We Write to Taste Life Twice

I am feeling stressed cos I deleted my Microsoft Word from my MacBook Air somewhere in India. I ran out of memory space on my laptop, and all the pics I’d taken on my camera were amassing to the thousands and I couldn’t shit them out onto my laptop. So I deleted all the apps on my MacBook Air, including my Microsoft Word…
And so now, I’m kinda stuck.
Since I came home two days ago, all the ideas and experiences I’ve accumulated over the past 9 months are swirling restlessly in my consciousness and making quite a multi-colour mess in there… it’s driving me nuts.
I’ve tried to placate it by posting pics on Instagram, captioning them, but the multi-coloured swirling mass and mess is getting angrier – I can feel it – and I know I need to get my ass down to Peninsula Plaza ASAP to ask my Apple store guy to reinstall my Microsoft Word or I’ll just explode.
I am the sort of person who needs to make sense of experiences through writing. Writing helps me reflect and organize my thoughts. But more so, writing is the vessel that brings my message out there. It’s the link from my internal world to my external world. My most natural form of self-expression.

In the midst of feeling this restlessness, I receive an email from an old friend of mine, Tan Su-Ming. Ning and I call her Su, sometimes Doctor Su. Cos she really is a doctor. As in, a medical one. But she is a singing doctor, as in she has a beautiful fat voice for a skinny girl. And she’s had several concerts at the Esplanade. She bakes the best banoffee pies. And she writes beautifully. Suffice to say, Ning and I respect her deeply.

Well, Ning had gone to see Doctor Su for a runny nose (thanks to blistering-cold Tibet), and had shared about having her laptop stolen in Madagascar. I’m not sure how the flow of conversation led to this, but the long and short of it is that Doctor Su shared this quote with her, and with me.
When I read it, it spoke directly to my soul.
so get this. Let me share these beautiful words Su shared with us. She didn’t write them of course, it’s by the late French-Cuban author Anais Nin, who was born in 1903 and died in 1977. But as they say, truths are timeless.

“… We also write to heighten our own awareness of life.
We write to lure and enchant and console others.
We write to serenade out lovers.
We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.
We write, like Proust, to render all of it eternal, and to persuade ourselves that it is eternal.
We write to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it.
We write to teach ourselves to speak with others, to record the journey into the labyrinth.
We write to expand our world when we feel strangled, or constricted, or lonely.
We write as the birds sing, as the primitives dance their rituals.
If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.
When I don’t write, I feel my world shrinking. I feel I am in prison. I feel I lose my fire and my color.
It should be a necessity, as the sea needs to heave, and I call it breathing.”
Anais Nin


  1. Can’t you reinstall MS Word yourself?
    By the way, do you have any particular things you do in order to write, or while writing? After reading the background of some authors, I know some of them have specific things they do, like using a typewriter, or writing the first draft(s) out by hand on paper. I’ve even read about some folks using a fountain pen when writing their drafts. So, is there anything you and Mademoiselle Magic do when writing?

    1. Hi David, thanks for your comment and questions! Well, I do usually have to create a conducive environment to write first. That helps. So it’s to surround myself with photos, appropriate music etc just to get me in the mood. So if I’m writing about Paris, then it would have to be some Parisian music playing softly in the background, a nice cuppa French coffee beside me…. Usually, I would have thought about the “hook” of my article earlier, that is, how I want to start my story. It’s the opening sentence and paragraph that either grabs your attention and makes you continue reading, or it puts you off totally. I start with that, and build from there. I usually just keep writing till the end. That would be my draft 1. I then edit from there, cut down, replace words etc till I get to my desired story length. On average, I do about 7 drafts before I let it go. So that’s my ritual. Don’t know about Ning — I’ll leave her to explain to you. But from what I gather, she writes once though and is a lot quicker than me! *LOL*

    1. yes, that will likely be what i’ll be doing! *LOL* thanks for the links! we do have come CDs of hawaiian ukulele music we got from alan and his friends (who threw a concert at ko’aloha). our fave on is by PALI. we used to blast it in our mustang convertible! LOL

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