When I started this blog, it was intended for me to dispel the metaphorical wall that had materialised in the midst of my thesis writing journey. It felt kind of counterintuitive to attempt to overcome writer’s block by creating another writing project, but I wanted a space for me to write freely without the constraint that was put on my work or academic writing. More so than that, I wanted to write for myself for once. Little did I realise that over the years, this space had become a space for me to learn beyond myself, where I was presented with the opportunity for me to unlearn and explore uncomfortable issues that I had little to no awareness of or indifferent to when I was younger. If I kept asking myself, “what good can I do with this knowledge that I earned?” after finishing my thesis journey, I guess I could also apply this to the broader moment right now too, as I acknowledge the many ways I have been delayed to the space of awareness, solidarity, and picking up the weight, and now I must do the work of catching up from someone not from the point of expertise — others are more equipped for that — but from the place of learning and sharing a journey.
“All good things must begin.” — Octavia Butler, journal entry.
I still could not stop thinking of Octavia Butler’s practice of speaking into existence. It turns out she had been writing these motivational notes to herself — words of affirmations soon turned into a prophecy — all throughout her career. Growing up black and poor in Pasadena, California in the time of de facto segregation, the encouragement was essential to her, “she wrote because she had two choices: write, or die. “If I hadn’t written, I probably would have done something stupid that would have led to my death,” she said cheerfully. We’re fortunate that she chose to write.”
I am also reminded of the power of words in this article, “Recently, I heard Angela Davis talk about the radical imagination,” Ms. [Saidiya] Hartman said. “And a fundamental requirement is believing that the world you want to come into existence can happen. I think that that is how black folks have engaged with and invested in and articulated freedom, as an ideal and as an everyday practice.”
Suleika Jaouad in one of her writing prompts in The Isolation Journals also poses this very interesting question on writing and words: “What if we viewed writing as an act of translation — not from Spanish to English, but from the abstract realm of our imaginations to the concrete realm of the page?” I propose something much further than that — from the realm of imaginations to the concrete realm of the page, to the physical manifestation of the life we had been imagining?
All good things must begin.
Reading in my tabs:
- Meet the latest campaign tool — TikTok.
- “They had political commitment early on at the highest level,” says John MacArthur, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s country representative in neighbouring Thailand. “And that political commitment went from central level all the way down to the hamlet level.” How Vietnam, with a population of 95 million, recorded 0 deaths from Covid-19 and is currently on 61-day streak without a single community transmission.
- How to read a coronavirus study.
- “I think everything is about race. Black communities, gay communities, immigrant communities feel a lot of media representations to be inadequate, biased. There’s a lot of reporting around police violence and black men, and I realised a lot of the arguments that we were having were about depictions. I started to wonder how different would it be if I swapped images or changed some of the text.” Artist and media critic Alexandra Bell reimagines a new journalism focused on the victims rather than the (white) perpetrators.
- Designer Amber Hughson designed a series of flyers outlining some alternatives to policing, in four languages. Also, this chart comparing policing reforms vs abolition.
- TIL baby-duck syndrome: a term used in Computer Science/Human-Computer interaction that corresponds to the tendency of computer users to always think the software they originally started/learned using is better. (via nicolasnova)
- I LOVE THIS. “I’m the unnamed girl from Avril Lavigne’s 2002 hit, “Sk8er Boi” and I’m here to set the record straight after 18 years of silence.”
- “How many things have I missed, letting my wet bangs touch my eyelashes, singing into a stream?”
- Reading: Sasha Costanza-Chock’s Design Justice, and James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time.
- Listening: Epistrophy, which is Thelonious Monk’s first single from his 1968 album, set to release this July. And new HAIM! And unreleased Prince!
- Viewing: This guy created a complete digital music studio app in Excel, and here are his a-ha’s Take On Me and the individual modules and objects on Github.
- Food & Drink: Nasi lemak, iced lemon tea, and tauhu bergedil.