Writing Prompt #11 | July 12th, 2015

Prompt: Your whole life you have heard a strange melody playing in your head. You’ve never heard it anywhere else, and eventually you simply learn to live with it. One day, you walk past a man whistling that tune.

Start: 11: 27 PM

While walking down the street, the melody still played in my head. By now, it was nice background music as I went about my every day life.

Da dum da da di da…

Playing Pokemon on a Gameboy with other kids in the projects, I always thought it was cool that the main character basically had his own song. But when I am alone with my thoughts and I tune out my surroundings, my ambiance music plays gently in my head as I walk.

The sky is the slightest bit orange as the day is dying just slightly. There is almost no one, spare the few construction workers finishing up the day’s work. I walk past the mess of concrete and dusty machines as I hummed. Da dum da da di da…

After I walked past the site, I suddenly realized something.

“Woah, did the sound of my singing get hollower all of a sudden?”

While I was thinking, a worker came behind me and told me to get moving since it wasn’t safe to loiter. I bowed my head slightly and left. I turned around for a moment, to see the worker take a swig from a water bottle, grab his stuff, and start finishing up for the day. He hummed as he walked off.

“What a jolly fellow.” I am always impressed by people who have to do hard work but look so happy the whole time they’re doing it. I start humming again. Da dum da da di da…

Wait.

Didn’t that guy just hum this…

Oh.

I start running back towards the worker. He was walking in the opposite direction as me, so when I finally caught up to him and tapped him on the shoulder, I was sweating and panting.

“What’s the matter? You need some help, boy?”

I catch my breath and say in still slightly fragmented speech: “That song you were humming. Hum again. Hum please?”

He looked bewildered. Da dum da da di da… he hummed it again and looked like he was trying to humor me.

“Dad.”

He looked positively astounded. “What are you talking about?”

“You must be my father. You must be! Who else would know this melody?”

The worker looked at me and shook his head. “You’re crazy, kid. People hum the same stuff every day, it’s normal. Have you heard that one really catchy song on the radio?”

“That is MY SONG. That has played in my head for seventeen years.”

The worker seemed to suddenly lose all the color in his face.

He started singing, with the same melody he hummed before: “You are my precious son…”

“You are my darling, hun…” The words seemed to suddenly come to me.

“Each day I’ll stay with you…” He teared up as he walked towards me.

“We’ll live lives full of fun.” I backed away, in disbelief.

His arms wrapped around me. I couldn’t pull away.

“I am so sorry I left. I am so sorry.”

Suddenly, I felt angry. Mom and I had to break our backs to get by. She finally finished her master’s degree while waiting tables, but until then we lived in the worst part of downs, dealt with the worst people, saw the worst things. I grew up thinking my father was already long gone.

He’s still in this town, doing construction while singing my song?

I started to cry. He definitely felt the tears in his shoulder, because he pulled away and held my face with his slightly dirty hands. “It wasn’t you. I missed you every day. You were my world.”

“Then why would you leave me?!” I wanted to scream, but it came out in a weak, timid voice.

“I had a dream of finding myself. Of becoming famous and loved by everyone. I wanted to be a singer and do gigs all over. You are my world, but a dream can become your world.”

He looked very serious now, and his eyes glistened.

“That song you hummed, your mom yelled at me for singing to you because it was ‘so bad’. I was so done, I walked straight out the door. Your mom always said she wanted me out of the house so that you wouldn’t grow up remembering my stupid songs, and yet…”

I was too tired to listen to more. I just hugged him and hummed our song. Da dum da da di da…

“You were in my life all along, Dad. I’m sorry it came to this. Can you be my father?”

End: 12:08 AM (next day)

Elapsed Time: 41 minutes


Piece of crap. Posting anyways, as a record.

Writing Prompt #11 | July 12th, 2015

Writing Prompt #10 | June 29th, 2015

Prompt: Write a poem with the following words:

  • Competition
  • Tree
  • Sugar
  • Red
  • Puppy

Start: 11:10 PM

A tree loomed o’er the lovers,
Secluding them from others.
They looked on at shimmering lakes,
As they ate red velvet cake.
The sugar was not as sweet,
As this small scene so discrete.
Husband, wife, loyal puppy;
Cutest? Need no competition!

End: 11:16 PM

Elapsed Time: 6 minutes


The words were supplied by my girlfriend. I am awful at this.

Writing Prompt #10 | June 29th, 2015

Writing Prompt #9 | June 16th, 2015

Prompt: Instead of the old saying “Life is too short”, write a story around the idea that “Life is too long.”

Start: 12:10 AM

For the probably-millionth time that day, she stumbled over to the picture on the opposite side of the room she was in and planted a solid kiss on it.

She still missed her husband. Every single day. Every counselor, every support group, every book told her that time heals even the deepest of wounds.

But aside from having no more tears to cry, it still felt like the first day.

Most people are so happy on their wedding day. Vows of spending forever with the man you love? This is a dream girls are raised to look at as the pinnacle of happiness.

But his life was a ticking bomb. And when it finally set off, it certainly did cause so much pain, so much turmoil. That day has by now turned into a mush of chaos, loud noises, and sirens.

Why did he have to suddenly go? Why did he leave me here? Why can’t I follow him?

She started to cry again. She couldn’t stop herself this time, and for a second she thought she would open the drawer that held her wedding gift. She was so tempted to use it. But she stayed strong, just like all the sixty years since she got married.

Only he had the sort of morbid, wicked humor to give her a noose as a wedding gift. “We will keep this as a promise to each other,” he said. “This is one of those gifts that we receive then vow to never use.”

Vow she did. And she was too much of a woman of principle to go back on the words she said to a man who has now passed on.

She looked again at the picture. They had gotten photos done before their marriage, and it was worth every penny. He was so handsome, and she looked absolutely brimming with youth and joy. She can’t remember, now, what happiness really is.

Life really is too long, she thought as she poured herself one last cup of tea before bed. Those who say life is too short are the ones who have been spoiled.

She walked upstairs on her two unsteady feet to her bedroom. She didn’t fall down this time, either. No matter how much doctors said she was at risk for falls, she seemed to never be allowed to fall.

She climbed into bed. Maybe tonight, I’ll die of a stroke too, she thought. Or maybe a heart attack! Or maybe, or maybe…

Her excitement started to tire her out, and she eventually fell asleep.

And again, the following morning, she had to wake up and wait again for bedtime.

End: 12:30

Elapsed Time: 20 minutes

Writing Prompt #9 | June 16th, 2015

Writing Prompt #8 | June 10th, 2015

Prompt: Humans are only capable of using each word in the English language once during their lifetime. As they approach their final days an aged individual has saved their best words for last.

Start: ???

The old man sat in his hospital bed. He was silent, reflecting silently on his situation.

After two battles won, he lost the third. This time, the cancer will kill him.

Each time, a doctor had to run out, find someone selling their words, and instruct them through photocopies of an old document that they must say “cancer” to the patient. This certainly wasn’t cheap, so this old man sitting in the hospital bed surviving twice already cost the hospital a few thousand dollars.

But this time is the last time. The doctor, who always seemed solemn and unaffected by his surroundings, used some of his saved-up precious words just for the old man, much to the latter’s surprise: “Cancer, dying. Sorry.”

It was so rare to use up words that not even teachers spoke in school. Textbooks from before the declaration was put into place were all students had, usually. The teachers just helped mark pre-written tests.

The old man heard the door open. He turned to see his wife.

She had slightly puffy eyes. Her aged face seemed to have been weathered even more by the torrent of misfortune that swept the poor couple off their feet. But somehow, looking into her eyes now, he saw the beautiful, loving, perfect young woman he married so many years ago. Back then, he didn’t even know her name, but they bonded silently over some tea and enjoyed each other’s warmth and company. When he finally asked her, “Marry?”, she said “sure”.

At their wedding, they both said “yes do”.

They lay there silently, not knowing what to do. The old man could already feel himself starting to slip away. He didn’t feel like he was going to die, but he didn’t feel alive either. He was a flesh ghost.

His wife always seemed very happy and had a good humor. Still, it was unexpected when she opened her mouth and said her first word in probably ten years: “F___.”

She smiled just a bit, and the old man had to, too. His reply: “F___ s__t sh__.”

As children, everyone sees these words in their dictionaries and heard them in those old R-rated movies they stole from their parents. How magical the moment was, to savor the feeling of those words escaping your tongue at such an advanced age, still giggling inside like a twelve year old.

The amount of expletives they uttered in the ensuing conversation probably served as great entertainment to the patients in neighboring rooms. They, too, probably thought back to those days when they would open their dictionaries, show each other words, and burst out laughing.

Then, more silence. They resumed their quiet contemplation once more.

“Miss.” She touched his face as she said it. Her eyes glistened and tears started beading up.

He took her other hand and held it tightly. “Much. Die desire negative.”

This was enough to make her sob. They hugged as her frail body shivered from the fatigue caused by her crying.

He suddenly felt lightheaded. The end was near.

He pulled away and looked at her in the eye. Their eyes stayed locked and he lowered himself into the bed. “Brenda.”

She jumped a bit. She hasn’t been called by her name in how long?

He starts feeling the world evaporating around him. He doesn’t have much time. But the words won’t come to him.

A lifetime of wariness when speaking has gotten to him. He was at a loss for words.

But then he realized. He had just the right words left over, for the situation.

“I love you.”

His dear wife hugged him and put her face on his chest. “Adore you also.”

He laughed as he passed on, remembering what she said to  her dying mother many years past.

Oh, what silly laws. He lay there, happily sleeping with a smirk on his face.

End: ???

Elapsed Time: Morning and evening (early morning of June 11th too). Written intermittently.

Writing Prompt #8 | June 10th, 2015

Writing Prompt #7 | May 25th, 2015

Prompt: You are naturally gifted. You can learn anything, but for you, this is a curse…

Start: 12:10 AM

I picked up the pencil, and as if in a trance I filled in every blank, circled every correct choice, and wrote out solutions to every word problem. When I handed the test in, the teacher told me i could go. I casually threw the eraser at the doorknob, and like every other time it turned the knob just enough for the door to be opened gracefully by the draft outside the room. As I walked out of the classroom full of totally indifferent students, I could see the teacher out of the corner of my eye writing 100% on the top of my test paper and putting it in his test folder without even checking any answers.

By now, everyone knew. It wasn’t special or new anymore. It was expected.

I could learn anything by barely trying ever since I was a kid. As soon as one of the kids showed off that they could snap their fingers, I started snapping with both hands in very complex patterns. When a teacher spun his pencil with his hand to show off to impressionable children, I took the pencil and weaved it through every finger on both hands before flicking it upward and catching it perfectly balanced on the eraser with my tongue. A single tutorial for the piano allowed me to enter a huge competition two weeks later and cash into first prize. Too bad the prize money was useless, since I already had all the money I would ever need from creating fake IDs to play Internet poker.

I ran up to a wall and ran up along the side to get up above the lockers. I took my lunch bag off of the ledge on top of a locker, then grabbed my laptop from the top of another. Who needs a locker when the top of everyone’s locker is a storage place?

Being exempted from  class is great. Being guaranteed a solid future is great. Being able to munch on this delicious lobster I tried preparing for the first time last night is great. It’s all stuff people tell me they would die for.

But I dunno. Where’s the sense of accomplishment? It’s so easy to do something that I never surprise myself and no one that knows me is shocked either. Making friends and being popular has been so easy in the past that I stopped having any friends because I am now morally considering my interactions with people manipulation. I am not even sad or mad about the whole situation; being able to perfectly assess situations without emotional bias was something I learned so early on, it might have been even before I learned my fifth language before my first birthday.

After I finished eating, I threw my lunch bag over my shoulder and it landed perfectly on the ledge of the school’s roof. I can climb to the third floor later to grab it anyways. That can be a fun little game.

I was gonna start writing my valedictorian speech this weekend. Somehow, I was voted even though I haven’t said a single word these entire four years I’ve been at this school. I guess the body language I learned is enticing enough that people like me without even knowing me.

Look at me! I want to scream at them. Look at me, and actually see me!

Eh. While thinking over angry thoughts, I finished writing my speech and wrote a few more poems to add to that growing collection. Tomorrow, I will try only using the first thirteen letters of the alphabet for the whole poem. Not angry anymore; perfectly controlling my anger makes me a bit happier. I guess.

What is “happy” again?

My speech was good enough that everyone cried. Everyone wanted a picture with me, and while people looked at the pictures captured on their cameras of my perfect photogenic smile I slipped away to go home. I picked the lock to my front door, scaled the wall to climb up into my room, then dove perfectly under my covers and went promptly to sleep. My commencement was just another normal day.

I guess my fate is to always live normal, perfect days. Oh how much I wish I could break free. I am too composed to want to kill myself or even think about hurting other people. it looks like I will be living like this forever.

In the morning, I used my foot to throw my trophy for long jump at the doorknob to turn it and open the door. In the hallway is my mom looking completely normal and unaffected. She smiles. “Hey, ready for another day?”

Just another day alright, I thought as I gave yet another perfect smile and lied once again about how excited I was for this new day.

End: 1:00 AM

Elapsed Time: 50 minutes

Writing Prompt #7 | May 25th, 2015

Writing Prompt #6 | May 20th, 2015

Prompt: What is something you are optimistic about?

Start: ???

On December 1st, 2014, I started dating my current girlfriend. Probably one of the best decisions I could have made. There was an article I wrote in the past that had our relationship as a centerpiece of sorts.

There are a few things I see in people I would ever picture as a spouse:

  • Similar to you in some way: Opposites do not always attract, as much as you would believe. In Hollywood, people end up with their foil very often, and in life you might see cases like this too. But the two still share some similar traits: maybe they are both very good people who are invested in the well-being of others; maybe they’re in the same class together and both share a hatred for the subject; maybe they were both part of some huge army that had to fight against evil. If two people were truly opposites, they probably wouldn’t even cross paths except in some sort of epic battle.
  • Well-educated and smart: Living with someone you think is brainless will probably make you feel like your own brains are rotting. A spouse is basically a person you can always go to for a conversation, so why short-change yourself by having someone around who can only smile and nod? (Of course, there is also that trend where people who are not educated and not too bright end up being pointlessly argumentative and fight even when they’re wrong.)
  • Sensitive: Some people can immediately pick up if something is wrong, others are absolutely clueless. It isn’t easy to say “I am hurt” or “I am not feeling too great”, so it’s nice when your spouse can pick up on cues that can tell them exactly that. Also, sensitivity usually suggests empathy, which is equally important in a healthy relationship.
  • Attractive: At least, I should think they’re attractive. Some people are attractive for their physical appearance, other for the air they give off. I can’t even pinpoint what it is, exactly, since I don’t even know what I want myself a lot of the time until I see it. Living for the rest of your life with someone you find unattractive is bound to just make you unsettled and unsatisfied anyways.
  • Loving: People can be all of the above and still make you feel unloved. I don’t even know how people are loving; where is the barrier between very caring and forcing themselves/doing it out of obligation? But somehow when it’s there you just feel it.

For me, “similar to me in some way” meant Asian, for the longest time. It’s hard growing up as an immigrant and not noticing that you look different, act different, and think different from others. Your ethnicity ends up becoming a huge part of your identity. If you surveyed a bunch of students part of the “majority” (in Canada, that would be white people) and a bunch of students who are minorities, you would find that for none of the students in the majority would “being white” be a defining feature for them, while I would say a significant portion of the minorities would mention their ethnicity or culture back “home”.

I always had different food, different approaches to problems, different values, different physical features. People who were Asian shared more of these traits than people who were not Asian would. So naturally, I ended up hanging out with a lot of Asians and ended up being primarily attracted to Asians. (A note: Asians who were either adopted or who are part of a multi-generation established and assimilated family would often not gravitate towards Asian groups despite looking different, because they simply act completely “white” and would fit in for every single trait except appearance.)

My current girlfriend is white. You wouldn’t think this was a big deal looking from the outside, but for me it is. White guy, Asian girl is a very common pairing, because Asian girls are praised for their exotic aesthetics, their oft-more disciplined behavior, and their reputation for having “more lenient” standards on masculinity. Asian guys unfortunately do not get the same praise as Asian girls, though Korean pop and television has started to make the “Asian persuasion” work for Asian males too. Except I’m Chinese.

Growing up, I couldn’t speak English properly until I was 9, despite coming here when I was 2. Reason being, I spoke primarily Mandarin at home and just hung out with my twin sister all day. I couldn’t really talk back or tell on them if I couldn’t even form a sentence properly, so many white children picked on me in school and would make fun of me. Young boys are already always under intense scrutiny, so sometimes the teacher would come to the rescue if a boy was tormenting me; but somehow, the girls were rarely called out, so I grew up being treated quite badly by white girls. So, I actually had no white girls as friends until I got into high school, when everyone from middle school gets put back into a pot and everything gets scrambled up again.

As you would learn from reading the article I mentioned at the start of this blog (ahem), my girlfriend and I actually had a discussion over whether or not the fact that I wouldn’t think to date a white girl would be considered racist. My main point in that argument was that if only being attracted to people of a certain race is racist, that only being attracted to a single gender would be sexist. I was actually surprised that she ceded that point, because before this point literally every single white girl I had the (dis)pleasure of associating with was incapable of ever saying that they were wrong (keep in mind most of these interactions were with the same girls who would torment me). Of course, she brought up the question, “What if one day you fell in love with a white girl?” to which I responded “Maybe I will, but I’m saying it is unlikely based on my track record.”

After this, she and I only got closer and closer as we talked more and more. Actually, in the same conversation where we discussed race preference, I told her about my ongoing issues with a girl I had a crush on, and later on in our friendship she actually helped me write a love/farewell letter to this person (yes, if you read this writing prompt this should sound familiar; no, the prompt is not correct to every detail). Apparently she already liked me at this time, so it really shows her selflessness when she would help me when it was strictly bad for her.

After that crush left for university, I started noticing other girls a bit more (since I had “oneitis” while liking this girl) and I noticed that this friend of mine was actually quite good-looking. She had very stunning eyes and a very nice sense of fashion. On top of that, she was always amazingly sweet and cool and gave off this air that made everything seem like it was alright.

Dating her now, I can definitely feel her love. Sometimes I do ask her if she loves me if I’m having a bad day and need a reminder, but I always get the same answer back: “Yes, I do!” Makes my day every time. We hang out almost every day, so we have gotten very close over the time in which we dated. I can say without hesitating one bit that I truly love her and that I hope we will turn out okay.

So, what am I optimistic about?

It’s about the fact that I might finally find all the qualities of a perfect spouse in my best friend. Sure, she and I have (sometimes quite vicious) arguments on trivial, stupid topics; or get overly involved in isolated sentences or even words; or just straight up want to not see each other anymore. But within the day (usually within ten minutes, if not the first minute) we always get around to talking everything out and being okay. I thought I would never be attracted to a white girl, and I feel so lucky that I know someone like her that is helping me see that not all white girls are mean and rude. I knew this before, but I still had an unsettled feeling in my heart; by now, it has all melted away. Love really does warm the heart and heal old, infected wounds.

Sitting up at 3AM to write about how awesome my girlfriend is…isn’t that a sign that she is super special and that I should hold her close? Tomorrow morning (or rather, this morning) I am going to hug her and tell her how wonderful she is and how lucky I feel to be able to have her in my life.

“I love you!”
“I love you more!”
“I love you most!”
“I love you mostest!”
“I love you mostest!”
“WE LOVE EACH OTHER MOSTEST!!!!!!”

I’m excited for what the future has in store!

End: ???

Elapsed Time: Written intermittently from May 20th to May 21st.

Writing Prompt #6 | May 20th, 2015

Writing Prompt #5 | May 18th, 2015

Prompt: You bump into an ex-lover on Valentine’s Day—the one whom you often call “The One That Got Away.” What happens?

Start: 10:53 AM

It was just another ordinary day until I saw her again.

Did she change her hairstyle? Did she get slimmer? Does she look more serious?

I can’t put my finger on it. Something’s different.

But so many things are the same. The same as when three years ago I realized I wanted her, the same as when a year ago she left for university.

The moments before she also recognized me felt stretched and dizzying blurry. Oh my God, I put on weight since last year. Damn, this is my worst pair of jeans. Why didn’t I wear a better shirt today? Why didn’t I walk on the other side of the street, or come out a bit later, or not come out at all? By the time Sadie opened her mouth, I already felt regret for not walking by, for not dying on the spot.

“Oh jeez, is that you? It’s been so long, oh my God!” She stepped forward, as if to hug me; but my flinch made her back off and assume that speaking distance old acquaintances have while having small talk: close when looking on from a third person perspective, but obviously reserved and impersonal standing in the place of either person.

“Oh, hey, nice to see  you!” Then a forced as-natural-as-possible smile. “How has life been treating you?”

My palms began to sweat. I had already gotten over the pain of seeing her go. While we exchanged small talk about the weather, about school, about how piano has been going for me, it felt just like old times. Back when she had inspired me to go back to the piano and find myself again at the keyboard. Back when I was always excited to pass my her locker in the hall and tease her a bit for her to throw a few insults back my way. Back when we would hang out at the movies, have long conversations over the Web, confide in each other.

Back when Sadie and I were friends.

Before she graduated, I wrote a love letter to Sadie saying that I regretted ruining our friendship and that I would always remember her as someone who inspired me to become better. I got my friend Katrina to read over my letter, and she thought it was great. I put in my First Place ribbon from the piano competition I was in a month before.

I remember what she wrote in my yearbook. “Thank you for the past few years! I know the past hasn’t gone smoothly, but I want you to know that I will always be your friend, and that anytime you want to talk I’ll be available!”

Hah. I think we had exactly two conversations since then. One was when I bumped into her in the mall, exchanged “hi”s and “how are you”s. The other is when I needed someone to rant to, when Katrina suddenly broke up with me in a web chat.

That two-day “breakup” had resolved itself. Even Katrina herself wanted to try again. We both knew we wanted to keep dating; even before we dated we were already hanging out multiple times a week, and we had only gotten closer and fonder of each other. We both deeply cared about each other, and we both wanted the other to be happy.

After all, Katrina is the type who would help the boy she liked write a love letter to his crush. She was truly a gem and a blessing to have as a (girl)friend. So how could I not try to keep her by my side for as long as possible and inevitably fall in love with her?

Oh shit, what if she’s already there waiting for me? I suddenly remembered that I wasn’t just out dilly-dallying. I was supposed to meet Katrina in the coffee shop a block from here. We had a very nasty argument over the phone the night before, and we were supposed to discuss today (Valentine’s Day, of all days) how we would proceed.

So, next time there was a lull in the aimless conversation between me and Sadie, I told her I had to get going. “Talk to you later, keep in touch!” we both lied before going our separate ways.

It’s such a tragedy that someone who had inspired me so much is now but a stranger. I knew Sadie. I don’t know Sadie. I probably will not know Sadie.

She and I don’t belong in the same world anymore. I am exploring my world with someone else now.

Indeed, when I talked into the coffee shop, Katrina was already there. She looked up, and I could tell that she had been crying just a bit. Her eyes pleaded, “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean it. I didn’t want to hurt you.”

I ended up messaging Sadie later that night. It was to tell her how thankful I am to have talked to her again. Once again, she had taught me another lesson.

“Katrina.”

She seemed to tense up at her name, and closed her eyes as if bracing herself.

“I saw Sadie on the street today before I arrived.”

She opened her eyes wide and gasped.

I walked over to Katrina and sat down next to her. I pulled her towards me with one arm, and she put her head on my shoulder just like every time we sit side by side.

“I love you, Kat. I can’t risk losing you, so I would never push you away. Will you be my Valentine?”

She cried and cried, but the whole time she had the most beautiful smile.

The next morning, I logged onto Facebook to check if Sadie had replied to my message.

Seen Sat 10:49pm. Oh well. I opened my conversation with Katrina and read the message she sent half an hour ago:

“So, what are we doing together today?”

End: 11:42 AM

Elapsed Time: 49 minutes

Writing Prompt #5 | May 18th, 2015