Sunday, March 24, 2013

Journeyman Mistakes: Journeyman's Journey

Didn't sleep tonight. Just wanted to read and write all night long, like how I used to.

I dug up a lot of the unfinished stories I have in my hard drive. Some of them written many years ago, when I first came to KL and most of  the other kids laughing at me cause I'm weird. Wasn't really bothered. By the time I came to KL in 1998, at 18 years of age, I have had 18 years of people mocking me under my belt.

Anyway, before I continue, here's something I found, amidst all those half-finished things:

The rain came down like sheets of glass, shattering at the pavement into tiny droplets that bounced back half a foot. The homeless, the drunks and the street pushers huddled around garbage can fires that fought bravely to stay lit amidst the omnidirectional downpour.            I watched them from the window of my second-story office, rubbing their hands, shaking. The rags that they wore unrecognizable for the clothes they once were, coats and shirts and dresses and drapes blending into one generic form: rags. Even their faces, if you look at them, had lost some of its humanness. Bad skin, bad teeth, wrinkles everywhere and breath that was as foul as any beasts’. Eyes hollow and sunk deep into their sockets. These people had faced the world and had lost, among other things, their souls. I watched them, like antelopes on the savannah, breathing, existing for the sake of existing. I watched them, in the dark.            The woman. A pinstriped dress under the heavy looking coat. A hat, and a veil. Red lips peeped under it. She cut a path through the huddlers like a finger on a clear pool. The gap quickly closed behind her. She should have known better. The streets are unpredictable. But not tonight. She was lucky. Tonight, even the worst and most desperate of them would not have tried anything. It was too cold and it was too wet. It was much better to gather round a fire than try to mug someone as beautiful (and therefore presumably connected) as her. The syndicate took care of its own. And this woman was probably one of them. A mistress, or a wife, it didn’t matter. You don’t touch them. Only one of their people would off another. Like I said, the syndicate took care of its own.
In Trenchtown, the syndicate was God.

The title of this series of articles is journeyman mistakes - it's a term for mistakes you make in the craft, along the way.

I saw the uneven tenses of these paragraphs, the little flaws and big ones. However, the biggest mistake I made was in not finishing it.

This is a story that was supposed to be novel-length or four comic books long. The last line held a clue. About the syndicate being God. That's all I'm saying cause among other things I've found, I want to finish this story.

The story came about due to an episode of a short-lived animated series called COPS - Central Organisation of Police Specialists. In the episode, the leader, Vest, started life as a private eye since COPS was disbanded. The writers of the show followed private-eye conventions of melodrama mixed with humour.

Trenchtown was a name used by Jack Mckinney in his Robotech novelisations. Trenchtown was Rook's hometown. I found out, later, that Trenchtown was quite a common name, like Kampung Batu Sawar. My family lived in Kampung Batu Sawar, Kuantan, for some time. It's still there. Then I found other Kampung Batu Sawars in Johor, Perak, Kedah - it's everywhere!

The story was also written to try and resolve my thoughts on religion as well as Brian Michael Bendis' crime noir comic book Torso.

I am currently writing so many things for so many different people, the most joy I get is in reliving my dreams of writing these stories. I do some stories for money, and I find little satisfaction in those.

My stories - the ones I abandoned to make way for more adult responsibilities, are resurfacing. I can no longer ignore them or push them to the back of my mind. In just two weeks, if I don't end up in prison, I'll be finishing all these stories.

I remember how the other kids treated me and I thank God I am not one of them. I wouldn't know what to do, if I lived in their world.