I am not sure who owns what I post on here, me or wordpress, so I will not be posting the entirety of anything I write fiction wise. I have no idea who or what it was, but I remembering reading about an author who just won an award for a collection of short stories he wrote based on his experience living overseas in China. So coming into this experience, I was looking forward to being inspired myself! For those who do not know, I harbor some major dreams of being a published author. And I suffer from the stereotypical dual beliefs of a writer that I am both good enough to be publish and not good enough at the same time. I would love to be like Sean Connery’s character in Finding Forrester. Not the crazy shut in part…well maybe a little bit of the crazy shut in “you damn kids get off my lawn” part, but mostly the idea that I could write the great american novel, the story that truly captures what it is like to just “be” in this specific time of mine, and then walk away. In the movie, spoiler alert, he does so because he got sick of people trying to figure out what his book meant and demanding another one. I would do it voluntarily I think: Give a great gift to the world, this perfect encapsulation of it, of being alive and perhaps what it is all about, and giving them nothing else. Maybe a random article for the New Yorker every few years but nothing else fiction wise. Leave them wanting more, ala Salinger. Would “Catcher in the Rye” be that great if Sailnger was prolific? Same with “Confederacy of Dunces”? (For the former, it’s overrated I think because A) He walked away essentially and became a recluse and B) Chapman carried a copy of it when he shot Lennon. For the latter no, that book would be amazing no matter what. But since it was published after his death, his suicide no less, it is all we will ever get from him and this does make it a bit more amazing then if it was only one of many written by him)
Great works of fiction should be open for us to impart whatever meaning we see fit onto them. The direct approach, ala “Animal Farm”, works if done right, but I always enjoyed the vague novel, the novel that forces you to figure it out for yourself. (seriously, if you did not get what Animal Farm was really all about we need to stop being friends) This is what I always wanted to do. This is the first time I have openly shared even a small part of what I have written with the world and I thought of many prefaces I wanted to make so people would not get the wrong idea about it. But after a bit of thought, I figured people can get whatever idea they want to about it.
Also, I am sitting in starbucks in Kuala Lumpur as our apartment does not have internet and will not until Monday the 13th. I did this yesterday as well, spending all of that time writing a lesson plan for a demonstration lesson I am going to be doing as part of an interview process for a one to two month position teaching english. Today I spent a few hours applying to jobs before working on the blog. And now I am going to write fiction. I had to come all the way to Kuala Lumpur in order to become a stereotype. Oh well. On a Starbucks side note, I might have to bring home a bunch of stuff for my old Starbucks boss, Sandy Swagger. Her store collects the mugs from around the world, and they sell both Malaysia mugs and Kuala Lumpur mugs here. Also, their official shirts all have the Malaysian flag on the sleeve. And their disposable warm cups have a cool arabic looking design on them. Now I have not been into a starbucks in awhile due to the whole “hating my old boss at the store closest to me” thing so it is possible that this is how all the warm cups look now. But either way, I soooo want to get one of those shirts for The Swagger!
Okay, enough chit chat. Fiction time. This is just part of what I hope will be a lot more short stories based on my experiences here.
My sikh cab driver hummed along to that song “Royals” today as we drove then sat then drove through the traffic today. If we were stopped he tapped his fingers on the dash, making the little flowers that sat in offering go up and down so slightly.
The flowers were in front of a picture of a white bearded man, presumably the founder of Sikhism or a holy figure, I am not sure who but it’s not my religion at the moment so I do not care.
I am not sure what the flowers were either but since they were offered to the unknown white bearded man and most likely accepted by the white bearded man they are not mine so it was something I generally did not concern myself with.
I say that the flowers were most likely accepted but I do not know for sure. I am not friends with the Sikh driving my cab so I can not comment on his relationship with the man in the picture. The flowers might be an apology from the driver to him, for something he said or did that ran counter to whatever the man in the picture told him to say and do in this life so he can move up in the next one.
I assume that there is room to move up. Being a taxi driver in Kuala Lumpur is fun, I do not doubt it, but surely it cannot be the top, the end of the cycle of life and death for this man and his faith.
Than again, I am assuming a lot in saying that being a taxi driver is not the top of the reincarnation food chain. Maybe it is. It’s like being Charon, or whatever the Sikh equivalent is if there is one, ferrying people from one side of the river to the other. For Charon the river was called Styx, here in KL it is unknown.
To me at least. I assume locals have a name for the river and can remember it.
I will learn it some day. Right now it is just some thing, a line of water on a map that my cab just drove over on a line of concrete, holding a deluge of cars crossing from one side of the river to the other.
It has a name.
I have a name.
So does the Sikh cab driver and the white bearded man. I only know one of them. You know none of them. But it is not important.