Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Two New Publications!

This is an exciting week! Besides being the first week of the new quarter, and the week a good friend visits me after five years of not seeing each other, two of my poems went live! 

Strange Horizons published "Magpie Wings," a science fictional re-telling of the folktale "The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl" in which the characters are separated due to, essentially, class differences. There are several variations of the story: usually she's a fairy, he's a mortal; sometimes they're both celestial beings but have different roles which keep them separate; she is always of a higher class than he is, though, and serves in the Jade Palace as a handmaiden of the Jade Empress. She goes to live with him for a while and they are happy, but her duty forces her to leave. In Heaven and on Earth, they pine for each other, and the magpies on their yearly migration, take pity on them and offer them their backs so they can meet each other. Their story is commemorated in the skies, so I used the common English names for the constellations: Altair and Vega. 

My second poem came out in the new Stone Telling! It's the JOKE issue, which makes it doubly exciting. I'm so honoured to be sharing a Table of Contents with really fine writers like Emily Jiang and Mari Ness, Pear Nuallak and Alexandra Erin! My humble poem, "Yes, I Am A Were" is a pun poem based on this joke that was going around Tumblr:
A lycanthrope decided to come out to his friend. On a full moon night, he transforms.
"My God," says the friend, "you changed into a wolf!"
"Yes," says the lyncanthrope, "I am a were."

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Piece-meal Poetry: "Healing"

Every sliver of injustice in our bones
must be picked at, or
sucked from the marrow;
else slit open the flesh,
reach in with your knife,
remove the festering source.

What good are your tools
of righteousness, of goodwill,
if they cannot break the fever?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Fast Fiction: A Sedate Escape

My friend Patricia posted a challenge to a writing group I'm part of:
What does your past or future Malaysia look like, 50-60 years from today? Write it as a story or a poem, both works.
Bonus Points: If your character(s) speak in Manglish or variations thereof
Double Bonus Points: If your setting has magic/future tech
Triple Bonus Points: If it's Malaysia in outer space WITHOUT referencing politics 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Moving from Mainstream Reading

The other day, K. Tempest Bradford posted a challenge to XOJane: Stop reading straight white cis male authors for a year! Typically, people are up in arms because how can they stop reading their straight white cis male favs! And how dare anyone tell readers what to read! And isn't excluding people based on their identity discriminatory anyway! But this challenge comes from a very particular place. In much of the English-language reading world, most of the authors who get the most attention tend to be straight white cis men, especially in the science fiction fantasy world. In trying to read widely, and read what the mainstream rates the most highly, it's easy to fall into a trap of reading the same type of writer, over and over again.

As Silvia Moreno-Garcia points out, narrowing one's reading to particular themes, lists, and kinds of authors is actually a very normal and useful exercise. In English degrees, you will have classes like "Writers of the 18th  Century" or "Literature of the Fin de Siecle" or "Women Writers." My own English Hons. degree demanded that students take a particular range of courses that ensured we read a corpus in each century from the 16th onward, and took specialized seminars besides (the ones I took were on "Democratic Individualism" and the aforementioned "Women Writers"). It was a very valuable education; I learned about how writing trends shifted and reflected the norms and changes of the society that it was written in. Each century has its zeitgeist, captured by the literature of the time.