It popped up on my Facebook news feed 3 days ago as I was scrolling through it during my morning social media blitz. When I saw it, I couldn’t believe my eyes. It’s like the image traveled through the synapses of my brain and then fell into the Matrix and my brain couldn’t process it but my heart was bursting with joy. Even though I knew it was coming, that it has been confirmed, that all the revisions have been done, that I can’t turn back now….I still couldn’t believe it. And yet there it was, in indelible black ink and on paper (well, it was an image but an image of the paper it will be printed on – you get what I’m saying kan?).
For those of you who are thinking – so what lah? kecoh seyyyy – here’s a little story to give you some context. I’ve always loved writing. To me, it’s the absolute exercise to ridding your head of (a) emotionally draining rubbish, and (b) awesome life-changing-world-impacting ideas, or my favorite (c) emotionally draining rubbish that becomes awesome life-changing-world-impacting ideas. And when I say world, it doesn’t have to mean the whole wide world. It could be just your world, your life and what surrounds it. And in a way, what you make of your life is your world. Ok gotta move on from this philosophical track coz my brain is hurting now.
Writing is cathartic and definitely cheaper than therapy.
But what do writers write about? Yeah they can do research to write about something they have no knowledge about, but most of the time writers don’t do that. Because the element of catharsis will be missing. Writers write about things that they know and have experienced, things that go hand in hand with their emotions. Or things that pique their curiosity and passion. Often you read an author’s autobiography and you go “ahhh so that’s where s/he got the idea for the book!”. Fiction draws upon life, and life imitates fiction in a never-ending hyper loop.
And that is why I have never sent any of my work for publishing. Never mind the fear of rejection (I am rational enough to know that it can and does happen so no biggie), but it’s the fear of ridicule that is the biggest hantu in the closet for me. For someone who wears her heart out on her sleeve, publishing something that I write about is equivalent to stripping down naked and asking everyone to look me over with a magnifying glass. My flaws, my fears, my thoughts, my tears – they’re all in my writing.
To let people in the wider world read my work is daunting. Heck, I don’t even let MrNordin read my writing and he’s seen every part of me. Go figure. But with lots of encouragement from people who I can’t live without, I plucked up enough courage to heed the call for submission posted out by Amir Muhammad for an anthology on a subject close to my heart (and head) – the tudung.
I am greatly humbled to have my name listed alongside 21 amazing talents. The anthology consists of short stories, poems and illustrations. The book will be on sale at the launch and at all major bookstores in the near future. Trust me : get the book!
It’s the type of book that’s bound to get people’s tongues wagging. Or hijabs flipping.
On giving thanks.
I would like to express my gratitude to Farah Hanna Alkaf, a long time friend and my writing mentor, who has given me nothing but positive vibes and lit the fire under my butt to get my writing out in the open. Keeping me sane is no easy task, so thanks also goes out to the G7 group, especially Paramanantham who opened the literary door (literally) for me via his very strong cables in the literary world. I would also like to thank the team at Matahari Books, especially the ever patient editor Azalia Zaharuddin (thanks for putting up with my gazillion revisions, it’s my insecurity showing) and Amir Muhammad whom I have admired since forever.
Last but not least, my appreciation goes out to MrNordin, for everything. And to my dad, the original tiger parent.
Launch details are as per photo above. Do come by and show your support for our local writing and art scene. There will be loads of talented people from various aspects of the arts displaying their work at the event. Show some Malaysian love! The event Facebook link can be found here. The KLAB and Art for Grabs is also in conjunction with The Cooler Lumpur Festival. In other words – it’s gonna be one heck of fiesta at Publika KL from 17th to 20th August so mark your calendars!
Art For Grabs Celebrating its 10th year, Art For Grabs is the pioneering art bazaar mini fest that started at The Annexe Gallery in 2007. Taking place 4 times a year, it has since moved out of The Annexe Gallery and ventured all over Kuala Lumpur. Its aim is to bring together creative Malaysians selling home-made art, crafts, books, food, as well as anything in between. They also have a mission to merge arts and activism into various parts of Malaysia with the hope of creating more creative and democratic spaces in the country.
Why I am friends with these people
[Whatssap group chat] After sharing the news of the book launch with these yahoos, a friend suggested that I read out my piece at Readings@Seksan, hosted by the incomparable Sharon Bakar.
PM: Now you must read at readings.
FI : Yeah!
Me : Nooooooo! That’s like asking me to run naked across the Super Bowl half time show!
PM: Oi be a Malaysian – run naked at the Sea Games closing lah
Me : Nanti keluar fatwa for beheading if I do that!
FI : Should be ok I think as long as you’re in a tudung…?
Rest of conversation not suitable for public consumption