FREEWRITING EXERCISE #14

Staring down the clock to divine meaning from the intersection of clock hands. Hands on top of hands, layers upon layers of intimacy stacked like a half-shuffled deck of cards.

Is it any wonder why we personify Time?

But why is Time a father? Time has never given us pause. Time is a mother, time is intimate and forgiving. Time is the person who shuts our eyes when we die.

Enough about death. I have written enough about it to forget that I am quite a ways from dying. Statistically, anyway.

In order to avoid jinxing myself I allow for every possibility of a future to be co-existing with one another.

In a sense, you see this everywhere. The bundle of weeds outside in the yard, all these wrinkled leaves and vines from different plants altogether.

Those, too, are hands. Hands all over the grass, hands digging deep into the soil, hands reaching out to the sun.

I am typing this in a place devoid of all of that. This is a place where hands are only planted on keyboards, pluck pluck plucking away at some hidden fruit of knowledge.

I give myself pause. My wrist hurts. I fell on it a few years ago and every now and then it aches to remind me that I was once younger and foolisher.

To have ran in the rain, to have ran without fear of falling.

Now I am a more cautious thing. I trim the lawn, I keep my hair uniform. I stifle the outburst of weeds from my head, from my cock.

I seem to be obsessed with being mundane. That is not a surprise, that is a coping mechanism.

To bury all desire is to be safe from all of it, until eventually someone comes to dig it all up. That’s how it is with everything, really – always someone asking to free what was not theirs.

Never theirs. But who am I to say that I have ever owned a desire?

I have never been able to prove anything to anyone.

Has anyone, ever?

Freewriting Explanation: Every day, Valen shall use 5 minutes to write completely unprompted and uninterrupted, letting the words lead the way. There is no end purpose to each piece, but rather, the pieces are allowed to develop naturally in their own way. The pieces are then uploaded without edits.

Literary Arts Community Townhall – 15/09/19

This weekend, I was invited on behalf of /stop@BadEndRhymes (“/s@ber”) to go and attend the first ever ‘Literary Arts Community Townhall’, held at The Arts House. It was an engaging and interesting experience and I just wanted to pen some thoughts about it.

The concept behind the Townhall would be for these representatives of the literary community – be it writers, youth, publishers, educators and members of councils et cetera to raise topics of concern for discussion, with the goal of finding a better solution to tackling these problems.

For me, I did do some research before I attended the Townhall as to what I wanted to say. I also asked around my own community for any concerns I should raise, in the hopes of improvement. As such, my main concerns became that of accessibility and diversity in writing and literary events – how do we best allow the most amount of people to participate?

On Criticism

Unfortunately, I was unable to raise all the topics I wanted to do, or even participate in the panels I was very interested in. This is no fault of the organisers, but rather due to the unique unconference format, which allowed for anyone to propose panels to discuss for essentially as long as they liked. In lieu of being able to attend the panel on diversity, for example, I spent almost an hour or so talking about the dearth of literary criticism in Singapore. Or perhaps, the lack of a ‘critical’ culture when it comes to our local literature, and how best to increase it.

Coming in with an open mind also allowed me to attend various panels I would not have otherwise attended, such as one on the culture of fear in Singapore, with our main local publishers sharing their own experiences as well as those of their writers. I also got to learn more about the intersection of tech and literature, and how they can be used to complement each other. I did feel a bit out of depth, being one of the youngest people in the room, but I felt like I learnt a lot.

Roundtable Sharing

All in all, a pretty good use of a Saturday morning (even if the haze was horrid). Would I attend again? Probably – I’m looking forward to seeing how everyone has acted on their suggestions, and how our literary community will continue to grow and develop.

FREEWRITING EXERCISE #13

Photo by Ladd Greene on Unsplash

Anything to keep the faucet going,
anything to keep that great big
hamster-wheel of the heart spin
forever, anything to be a poem.
I realise that my life has been
a series of fortunate events and
several turns of phrase, like the
turnstile of the station nearest
to my first heartbreak. Hark, it’s
9pm and I’m dirty and unwashed
and my soul is like an unpolished
stone. My face is caked in oil.
It’s not that I like being unclean,
it’s just that this is the default,
the state of all mankind. How I’d
love to be be born a shining man,
shining so bright that I could
burn a face if I so wanted to.
This horrible superpower, this
constraint of the eyes in their
sockets, the teeth in their
sockets, the gum in your
mouth half-chewed and
really belonging to someone
else. How I long to love
again, how I long to be in
love, how I longed to
not care about anything.
When I walk into the garden
at a time similar to this one
I try to make sure no-one
is around me, possibly watching
me or waiting to suck my
thoughts out with a straw,
and I let out a quiet scream
as though to find my fellow
frogs hiding in a puddle somewhere.
Anything to keep that faucet
going, this on/off switch of
the throat, anything to keep
the engine of my legs from
breaking down, anything
to get myself out of here
into a quieter place, where
no love lives and no love dies,
where every turn of phrase
is welcome yet expected, like
the first day of spring, or the
last day of school, when you
know that everyone you know
is on the verge of scattering
into a million homes far away.
How do I know anything when
I am so full of everything? I am
so glad to be alone but I am so
desperate to be loved. I am so
desperate for my voice to
ricohet off another convex.

Freewriting Explanation: Every day, Valen shall use 5 minutes to write completely unprompted and uninterrupted, letting the words lead the way. There is no end purpose to each piece, but rather, the pieces are allowed to develop naturally in their own way. The pieces are then uploaded without edits.

FREEWRITING EXERCISE #12

red Swiss pocket knife lot
Photo by Paul Felberbauer on Unsplash

We went in on a dare, so of course
we’d be half-alive by the end of it.
A dare is a half-suspended heart
beat. The drum, out of place. A
falling out of line.

There is so much you can do
before someone else will want
to nip it in the bud. Ah, a cliche.
See, I am doing that to myself
even though I was cognisant
of this once.

Here’s a red herring. Here’s a departure from form, here’s a mess of confusion. A poem is a swiss army knife like that. So many blades hidden in themselves. So many parts to hurt yourself with, and no one to blame but your ownself.

Memory builds itself once you reinterpret it.
You let it grow by letting it out. To let it out,
you live through it again. In this way you
have discovered the secret to immortality.
How to live forever is to never age at all.

Here’s a red herring. Here’s a repetition which mean nothing, which is an answer key. Here is the arm of the man coming crashing down on your makeshift castle. Your half-crumples. Your scribbled phrases.

Earlier today, I watched as two drivers
fought on an expressway. The former,
a retired Indian grandma who got
into the face of a cocksure punk.
I don’t know the context, but they
were a model for all humanity.
Just conflict, suspended by occasion
the sudden impulse that boils the skin
and makes you sweat

This is a red herring
Red is a colour for anger
Anger is the instinct of men
Men will be the death of the Earth
I will be the death of the Earth
I will be the death
I will be death
I will be
I will
I will
I will

Freewriting Explanation: Every day, Valen shall use 5 minutes to write completely unprompted and uninterrupted, letting the words lead the way. There is no end purpose to each piece, but rather, the pieces are allowed to develop naturally in their own way. The pieces are then uploaded without edits.

FREEWRITING EXERCISE #11

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

I am challenging
myself to engage
in form. To fit in
this self-construct
-ed mold, the one
I’ve inherited from
my father, and his
father before him,
to swallow, become.

And then I break out like I’m on the verge of insanity.
And then I break out like I have no family to care about.

In an episode of Mindhunter, Tench convinces his boss to keep their work going because “how do you get ahead of crazy without understanding crazy?’

Or something like that. Point is all writing is madness anyway. A world which no-one else can see is reserved for the province of children.

And as I type this
I realise that I am
not truly as free
as cigarettes are
to people who have
lost control of every
thing in their lives

Cigarettes are a horrible motif. They’re a horrible symbol. Their symbolism has long been expended. What can be said through the inclusion of cigarettes? Nothing.

Again, another province of naivety.

All form is pointless outside the province of the mind.

All insanity in the
province of the m
ind. All insanity in
the province of the
mind. All insanity
in the province of
the mind. All insan
ity in the province
of the mind. All in
sanity in the prov
ince of the mind.
All insanity. All
imagination lost.


Freewriting Explanation: Every day, Valen shall use 5 minutes to write completely unprompted and uninterrupted, letting the words lead the way. There is no end purpose to each piece, but rather, the pieces are allowed to develop naturally in their own way. The pieces are then uploaded without edits.

FREEWRITING EXERCISE #10

  1. There are two ways of looking at every situation. Let’s call them A and B. If they were people, they’d be David and Peter. Or, as I remind myself to degender that ambiguous jellyfish of the mind, let’s call them Valen and Valen.
  2. Valen is the type of person who walks down the street every day, making sure to cross only after having checked both ways to see that no cars are coming, watches out for all the cracks on the sidewalk. Valen is every person except that one.
  3. Let’s say you put both of these Valens in a room, and give them a locked box. In that box is some kind of desire. Let’s say it’s love, because usually it is, as with all people. So Love is waiting tapping her foot inside the locked box, with no light and no sound and no air filling every nook and cranny. The two Valens are forced to fumble around trying to break the box open. There is no key, you see, and they have to take to their baser instincts. They forgot the key was swallowed a while ago.
  4. Let’s say this time we gender these perspectives. Let’s call them Valen and Valen. Let’s say Love is not inside the box, but is the box. Let’s say both of them are inside. What will they do? I can imagine the possibilities. An entanglement of instinct, the bite and tear.
  5. I think of this whenever I take a plane. There’s no real reason for that. Perhaps it’s just the thought that I might fly so high only to die, or worse still, to be never found again.
  6. Let’s introduce a third perspective. Tom, Dick and Harry. Sam, Alex and Clover. A, B and C. The twisting garden path, the vine-wrenched doors. Twisting twisting twisting. Twisting twisting twisting. In that box all 3 are talking to each other, their words drowning each other out. Like twisting a leg off a horse. Like sinking the box in the sea. Like crossing the road only to be run over by reality.
  7. There are two ways of looking at every situation. Let’s call them the lock and the key.

Freewriting Explanation: Every day, Valen shall use 5 minutes to write completely unprompted and uninterrupted, letting the words lead the way. There is no end purpose to each piece, but rather, the pieces are allowed to develop naturally in their own way.