Hey there. Welcome back. It’s been a while.
The 2021 When Words Collide Writers’ and Readers’ Festival is over for another year, and what a festival it was. It was, because of some pandemic which shall remain nameless, online again this year. The scramble to get Zoom Hosts lined up at the last minute was frantic, but somehow, Randy made it work. And indeed it turned out fantastic. Big shout out to everyone who volunteered as a Zoom Host or otherwise. It was a huge job. Without the volunteers, this festival would never get off the ground.
So, during the WWC, I got to be part of a panel entitled “Moments of Joy.” It was to launch Laksa Media’s newest anthology entitled Seasons Between Us where my story (written under the pseudonym C.J. Cheung) entitled “Clear Water” appeared. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Anyway, as typical for a Laksa Media launch, it was not a typical book launch. Each author who was present gave us their moment of joy. Here’s mine:
“I thought about this a lot, but I couldn’t come up with just one thing, one moment that I could point to and say “that is the moment of Joy” I wish to talk about. I could talk about my wedding day, a truly joyous day tinged with the sadness of my father’s passing less than a month earlier. I could talk about the birth of my sons, now both teenagers, and the feelings I had on that day. But for me, moments are ephemeral. They don’t last. They are fleeting.
Instead I chose to look at the journey: my journey as a writer, as an artist.
Of course, I didn’t start out as an artist.
When I was young, I was told I couldn’t become one. At that time, I wanted to pursue a career in acting, but everyone told me that was not the route I could go. I couldn’t earn a living as an actor. I was good, but there weren’t any roles for Chinese actors. So I chose to take my art underground: I did some theatre at University. I played role playing games. I LARPed. I went to law school (not only to please my parents, but because the thought of becoming a litigator and getting up in Court enthralled me. Of course, reality was much different than the fantasy and I soon realized the passion wasn’t there. I needed to live the life I wanted.
My father’s passing became my opportunity. It meant I had to relocate to Alberta. It meant I had to restart my life. And this time, I was determined to live as an artist. By this time, I had started writing. It wasn’t good, but I thought this was where I could go with my art and to my surprise, I found that people liked what they read.
It is often a truth in life that moments of sadness can lead to moments of joy. And my moment of Joy isn’t really a moment. It’s a life. Make no mistake, writing is hard and there are days it is difficult and I feel unmotivated. But this is where I want to be – what I want to be doing. The journey continues and I’m grateful to share this journey with all of you.”
So, to commemorate my future journey, I presented my Daruma Doll (pictured above) to the audience.
Anyone who knows what a Daruma Doll is, knows why the eye on it has been dotted. You see, in Japanese lore, each Daruma doll has the spirit of a Kami inside it. By dotting one eye, I have asked to make a request. If, over the next year I struggle and endeavour to make that wish come true, the Daruma Doll will grant that request. Well, I publicly announced what that request is at one of the panels entitled “Moments of Joy” (this was the Laksa Media launch of Seasons Between Us wherein my story, Clear Waters appears).
So my request? To finish drafting and revising my third novel (at the very least – there might be more – including a novel with certain Jiangshi in them) by the time the next WWC rolls around. A tall order I know, but if I get it completed, I will complete the Daruma Doll’s ritual and dot the other eye thereby granting the Kami of the Daruma Doll full sight. I can then set the Kami free (how you ask? Well that is a story for another time).
Wish me luck.