How a Cantonese Drama Caused Me to Almost Die

 

Let me set the scene.

I’m fifteen years old. My brother’s old water game is finally mine because he left home. It’s ancient, and I want the basketball out of it.

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(Something like this, but not exactly)

So I grab a mini screwdriver and begin to try to pry the little top part off. It’s old and has basically turned into concrete. I miss it entirely, cut my hand with the screwdriver, and proceed to panic.

I panic because I’m convinced I’m going to die of tetanus.

And then I faint, narrowly missing whacking my head against the wall and hitting the hard tile instead. This is also, incidentally, the best nap I’ve ever had. Seriously. My mom was shaking me to wake me up, and it felt like I was in the best sleep of my life.

It took a lot of effort to open my eyes.

A lot.

It was the best nap ever. In retrospect, as an adult, I realize that was probably not a good sign, and my parents should definitely have taken me to the hospital. They didn’t. They were never super concerned about my health.

Anyway, so why you ask was I convinced I was going to die of tetanus?

That’s where the Cantonese drama comes in. We lived in Singapore at the time. I lived there from the ages of eight to eighteen. And every afternoon on TV, there would be a soap opera/drama type show.

This one, in particular, was Cantonese so I read the subtitles. It was set during wartime in Singapore.  I can’t remember the title. But at some point during the series, this woman, who’d been acting, as a nurse steps on a rusted nail, gets sick, and dies. Because, of course, she does.

I was a melodramatic teenager, and that terrified me.

Fun Fact: I still have a real fear of stepping on a rusted nail lol.

And that’s how a subtitled drama almost killed me lol.

Staying Focused in Crisis

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How do you write in the middle of a global pandemic?

It’s definitely a conversation going around the writing community. Here are a few things I’ve been considering/doing/whatever.

  1. I accept that some days I just don’t have the mental, physical, and/or emotional energy to put pen to paper.  I try to be kind to myself in those moments and not stress. Words will happen eventually.
  2. Write something that brings me joy. Now, at least for me, isn’t the time to write something that feels like pulling teeth.
  3. Turn off social media and the news. Nothing kills my writing vibe than a constant influx of bad and overwhelming information.
  4. Take breaks. Seriously. Take a walk, read a book, watch my favourite TV show. Anything but trying to be creative.
  5. Find a new routine. I’m autistic. Routines are in my DNA. So, I’ve definitely had to add a new normal into the structure of my day.

What are you doing to keep focused?

What am I binge-watching in isolation?

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I thought I’d share what I’m watching on Youtube, TV, Netflix or Amazon Prime. They’re in no particular order.

  1. Rosemary & Thyme (Amazon)
  2. Pretty Pastel Please (YouTube)
  3. S.W.A.T.
  4. React Channel (YouTube)
  5. Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries (Amazon)
  6. Nailed It! (Netflix)
  7. The Unit
  8. Great British Bake Off (Always)
  9. One Day At A Time (Netflix)
  10. Live Rescue

What about you? What are you binge-watching this week/month? Do you binge-watch at all?

Fear and Journalling.

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If we’re honest with ourselves, there have been moments of anxiety and fear over the past few weeks. It’s easy in the midst of isolation to bottle everything up inside. And even if we don’t want to burden our friends/family, keeping it all internal isn’t healthy.

I haven’t written in a journal/diary in ages. In my teens and early twenties, I actually kept up with a journal a fair bit. For some unknown reason, it fell away in my thirties and now forties.

A few weeks ago, I saw a tweet from a historian who talked about how we should be writing down our experiences through this pandemic. I can’t find the tweet now, unfortunately. But it stuck in my mind.

I thought about all the personal accounts of other historical events I’ve read. They seemed to take on a suddenly deeper meaning. I can better understand why those people took pen to paper.

Sharing their thoughts must’ve been so cathartic in terrifying times when so much was out of their control.

It’s basically where we are now. Aside from keeping up with social distancing and other recommendations, there’s little control we have over this pandemic. And even the most zen of my friends is experiencing stress, anxiety, and fear.

I’m an author.

I deal in fiction.

Writing the truth of my thoughts seemed much more intimidating at first.

I’m a few days into my journalling. It’s provided an amazing outlet for the unease I’m feeling. Putting everything down on paper has offered some relief.

And somehow, a physical journal is definitely better than an online one.

I’ve been both pouring out my thoughts on paper but also jotting down what’s happening in my area and the things I’ve seen.

It’ll be interesting to look back in a few months or even years to read through my own personal history of this pandemic.

How about you?

How are you processing everything right now?

The Toxic Productivity Trap

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In the midst of the current state of crisis and upheaval, we’re all mostly at home in self-isolation. Or, we should be. And I keep seeing all these ‘ways to stay active and productive’ videos and blog posts.

On the one hand, I do think finding a new routine is essential, particularly for those not used to working from home.

As someone who has worked from home for years, it’s important to keep yourself motivated. And it can be infinitely more difficult when you’re not in an office.

But.

But.

But, I think productivity at times like this can be a dangerous and unhealthy trap.

We put our health to one side. We base too much of our self-worth into what we accomplish. And then, we seem to fall into a cycle of work, work, work, and not much else.

In a global crisis, maybe the best thing we can do is take care of ourselves–and each other.

Maybe the most ‘productive’ thing I can do is read a good book or play one of my favourite video games.

There’s nothing wrong with accomplishing.

Crossing items of your to-do list can become a bit of an addiction. But we shouldn’t be beating ourselves up for relaxing either. Doing nothing can be the healthiest part of your routine.

So, maybe while we’re all busy being productive. We should pencil time into our do to do nothing at all. Relax. Read a book. Binge-watch a new TV show. Something fun.

 

 

Late to the Party.

I’m currently writing Cosplay Killer an MM Cosy Mystery featuring two men who are into video games, music, and musical theatre.

In doing research, I had to brush up on some Broadway stuff. I’m not massively into plays. It’s never been my thing, though I have a lot of friends who are. I knew a little about Hamilton from friends and also because I think Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius of a wordsmith.

So, I found this video of him performing Alexander Hamilton at the White House.

I watched it twenty times. I was mesmerized. History has always been an obsession of mine and I was entranced by his performance.

Now, I’m autistic. I frequently fall down rabbit holes into new obsessions. And I haven’t had a new ‘special interest’ in a good while.

And I certainly didn’t intend to find one while researching a new cosy mystery series.

But there I was, going from one video to quite literally watching every Hamilton thing I could find on Youtube. Now I’ve listened to the soundtrack of the original cast a hundred times at this point.

Christopher Jackson and Lin-Manuel Miranda performing One Last Time are particularly brilliant.

The things I do for book research.

 

 

 

What do I do when I’m not writing?

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Do you have hobbies?
It’s one of the questions authors get asked. What do you do when you’re not writing? And sometimes it’s a hard one to answer.
Writing, technically, started as my hobby.
I’ve turned one of my hobbies into my passion and career.
The boring answer is my hobbies are mostly writing, reading, and playing video games. I’m the perfect combination of Gen X and Gen Z. =)
But, I’m also autistic, and I have a tendency to throw myself headlong into trying new hobbies.
When I was younger and not really aware of this habit, I used to buy EVERYTHING required to try a new hobby. And frequently, I’d wind up abandoning it after a few months.
A lot of autistics I know struggle with this as well.
We go all into an interest/hobby. And when we’re done, we’re 100% finished. No looking back at all.
So, what have I tried and abandoned?
Making soap: The fragrance stared making me sneeze.
Knitting: The yarn bothered my fingers. Damned hyper-sensitivity.
Chainmail: Fun, but my fingers also began to struggle with it.
Painting: I can’t even draw a straight line. I don’t know what I was thinking. Seriously.
Scrapbooking: Just. No.
 
What about hobbies that have stuck around?
Photography: I adore photography. I really want in 2020 to get back into doing macro photography. Maybe I’ll do one of those 365 challenges again.
Video Games: It counts.
Reading: Lifelong hobby that I’ll never give up.
Planning: A more useful version of scrap-booking, in my humble opinion.
 
What about you?
Do you have any hobbies?