I had an overwhelming urge to write the other day. However, when I got to my desk, I found that, no matter how hard I tried, I could think of nothing to write about. ABSOLTELY NOTHING!
If you’ve ever found yourself in this position, start up your trusty old Firefox browser and google the phrase “writing prompt”. You’ll be directed to hundred of sites that will generate, at the click of a button, hundreds of ideas you could write about. This is the easy part. The hard part, however, is choosing from the flood of ideas spewing from these ‘prompt generators’.
I decided not to trawl through all the ideas in an effort to find one that I actually liked. After all, where was the challenge in writing about something I knew I could write about? Instead, I went back to the first one that I saw: “My 10 Greatest Joys”. Despite the anxiety I felt – words like ‘great’ and ‘joy’ seldom appear in my life – I decided go ahead anyway and take the pain like a man. So here’s my first piece of writing based on the suggestion made by a prompt generator. My 10 greatest joys; in no particular order of importance.
1. Jamming with my Fender Telecaster – Strung with a fresh set of D’Addario XL Red light-gauge strings and retro-fitted with a rosewood fingerboard, the venerable Telecaster is a piece of guitar heaven – especially when run through a vintage Mesa Boogie valve amplifier. I happen to like this set-up because it makes my playing sound a lot better that it really is. Add to this a couple of like-minded friends who can lay down a decent 12-bar blues progression, I’ve got I made!
Optional: A few good joints of hashish and a bottle of Southern Comfort
2. A stay at the E&O Hotel, Penang – This isn’t just a holiday, its trip in a time-machine back to the time when Somerset Maugham actually stayed there. Every time I am there, I could swear that Mr Maugham was staying in the very next room. I’ve never met him, though.
Optional: A butler named Miles who will attend to all my needs. Well, ALMOST all my needs, OK? I’m as straight as they come!
3. A good breakfast – This will comprise of 2 beautifully browned toasts, heaps of real butter, a jar of freshly made thick-cut English marmalade and an endless supply of Darjeeling English Breakfast tea.
Optional: Free-range eggs over easy and the day’s copy of the Daily Telegraph.
4. Writing with my Lamy 2000 fountain pen – Writing with this Bauhaus-inspired (read: minimalist) pen is a sensual and personal experience that is perhaps second only to sex. Its 14 carat, oblique medium gold nib flexes just the right amount and speaks to me in a language no one else can understand (or so I would like to think). Loaded with Diamine’s Emerald ink (made in Liverpool, of all places), the Lamy 2000 never fails to give me multiple writing orgasms.
Optional: A box of personalised Amalfi handmade writing paper. I know, they cost almost a much as a small car, but no harm in trying, right?
5. Spending time with my sons – OK, they may not be the well-behaved, good-looking, and over-achieving offspring that almost everybody else seems to have. They are far from perfect. But they are MY imperfect sons, warts and all: And love them to bits. I get a big kick when the eldest, a strapping 19 year old lad, tries to hide a hickey from me or when the 4-year old asks me to get him a ‘gangster’ when he actually means a ‘hamster’.
Optional: No need for anything else here.
6. A good dinner – I’m no ‘foodie’ or fine-dining snob, but I do enjoy a good dinner; especially if it is in company of people I appreciate. The location and the menu aren’t really as important as the conversation and interplay of emotions and ideas between the people sitting at the table. We don’t have to talk about the latest development in Super String Theory or how screwed-up the government is as long as we can appreciate each other for who we are. Often, this is best said only with the eyes.
Optional: A good Cognac and a plump, moist Monte Cristo Nos. 4 cigar afterwards
7. Smoking – This is not politically-correct nowadays nor is it very commendable. But light-up a Benson & Hedges with me over a ‘teh tark’ and I’ll be your friend for life. I know that I will quit tobacco altogether some day. However, I don’t think that day is going to be tomorrow.
Optional: A deck chair on a verandah of the E&O that’s facing the sea.
8. Watching Casablanca – I keep watching this movie over and over again. No matter how often I watch it, it is always the airport scene when Rick Blaine says to Isla Lund, “Where I’ve got to go, you can’t follow. What I’ve got to do, you can’t be any part of…” that gets me. Watch the scene again and tell me you don’t agree with me.
Optional: Angelina Jolie, with her head on my lap for the entire duration of the movie. (Shhhh! Brad doesn’t have to know,OK?)
9. A freshly laundered, crisp, white shirt – The feel of a clean white cotton shirt on my skin after an invigorating shower and a splash of Brut is pretty hard to beat: even Jessica Alba would have a tough time getting it off of me the minute I finish buttoning it up. I don’t know about two minutes later, though
Optional: A Hermes necktie. Why? So that Ms Alba wouldn’t be so totally naked.
10. Nordin Ahmad movies – Insanely courageous, indefatigably proud, deeply articulate, and unwavering in his convictions. Noordin Ahmad is the quintessential classical Malay male. In a way, the characters he plays – Damak in Seri Mersing, for example – are symbols of the good things the Malay culture has to offer. Whether this is a good thing, of course, depends on what you like (or dislike) about the Malay culture. Cultural differences aside, they simply don’t make men like Noodin Ahmad anymore.
Optional: A mirror: It tells me I’m nothing like Noordin Ahmad (PAH!)
It appears that this is fertile ground for a tag. So, I am tagging my friends Elviza, JT, Ruby, Cipan, Cakapaje (of Talk Only), Blabarella and Ectopy to do this tag (if they feel so inclined). The tag is: “My 10 Greatest Joys”
Everybody else is also welcome to give it a try, too.