself.” The king looked up at Phineas and barely above a whisper said, “That’s why I chose you out of all the toad slayers.”

The task that lay ahead of him was no easy feat. He had to go through the Valley of Toads, find the Book of Charm and bring it back to the king before dawn. Only then would the spell be broken and the princess be released from the curse. He knew the challenges that lay before him but he had been trained well.

Friday, October 29, 2010


There are times when the path you have chosen in life starts to feel like the wrong one. It is not that you failed to see that there would be challenges. It is just that you suddenly stumble upon obstacles that make your goal so much further than you initially thought. I guess we draw up the plans and leave the rest up to destiny. The issue is, do you continue to soldier on and find ways to overcome the obstacles? Or do you accept the situation and just find another path? Would it be giving up or would it be facing up to reality. How do you know that your goal is worth that much to fight for, that it will be worth it in the end when you just have no clue whether you will reach the end, or that if you do that it would not be too late to reap its benefits.

I am a mature career changer. I took a leap of faith and jumped. I had a strong support network in the form of my inner resolve and a deep faith in God. I knew that challenges would lie ahead. I was not afraid to combat anything that stood in my way. I rose up to the challenge and worked extremely hard. God rewards those who work hard after all. I succeeded or at least I thought I did. Then a major obstacle showed its ugly face to me. I tried to overcome it but there were other factors at play so I decided to soldier on and find another way around it. In doing so I chose another path; the unknown path, one I had not studied nor prepared myself for. The result is that I find one challenge after the other rising up in a way that is more than I can bear. What does this mean?

The way I see it there are two ways to address this. I either give myself the chance to accept the situation then move on by just going with the flow and doing all that needs to be done to achieve my goal. After all, I did choose this second path. Or I can give up and throw away all my hard work. Stop now and realise that not every battle has to be fought let alone be won. I guess I can really see where this is all leading to. I keep taking risks. When is it wise to realise that I should stop or do I just continue fighting. If I give up it means going back to my first career. It means a stable job (perhaps), steady income and a chance to enjoy life (for a change). If I fight on, the future becomes unclear as to how many more challenges I will be asked to live up to. Will I reach the end? If I do, will I get to reap the benefits of all my hard work?

How far would you go to realise your dream. Or are some dreams just that, nothing more than a dream.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

An Apple a Day... Food for the Soul?

It occurred to me just how weak and fragile we are as human beings. We need food and drink to sustain us. We need air to live. We need other humans to socialise with and if we get physically sick we need medicine to cure us. What about the spiritual needs of the soul. I would say that they are more important than the above.

Living life without fulfilling one's spiritual needs is like going through life as the living dead. The way it is, really, is that we all have two main aspects to ourselves; our physical bodies and our soul. In turn, our souls need sustenance in the same way our physical bodies do. Take that away and one ends up living an empty life, void of meaning or real happiness. One may enjoy all the material things in the world. One may achieve all they aim to. Climb the highest mountain, dive into the deepest ocean, trek across the harshest desert or camp out into the cruellest Arctic pole, run your own personal marathon, find your own true love. Do all these things but if the connection that the soul seeks with its Creator is not present, one will only ever feel half-satisfied, that something is always missing.

Humans are by far greedy and that is not being overly dramatic. There is always something more that one should be striving for, going that one extra step. When that step is attained, well, go a bit further still. It is human nature. It is just the way we are created; no self-reproach intended. I find that the only way for me to keep things in check is to recognise and acknowledge my soul's needs. It really is nothing more than a balancing act. 

Whilst an apple a day may keep the doctor away, for me, praying and reading a page of Quran everyday, at the most basic level, makes me a more nourished person.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It's NaNo Time!

I stumbled across the National Novel Writing Month a few days ago. A little googling led me to the NaNoWriMo - write a novel (50,000 words at that!) in 30 days and relish the feeling when you are done. November is novel writing month. Sound simple enough? I took out my calculator and it turns out to be about 2000 words a day (if I'm lucky!) to finish before the deadline. Can I do it? I am up for the challenge and I have my novel synopsis ready and outline in the making!

The idea I chose was not one I would normally pursue seriously. I mean that innocently. I have been wrestling with several novel and short story ideas for years now - literally. I get a brilliant idea then I sit down and start plotting it then something happens. It all evaporates. Writers block hits me and I wrap it up even before it has begun. When I do finally force myself to put pen to paper or finger to keyboard and drum away at the words that do not seem to come too easily, the prose sounds stilted. So I give up again. It have running this recurring cycle for years now so when NaNoWriMo came along I jumped at it. My ideas are always complex and filled with twists and turns. I am such a complicated soul! That is why I decided my novel for NaNoWriMo would be a children's novel, a fantasy. An idea I started way back when I was still in school but never got it to materialise. I figured that I have no stakes in this. All the recent ideas I have had had been for more mature audiences; literary and dealing with real issues for real people. If I can pen 50,000 words in fantasy then I will know that I still have the imagination and the creativity to expand my ideas into real novels. That and the fact that I will have the motivation to rework my children's story after NaNo is over to make it into a real gem!

NaNo is my chance to rediscover the writer in me and to break down the barriers that are manifested in writers block. I am all set and ready to pen away. Perhaps I will finally set myself free.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Eat Pray Love - My Own Journey

I watched Julia Roberts play Liz Gilbert in the film Eat, Pray, Love today. I have not read the book and I must admit it is not the type of book that would attract me in a shop. I think I must have been mistaken. I thoroughly enjoyed the film and it really did touch me, deeply. I could see many common elements. Perhaps it was the honesty of the character in the story and the way she reached out to women the world over. The audience almost completely consisted of women today. Perhaps it was her portrayal of Italy. I love Italy and I could relate to it in every sense; the food, the people, the language, the gesticulations just everything about it. Her quest for spirituality was something I dived into right after my own little trauma. And of course, the third dimension of love was just a sheer expression of hope. It was a lovely ending to what seemed like a harrowing emotional time for her. I particularly loved what she said at the end of the film. These are not the exact words but it went something along the lines of...

if you have the courage to give up your comforts and your home to venture towards a journey of self-discovery and you accept everything that happens to you on that journey and you learn from the people you meet along the way then the truth will be revealed to you in the end. It is something to truly believe in.

It seems we all have our own little journey of self-discovery. Not necessarily in the physical sense. It could be in one’s own mind. I know I have done it over and over again in my head. Perhaps now is the time to actually follow by example. I spent the last year out of my comfort zone. New place, new people and came back with a new outlook on life. I found myself completely transformed. It was not something I was seeking out. There is a thing about journeys of self-discovery. Change will always be the outcome; guaranteed, every time. There is another thing about these journeys. They are self-perpetuating. One always leads to another, maybe at a different level. I do feel the winds of change calling out at me again. It is only a matter of when I will be off again.

Monday, October 25, 2010

On Being Your Own Star

The film festival has just ended. Sad face. I am hoping this does not mean an end to the cultural buzz I found myself in the middle of for over a week. I am so much more inspired now and my creativity has been set free once again. I want to write, paint, drum away on a piano and sing along to the tune inside of me. What was it about the festival then? Was it just the creative outlet in the form of a film? Was it the stars? I think I know why they are called stars. They do shine. Poise, grace, charm and a certain quality that is just put all together to create a certain magnetism. I wonder if one can be trained to have star-like qualities. Perhaps being exposed to a camera so often places them in that light? Is it the fact that they thrive within artistic circles? There is something about art that touches deep within. It could be that. I felt it too.

For me this year, the film festival was all about the films and the talks. Such inspiration, such an eagerness to actually delve into these stories and be a part of the making. Unique.

I try to keep this creative edge now that it has awakened within me. The key, I think is to find the right outlets, mix with the right people and keep at it. Allow myself to create some of my own magic. Be my own star, even if just for my own pleasure.

I re-ignited my joy in writing again. I had writers block for the longest time and I needed a spark to set it off. The film festival did that to me. It was an old familiarity that felt warm and sweet, almost melodramatic. I came across a bunch of short stories I had written from what seems like eons ago. The writing was raw and young and quite embarrassing at times but it had guts. I had guts; young and brimming with a sense of letting it all out. No fear, just like a child who says what he wills without a thought. That was my writing. That is the essence of what I need to return to then hone it, and hone some more, into maturity.

I wonder if by this time next year I can actually have a role to play in the next film festival. Perhaps by then I would have discovered my own star-like qualities. That would be enough for me.