When I was younger, I had wanted my own magazine.
I cannot recall exactly why. But I think it had to do with control issues. I thought it would be cool to publish the things I wanted (back then I found sex columns in women’s magazines icky, career tips were too far off in the future and fashion just mocked my rotund figure), and I was interested in the most obscure stuff… Even as a child.
While classmates were raving about the latest John Grisham or Dan Brown, I would be nose-deep in classics like Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea and Frankenstein, or The Secret Garden and anything-CS Lewis. I think I might just be that handful in Literature class who actually enjoyed our “textbooks”, The House of Sixty Fathers and The Good Earth – though I never pursued Literature as an O Levels subject, forsaking it for the better prospects and “social standings” that were (falsely) promised by subjects such as Additional Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics.
Whenever I was asked about my hobbies, reading would always be my first mention. And when asked who were my favourite authors, I would reply, “I only like dead authors, I don’t care much about contemporary writers.”
Mind you, I was a macabre child by nature, who watched – and very much enjoyed – The Addams Family reruns on Channel 5 (if memory serves correctly, it’d have been weekdays at 3pm).
Door-to-door makeup saleswoman: What kind of powder does your mom use?
Wednesday Addams: Baking powder.
Saleswoman: I mean on her face.
Wednesday: Baking powder.
When I was older, if I wasn’t trawling the library@Esplanade for old foreign films from the likes of Jean-Luc Godard and Akira Kurosawa, I would be holed up in non-movie theatres such as The Arts House or the Alliance Française watching an arts house film (also known as non-blockbusters, aka quirky, may-possibly-be-nominated-for-an-Oscar films such as Being John Malkovich, City of God, Le Dîner de Cons)
The attendance and attention (from the media and marketing department/advertising budget) given to aforementioned film genres are, admittedly, much better and more numerous now. But back then, they really were considered odd entertainment choices – at least by my friends and colleagues.
You would be glad to know I no longer only read dead authors. Though I still harbour the ambition to read as much as I could of the classics… Paradise Lost, The Canterbury Tales, The Odyssey, The Hunchback of Notre-Dame (preferably in its original French version, but that’s another story for another day), perhaps with a splash of Kafka, Jorge Luis Borge, Proust and Khalil Gibran.
I had thought, until recently, my ambition was impossible and childish. I was told, to my face, that I couldn’t write. It wasn’t too many months ago that a senior staff in the bullpen had asked that I give up my dream of becoming a staff writer.
I had no doubt she meant what she said. I still grudge her. Deeply and unreservedly.
Though I had time to reflect on her message.
It’s true, the bullpen publishes the “Overall Magazine of the Year” and the 2nd (or 3rd) most popular/stylish women’s/men’s fashion magazine, and back then, I wanted nothing except to write in these magazines. And I had thought being close to the source (of output) would increase my chances. But upon reflection, I know nothing about fashion – yes, I may be able to rattle off a couple of trends, but that’s only because I like those trends – and my output would be hallow and laboured (this was the very adjective a senior editor had used. I couldn’t agree more.)
So I turned to blogging.
And it has been fun, un-restrictive, and to be honest, most therapeutic.
What about the magazine?
I doubt I’d get my way in this bullpen anytime soon.
But hey, you know where to find me. And I hope you have my site favourited/bookmarked.
Thank you for reading 🙂