I am used to write, I can write 2 -4 half decent articles a day if I had the material ready. But writing a book. A WHOLE BOOK is a something that I feel that borders on self suffering and painstaking torture.
At the moment I have two not even half done books, 1 fiction and 1 nonfiction in my drawer (aka Dropbox) waiting for me to complete them and I have no idea on when and how I will be able to complete them on this side of life. It’s not really that I lack the dedication or focus to do it. But the volume of writing on one subject, where I constantly have to go back and edit what I have previously written, compared to what I just wrote, so the book is consistent and add up, that is nothing like writing a short 3,000 words or less article about a single subject.
Initially I wanted – inspired by Karen Lee’s “No More Daddys Little Girl“, write my own story. My whole and unbiased story about my whole life from birth, to coming out, my constant fights with mom over my sexuality, to my time in San Francisco, the sexually healthy and self-destructive “slutty” escapades in San Francisco and Los Angeles, my return to Singapore, to my time in Japan in the days after the Tsunami, my breakdown in a Hotel after I had witnessed the total destruction of places I knew and where I spend 10 days in the most devastated areas of Japan, and simply everything else up till today.
But writing your life story to people who don’t know you is just as much an exercise in WHAT NOT to include that it is to include, because a book, no matter how personal should keep the reader in and let them want to find out what happens next, and I find that very difficult to do when it is something as personal as a hm… personal story.
I mean should I write about my own rape where I woke up in a half-roofied daze only to realize that someone was holding me down, while someone else was on top of me and what they did to me when I tried to fight back with everything that I could?
If I wrote about that, then I would have to write about my self-hatred, my humiliation to witness that the rapists was allowed to walk away from what they did to me. My parents reactions – my dad’s raw hatred towards them, my mom’s detached “You are my daughter and is strong enough to get over it” speech and how I felt when she first looked at me with distaste in her eyes and face in the hospital. I would have to talk about my shame… But I would have to relive that part of my life in more details that I ever want to again.
I also know and is aware of that if I wrote about that, then everything I wrote about my sexuality would be tied to that day, that dark place in me that will not let me go, because too many hetero’s think and believe that homosexuality is an escape from some kind of sexual abuse in a person’s past.
Something that is so far from the truth. Because at that time I was already more attracted to women than I was to men.
So, no, there is a lot not to include and the choice to exclude parts of your life, is harder than what to include in the book. Or for me that is.
Karen did not leave anything out and you get every little dirty secret served, so the reaction from the Singaporean lesbian community of sisterhood almost all agreed to hate her and her book when it came out. Because how dared she put them all in the same box as her? No More Daddys Little Girl was the first and until now the only book by an Singaporean lesbian woman, so the community thought and felt that it would and should be something that they could reflect themselves in, but nothing could be further from the truth. That book was about Karen and no one else.
No More Daddys Little Girl is not an easy read. Not because it is not interesting what she wrote, because I feel that it is, but if I have to be a nasty hag, then I believe that if it got a rewrite and a change in style and pace, then it could turn out to be a very decent book that more people should read – I would go so far as to say that some parts of the book should be mandatory reading in schools in Singapore. Not only because it IS the first book by a Singaporean lesbian author and deserved a better fate than what it got up until today, but that she had something to say that not many Singaporeans dare to put words on.
I have been communicating briefly with Karen about her book after I read it (and became a little Twitter and Facebook stalker too), and learned that she have been looking for a ghost writer for a second novel, also some kind of a biography if I remember it right. Unfortunately I believe that she has put her own writing on hold, and is now focusing on her career in the IT sector where she is very successful in getting people to buy her company’s services and solutions, so maybe she will not publish a second book after all.
So what is happening in my own private writing Hell? Well, I think I will skip my biography and make a semi biography where I can focus on the cultural shock that I got when I returned to Singapore after my education and work. After rooming with a group of hard core slutty party lesbians in San Francisco, it was an out of body experience to return home where it was expected that I moved back home to my parents – and did for a while. Oh the drama! (“What is this!!!” she screamed after going through my luggage, “It’s called a dildo mom, you should try one, one day” I sighed.) By only focusing on a very small part of my life, then I feel that I can take some (very) creative liberties and make it lighter, funnier and even sexier than it really was, but at the same time write about something that many, both straight and gay go through when they return to Singapore after they have been exposed to the depravity of the socalled western world :)