Saturday, October 16, 2010

Fall Apart/Start Again

"Nothing happens in the world? Are you out of your fucking mind? People are murdered every day. There's genocide, war, corruption. Every fucking day, somewhere in the world, somebody sacrifices his life to save somebody else. Every fucking day, someone, somewhere makes a conscious decision to destroy someone else. People find love, people lose it. For Christ's sake, a child watches her mother beaten to death on the steps of a church. Someone goes hungry. Somebody else betrays his best friend for a woman. If you can't find that stuff in life, then you, my friend, don't know crap about life. And why the fuck are you wasting my two precious hours with your movie? I don't have any use for it. I don't have any bloody use for it."
- Brian Cox as Robert McKee in Adaptation.

I used to love writing.

I really did. Back in the high school days, I used to have a blog which I regularly updated for a couple of years, mostly about... well, from the typical teenage rant-slash-snobbery to absolutely nothing. Especially in grade 12 (back in 2006), I often had the urge to update my blog as I wanted to document my transition from a Honger to a Vancouverite. This was the age just before Facebook exploded -- when everyone's primary hang-out place were still blogs. It was the age when, back then, you write about something on xanga, and then you rally your friends over on MSN or ICQ or whatever-it-was to have them comment on it -- even if it was absolute shit. It hardly served any purpose.

At the same time though, it was fun. I had total control over what I wanted to write about, the style I wanted to apply to my post, without any time constraints. Sure, you probably don't give a toss about what I've been up to or what I have been thinking, but -- in the words of modern teenage girls -- "whatever". To me, writing was fun and stress-free and nowhere being academic... That is, until my writer's block came about. And University.

You see, with the exception of me graduating from high school and somehow miraculously making it into a decent (... somewhat) University, 2007 was a horrible year for me. I found myself consistently in a bad mood and somehow I no longer found the joy in writing. It got worse when I made it into University, where I was constantly spanked by my courses in order to cough up some decent material for my academic essays. I have been a Communications major and a Political Science minor for well over three years now, and when you have mountains of essays and presentations and midterms and take-home midterms every single bloody semester, writing is less of a pastime and becomes more like a work-out exercise. Sure I hear you say -- "exercise is good," -- but so is cod liver oil.
Alas, I eventually stopped updating my blog, only very occasionally going back for a sloppy attempt to revive it.

Nevertheless, during the first year and a half of University I still had the satisfaction of finishing an essay. Gone were the days when I had the energy to polish up my essay and feel good about them before sending them out to make sure they're at least good enough for a B+. From second year on, I often find myself hastily researching the topic I have dreamed up two days before the deadline, then spend the night before the deadline vomiting and bleeding and coughing out the essay in the most unsatisfying fashion in a 24/7 coffee shop somewhere in Downtown. The goal was no longer to get a good mark, it was to finishing it in the first place -- considering how rushed a lot of my essays were in the past year or so, I may as well just typed "I don't give a flying fuck about this anymore" as my conclusion for the essays and click the submit button -- which was usually a few minutes before the deadline. I want my sleep, and this lame writing exercise is getting in the way.

Yet, and here is the most screwed-up part: I still got similar grades for my essays, if not better. Two of my most-hated essays in the summer actually turned out to be my best ones yet in terms of grades. I apologize if I seem like I am gloating (and I am not... okay maybe a little bit), but it seems like despite my difficulty in writing blog posts, I am still doing okay in the academic department. Still, writing became such a dreadful activity for me to the point that
I am no longer sure if I want to still be a journalist anymore in the future. If I have so much trouble writing my own blog and in University, what happens if I have to do it as my career? Have my own expectations skyrocketed over the years and caused my dissatisfaction; or have I lost confidence in myself somehow? Maybe a bit of both.

From 2009 onwards, sitting me in front of a laptop to fill up an empty blog is like having me to sit through the Twilight saga -- I can't do it without flinching and moaning and ultimately diverting my attention somewhere else instead.

University life has become so woefully dull that there simply was nothing for me to write about -- which is ironic considering the amount of writing I usually do at school. I have been thinking about this a lot recently, why can't I write anymore? Then I remembered that scene in the movie Adaptation, where Charlie Kaufman (played marvelously by Nicholas Cage) was seeking help from the seminars of Robert McKee (played by Brian Cox), who responded with the quote above with the most fantastic rage. It was one of the most outrageously hilarious scenes in the movie, and yet it holds the truth -- it is simply impossible to have nothing to write about when there is so much going on in life. If you can't find those things, then maybe, just maybe, you really "don't know crap about life."

So, here I am with a fresh account, finishing a complete blog post for the first time since as long as I can remember. Has it been easy? Not really. This took me much longer than a blog is usually meant to be written. But hey, at least it is not painful. When I started this, I had the feeling that if I kept typing it will eventually take me somewhere. To you visitors, consider this new place a rather useless collection of
my own thoughts on everything and nothing at all -- chances are, it'll probably be about movies, bands, tv-shows, video games, Stephen Fry, politics, cars, the Canucks, or anything else that strikes my mind in the most randomest moments.

To me, hopefully, with this much time in Hong Kong (with the absence of school), I can find my joy back in writing again.