#8 Sustaining

Hi there again. Why do the last 7 days always feel like a lifetime removed, recalling is like stealing from someone's dream. I beg your pardon for possible typos and incoherence. I feel like I'm looking at the world and corresponding from a bubble.

The word 'routine' kept popping up on everything I read the last few days? Work from home routine, routine to maintain creativity, routine to keep sane. What is a routine anyway? Is it rituals we create for ourselves to give confidence that things will work out? like rain dance? do we not have confidence in ourselves? or is routine something to blame if plans didn't work out? When everyone agrees to seeing a phantom, it must then exist. 

Instead of relying on a routine, I'm trying to strike a balance—tune in to myself and belonging to the population by wearing eyeliner to the mailbox 2 floors down. See others trying harder on @WFHfits.

Many apps are offering free downloads for limited (quarantine) time. In abundance seem to be the meditation apps that promise to calm, lower anxiety and increase mindfulness. The idea of guided meditation has never appealed to me, I'm allergic to being told what to do. 

However, a timer app with interesting alarm sounds seems like a fun (and free for now) alternative to checking my 2 dollar Ikea wall clock balanced on a stack of books. But no. If I needed to rely on an app to breathe, I'll need more help than any app can provide. 

Talking about meditation. Not too long ago, I drooled over a fancy meditation cushion that resembles a crescent converted into a throne. Organic cotton, whatever high quality stuffing, ergonomic, I bet it would have cooked 3 meals and done my laundry as well. It may look like an adult floatie on land, but it will take much more to keep me afloat in the ocean of my mind. So I’m still sitting on an old rolled up towel not old enough to become a beakie yet.


Anyway, this is a time unprecedented, what exactly are we trying to preserve? To perpetuate the ways that is evidently harming us? This article suggests throwing productivity out because it’s a time to sustain.

At the start of this letter, I mentioned I feel like I am in a bubble. The reading experience of Everything Under by Daisy Johnson feels just like it. Present, past, memories and stories we tell ourselves all thrown into a blender. Beautiful writing along an o-k story, but what's different is the hypnotic effect it had on me. I had nightmares about my own past for the two nights I read it before bed. 

I really enjoyed Voices in the Evening by Natalia Ginzburg. It's a slim volume with rolling vignettes of characters. Told without embellishment, it reads like a logical friend telling you observations from the village. You then align it to bigger truths, raise questions about life and love, and pretend to understand what living means.

In progress

I've started on a whole lot of 'stuff'. There are bodies everywhere on or under my desk. I can't see where most of them are going, but I plod along anyway.

One of them is moving forward and looking a lot more like something namable.

New borns

I made a fish with a head too big. I wrote: Her fins are smaller, so she paddles harder. Someone commented: she will then be stronger. 

Sorry I couldn't get her story out in time for this letter. My beakie stories though short and are really just vignettes, it takes me a long time to trim the words down to what is true to me.


This week I continue making different types of bean stew. What's new is the way I cut potatoes for simmering. I tried the Japanese way. After cutting potatoes into big chunks, I bevelled all the edges so it looks like a slightly rounded rock. It’s supposed to prevent the potatoes from breaking in the lengthy and violent boil. Much like taming the aggression against others, which in the end is kinder to the self. While waiting for the stew, I microwaved the potato trimmings for 2 mins, sprinkle with sea salt and crunch.

Where I am, in Singapore, social distancing law is officially a thing. The overall vibe is confusion. I'll end here with two beakies caught flouting the rules.

Till next, marn.