Tuesday, February 26, 2013

KL Noir: Canta per me

Tomorrow, we - Fixi Novo and a bunch of friends - will be launching KL Noir - an anthology of dark stories  set in KL.

The event is at Kinokuniya KLCC, 8pm. Open for all.

I have one story in there - The Unbeliever - but what I treasure more are stories around this piece and the formation of KL Noir, from my perspective.

A few months ago, I was depressed and was whining about it. A lot. I'm a chronic whiner, and I take my rants wherever I could, for as far and as long as I can. I was fulfilling, I have no doubt, some sort of perverse psychological need.

I had, by that time, given up again on writing. I was going to be a corporate figure, and that was that. I was going to grow up and leave my Toys'RUs dreams behind. I was going to sever my childhood enthusiasm and replace it with boardroom cunning so potent, it would propel me to become a hybrid killer whale-squid in the corporate world. I was going to focus and apply myself as well as my gigantic brain to kill everyone.

Actually, it wasn't anywhere near that dramatic, but I'm channeling what went through my head at the time, and I was being very dramatic. Dramatic people always need an audience.

So I dragged everyone milly, nilly, vanilly. Wait, how does that phrase turn? Whatever. So I found myself with Amir Muhammad and Saifullizan 'Kasino' Tahir at a cafe somewhere, apologising again to Amir that my Buku Fixi novels Cintan and Lompat are nowhere near completion, when Amir said, "Hey, I'm doing this thing called KL Noir."

He explained it to me and the idea of publishing another short story had appealed to me.

"But I am compiling everything in one week," said Amir.

"No worries! I got some short stories and half-finished chapters I've been saving in my hard drive since I was 19 years old."

Which is true.

I have, off the top of my head, outlines for several movies, breakdowns for six seasons of an animated epic, thoughts on 20 TV series, random chapters of books and quite a few unfinished or unpolished short stories somewhere in my hard drive. A lot of them written before I was 20.

These ideas survived five PCs, several hard disk crashes and everything else life has thrown me.

So I took one of them, a clumsy homage to HP Lovecraft when I was in my "I'm not reading anything other than academic journals and literary classics" phase. I remember at the time, I was in UM, fending off advances from PIS-M people who mistook me for the King of the Nerds.

One of the journals I read outlined peculiar similarities between Druidic or Irish mythology - kelpie, mermaids, etc - with Indonesian idol worship.

Now, I knew HP Lovecraft was said to have drawn inspiration from Druidic beliefs to form his Ctulhu mythos, and I was - and still am - a fan of Lovecraft. So I thought, and this was me at 19 or 20 or so, "Maybe those creatures from HP Lovecraft's world can exist here as well, in Malaysia."

So I set about and wrote a tale originally titled Lovecraft in Lembah Kelang. I liked the title so much that I abandoned the story altogether to find another tale more suited to the title, and that one is an homage to Neon Genesis Evangelion and Dashiell Hammet, but that's another story, for another book - a novel perhaps.

So I dusted the story, gave it a polish, and gave it an ending. I must say, the 19-year-old me is a much better writer and storyteller. I have grown to be filled with more baggage and politics I care to admit, I'm afraid. The younger me was so much more filled with raw story.

But the story was done, all 17,000 words of it, and I sent it to Amir, and then set about to rediscover my industry as well as my spirit as a writer of fictional work.

So yes, that story in KL Noir re-ignited some of my passion, which I will take to Thailand in a few months' time.

Looking at the lineup, I would say The Unbeliever is NOT the best story in the book, but it is important to me as I am back on track to push forward my creative shit down the throat of the world.


When: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 

Time: 8:00pm until 9:15pm. 

Venue: Kinokuniya, KLCC. 

(Copied from Shaz Johar's blog, which came with it these tan highlights he contracted from somewhere and which I am too lazy to remove)

I will be late tomorrow, as I have an event to do in the day, but I will try to be as timely as possible.