The humidity finally built up to its climax of a thunderstorm, and since there appears to be a trend of me blogging after a healthy bout of rain I am here again.
Nah kidding, I don’t blog because of the rain. It helps though in making you want to blog. Getting you into the writing mood, that is.
(Going by how the front of my blog post went my style’s going to be quite prosaic and abrupt. Okay I should stop inserting metatextual comments. And that was me trying to apply whatever lit terminology I learnt during lectures on Muriel Sparks’ Loitering with Intent. I actually meant I should stop talking to myself. And proceed to violate it immediately.)
If you couldn’t already tell this is not going to be engaging because I just want to remember these two days as opposed to telling whatever audience I have about them. Why post it here then? Good question. I guess it feels more right here because there are people involved in these events with me. And also see if anyone bothers to comment.
Anyway I just wanted to talk about these two days, despite not having exactly the right mood to articulate it in a better way. It has been a thought-provoking two days, and by that I mean rather awesome two days, and since awesome is overused, I will replace it with stimulating.
(Incidentally, completely forgetting my ban on metatextual comments, I blame my style on my fingernails. What exactly is the relation?? you exclaim exasperatedly. More importantly, can you stop interrupting yourself? Talking about interrupting yourself, it is apparently possible to plagiarize yourself. Don’t ask me how. Actually, ask me how. My answer is, you treat your past and present selves as different people — different instances in time. If you need a coding equivalent, different instances of the same object are not equal, they are merely equivalent. Okay back to the question. The relation is that I am constantly irritated by how long my nails are, so I can’t get into any sort of engaged mood where I stop interrupting myself since the nails always remind me that I’m typing this blog post. Incidentally, that answers the second question — no.)
Right, past two days. It’s hard to decide where to start — from the start, in chronological order, or what snobby lit people call fabula? How else? Just get to it already, I don’t care if you list it! you exclaim. Oh fine. Have it your way.
1. Negative capability, and the strength in waiting, in not resolving — “the idea is that” (sorry internal joke) we are always inclined to resolve things, distracting ourselves with short term goals, long term goals, so that we don’t have to think about this existence we find ourselves in. “Once you have finished distracting yourself, the universe becomes unhinged.” Prof Patke explains. “We live life with others helping us navigate it.” Think religion, think career paths, think formula for ideal lives inclusive of marriage, family, cars and retirement. “Beckett wonders what happens if we drop all these.” So what negative capability means, if you wikied it before this, is the resistance to what others have laid out for you, and this includes the need to resolve everything, to have a certain plan. The strength in waiting, because waiting is agonising. I thought about yanwei when this was mentioned, how there was a period of time last year where he refused to apply for universities or scholarships, refused to think about what he wanted. I also thought about this quote:
“Am I in love? – Yes, since I am waiting.” The other one never waits. Sometimes I want to play the part of the one who doesn’t wait; I try to busy myself elsewhere, to arrive late; but I always lose at this game: whatever I do, I find myself there, with nothing to do, punctual, even ahead of time. The lover’s fatal identity is precisely this: I am the one who waits.
— A Lover’s Discourse, Roland Barthes
Love and waiting, strength in waiting, the stasis of waiting, not knowing if there is an end, and there is where the strength lies – daring to wait for the unknown. Not the unknown in the imagined unknown sense, like a paradise in heaven after a certain amount of time, but the truly unknown — will there be a result to this? Will it end? I don’t know, but I will wait.
2. The definition of not being judgmental: the willingness to let go of your preconceived notions of someone. Everyone (am I generalising?) profiles other people, but how far you take it is another matter. A factor in being judgmental: the confidence you have in your opinion of someone, especially if you are attuned to details. I liked this conversation because it is one of those things I think about, try to pin it down, and I like other people refining it with me, adding more nuances.
3. Shifting Sands: the two plays put up by NUS stage, free of charge (because Exxon Mobile sponsored, yay for arts supporting activities especially for cheapskates like me). Okay I won’t go into reviews of these plays (I actually typed out three lines but I realised no one who didn’t attend the play will know what I’m talking about), but what I liked: the string of events making up how someone is, as opposed to a direct BAM event (problem with America’s personal statements, or what I felt was their problem anyway from what I heard of them, is that it seems like you need to have some defining moment when most of the time there isn’t, you’ll just be simplifying things that way). The idea that it’s easy to make things that have happened funny, to let others laugh along to them, but not as easy to share that magnitude of tragedy you felt at the point of time. The masks for postvorta. The trivia about gods taking two jobs. The oh-god-I-can’t-stop-laughing quality of the whole play for postvorta. If I had to pick out something to criticise, these will be it: the first play was too in-your-face at times, especially at the part leading to the climax (but I liked the climax when we finally get to the traffic barrier because of how they made a small event like this significant in someone’s life). The second can definitely be shortened and still have gotten its point across.
Another thing: I realise that we don’t talk about the stuff we watch after we watch them. Not just in this case, of course, but in general for me — it’s like I am afraid to hear what others think of them. Or perhaps more accurately, I am afraid of being — judged? What if there was some meaning I didn’t get? What if due to my general inexperience some things I liked have actually been overdone? Etc, etc. It’s like there’s some exam script I need to get right. Which is not really a right way of thinking, I know. I need a certain level of trust I think, like if in lectures when discussing opinions on something I can only opine in an intimate setting.
4. Writing workshop with Jay — I really like it when that particular clarity strikes.