Tag Archives: how reading/writing changed me

What stays with you

25 Oct

I was deeply interested in myths, legends and fairytales from a young age. My first love was Norse mythology, but I’ve dabbled in Egyptian, Greek, Roman, Japanese, Chinese, Malay and quite a few others. The stories were a little strange, and many of the original ones didn’t even have the happy endings I loved, but I couldn’t stop reading them. Some were macabre and dark; I think one of the reasons horror movies don’t really scare me is because fairy tales are far scarier, and I’ve read so many different types from many different cultures.

There was a strange line from a Scottish folk tale I could not forget, even though I couldn’t even remember the story. I haven’t been able to look it up until I got home and dug up the book.

It goes:

‘Ae gude turn deserves anither,
Tak’ ye that for being sae kind to my auld mither.’

I’m not sure why that, in a language that is almost beyond understanding, still remains in me today. However, if there’s anything I’ve learnt this year, what I’ve learnt is the things that deeply impact you, stay with you, words and images that haunt and remain – those are the roots of the stories. What I see, what stays strongly with me, these have the greatest power to move and form and shape themselves into something else altogether.

There are days and nights I sit and wonder, why write? Why subject myself to a life of uncertainties, rejection and heartache?  Then I realise, the words, the images, the things within me cannot be content until they are released, set down yet free to capture other minds that read them.

And I open my laptop and type yet another page.

Notes (that I can’t be bothered to organise into coherent paragraphs because they don’t fit in anywhere):
1) In case you’re wondering, the Scottish folktale in question is this.
2) I’ll be participating in Nanowrimo (again) this year. I’ve never been able to complete it yet, but I’m feeling optimistic!
3) I’ve also read very few Australian and African myths. I probably should fill up that gap in my knowledge.

Perfect endings

8 Oct

I used to love a good happily ever after. Adequate closure was important to complete my enjoyment of any story in whatever form it took.

This year however, I’ve been reading a lot of short stories. They’re generally not known for having great endings (some don’t even fit into conventional story forms). I didn’t realise how much I’ve been influenced until after watching a movie with friends recently. All of us unanimously agreed that the movie was good, but quite a few voiced out that they were unsatisfied with the ending. I blurted out,

‘But the ambiguity is what made it perfect!’

After I said that, I realised. I’ve been changed. I still believe there’s a place for happy endings – in rom-coms and light fluffy works. Other than that, give me a ‘what happens next is up to you’ any time.

(I should have added that there was character growth and we could see the shifting of relationships, and I won’t ask for much more from a story than that.)

Peter Galen Massey

Haiku, Book Reviews, Commentary & The Occasional Nonsense


easy reading is damn hard writing


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