Scribble scrabble.

Some fun personal news



Columbia University School of the Arts News

In early march, i got a call while working in the library and thought it was spam, because, you know, America.

Anyway, I picked up, because, you know, me, got the news, then ran into the toilet and burst into tears while people around me flushed and glared.

I was immediately very emo:


lmao.

And I’ve been kind of in a whirl ever since. I guess this means I’m going home, getting married, then moving to the Bay Area with no duty to anything except my art. What a summer it’ll be.

x
Jem

Joy

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It has been a difficult writing month — why? because writing is a temperamental wife, i suppose — but this past weekend I spent over ten hours each day with this one spec-fic story that’s been eating at me, and i came away feeling so renewed. The singular joy of sustained focus one has while chiseling away at a story, watching it take shape, breaking it apart, and putting it together again, is really like nothing else.

x
jem

This was nice

I don’t think we’d ever planned for Shane to visit me during my stint in New York because 1. it’s expensive 2. it’s expensive and 3. it’s bloody expensive. Plus, i guess, after years of dating someone who worked in travel, we assumed that Shane would be more or less accustomed to me being away.. but me being out of the country half the time isn’t the same as being in a long distance relationship, i suppose, as much as it is having a staccatoed girlfriend who makes up for each absence by being really bloody loud whenever she’s back. Point being, LDR is different. And so he schlepped up to New York with a bunch of groomsmen this March for a bachelor’s trip which I really co-opted as MY party, and suffice to say, we all had a great time.



x
jem

Sleeping in airports… Again

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So my friends, I am currently stuck in the Orlando airport because my Delta flight home got canceled due to ~fog~ even though other airlines seem to be jetting off with no problem. I even got to watch the sun set from the plane itself before they disembarked us all and were like tehe we ain’t flying seeya. Anyway, long story short, i went straight to the airport bar and commismerated with all the other stranded passengers (with not even a cent of dinner voucher compensation from the airline, i might add), and am presently settled into a nice little bench with my bags ready for a cozy night in. I’ve had other flights get cancelled on me before, and they’ve always put stranded passengers up in nice airport hotels, but not in America, i guess.

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I thought i’d left this life behind with my pivot from travel blogging to writing! But it’s good to know that old habits die hard. The minute I realized the flight got canceled, all my old broke student backpacking habits kicked in. I figured the best place to sleep (on a bench near a power outlet), rebooked my flight, “showered” in a public toilet lmao, did my skincare, and am camping out for the minute the flight counter opens to see if i can worm my way into an earlier flight. As it stands it looks like I’ll be stuck in the airport for >24 hours. Orlando! You should give me a visa at this point.

In fact, I even tried to weasel my way into a comfortable couch nap earlier at the bar. I befriended another woman on the flight and trauma-bonded at the bar, where the young eavesdropping bartender was like, im so sorry for you ladies. And I said, if you’re really that sorry, you could let us sleep on your bar couch, which looks very nice. And he was like, ha ha ha no.

Kids these days are brutal :’)

Regardless, life goes on. Here’s to hoping i dont get robbed in my sleep — though i pity the person who tries to weasel my bag out from under me, as sleepwalking Jemimah is a confrontational force to reckon with.

x Jem

A fresh start

Well well well if it isn’t me returning to my blog after… let’s see. Four months. Ha. And the last post I did was about how time was passing by way too quickly. Which it is, and somehow after nearly thirty years of being alive, I still find myself being taken by surprise, and then personally offended by the way time moves and acts on me.

Anyway. After EIGHT years, I’ve finally gotten down to rehauling my website. It’s been on my list for a while, especially as my other streams of writing (fiction, the biweekly column I do for No Contact Magazine) meant that I hadn’t been blogging as regularly as I did back in the day. And so the website was less blog than relic. The only thing that was being regularly updated was my About page, with new publication links, but it became increasingly clear that I needed to convert the site from a blog to a writer’s site at some point.

So, cruising on a totally unearned level of confidence given that I DONT KNOW CODE, I tried to do it myself, and BROKE MY SITE.

This happened last Sunday. For a week I was panicking. It was the worst timing possible too, because February is hell month for writers — or maybe just for me, i don’t know — and I had only tinkered with my site because I thought it would be a fun relaxing thing to do in between intense writing deadlines.

Again, I don’t know how to code.

I couldn’t even ctrl+Z that shit, because apparently WordPress doesn’t work that way. I ended up terrified that I’d do something completely irreparable to it, so I put up a temporary maintenance page and then backed away shivering from my website, like, why did you do this, Jemimah. Why. And given my completely neurotic personality I couldn’t stand the fact that my website was down, so I immediately plunged into a rabbit hole of googling + contacting various designers / coders for help.

Trust me when I say I was completely losing my shit the whole of last week. On top of the website, I had three writing deadlines, and one school deadline. Actually, two school deadlines, but I had miscalculated the submission schedule for one of them, so I didn’t realise until the last minute, and had to pull an all-nighter to get my thirty pages out by the next morning. What is this, a 15-year old Jemimah?! Good to know that over a decade later, some things don’t change. I can still work all night then feel like hell the next four days. Good to know.

But with February’s close, life has become easier. It is only March the first, I know, so it’s a little optimistic to declare the month being a turnaround, but again, I was someone who believed I could fix my website without an inch of coding knowledge. Regardless, it is fixed. A bunch of people reached out to me after my desperate SOS on Twitter, and I ended up working with Daniel from Elemental Web Design to rehaul my website over the course of several zoom calls. I had no idea what he was talking about most of the time and asked very stupid questions, which once again affirmed that I was delusional to think I could have ever fixed it myself. Thank God for Daniel.

And I’m so pleased with this new design!!! It’s exactly what I had in mind when I started, and I love that I could incorporate Shane’s illustrations of me over the years because it makes the site feel so personal and intimate even though it’s literally on the world wide web lmao. I suppose I should be all set for the next eight years, so check back again in 2030 for my next scheduled website-related freakout.

 

Abrupt segue.

One of my Feb deadlines was for Phillips Auction House, which commissioned a fiction piece from me in response to Sarah Slappey’s Yellow Touch. You can read it here. It was perhaps the quickest turnaround I’ve ever done for a fiction piece — I wrote, edited, and published it within one week — but hey, see above re: all-nighters. My state of mind is perhaps obvious in that piece, which is titled The Chiropractor. At some point this year, I’m going to need to look into cracking my back.

It’s funny how the body’s problems invade fiction, popping up in prose to be like, remember me, bitch?! Lower back pain has appeared in so much of my work last month, as throwaway lines, character traits, complaints in dialogue, etc. A real line that appeared in a show pitch I did last night: Grandma, now a ghost, and free from all worldly material problems like dementia and lower backache, has all the energy in the world to harass Annabelle until she helps Terry. I kid you not. If that sparked your interest btw, feel free to commission that piece of fiction from me. It’s currently a TV show pitch but I can be persuaded to convert it to prose. I need money.

Ending off with a picture from last night, when I booked it downtown after class for the PEN Awards afterparty. I was in class during the actual PEN Awards ceremony, which was a bit of a bummer, because my old writing professor Divya Victor WON THE PEN OPEN BOOK AWARD THIS YEAR! So, so well deserved. Divya is a blessing, and CURB is a wonder.

With my Azn Writing Wonders: Frances, Grace, Vanessa, Gina. Also, Vanessa just SOLD HER BOOK in the DEAL of the century, which is the biggest cause for celebration this YEAR. Southeast Asian writers blazin through. You should probably follow her if you don’t already.

 

x Jem

 

#2069| Two and a half months

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I’ll be honest time is simply speeding by. I can’t believe it has been over two months since getting here. What have I done in two months? Write, mainly, read, and try to have a life. I think that might be the biggest difference between New York, take one, 2019, and coming back this time round. The first time I was here, I was suffocating from financial anxiety (new york really is bloody expensive); I was panicked, the stakes seemed so high. What if I came all this way, gave up a career, gave up having financial stability, put my entire life on hold, just to pursue this writing dream, only to be proven a TALENTLESS HACK?!?!!?!?!? Any time I had, I wrote, I read, and I gave myself scheduled time to have fun, from say 5:45pm to 8:32 PM Saturday nights with nothing before and nothing after! Strict, I was being strict with myself. Disciplined, even. It was a point of pride. But this time, when I left Singapore, a girlfriend told me: I hope you can be kinder to yourself this time around.

Well, I have perhaps been too kind. I have, my friends, been wining and dining (something I will need to stop quite soon because while a wedding dress can be taken in, it cannot be let out, damn it!), I have been traipsing all over town, vising museums, bookstores, comedy shows, plays, picnics, musicals………. have I come into money, you ask? Not at all! I think it would be more accurate to say that I have come into attitude, more precisely, one the kids call IDGAF, born of complete frustration. It seems I still have much unresolved angst towards the shitshow that was 2020. Angst, what a mild word for the storm churning within me. I hope you can be kinder, my friend said. Kinder.

Here’s another difference, this time round. The pandemic scrambled us all, and I now live with a new set of roommates. Only one of the guys from before stayed, and the other two roommates are new. I’d hoped for a girl, and for a hot minute it seemed we’d get one, but new york real estate sure is an unpredictable beast, and as it happens we ended up with another two boys again. So it’s me and three boys, and my friends, I have not had to take the trash out once. I’m quite loving it. Except, these boys! They pee so much! How much time I’ve spent sitting around waiting for one of them to exit the one bathroom that we all share, I cannot tell you. Do you know what it’s like, waiting for your turn to pee? Absolutely nothing can get done. The walls in new york apartments are thin, I recently learned that they’re not even real brick (yes, living in new york is starting to sound a little bit like being in a flimsy cartoon, doesn’t it?). Is that a flush? Is that the tap? Oh jeez, it’s the shower, starting. The heater, beginning to buzz. Any project I start is doomed, half my attention is turned towards the thin walls, waiting for the exiting footsteps that might cue my own rush towards the bathroom, my attempt to beat out the other boys waiting their turn. Try to write? On this bladder? Please. Read? With this level of distraction? Pfft. Really, all that can be done, I realised today, is to sit at the computer in this ten minute pocket, blow the dust off the blog that’s been waiting all this while, and begin to type.

x
Jem


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I shoot on a Nikon D750 with a 35f/1.8 lens, or on my Samsung Note 20 Ultra. Pictures edited in Lighroom Mobile or VSCO