Singapore Love Stories is out!

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Singapore Love Stories is out now!

You can get your copy at: http://www.monsoonbooks.co.uk/books/singapore-love-stories-by-verena-tay/

It was such a surprise to see this in a bookstore and to have friends send me a picture of the cover.

Singapore Love Stories is an anthology comprising exciting stories by 17 Singaporean and Singapore-based writers such as Alice Clark-Platts, Audrey Chin, Clarissa N. Goenawan, Damyanti Biswas, Elaine Chiew, Heather Higgins, Jing-Jing Lee, Jon Gresham, Marion Kleinschmidt, Melanie Lee, Raelee Chapman, S. Mickey Lin, Shola Olowu-Asante, Vanessa Deza Hangad, Wan Phing Lim and edited by Verena Tay (as well as including a story of her own).

Simply put: the contributing writers are artists I look up to, and they’ve spun some sublime tales of love, loss, revenge and happenstance.

As for me, my story has gone through numerous drafts and revisions. I still remember when it came to me as I was walking back from work, and I was thinking about eating chicken rice (hint hint).

I’m still working and mastering my craft, but to have it inside a (real) book is a blessing.

Many thanks to Raelee Chapman for contacting me and Verena Tay for her exquisite editor’s eye. It was my first real time working with a group of writers and an editor. I learnt so much from everyone, and the experience was more than rewarding.

The official launch is during the Singapore Writer’s festival on Nov 12, the Arts House, Galley 2.

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#singaporewriters #swf #love

Singapore Writers’ Festival + Showcase

So after 1 year, I finally showcased my work at ‪the Singapore Writers Festival 2015, with my fellow writer’s of the MAP programme.

I’ve never performed my unpublished YA novel to a crowd, so it was both nerve-racking and rewarding. Being an alien, a teenage girl, a stuttering boy, and a dog on stage was a challenge (makes more sense in the book)! It was also awesome being among such passionate, talented writers that I’m honored to call friends.

Thank you to my mentor Jocelyn Lau for her invaluable feedback, and Stella for always being a pillar of support. Also many thanks to The Writers’ Centre and The National Arts Council for investing in this programme!

Now onward to publish my novel.

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Your Art is crap…but that’s okay

I’ve been putting it off for too long.

Let me fill you in: I wrote a novel four years ago. My first reaction? Hell YEAH! Take that Stephen King. Eat my dust JK Rowling. James Patterson—who’s that?! So there it was, a completed manuscript, in my hard drive, fermenting in digital soy sauce. And you know what? I was happy. I was exuberant. I was feeling like a freakin’ genius.

I read it last week.

 

It was crap. Damn…

I’ve written a few rudimentary novels in my twenty-seven years alive. I really cared about this one. That’s why it hurt. That’s why it hit me hard. That’s why I’m writing about it now.

Listen up. I believe this.

I believe that all artists—directors, writers, painters, singers, rappers, poets, and interpretative mime artists—take their art seriously. Too seriously. We’re an insecure group that craves affirmation and acceptance. We want people to say: “Hey, that was awesome!” although know-one truly cares. We want people to call us a genius, when, most of the time, our best work will remain invisible.

I envision my writing craft as a Jujitsu-trained pelican. It stabs me with its bill every time I make a mistake. It hits me hard. Every time. Pelicans don’t like me. Interesting fact.

Moving on.

I had to be honest: Kane, you’re a crap writer. Your sock choices are horrendous, too. Idiot.

But wait. Was it really that bad?

Think break. It hit me when I was on the MRT. There are levels to crap. It’s true—every profession, every artwork, every piece of work. So I began to think: what did I really do?

I transformed a dream…into a reality.

We often don’t give ourselves credit, but sometimes, the simple act of creating is enough. Transforming a dream into a reality, something you can see, read and touch, is an incredible feat. It takes time. It takes focus. It takes blood, sweat and repeated pokes to the heart. So what if we weren’t so self critical all the time? Where would that lead us?

Here’s my advice: Just complete. See your creations through.

Create your own story—an oil painting, a film, a stick figure drawing—and finish it. Make it personal. Care about it. Love it. Don’t have sex with it. That’s weird. But love the process.

Sometimes we need to think of our work as crap to push ourselves forward. And it’s okay to admit when it’s not your best work. Sometimes we put in infinite amounts of effort, and get nothing back.

Know this: you are making better crap every time. Slow steps. There are geniuses in the world. The simple fact is all of us aren’t. So practice and go through those growing pains. Pain is growth.

Right now I’m editing the second draft of my young adults novel. I’m looking back at myself four years ago, and I can see the intention, the enthusiasm, the fire to finish. But…

Art will never be perfect.

There will always be a “better idea”, a “better sentence” or a “better shot”. Make mistakes. Learn to love them. Do better next time.

So keep going. Success is just over that hill of crap.

This is Er? (Created in 2004)

This is Er? (Created in 2004)

This is Er from a comic I created in 2004.

Er likes cigarettes (he smoked his first ciggy when he was 6 months old), he likes ‘Carlsborg’ beer, he has a mop-like dog called ‘Dog’, and has an invincible arm. He can’t move it. Sadly.

Time to channel myself from 10 years ago and continue it! Oh and where the hell did 10 years go…