129 let’s pull ourselves together

part i: soooooo the Lord impressed words upon my heart over the weekend of 11 to 13 september. and it went something like this: not a push but a pull.

then the following string of words appeared (with about two hours worth of editing on the spot with Pei En):

It is not a push.
It’s not between two men, no
It’s not between you and me,
And how we struggle, no

Nor is it a pull like in a tug of war.
It’s not about your way or my way – about who wins.
It is not to separate, it is not to divide
What good are we, each, as a single thread?

It is not even a push between God and me, no
It’s not a push away,
Don’t push the father away,
No don’t push His love away.

It is not push, but a pull.
Yes, it is a pull, it’s a pull!

It is a pull towards God,
a pull towards Jesus,
it’s a pull from Him.

It is a pull to follow Him, to be with Him.
It’s a pull to be closer to Him.

People –
God has intended for us to be woven as a cord,
A cord of three strands,
that is bound together,
tightened together,
made strong together.
A cord created when we respond as one
to the pull of God.

With Christ holding us together,
we will not be brittle,
we will not be fragile,
we will not be loose,
we will not be weak.

We will withstand the stretch,
we will overcome.
He will use us to pull the lost towards Him,
To pull nations towards him,
To fulfil His mission.

So Church, remember, it is a PULL, not a push,
let’s pull ourselves closer together,
let’s tighten the knot of Christ,
and secure ourselves to Christ – our anchor.

Never forget, that a threefold cord is not easily broken.


part ii: i really want to share this as well, Lee Han and Serene came up to me a week later to hand me this picture. a vision that Lee Han received from the Lord as the spoken word was done and she got Serene to illustrate this:

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the veins are the Church, coming together as one to reach out and pulling the lost back Home

upon receiving it i had no words just awe at His picture. He is so alive in us!!!

the Lord is moving in the congregation and when the body of Christ is united as one, the Lord uses us to reach out to the lost. i really love how the shadow of the veins forms a hand. signifying the hand of the Lord, which is basically us! we are His hands touching lives, helping people, moving nations – but all this is only  possible through Christ. the closer we are to Him the more we become like Christ.

it has been two weeks and it is still fresh on my mind and spirit to witness how the Lord moves in us. i remember when He spoke those words to me, it was a prayer to be declared to His people. the blessings came from the Lord directly, He ministered to me. God does the changing of the hearts and opening of ears. He is changing each and every one of us. it is solely for His glory, all this for His glory.

everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.

Isaiah 43:7

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123 when a bright light left

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This is a letter of confession that is unsent. It contains the lamentations of a leader’s regrets and shame that he has towards his late servant of the army.

Dearest friend,

I know that you are no longer with us but I am writing to ask for your forgiveness.

A few days ago, I got news that my wife was pregnant. In fact, she was your wife. I have made it through so many months after your passing, and the guilt and shame that I live with return from time to time. For the past few nights, the moonlight that crept in from the balcony has been keeping me awake. Last night, I was pacing up and down the cold marble floor when I finally decided that I should pen my thoughts down to you.

Firstly, I’d like to thank you for your faithful service in the army. After your passing, I have repeatedly heard of the many great and desirable things about you from General Joab and your other comrades. He told me of how you had fought bravely for our nation and brought me pride without fail. Yet, their words pricked my conscience.

You see, no one else but your wife and God knows why you died. No it was not the archers that shot you. You probably thought you were faithfully serving your nation, but here I am writing to tell you the brutal truth and to seek your forgiveness.

It was my order to place you there on the battlefront. I needed to cover up for my mistake. And I have let you, my good soldier, down.

It happened on a night where the moon was nowhere to be found. I had seen her from my balcony as she was removing her robes. The servant girls were pouring spring water over her body with earthenware jars, her eyes closed as she relaxed and laid in the bath. Her face was serene and her long black hair was alluring. I caught myself standing at the balcony for a long time and realised how frustrated I felt that it wasn’t me who was with her in the bath. I am ashamed to even recall this incident. I know I should have stopped myself. I should have turned away. But I didn’t. Instead, I called for a boy to get her.

Sometimes when I stand at my balcony I am still haunted by that very night – it changed my life, her life and your life. It was because of that dreadful night that changed who I was, causing me to take your life away.

You and I were not very acquainted but the people could tell that I was a man with big ambitions, to lead my nation into victory and direct them towards success. I wanted to serve my people, guide them see the Light and be a role model for them. I suppose that the prosperity we enjoyed as a nation was because I was confident about my strength and capabilities. But after stumbling upon your wife and falling for her, I lost all of that strength I took refuge in and found my competency being stripped away. I lost myself.

Irrationality invaded my thoughts and panic overtook the wisdom I took pride in. When I heard the news that I had made your wife pregnant, I knew that I had to act fast. Honestly, I did not want to break your marriage but I had to pay the price for my foolish act. My plan was not meant to hurt anybody. I thought that getting you to leave the war and join your wife at home would settle this once and for all. I thought that what I was doing was for the best, for you and her.

Just the other day, I was observing a myna in the courtyard. It was searching for food and it chanced upon an injured butterfly. Using its beak, it caught hold of it but it was too large for it to swallow. Instinctively, the bird seized its wings and shook the butterfly violently. It took the bird a great effort to finally break the wing of the helpless butterfly and swallowed it. That reminded me of myself.

Did you know that you drove me mad? You were not easily enticed by entertainment or even allured by the idea of spending a night with your wife. I can remember your passionate words spoken unto me, “I’m sorry”. You could not bear to abandon your comrades. While Joab and the rest slept in tents, you did not deserve rest at home, you explained. And I saw what sort of man you were, the honourable one that I was determined to eliminate. You opened my eyes to see that I was the deplorable man deserving to be condemned.

Resentment mixed with fear overcame me. If I could not get you to follow through with my plan to preserve your marriage, I knew that I had to get rid of you entirely before my name was tarnished. Hence, I ordered Joab to move you to the front of the battle.

It was one of the rainy days when the fateful news came to us that many men had died in the recent confrontation.

I saw her – your wife – fall to the dirt ground. She was screaming your name amidst the thunderstorm. The servant girls rushed to help her up but her heart weighed her down. Her continuous wailing made my insides churn and her scream dragged my heart down into abysmal depths. I remember rushing back to my quarters to rest from all the commotion.

I thought all would be well after conniving the ultimate ploy to get rid of you, but what filled my heart turned out to be guilt instead of freedom, remorse instead of repose.

It is probably too late to apologise because after you have departed, darkness crept into my life. I just want you to know how guilty I am of being a proud scoundrel that refused to lay my crown down to acknowledge my mistake of sleeping with your wife. To think that I could outsmart the people around me, especially you, and to try and manoeuvre around my mistake – I was wrong.

The bloodguilt that stained my hands stumbled me from leading my people. I was drowning in the scarlet sea of my shame, shackled to the curse of my iniquity. I was afraid and lost in complete darkness, without vision or any sight of redemption. I know I do not deserve forgiveness, but I begged God to show me mercy.

I am so bloody broken. What I did was selfish. I disregarded another life. I played God to think that I could have it my way. Now I want to confront my past and plead with the innocent man whom I have harmed. I sincerely hope that you will look beyond my abhorrent actions and forgive me, will you?

I still remember the last words you said to me, and these words have been ringing in my ears recently. It showed me your sincerity and nobility as a solider and man. You said, “My lord, thank you for showing us servitude, and what resilience is. You’ve led us selflessly, always placing others before yourself. It is an honour to be led by someone so upright and virtuous. I have learnt a great deal from you.”

I am not sure why the first time I had heard these words from you, didn’t strike me to have a change of heart but it must have been the evil within me that deafened my ears. My friend, you command my utmost respect for your brave service to this nation.

I will look after her and love her as you did. After the day we heard the news of your passing, I decided to take her as my wife because I felt compelled to care for her. We lost our first child, but we have been blessed with another. I am not proud of what I have done as a leader and I have learned things the hard way. With you gone and my first child taken away, it is time for me to learn from you what it truly means to place others before my selfish ways.

It seems like things are no longer as dim as it used to be. The cold days have grown warmer, and the light of dawn a little brighter.

Yours faithfully,
David

103 i was thrown a question

I was thrown a question: “Would you rather blissful ignorance or miserable knowledge?”

Confidently, my (initial) answer was blissful ignorance. My stand was that with knowledge comes a price to pay that you cannot afford to forget what you have known.

Yet, when I gave time for the question settle in, I wondered to myself – am I living in blissful ignorance or do I have knowledge of the painful things that are happening around me?

In recent weeks, I have been faithfully reading the papers and news sites churning out devastating articles of the political state in Iraq, the anguished families of the Boko Haram-abducted girls, and the situation of the Al-Jazeera journalists. There were many issues that I wrote in my journal and filling up the pages effortlessly.

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Every day I updated my journal, asking myself “what’s happening in the world today, nic?”; I cut out maps from the papers showing the states that were taken over by the Islamic State (known as ISIL). I attached myself to the papers and started following the situation daily.

I began to realise how selfish I was to want to live in ignorance.

When I finally recognised how horrifying the magnitude of the mess was in the affected countries, I realised what it had really meant when war needed to stop. Each day the problem didn’t subside but instead it swelled. You see the ugliness that men are capable of. Did you know that in June alone, 2,000 over people died in Iraq? Were you aware of that? Yet, this is just is just once state.

Comfortably we live in Singapore, cushioned with a home and indulging on the contentment of a normal life. We have subconsciously blocked out stories of destruction beyond our country.

I couldn’t understand why my heart was so heavy because I didn’t have the capabilities to do much from where I am. With this basic knowledge of what is happening, I recognise that I am a citizen of this world with the duty to know what is going on and so everyday these people are in my prayers.

This miserable knowledge that I acquired on my own is a responsibility and a burden that I feel strongly for. I mean, I would love to live in blissful ignorance but only to matters that are menial and petty because there is nothing far more urgent than the suffering of the helpless.

102 that same love

them gramps

she’s in her kitchen chopping the garnishes and skilfully cranking the pincers of the mud crab. she throws in a dash of salt and pepper, pours in the ketchup and sprinkles the spices into the boiling pot.

he’s in the common room. seated on the holey-designed plastic chair, he stares deeply into the places unseen.

day in and day out, the same routine as one orchestrates her meals while the other waits in the common room.

lugging the chair after him, he makes his way to the gate. “anne ah! anne!,” he croaked in hokkien. “lock the gate!!!”

“yes, yes,” she replied back from the kitchen as she finishes the final touches to her chilli crab masterpiece. she walks over to the ironing board and grab her keys for the gate.

from the entrance of the house you only see the grey concrete of the corridor. stoned and still, sitting faithfully next to him is the family bulldog, nameless and peering out with him. the scenery can only get better if a neighbour exits the lift and greets him as they make their way home.

back in the kitchen, she scoops the ember thick gravy from the pot and transfers the crab to the serving plate. at the dining table she sets the dishes neatly with the chopsticks and spoon.

they eat in silence. one pulls the shell apart without much force and offers the flesh to the other, yet the other refuses. “no, no. no.”

after lunch, she reclines on the two-seater sofa while he reclines on the brass framed queen-sized bed in the next room.

every few minutes he coughs and hollers for her “anne ah anne!” she responds “oei!” in acknowledgement and a way of telling him she is on the way. she proceeds to hit him hard on the back to clear the phlegm that was irritating his body.

by dusk, they are seated at the same dining table. the television was reporting the usual evening news before the empty sofa ahead; but the old folks’ ears were attentive to every word the news anchor said.

“oh Iraq, every day there is something about it,” she exhaled in mandarin.

the moon comes up, glistening in the pure darkness of the night. comfortably, he lays in bed while she sits on the edge of the bed. they talk about their children and grandchildren’s future. oh how time flies, they are growing up and moving on to different phrases of life.

“so that’s how you say ‘future’ in mandarin. you lousy teacher, don’t teach me properly,” she complained to him. the casual remark sparked the youthfulness and playfulness of their long companionship.

it reminded me of how I used to watch her look after her mother when she was wheelchair bound. she would nag at her and stand by her faithfully.

after tucking him in to bed, she walks out of the room and as she was about to close the door, he said: “leave the door open!” she replied harshly yet lovingly: “ya la!”

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101 an ending with great f(r)i(e)nds

milestone

I am finally closing a chapter in my life.

these were the most productive three years that i ever lived in my twenty years of being. i am equipped with skills that can land me in a proper job and i can actually be earning enough as my own rice bowl.

this was the place where i made the wrong decisions but learned how to pick myself up from the hard falls.

these were the days that i struggled with confidence and security.

three years where i wandered about trying to find out who i was, yet there were bits and pieces of me found at the least expected crevices of the dark alleys.

there were days where i bawled my eyes out only to find myself lost and with the urge to fast forward time to graduate because i wanted to run away from responsibilities and conflicts. now, we have finally reached that day.

but the greatest element that spiced up my polytechnic life were the people. these people built me up, they shaped me to be who I am, they even screwed me over – but I am not messed up. i am the product of the refinement of these three years and God has showered me with great favour and love.

this milestone has got me appreciating the people who were my pillars of support, my parents and great friends that were sifted out from the hundreds of faces i saw everyday.

so no, these people aren’t just the world to me because people come and go, i would rather see them as my gifts from God that I can journey with for the rest of my life.

100 times of love have not changed

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now 78 years old, she prepared a feast for me.

she served porridge, like she used to 15 years ago: my favourite egg and dark soy sauce; braised chicken; fried fish and gang-gong and it got me asking for seconds.

she knows the details of her children’s love stories and how they met their other half. how foolish some of them were to give up the world for a pea; while some found their true one.

she said to me in mandarin: “as long as he does not take drugs and gamble.” she would approve of him. i figure she is simple to please.

she is a hard worker, for her family, and her future.

she worked at her noodle stall every day for 40 years. a bowl of noodles used to cost 50 cents, a bowl of noodles costs three dollars now. oh times have changed indeed.

she brought the five-year-old me to the doctor lai’s when my hands and feet swelled and it hurt to walk. and she still offers to bring the 20-year-old me to doctor lai for a petty cold. times of love have not changed.

then 58 years old, was when she first held me.

a few weeks back, i visited my grandmother. she prepared a hearty lunch for the both of us. she told me in great detail about my uncle and aunties’ love stories including my parent’s, it was as if it happened not too long ago.

i decided to take the bold move and invited her to come to church, she did not say no, but she tried to delay the answer of saying yes.

i asked her: “but what if we pass on, where will you go?” and she said: “我会下去, 你会上去.”  (i will go down and you will go up) and it broke my heart to hear her say those few words. i fought back the tears and said: “可是我要看到你.” (but i want to see you again) and she smiled.

she didn’t say ‘no’ to Jesus, so i pray and i wait for Him to open the doors to her heart.

092 warmth found in the cold

“the cold was set at 7 degrees celcius, the chilly wind bit me at my toes and fingers. but the sun’s warmth on my face and neck made it bearable.”

last december, i was in japan for a couple of days. i spent my christmas with my family abroad and it felt… empty. you may not know but the japanese don’t celebrate christmas, so there was no holiday. but the warmth from being with your family and familiar faces of our japanese hosts made our stay warm and comfortable.

we ventured many prefectures although it was our second time in osaka. even though we were in the city, the streets were almost deserted and quiet. it was really difficult to tell apart if it was a weekend or a weekday or a holiday even.

the train rides were another favourite. i love the way the rail worked and sounded, even the loud horn that the underground train worked was amazing. well, the long rides were therapeutic as well!

one thing i enjoyed during my stay were the people. the japanese smile and greet you even if you didn’t see them coming your way. it took me quite a while to get used to it but after a while, i was excited to smile at the next stranger i met. maybe it is just me and how i get so fascinated with strangers and old people.

during our christmas eve dinner, my family spent it with my father’s senior colleagues. one of them knew (and mentored) my father way before my birth, so you can only imagine how old he is. he told me all about his experience in singapore and countries that he has worked at.

so old, so wise, and when retired it all runs dry one day, all you can do is tell stories. and it only requires a keen ear to listen. i hope i can do that when i visit japan this year.

although christmas felt empty, i wanted to be alone in that country and wander the empty streets with the cold wind in my face. that sounded like a really good plan. hopefully i will do that in time to come.

more photos at http://www.flickr.com/13nicoles

090 the ceramist I

it was just one of those days where you are working on a dreadful Monday.
i woke up with a smack of realisation that i had two articles due to be published, and an interview at 3pm.

by the time i reached the office, my editor’s email greeted me: two articles – try to send by noon. noon kept ringing in my head and being flustered i dived straight into writing my article. it was such a busy morning.

my afternoon interview was located at boon keng, i figured: “by the time i am done with my interview it should be 4pm, then i will head straight home and relax.” honestly, i was excited to be on my way home early more than anything else.

little did i know, i was so so so wrong.

– – –

the gallery

standing  before a row of beautiful houses of townerville, i swore i fell in love with the setting of the whole estate. i would never have guessed that this part of serangoon looked like that.

a row of polished pale orange and red roofed terraces were new on lease, it was a modern cosy terrace i would say.

i called michelle and she opened her gates to let me into her gallery – mud rock. immediately i blurted out: “this place is amazing and beautiful, i have never seen such a lovely place before.”

and guess what, she lives right above her gallery-cum-studio with her partner.

in the next room, supposedly the dining room, a large working bench was covered with clay and tools strewn all over. seok, michelle’s partner, was busy with a ball of clay working on fat piggies and hedgehogs.

after settling down, we started on the interview. together, they gave me a fifteen minute crash course on the process of making a cup. i can oddly and safely say, chemistry is art. without it, i think these ceramics are just functional items, but with chemistry, it becomes art.

in the midst the interview, adi, the founder of a local brewery of jungle beer, dropped by to deliver his beer for mud rock’s opening this weekend.

seok and michelle were just telling me all about the different flavours and how amazing it is to support local, even the beer! they ended up offering beer! i mean, how can you turn down local beer?! (besides tiger beer)

we picked up from where we left off and michelle went on sharing about learning the ropes of becoming a ceramist and her love for the clay. besides her passion, i think the certain words she spoke of really struck me.

the sense of urgency

michelle understands that when it is the time and need to advocate for a cause, she would fix that on her mind and start on it right away. i think it is her spontaneous attitude and appetite to continue stirring a positive change in this community that has caused hunger among others.

“when you do this from the heart, people will see and feel your sincerity towards it and naturally they will come to your side and support you.”

she is the founder of awaken the dragon festival (a local annual festival for appreciating ceramics).

she asked for no volunteers, but people saw her heart for ceramics and initiated to help and support her.

that support gave her strength and hope that this was indeed a cause worth fighting for.

embrace support; be it good or bad

i could see michelle’s gratefulness for all the support she received from people.

when she embarked on her degree in ANU, she was discouraged within the first two weeks of school. with no prior knowledge on how to work the clay, it seemed as if giving up was a plausible reason. but the phone call to her sister built her up and it had set her foot on solid ground once again.

her classmates and lecturers encouraged her and no matter how the clay would not cooperate, that support meant a lot. eventually, six months into her learning journey with the clay, she had her first exhibition!

that was about four years back but when you look at her gallery now, i was curious to see how her first exhibition looked like. it is unbelievable that today’s results started out from baby steps with the guidance of everyone around her.

she shared that if she were to look back to those days, she would remember the support from the people around her instead of her challenges and obstacles.

“i remember the difficult period not because it was difficult but because I had the support. I remember the support more than how difficult it was. ”

the ceramists’ father is a lawyer, with the hopes of having a successful daughter who followed in his footsteps, but she persisted on with the passion for clay. instead of having swayed her towards his side of law, she swayed him towards the appreciation for ceramics. he is now a proud father of a daughter who is independent and using the her passion to make a rice bowl out of it (pun possibly intended).

on the opposite end of the support line, her late maternal grandfather felt otherwise. a conventional man who believed a basic certificate would have brought her far enough to support herself with a stable job would suffice. but michelle understood his concerns but she just shrugged and said “everyone has their view points right?”

– – –

goodbye was not easy. seok offered me desserts, hoping that i would stay, but i politely declined. i would stay, but i thought two hours did pass by fast and i should knock off anyway.

the last few conversations with michelle felt like she was appreciating me. before i left, she said to me: “young people like you give me hope. and that’s enough, i believe that it is enough to spur the attitude of this generation some more.”

an interviewee appreciating the interviewer? almost impossible but it happened.

i would go on but, another time. another time about her works.

088 welcome to singapore

singapore river

he arrived the day before.

today his journey begins as he boards a bus for the very first time on this land.

he asked me for directions, and i just responded with a “yes” with the intention on leaving it as that and shut my eyes for a nap.

then he pointed to the small box by the exit of the vehicle and asked me: “what is that machine?” “you tap out just like you tap in, or you will be charged more for your bus fare.”

“the culture here is very… different.” honestly i don’t really know in what sense he meant by that.

when i glanced over at his paper, i saw foreign characters that made out to be what seemed like korean words. i asked: “which part of korea are you from?”

“oh – NOT north korea of course, but south korea,” he laughed. well not that i was intending any discrimination, but that broke the ice, this dude is funny.

“it was my dream to come to singapore. and me being here is a dream come true,” he explained with a relieved “mission accomplished” tone. it looks as if he can’t wait to start work although he has five more years before he can get a proper job.

this young dreamer, carrying with him a bag packed to the brim with bright optimism, excitement and fresh energy. he is ready to pounce on any and every opportunity that is fleshed out before him.

you know, as i continue my daily routine of boarding my second bus to work, all i want is a good snooze before i wake up four stops before my destination. but today, it was different. before this man sat next to me, this man who was on his way for his first english class, this man who was clearly taking his chances on being on this bus with no idea on where to alight, this man who has made it this far to embark on his five-year stay with excitement; i was ready to sleep after he asked for directions. it was not normal of me to continue a conversation with a stranger, but i am glad i spoke to him. he told me all about his trip to the philippines where he was for four months, and how the buses in korea would announce every stop.

i am probably his first friend here.

what is it that people like him see this country as a wonderful place to be as? we have countless of fellow countrymen with the desire to wanderlust, to leave this home. but he believes that this is the dream, i am glad he made it. because he is hell of a happy person, and i can tell. i am glad i could be that person to extend my help to find his way around, i hope he would meet other friendly faces who would help him as well.

before he alighted, he said “thank you for helping me, thank you so much because i think i would have not known where to alight. thank God i met you.”

i forgot to say one more thing to him before he left: welcome to singapore, Leo.

083 that photographer

what i discovered today was something really refreshing.
for the past few years that i have been writing about people, i pretty much knew my calling. i am going to be the vessel and that channel for people, be it ordinary or extraordinary, talented or special; i will get to know about their lives and their thoughts. i will put my encounter with them or their lives into words. and the readers will meet this stranger through the articles as if they are talking to them. the medium that i use is the persons’ stage or pedestal where their voice will be projected for others to listen to.

time after time, my purpose was clouded by distractions and i started venturing into different forms of writing that tends to get personal. and most of the time i find myself struggling to organise my thoughts and trying to put them into words. i have a long way to go and much to improve on. but today, i managed to see the mist clear and i found the joy and reminder as to why i love writing.

afterlight
the photographer (05/10/13)

i met a photographer today. saturday morning, i am tired and rather lazy so i thought to myself: ‘i could have emailed the questions. i just need a break from my ordinary day job.’ but i went through with it anyway. seated outside the lovely dapaolo cafe, we had our interview. he is ten years older than i am, probably the oldest interviewee i have met yet.  i learned a lot about and from this person. at first i felt intimidated. being a young writer, i felt really nervous: am i supposed to say this or have i said the wrong thing et cetera. as the interview progressed through its first 20 minutes or so, i started to see the light of his mind and thoughts.

he thought carefully about my questions before answering them, which he mentioned were pretty tough to answer. but personally i feel that it is also because his photos are very abstract which makes it more of a deep form of expression than a simple form of explanation. his works are amazing. when i asked him how it was created, it is all out of really basic everyday elements. i won’t leak out anything about his work because that is saved for obscured itself.

i really enjoyed the talk simply because i felt that it was not just an ordinary interview where i needed to get my information and details so just cut the chase and get to the things i need and bye; it was something like having a conversation with an adult who loves his art and passion. this spoke to me: everyone is different and even though they can be working on the same type of art, each person is special and different because they have their own set of beliefs and perception which enables no two art pieces to be the same. (not a direct quote)

walking away from the cafe made me go ‘wow’, i was not shortchanged for the early interview. i actually picked up a lot of things that i needed to know and listen to. it actually re-sparked that reason as to why i originally wanted to write. i did not just want to write about someone just to direct the spotlight to them, but i wanted to learn about peoples’ lives because it causes me to stop and think about my own. that’s the power of feature interviews, people are so different and unique which is the element that creates this planet of humanity to be incredibly beautiful.

(to the interviewee that i met today, if you are reading this, i hope you are not offended by anything or my drawing, this is how i truly feel. i am grateful for the wonderful interview, thank you for sharing) i wish i could share more, but really, i will pour that energy into the actual article itself.