There's rosemary – that's for remembrance

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I Fear Oblivion.

“You say you’re not special because the world doesn’t know about you, but that’s an insult to me. I know about you. I just want to be enough for you, but I never can be. This can never be enough for you. But this is all you get. You get me, your family, and this world. This is your life.”

– Hazel Grace, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

You can imagine my delight in discovering the coincidence that is my post of the above quote, and then finding out that today’s Daily Post challenge is about ambitions. When will I be loved? What’s my claim to fame?

I first read TFIOS about a year ago. I blitzed through it in the midst of my weekly law reading list. I remember feeling torn between liking the book because of its wit and remaining unconvinced of Augustus Waters. Other than that, I didn’t really have much of an opinion about it. Recently, I had the opportunity to revisit the story, and something truly struck a chord with me.

“I fear oblivion,” said Augustus – which in my then opinion was such a pompous thing to proclaim. It now echoes with my sentiments.

I fear oblivion. I’ll unashamedly confess that. I’ll go as far to say that a lot of us do. Many of us worry that our investment of hard work and money into this emotional roller-coaster of hopes and dreams will only veer off into the void. We want to make a name of ourselves. We want to appear on Ellen and be interviewed. We want to be on Time magazine’s list of Most Influential People 2030. I personally want to be a lawyer by day and writer/singer/actor/superhero by night.

Ambition is a wonderful thing to have. Pursuing it is highly encouraged. Yet we must remember: we are already Someone in this world. A mother, son, friend, husband…loved.



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The Anatomy of a YA Male Love Interest

Warning: This post is laced with the cynicism of a 21 year old who has been consuming far too much of the Young Adult genre for her own good.

If, like me, you have been brought up with a good dosage of the Young Adult (YA) genre, then you would be familiar with the all too similar plot lines of YA fiction/movies. If, like me also, you have begun to notice the gaping crevice between the YA genre and reality, then you would probably recognise the all too cliched usage of: The Male Love Interest. So much so that fancasting results in the frequent usage of the very same actors… (think Alex Pettyfer, Chase Crawford)

Who is this not-so mysterious lover, you ask? Well, wonder no further, because I am about to unearth the portrayal of unrealistic expectations embodied by the YA genre.

To effectively utilise the plot device of The YA Male Love Interest, one must include several characteristics. Of utmost importance is:

1. Hair

“…the top of his forehead — partially obscured by the tangle of rain-darkened bronze hair…” – Bella Swan

It has got to be the messy, tousled variety. (Granted, I have just used a character from an unconvincing series, but the mane above proves my point.) You will need to have the desire to run your hand through his hair like a handful of shampoo on Severus Snape’s lovely locks. He will probably do the same (run his hand through his hair, I mean) several times throughout the story to illustrate this point. Capisce?

2. What’s cookin’, good lookin’?

With great hair, comes a great face and body. Adjectives used to describe your typical YA Male Love Interest should include (but not exhaustively): hot, sexy, beautiful, handsome. He’s tall, lean, has nice skin… You will not want to tear your gaze away from that chiseled frame and gleaming eyes. This will often ensue as soon as you first set eyes on him. Here, have some  photographic evidence!

“Look, let me just say it: He was hot.” – Hazel Grace

“a fair-haired angel from a Rembrandt painting” – Clary Fray

3. The Chaser

He will constantly woo you and make his presence known, but in no way at all will that be creepy or annoying. He may make seemingly obtuse remarks/demands, and they will just fly right over your head because there would be no other way of facilitating a  rendezvous for later. Has he invited you over to his house after meeting you for approximately just one hour? Or was the invitation of a life-risking but adrenaline-pumping sort? Whatever it is, you will have some qualms about his intentions for just about twenty seconds. Guilty characters include Finn from The Impossible Knife of Memory (LH Anderson) and Alex in Lauren Oliver’s Delirium. I know I should include some verbatim quotes here, but I do not have my book collection with me now, which is rather unfortunate.

4. dat personality tho’

Here, we have the crux of the YA Male Love Interest – the unblemished personality. He’s kind, chivalrous, funny, witty, intelligent, and everything else you have on your list rolled into one. Need a car ride or someone to save your life? Check. Enjoy having witty repartee with your significant other? Check. Need a self-esteem boost because you are convinced that you do not deserve him? Check check check. Now, I realise that I am being slightly (or very much) unfair here because if you are meant to fall in love with the guy, he has got to have a killer personality. Vice-versa works too. And the idiom “love is blind” probably rings true. Admittedly, YA men/guys/boys can be too cornily perfect, but how else do you create chemistry between the main character and her love interest if not so?

There are very few books that are able to pull off this whole love interest business, in my opinion. Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl is one of them. It is a difficult balance to strike when creating a character. The perspective of the main character will undoubtedly be loved up to create a sense of foreshadowing. Yet the trick is to ensure that this point of view does not turn overbearing and impose upon readers/viewers a mighty cheese-fest.


A 140-characters Mindset

This is a response to the dailypost Writing Challenge.

I would imagine procrastination to be a bit like being on drugs; your mind consciously tells you to stay away, but your limbs just fail to cooperate. The day draws to a close, then you realise how much time you’ve wasted and douse yourself with predictable remorse. You resolve to kick the habit, but alas, some things just die hard (look at Bruce Willis!). For me, this empty indulgence came in the form of social media. The little blue logo on my mobile screen became my go-to for all occasions. It prodded me awake in the morning, kept me occupied in awkward social settings, allowed me to retreat into my introversion, kept me awake when my eyelids fluttered threateningly… Whatever the occasion, my thumb would instantly conjure up the familiar news feed. It was my daily stupor.

For my Lenten resolution, I decided that it was high time I got rid of my pointless excursions. Spending hours of each day finding out what celebrities were up to and knowing what everyone did was highly dissatisfying. There were so many other things I could have been doing, and that I have been longing to do. Where was the girl who learnt to play the guitar on her own? Back then, she could even code HTML and write fiction commendably.

As expected, the first few days of my fast were not the most pleasant experience. I surprised myself to discover how dependent I was upon social media. My jittery hands would naturally reach out for my mobile phone or iPad. I would sit staring into space, feeling the void of my addiction. The absence grew more pronounced when I realised that I have been thinking in terms of status updates and 140-character sentences. In my mind, all my experiences were constricted into truncated statuses, engineered to seek the maximum level of attention of my followers. Even with this line of consciousness, I know that the worst is not over; there is every possibility that I might just lapse into old ways and be consumed by even stronger waves of procrastination.

And that’s how this started. In shedding the excesses of my habits, I wanted an outlet to weave words meaningfully. I want my words to undulate in sync with my thoughts and emotions. I want to carefully unpack my life’s journey and not document it in a series of rants. So, I write because I miss the old me. This is my rejuvenated writing journey.