the first thing

The first thing you do when you sit down at the computer…

Let me guess: check the incoming. Check email or traffic stats or messages from your boss. Check the tweets you follow or the FB status of friends.

You’ve just surrendered not only a block of time but your freshest, best chance to start something new.

If you’re a tech company or a marketer, your goal is to be the first thing people do when they start their day.

If you’re an artist, a leader or someone seeking to make a difference, the first thing you do should be to lay tracks to accomplish your goals, not to hear how others have reacted/responded/insisted to what happened yesterday.

– Seth Godin

Awesome reminder for my days ahead – that I should never start the morning reacting or responding to what happened yesterday. Instead, I shall learn to be quiet, to listen and think…

And in the midst of impossibilities, make dreams come true.

20 makeup artists. 7 stylists. 230 performers. 3 outrageous costumes. 1 team. It’s all coming together. And it all started with a dream. Wow. Who will I be at the end of these three weeks, and what I have I learnt?

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th.ink

‘Do you ever stop thinking?’ I asked Jap Girl & Crazy one day, after a shoot. We were seated in a lovely Japanese restaurant, out little treat after a tiring day.

‘Yeah, all the time,’ Jap Girl replied. ‘Sometimes, I find myself doing it in the middle of a meeting or discussion, and I realize it’s kinda bad because when I start thinking again, I’ve lost my place in whatever has been going on… so I’ve been trying to get disciplined about my habit.’

‘You’re kidding, right?’ I was amazed. ‘How do you not think at all?’

‘It’s easy,’ Crazy said. ‘You just don’t. Your mind is blank. It shuts down, that’s all…’

‘You can’t just stop thinking…’ I shook my head in disbelief. ‘I mean, it’s more a sense of self-awareness, right? Like maybe you aren’t aware that you’re drifting off and thinking about other things like a nice wall, a pretty font, how the lady looks weird…’

‘Well, see… I never thought about that. I just don’t think in those blank spaces.’ Jap Girl looked puzzled. ‘You mean you think all the time? Don’t you ever run out of thoughts? Or get too tired to think anymore?’

‘Well, when I run out of thoughts… I think about why I have no more thoughts. Or that I’m too tired to think, and start to think about why I’m so tired, or how I can be less tired. Or ask myself why I have reached a place where thoughts are no longer pleasant… I have never stopped thinking. They aren’t all serious thoughts!’ I added, seeing their worried faces.

‘They can be random. But I’m aware of what inspired those random ideas…’ I paused. ‘I don’t think I’ve ever been in that place where thoughts don’t exist.’

‘I wonder if that’s a good thing or bad…’ Crazy said.

*

If my life was measured by the number of thoughts that cascaded through my mind, I have lived more than 2 months in the past 2 weeks. Staying awake for too many hours left too much time for reflections, assumptions and summaries.

If, however, growth was measured by the number of times my thoughts were corrected, altered and changed (to adapt to a new perception/understanding), then I have sped through a year in 14 days.

And what have I learnt?

  1. Perfection is an illusion, as long as it’s based on man’s performance.
  2. There is always more to meets the eye in any situation. There is always a story behind the actions of every person you meet. And there is always a different way of looking at things.
  3. Value is an intangible quality, too often measured by tangible qualities, which oversimplify its true worth.
  4. Purple cows can only be found in fields where it’s possible to reinvent what people expect.
  5. My position is a role. Not an identity.
  6. Leap, and the net will appear.
  7. Everything. And I mean everything… is temporary. Hold all things with a loose hand.
  8. Real creativity requires significant work.
  9. Love is the ultimate idea generator, the propelling force, the beginning and end of everything.
  10. I need an ‘off’ switch built into my brain.

*

And now, I sleep.

Goodnight world.

*

PS. I don’t think my posts qualify as a post-a-day anymore. More like a post-whenever-possible

one last plea

I chanced upon a post up on THIS:los angeles and knew I just had to reproduce it in its entirety here.

THIS is a group of 6 artists who have a dream to create a space for artists to speak about their work, to interact with their audience and facilitate a creative atmosphere in the community. They recently held a show titled ‘These Friends 2’ which featured artwork by artists they admired. Unfortunately, towards the end of their opening, someone stole a piece off the wall and ran away.

It was a rare polaroid of the late Dennis Hopper. Their heart-wrenching letter to the thief follows after.

To the person who stole the image of Dennis Hopper from THIS:los angeles on Friday night,

We have a feeling you have no idea what you’ve taken.

You’ve taken the one single physical document of the photographer’s time with his subject.
This is not a print, as there is no negative. There is only this single image.
You’ve taken our trust.
You’ve taken others faith in us.
You’ve impacted the way our business, that we have worked so hard to build,
will be able to work with people we respect and love in the future.
A business we do not make a profit from.

There is no way that this Polaroid will ever have the same worth to you that it holds for Jason, everyone at THIS, and to our community in general. As long as you have it all you hold is the sadness and anger that has been created by your taking it.

We personally believe you made a very snap and not very wise decision. It happens to all of us and all we can do is try to make it right. Many of us have done this. Please make this right. We are not interested in prosecution, we are not interested in the monetary worth as ultimately in the case of this image there actually really isn’t one.

We just want it back.

The show is called These Friends. It is our hand reaching out to our community, our friends and their friends and inviting them into the space we have created and we assume you were one of those people. There is a very good chance that you are a friend of someone who is a friend of the people who were involved in this show. Please do not steal from your friends. Even if you aren’t friends with any of the people in the show or at the gallery, our door was open, no questions asked, to meet and enjoy some really amazing works of art, by some really exciting and talented artists.

THIS is open for all of us to make new friends and come together as a community. We feel like we have succeeded in that 10 fold, especially with this last show. Everyone who we talk to says about how amazing of a night it was. It’s impossible for us to remember it that way because of this theft.

We opened our doors in hopes to meet new friends and new people in a new neighborhood and we have, we’ve met so many amazing people and had so many amazing times. It might not be possible for us to continue the way we have because of this theft.

All we ask is that you please give it back. Please please return the photo.

*

What motivated the thief to steal that polaroid? Money? Intense adoration for Jason Lee? A desire to rip apart what took so long to put together?

I really hope they get the polaroid back soon.

2011 & other random challenges

I’ve always loved a challenge.

Whether or not I actually manage to complete it with panache is another thing, but I’m a sucker for such things. So when I read that WordPress was conducting an experiment (one with a motivational angle – they motivate, we respond) I decided I’d try.

All I have to do really, is sign up.

The tough bit comes after, when I sit down and begin my challenge: to post something new every single day for the whole year. Will I have that much to write? That bit shouldn’t be too hard. It’s the time factor… Those of you who know me, know how crunched for time I am… always.

But since we’re already on the topic of arbitrary challenges that I set for myself… and will myself to complete with no other reason that to… well, finish it… here are some other things I’ll be challenging myself with for 2011.

1. Trek up to the Everest Base Camp

2. Learn how to speak Japanese

3. Learn makeup for brides and actually get someone foolish enough to hire me

4. Complete my first marathon

5. Complete my next half-marathon within 2 hours

6. Read a book a month. At least.

7. Sleep at least 7 hours EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.

And with work in mind…

8. Learn to use Photoshop

9. Buy a camera & actually start taking pictures

10. Write more scripts!

There. I’m done. I think that should keep me sufficiently occupied.

*mad insane chuckle*

a new world

Look back in silence, the cradle of your whole life. There in the distance, losing its greatest pride. Nothing is easy, nothing is sacred, why? Where did the bow break? It happened before your time. And there were people there, lovely as you’ve ever been. Tonight, you can start again. Laughing in the open air, have yourself another dream.

‘Mother, it’s cold here.’
‘Father, thy will be done.’
‘Thunder and lightning are crashing down. They got me on the run, direct me to the sun.’

Redemption keeps my covers clean tonight. We can start again.

– Brandon Flowers

*

‘What do you see, when you look at me?’ the girl asked Him. She wiped her tears with the sleeves of her shirt.

‘Who do you see when you look in the mirror?’ He asked her. She sighed. She knew the right answer but it didn’t help ease the frustrations building up inside. The truth was, she felt ugly and heavy. Pulling away slightly from Him, the anger began to creep in her veins. Didn’t He understand? Why wasn’t He helping her? What was with all the questions that He posed in reply to her questions? She just wanted plain answers.

Standing up, she walked to the edge of the cliff and looked out over the sea.

‘Can I fly? Or am I too weighed down now for my wings?’ her lips curled into a sneer. She tried to unfurl hers but they hadn’t been used for a long time, the joints sticky and unyielding to her mind’s command.

‘Do you remember how the worlds came into existence?’ He said.

‘Yes,’ she nodded, defiantly refusing to look at Him. ‘It began with a song. A song that You sang.’ She recited the words, echoing a distant memory of bed time tales and sunlit stories. ‘You sang the colours into place, split the waters from the land. You called each creature into existence and moulded the humans. We were the only ones you used Your hands to craft.’

‘You’re my child, and like her father… you have Me in you. What does that say about you?’

She stared out at the waters crashing on the rocks, her eyes unblinking against the winds. Silent.

‘You have forgotten the power of the song. You are a child of the Creator and yet, you have forgotten the strength and weight of your words,’ He continued. ‘The world you live in is a world you’ve created entirely by yourself. The waves you are watching with intense fury now are waves that merely reflect the state of your heart. They react to you.’

‘And me? What about me?’ She whirled around and kicked the ground. ‘Are you saying that I am a creation of my own doing? I thought You moulded me, breathed life into me! What am I? Tell me!’

‘You are life because I made you that way. Yes, you are right. I designed you with extreme care and love. But who you become… that is something that you create. That is the power a parent gives His child – the power to fashion a dream.’

Staring at her, He still saw the beauty, made more furiously gorgeous as she stood, the wind whipping her hair like tendrils of smoke all around. Her eyes burned with a deep amber glow and He loved her more still.

‘Can I fly?’ She asked again.

‘Who do you say you are?’ He asked her in return. He wanted to say more but no. This was her world and He refused to interfere in her rebirth.

She didn’t answer but began walking to the edge of the cliff and stood there for what seemed like ages. What was she doing? Every fibre in His being longed to know for she captivated Him. What rhythm was her heart beating now?

And then He saw it before He heard the first strains of her song.

*

For death and life are in the power of the tongue;

And they that love it shall it the fruit thereof.

– Proverbs 18:21

 

far and away

Unopened envelopes, letters and bills piled neatly on the table.

Limp clothes hanging over the stationery bike, both used and forgotten.

Outside the window, a lady laughs with her drunken neighbours.

Inside, by the bed lies brown project files, pencils and crumpled papers.

Snapshots of objects, intentions and responsibilities, all a little forlorn.

For the girl, from this world, she temporarily retreats from.

Traipsing through an alternate universe in the life of another.

This is her reality, this is her truth, because tonight…

She reads.

‘Being still, and doing nothing are two completely different things.’

– Karate Kid (2010)

rain glob

The dark shadow loomed over the Earth. Blending into the background of each person’s subconscious, it went unnoticed, urgent in it’s mission. Then sensing the moment, it paused in its tracks. The moonlight glinted dangerously on the metal object that it slowly raised in its hands.

It was a watering can.

Grumbling under his breath, the Rain Glob showered the exosphere, a little vengefully, one might add, if one could actually water the Earth with force. His actions were understandable really. The Rain Glob did not want to be there. He dreamed of greater things.

‘The Hulk gets to be big and monstrous, Godzilla has his rampages, even the old fob Mummy gets to terrify people but me? I get a silly watering can. It’s just not fair,’ he whined.

‘What do you want?’ A reply came booming through the universe, jolting the Rain Glob in his tracks. The monster waited a whole minute for the echoes to cease before he could continue.

‘Well, I’d like to be big and awesome and… and have a blockbuster movie to my name! In time for the Christmas crowds… now that would be nice.’

‘You want fame?’ the voice replied, his answer echoing a little longer this time.

‘Yes! I want fame!’ The monster shouted back. Then reverentially, he added, ‘…sir.’

‘You are important in your role… role… role…’ The voice stated, sounding slightly exasperated. ‘Gabe! Would you shut that blasted thing off!… off!… off! Or turn down the reverberation! I’m God, for goodness sake… I don’t need the echoes… echoes… echoes…’

And suddenly, there was silence.

‘Much better, thank you.’ The voice continued, ‘Now, Rain Glob, are you sure you want fame and the ability to terrify?’

Realising who he had been ranting to, the monster meekly replied, ‘Yes… sir. God. Almighty. Maker of the heavens and earth. Please sir… I feel insignificant.’

‘Insignificant, you say? Have you seen the need for water all over this planet? The earthlings need you more than they need another terrifying monster. And well, honestly, I am a little short on Rain Globs. I’ve been creating new planets see, and don’t have any spare Globs to take your place.’

‘But God… couldn’t you just, er, create more Globs?’ The monster (whose name was Harvey) replied, his watering can never once ceasing in its watering responsibilities.

‘Well, I guess I could…’ the voice replied. ‘What type of monster do you want to be then?’

‘I-I’d like to be erm… perhaps a Water Demon?’

‘We already have the Lochness and Giant Squid doing that.’

‘A Mountain-type of monster?’

‘Yeti, Bigfoot and the Abominable Snowman have that covered.’

‘Something that can fly?’ The Rain Glob was getting slightly desperate.

‘Dragons, Griffins and even planes are doing a good enough job for now.’

‘Okay, okay, I got it. How about some creature that is joined with another? I could be part alien and er…’

‘Mermaids, Minotaur, Chimeras… are you sure you’ve thought this through?’ God sighed.

‘I did! Well, at least I thought I did.’ Sulked the Rain Glob, pouring water over the Eastern hemisphere. It seemed doomed for him to ever be anyone or anything else but a monster with a teeny can.

‘Glob…’ God called out quietly.

‘Yes sir?’ Sniffled Harvey.

‘You are happiest being who you are. This role was created for you. You feel dissatisfied because you are looking at what the others have… have you looked at what you have?’

Harvey stared at his watering can.

‘No, not that. That is merely your tool. Look at the colours of the earth. You did that. Look at the people in their plantation fields… that was you. The flowers blooming? You. The floods?’

‘Me too?’ Harvey began to look interested again.

‘Sigh, yes, you too. Although I’d have much preferred they didn’t happen.’

‘Well… I guess I am important.’ The Rain Glob said, moving over to the Western hemisphere.

‘The snow, the droughts, the oceans… hey, it’s because of your job that Lochness, the Squid, even Yeti and the rest have a role to play.’

‘Oh yeah!’ Harvey smiled. ‘I do rock!’

‘So really, must you prove yourself to people through a movie that you are great?’ God asked.

‘I-I guess not…’ Harvey consented, then sighed. ‘Hey God, I’m really sorry to seem ungrateful. I was just, you know, having a moment.’

‘I understand.’ The voice replied. ‘Now if don’t need anything else, I’ve got other things to do.’

‘Oh yeah, sure! I’ll go on watering, sir!’ The Rain Glob replied, lifting his watering can.

‘Good boy Harvey, that is what you call yourself isn’t it?’

‘Y-Yes.’

‘Well then, I’m off. Take care Rain Glob. Remember, if you ever feel unhappy about where you are, it’s simply because you’ve forgotten the big picture.’

The Rain Glob nodded his head. In the silence of the universe, he looked at the Earth and took a deep breath. It was really quite awesome.

‘Me and my little watering can…’ he said to himself before humming a little tune under his breath. ‘Rain, feel it on your finger tips, hear it on your window pane, my love’s coming down like rain…’

*

I wrote this story in October 2008 and it was one of those occasions where I saw a picture, fell in love with it and knew a story had to be written.

Reading Harvey’s self-pitying situation tonight encouraged me as I was having a bad case of wishing I was someone else, somewhere else, doing something else. I don’t know where this sense of insignificance came from but the story made me question myself, ‘Have I forgotten the big picture?

If I took stock of all the things I have going good in life, I guess I wouldn’t demean my little watering can and the amazing things it can do.

Pause.

Look.

Can you see it, dear marionette? The things in store for you? Can you hear the heartbeat of a future in which you are intrinsically knitted within? And can you feel the purpose of your very breath, because it takes in life, gives life, and makes life beautiful? For that’s why you were created and why you journey in a land not your own. You are your Beloved’s and He is yours.

Can you see His vision?

*

‘When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.’

– Audre Lorde

my beautiful moment


When life was broken
Its shattered pieces discarded
car e less l y

It was a beautiful moment

When pride let her down
And nothing was all she had
i n he r b one s

It was a beautiful moment

Beautiful when He still called her
His own

Faithfully
He knitted Himself
Into the f rac t ure
of her soul

Tenderly
He wiped her tears
To make her see
past her fears

Merciful
When she came u nd one
He sealed her up
with His song

Patiently
He taught her to smile
To face the world
as

His child

Lovingly
He held her hand
When her br oke n f eet
Could not stand

It was a beautiful moment

Beautiful when He became
her Man

She smiled
as she looked out
into the dark silent night

The air outside
though cold
didn’t touch
her heart which was warmed
by His strength

She lifted her head
as her life unfolded
The song she’d forgotten
Came back
to sing again

Goodbye sorrow
Hello tomorrow
The crying’s been done
I’m moving on

Goodbye heartbreak
There’ll still be mi st a kes
But the birds are flying
and I am walking

Walking
Walking on
Walking on through
the love of the One

This.

is my beautiful moment.

[Written in February 2008]

fly

she had tired hands and twisted feet
but still she kept on trying, walking, never stopping
worried that if she stopped moving
the world of cards she’d built would slip

bowed down by her guilt and cares
she walked past crowds of faceless people
weary from her endless journey
she kept on trying, walking, never stopping

but she had wings! oh she had wings!
she could fly! if only… she had dared to try
all it took was just a stretch
to reach beyond what she could see
she had wings! but they were limp
her destiny hung by her side

her spirit crippled by deep fear
she kept on trying, walking, never stopping
faster with greater urgency
till the day she tripped upon her twisted feet

oh! she stretched out with great horror
in defense against the fall that lay before her
but she didn’t fall down as she thought she would
she fell upwards where her wings now could

fly

*

We were made to soar, to fly above the challenges we face. Consumed by our surroundings, sometimes we forget it was built into our very core… the ability to fly. The beautiful core of our being – Jesus Christ – placed within us by a very loving and accepting Father. So fly. Dare to stretch out and do what you were made to do. Fly. – written in Nov 2007

pocket full of dreams

The boy with his pocket full of dreams walked past a group of teenagers.

He saw a man watch them from behind a wall. He stood beside the gentleman and said, “She loves you. Beneath the nonchalance, she just wants your acceptance of who she’s become.”

As though he’d heard his own thoughts, the gentleman walked over to one of the teenage girls. Awkwardly, he told her that he’d watched one of her plays and thought it was brilliant, well-written and inspiring. The girl looked at her father, seemingly unaffected, but the smile was warm – the first smile she’d given him in months, since the day she’d told him she was not going to continue her studies to write stories instead.

The boy with dreams walked on, now into a tired-looking cafe where the tabletops were worn, the flowers were wilted and the seats unoccupied – just like the owner who stood behind the counter alone.

He sat in front of the man.

“Your dreams lie beyond the doors…” he whispered.

Looking up from his introspection, the owner suddenly put down his dishcloth to take a break. He moved slowly out toward the door, right into the path of an old friend from high school he hadn’t seen in more than 20 years. Together, they walked back into the cafe and as he made coffee for her, they sat and talked – the beginning of a conversation that would last a lifetime.

And the boy walked on.

He saw a bench and sat down, between a distraught man and an angry woman.

“Isn’t love a funny thing?” he pondered aloud. “We hurt the ones we love the most, when all it takes to cross the great divide is an outstretched hand.”

They sat there, the three of them in their own worlds for a long time, before the man hesitatingly stretched out his hand to hold the woman’s. Sliding out beneath the connection made, the boy continued his journey.

Reaching the street corner, the boy suddenly stood transfixed. Unseen, he watched the girl across road. The harlequin’s maiden. She was one of his favourite characters in his imaginations, one of those in this world he had no control over.

She was what made him want to make others’ dreams come true – the dreamer’s muse.

Dashing across the road, he walked alongside her as she struggled to carry her bag of groceries home.

“Hello Collette, loved anyone today?” But she didn’t hear him, her eyes glazed over with pain.

“Need a hug, a kiss or a dream?” the boy asked. Silence.

“Want someone to help you with the load you’re carrying?” the boy continued his monologue. This time, the girl began to tear.

“Oh no! Don’t cry! I’ll make it happen! Someone will come help you okay?” the boy continued, terrified of making his fair maiden sad.

“Oh god…” she whispered to herself, nearly choking on her cries. “Oh dear god, the pain is too great…”

The boy walked helpless beside her. He put an arm around her but she didn’t feel it. He wiped her tears but there were too many. What could he do? What could he say? And fearing her pain would become his too, he ran away with renewed fervence to make others’ dreams come true.

Daily, he’d peer into her kitchen and see her sitting alone at her table, a photograph clutched tight in her hands, as her pain tangibly pierced his heart through the window. This went on for months. Summer turned into autumn and autumn into winter.

And the boy walked on.

One especially cold winter’s night, he stood outside her window and watched as the girl huddled alone. The doorbell rang. A little shocked, the girl walked out of the kitchen. Running to see who it was, the boy reached her front door in time to catch her visitor. It was the owner of the cafe.

“Collette, the Mrs and I thought of you tonight and we were wondering if you’d like this turkey, pie and wine. You know, cos we don’t want you missing your dinner again. You’ve lost enough weight as it is.” the owner of the cafe said.

“Oh! Th-thanks.” Collette replied, not used to the sudden kindness.

“And we were wondering…” the owner continued, “if you’d like to join us for Christmas. It’s just dinner with us, you know… and if you’d like some company…”

“I’d… I’d like to. Thanks.” Collette replied, smiling.

The boy with his pocket full of dreams grinned.

The next night he peered into the window and saw that Collette wasn’t alone. She was with the story girl. As they talked, the boy saw Collette’s eyes brighten. The talking was releasing the sorrow she’d held on for too long. The more Collette shared her story, the more certain the story girl was about immortalising the pain of loss in her next play.

The boy grew busy over the holiday season, realizing dreams for others while his own was neglected. Only when the first flower broke through the frost did he finally get the chance to peer into Collette’s window again. But wait, Collette looked different, somehow.

The pain that had doggedly followed her footsteps was gone. Collette had even begun to hum to herself! Smiling, the boy watched her as she made breakfast and settled down at her table.

“You’re happy…” the boy whispered to no one.

“I’m happy.” Collette said to herself.

“Are you dreaming again?” he asked outside the window.

“I’m dreaming again,” replied Collette, as if she could hear him. “Touch one life, and you touch many others, even those whom you never thought you could reach.”

Then Collette looked up at the window and smiled at the boy of her dreams.

*

This was a story I wrote more than 2 years ago, in February 2008. I thought of sharing it here today as I rarely write stories on this blog, although it’s still what I love to do. I used to write at least three a week and harboured dreams of releasing a book eventually. I’m not nearly as good as everyone around me who writes but I like doing it, and I guess, that’s what matters…

Growing busier with production and script writing of a different genre, I neglected the stories and 2009 – 2010 saw me rarely writing any. I still want to write them. I feel as though one reason why life has so much drama… is because I am supposed to be a story-teller. If not to help someone, it’s to make them feel less alone.

The stories helped me too. They encouraged me to deal with life from a surreal point of view… and in doing that, I found myself equipped to face a life that is sometimes, very strange.

‘We owe it to each other to tell stories.’

– Neil Gaiman

Maybe the next few months will allow me some time to do what I’m passionate about. And I can share my pocket full of dreams with you.

If I’m bold enough to do so, that is.

*chuckle*