A Year of Literary Walk

Books give you a better perspectiveThis is my first entry in the blog; and I am supposed to say something about myself ― that should not be too difficult, right? Not quite!

Most people would generally think that students of English, by virtue of their studies, should be able to write about anything and everything. It, therefore, comes as no surprise when we get requests from friends, aunts, uncles, cousins, neighbours, neighbours’ friends, colleagues, etc (and the list goes on), who want us to write a letter to the Town Council, or draft a business proposal, or even edit a wedding speech, dash off an irate email to their children’s school complaining about the dirty toilets, and there is no imaginable end to such bizarre requests.

When I was, however, given the chance to write for the student blog, I confess, I was diffident about whether I was equal to the task. For the past two days, I have been ruminating on how I should begin: I have been anxious about how I should sound; what tone I should adopt. It is after all, my very first entry; I have been concerned about the first impression. I had a sneaking suspicion that it was the perfectionist at work again. (To all the perfectionists out there, take note that oftentimes, the flawless perfectionist is also the vile procrastinator in all of us.)

This person, who felt the initial misgivings about writing about herself, was the very same person who had written nine essays in nine hours barely a month ago. I reckon, this is what examinations do to us; give us but the Hobson’s choice to write, and get it done.

Finally, one of my favourite writing motivators’ words glided into my head: “Let go of everything when you write…” says Natalie Goldberg, the author of Writing Down the Bones. And I did just that ― let go.

My name is Tiffany and I work in a book shop. The perks of working in a bookstore, is more than just getting staff discount for buying books. I am literally “living” in the legacy of great writers every day. I see writers sitting on the shelves every minute of my working day, gazing down or peering up. They are always above and around me. They scrutinize my every move, whispering into my ears my lifelong dream: “When are you going to be a writer?” Making the idea of learning literature all the more enticing for me, these literary juggernauts, in whose source of inspiration I have been all these years, finally propelled me to enrol on the BA English programme.

Dirt path through green trees.

“Pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Therefore, a year ago, resolved to get to know these “work companions” better, I signed up for the distance learning BA English course; and no decision could be more right than that. I have enjoyed my first year very much and I am looking forward to what I will be learning in the following years. Most importantly, this new discerning eye I am developing could be the perfect tool to sharpen my very own craft.

So what have I been up to since I sat for my first exams? To prevent myself from chewing all my nails off while anxiously waiting for the results, I determined to get busy. The post exams to-do list, which I prepared during the exams period (in anticipation of holidays), has now come in handy. On the list are “watch The Walking Dead (Season 4)”, “take doggies out for a day”, and “read Shin Kyung Sook’s Please Look After Mum”― things that I have been wanting to do when I have more time after the exams.

This is precisely what I am doing now, happily ticking the items on the list. Right now, I am savouring every moment of it because in a month or two, I will once again be swotting for another year. As the old Chinese adage says: “to take a rest is to be prepared for a longer walk”. Oh yes, I am definitely looking forward to another year of literary walk.

Tiffany is studying the BA English in Singapore.

2 Responses to A Year of Literary Walk

  1. Juliana Chua says:

    Thanks, TIffany, great post! I’m doing an external degree with UoL from Singapore too, and it’s a wonderful experience. I wish you all success in your studies and your career!

    Your fellow perfectionist 😀 😀

  2. levin29 says:

    Thank you Juliana, all the best to you too!

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