My voice is still developing. Over the past year, I think I’ve made a lot of progress.
I am writing for the sake of writing. I’m not doing it for fame. I’m not doing it for fortune. I do it because I love to write. That’s all.
I’m grateful for a platform to do that. Kane has a Pen was an idea to force myself to write more and develop an audience. Thanks for subscribing and being a part of my journey. Onwards!
I want to talk about what my writing experiences have taught me.
Writing has saved me more than once. Emotionally, financially and maybe even spiritually too.
I don’t have a heap of achievements or accolades, but I feel I’m headed in the right direction. I’m currently working on a children’s novel and it’s going well. I believe I can get it published. I believe I have a career doing it.
This is what I keep in mind when I work.
1) Don’t allow people to tell you that you can’t pursue your passion as a living.
Everyone as the right to do what they love and get paid.
I’ve heard so many people over the years tell me that “writing makes no money” or that “it’s better to get a real job.”
You can make a living doing anything you bloody feel like. Maybe it will take a bit more effort, a bit more patience, or a bit more luck. Stick with it.
I’m making a living right now as a scriptwriter, as well as pursuing a novel in my spare time. It can be done. It just takes discipline. Stop making excuses and just do it. Which leads me to…
2) Stop complaining
Everyone’s life is hard. Everyone has problems. Don’t be remembered as a person that always puts a negative spin on everything. No-one likes a Debbie Downer. Here’s an important FACT to keep in mind…
Whatever problem you have, someone probably has it worst.
Someone has, without a doubt, been through worst circumstances and obstacles. And they have overcome them.
Go to the library and read an autobiography of anyone you admire: Michael Jordan, Eminem, Chris Gardner, Muhammad Ali, Stephen King – ANYONE.
If they can overcome – so can you. Be thankful you’re alive for goodness sake.
3) Talent isn’t enough without hard work
Talent can only get you so far. The people that go really far are the ones that continually pound away at their craft. Hour after hour. Day after day.
I learnt this lesson from writers, celebrities, rappers (that also write continually) and entrepreneurs.
Just like Macklemore says in the song ‘Ten thousand Hours’:
If you like learning new words too…please do like this photo!
There’s no better feeling than finding the out the meaning of a word, then coming across it some time later, and comprehending it. It gives me a fuzzy feeling 🙂
The third time I see Tox hacking a body is during my first kiss.
His name is Nathan Skree. Not the boy I was about to kiss. The man Tox was murdering. I’m sitting outside the University, in an area we like to call the Smoke pit. I had my first cigarette here. It was midnight after the party.
“I think I like you Sam,” the boy in front of me says. He reaches for my hand and smiles.
There’s a figure behind him. Once again, like a shattered piece of glass. But this time it’s different. Shadows creep around him, as if terrified to take a step closer. A halo of light illuminates his actions. Tox is at it again. This is his past. This isn’t Tox now.
“Ex..cuse me?” I reply, my mind teetering on the edge of realisation. I’m hearing voices now. And smells – smoke. The boy in front of me, the one that eventually kisses me, still doesn’t realise. I feel sorry for him afterward. He goes off – talking about how much he adores for me. That he knew I was special ever since he realised my affinity for Stephen King novels. I don’t know what the fuck that means. Tox has my complete attention.
He can’t be more than fifteen years older than me. Mid thirties perhaps. His left arm, covered in blood, glints in the misty moonlight. It’s made of chrome and steel and cables. Kinetics, for a time, were allowed to walk around with such contraptions exposed. For a time. Eventually, when people started using them for bar room brawls, and for beating their wives, and for murdering their children, something had to be done. They were replaced. A few held onto the technology – many got rid of them out of fear.
I know it’s the Chains again. It’s all over the news. Business men and celebrities and housewives. Children and fathers and nomads. All over the world. Links. Spiritual bonds that defy all explanation. And me? Well, like with many others, mine’s with a serial killer. Nice.
The boy in front of me edges closer. He’s breathing heavily. I don’t know what to do. Tox is saying something to this Nathan. Whispering in his ear. It is then that I realise that the forms are changing. Like a passing storm, Tox is no longer there. By the time the boy kisses me, I have to close my eyes. I hope when I open them, he’ll be back again.
I open my eyes. Tox is sitting there, next to a bench. He’s dressed in prison overalls – dark blue with an electronic tag over his right arm. This is the now. Tox at this exact moment. He’s smoking a cigarette.
I can smell it. I don’t know why I couldn’t care less about this boy. Maybe I just like the idea that he’s watching me.
I was writing a poem when I saw him hack the body a part.
It was the second time. The first time I saw him I was in class. It must have been a week prior. I had drifted of into a frivolous daydream during history class. Mr.Hanikus was writing something on the tronic-board. There was a black bird outside, cawing. At first I didn’t know what to do. I let it envelop me completely.
The window before me was frosted. The figure, shattered in light, was tearing the corpse a part limb by limb behind it. No blood. Sounds. Dynamos and motors. Everything became still; a humming void of nothing behind my eyes. I found my hands clasped around my hair when I awoke. Dust and decay had clawed its way into my nostrils. Maybe others have felt the same as me. It happens just like that. Thoughts. Feelings. The pouring of another soul into yours.
The Chain event. I don’t exactly know when it happened. Probably at a time when everything and everyone seemed most connected. We liked to think of ourselves that way before it happened. Linked. By cables and computers and our ‘smart’ pocketed devices. Thousands of miles in one electronic nano-second. There must have come a point when the Universe had gotten sick of it. It wanted to shake things up. Toss us into the wild. To see if we could survive, if the only thing we were connected to, was each other.
But it didn’t happen that way. We slowly began to feel, see and experience the worse of us. Connections to people we could neither relate to nor understand. People that defied explanation. That defied logical sense. Bad people.
I feel Tox for the second time in my room. He’s tearing a part another body. I taste sweat on my own lips. It isn’t mine. My eyes search for something that isn’t there. I’m seeing his memories – I know it. He tears the flesh from a man in a black suit. His jaw snaps and breaks across his fingers like a chicken bone.Tox’s arm is metallic- a cannon of twisted chrome. He’s obviously a Kinetic. One of those things.
By the time he’s finished I know he has stopped trying to remember. He can feel me too. That I know. I envision him sitting up, wherever he is, and trying to remember me. It’s difficult for me to remember his face. There’s too much haze. I don’t think he can see mine.
But he knows my name. Samantha. I heard him speak it once in a dream.
I’m a twenty five year old Eurasian male. I’m a nerd. I’m a Trekkie. I like science fiction, dinosaurs and books about a combination of the two (Jurassic Park!). I have lots of hobbies and interests but there’s one that stands out from the rest.
I’m totally obsessed with rap music. *Cue frenetic rap music video*
So what’s the odd thing about that? Well, I’m pretty convinced that it has inspired some of my best work when it comes to writing, directing and producing.
While the thought of JK Rowling or Stephen King writing a masterpiece to a Tupac song makes me smile (and wonder), there’s something else to it. Music certainly inspires all forms of art. Can rap music inspire writers?
Let me state it now. Rap music IS writing.
My fascination with rap isn’t so much about enjoying rap music. It’s more about setting up the certain mindset BEFORE YOU WRITE. (Stay with me here). Because that is essentially what it is all about. Mindset.
When I was fourteen I was quiet, introverted and only really asserted myself during drama class, where I played over the top flamboyant characters. It made the class laugh. I felt good. But..
I was scared of my potential.
I was like that for a long time. Until my friend passed me a mix tape he compiled as a lark. For a skinny white teenager, girlfriend-less and without a semblance of cool about him – listening to that tape had a profound effect on me.
It had a lot of different rappers on it: Jay-Z, Nas, Notorious B.I.G, Eminem, Tupac, Wu-Tang Klan and other rappers. Yes most of the songs contained swear words. Yes some of the songs contain violent and lewd themes. Yes they were shocking.
It was empowering. To know that so much could come out of a sentence, rhyme or ‘bar’ as rappers call it. I was an avid reader in my teens but to hear the power of words -lyrically – was something else.
It wasn’t the music. It was the electricity of the words. (Yes words have electricity)
After I migrated to Singapore, at the age of fifteen, I voraciously began searching for new rap songs and rappers to fill my imagination.
I watched international ‘Rap battles’ on websites and youtube (where two rappers go head to head like competing boxers). I wrote my own raps. I performed my own raps.
I was obsessed.
How could these rappers create such intricate connections of words, and at the same time, produce such intimate commentary about family, war, violence, love and success?
Isn’t that the aim of every writer? To combine the fluency of the pen with emotion?
Rap music and Rappers struck me as a lesson in perseverance. Of courage. Of not failing to live up to your potential. Of defying the odds.
In rap music if the cards are stacked against you – it’s not an excuse! You are either great or you are already great. No in between.
I realised to be the writer I want to be – I need to think like that. There are no excuses. No backup plan. As Yoda once famously said: “Do or do not…there is no try.” (Actually it was really George Lucas…but you get the point).
In Eminem’s case: if a single white male, desperate, terribly poor, with societies norms against him, in the dangerous streets of Detroit could do it — with just passion and skill — why couldn’t I?
It was all there. All the lessons I’d need to know about writing and being successful. Of reaching my dream of being a children’s novelist, producer and film maker.
All rappers are writers. All writers are rappers too. It’s about the electricity you put into your words and work.
My journey eventually led me to perform numerous songs rap songs at friends birthdays and gatherings. I had gained a cool factor – finally! And I wasn’t scared of my potential anymore.
Rap music isn’t so much about making green, gyrating hoes and gold teeth.
It’s about confidence. It’s about asserting yourself. It’s about saying ‘I’m better than you’ and saying it with poise and conviction. It’s about embracing passion and using words to incite the senses.
It’s about saying: “I’m gonna rule this.”
We live in a society where political correctness prevails. We can’t say we are better than someone else for fear of being labelled as egotistical or big headed.
Rap music is about celebrating your greatness. Celebrating that you are the best. Celebrating that you can make it with determination and practice.
That no matter who you are, what you look like, your past or circumstances — passion and skill always prevails.
The last line of Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” sums that up perfectly. It’s a song that I listen to everyday when I need a boost, inspiration or an encouraging word. I don’t think it was even ‘scripted’.
You can do anything you set your mind to man.
Lose Yourself, Eminem
Celebrate the greatness within you once in a while. Perhaps right now you’re not the writer you want to be. Perhaps right now you don’t have the success you desire. Perhaps right now the odds are not stacked in your favor.
So what? There’s no use in complaining. Try thinking like a rapper.
Embrace pain. Push it into your words, stories and characters. Create your own electricity when you write. And know that..
One day you’re going to be the greatest (your definition of greatness.. no one else’s). One day it’s going to be your turn to reign. One day you are going to crush your enemies (your fears, your own doubts, and all those elements working against you).
Today I tidied my bedroom after a busy month. I know that isn’t a spectacular revelation. Or is it an occurrence worth a whole blog post about (…I guess it is). However today whilst tidying my room, I discovered something that I used to do quite well.
I used to write words down that I didn’t know.
I admit it. My vocabulary isn’t that amazing. I read quite a bit and find words I don’t understand all the time.
I think my tool shed (vocabulary) is packed with a few good ‘tools’ (words, adjectives, nouns) but nothing mind blowing. To be honest, it takes me a little time to construct a really good sentence. Why?
Well I’m just a slow thinker. I want to make sure that each word, sentence and paragraph is saying exactly what I want it to say. I also want to write it in the simplest and easiest to understand method possible.
However that doesn’t mean I can forget about my vocabulary. If words are my “weapons”, then I’m gonna need bullets.
What I found today was a Vocabulary Book.
What I used have was a separate book (a normal exercise book), and when I came across a word I didn’t know, I simply wrote it down. I would, after each reading session, decipher these words with a little sentence beneath it to describe how it could be used.
What a great idea! Why on earth did I forget about it!
I don’t know why I’ve forgotten to carry on this little training tip of mine. What is even more sad, is that I can’t remember a time where I actively used one of the words inside. I must forgotten, along with the book, about the words too.
My memory needs a lot of jogging. And I’m going to force him to get up and run.