the tamago report

Eggs benedictated

Month: April, 2014

Why I used to write

by MDY

I used to write for money. I kept a little purple book in which I hand-wrote all my invoices, as a backup for tax time in case the Internet broke down before then. In it, words dissolved, sank from view, and re-emerged as numbers at the ratio of 5:2 (ex. GST and ancillary expenses). Sleight-of-hand, but it felt magical at the time. My contemporaries, struggling with the (entirely unremunerated) weight of academic essays, looked upon me as a mildly horrifying demigod who remained perplexed by the magnitude of his powers. You heard it all the time, of course, but nobody really believed that by doing what you loved the money would follow. Yet somehow the words kept coming, and the numbers kept sidling into my bank account like malapropic thieves in the night. After a while, I started to dream in press releases. You heard it all the time, but nobody talked about what happened if you fell out of love.

I used to write for recognition. The first prize was a revelation that people apart from my parents (hi, Mum and Dad!) could think me talented too. I was no stranger to accolades, but these were different. My writing was not born of fortunate upbringing or ready-made opportunities, or so I convinced myself: I had built my craft, word by constipated word, and it had made me a self-made man. Stories gushed forward like lovelorn blatherings, seeking out blandishments with big sniffing noses and wagging snippet-tails; there were no prizes after the one. So I learned to feed my ego in other ways: through grade-point coups and the roll of digits in my monthly statements. The magazine I’m in talks with, more people submit stories than read them. I know that this hunger for recognition, mirrored a million plump young aesthetes too uncomfortably like myself, threatens to overturn the entire economy of human emotion, but how can I resist the urge to feed?

I used to write for love. I scattered letters, poems, tales of wanton dedication, like seeds that I hoped would take hold and grant me…what? Writing is the loneliest calling (except for biohazard disposal) but giving up that solitude is perilous beyond belief. When you’ve been the narrator so long, letting another voice tell your story is like stepping backwards off the edge of the world. I spun romances and courtly melodramas in my head, so sticky and dense that not even the most intrepid explorer would want to cut her way in. Then I wondered why I couldn’t get out.

Now, I try not to write for any of these reasons. More often than not, I still do.

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What have I got in my pocket?

by MDY

My friends in Malaysia recently introduced me to Every-Day Carry, not so much a blog as an aesthetic movement devoted to the contents most proximal to people’s nether regions. What you carry says something, perhaps the most important thing, about who you are; and to catalogue and metonymise the items that are literally closest to us is, I suspect, a sincere effort to decipher from our inevitable morass of materialism some deeper and more profound understanding of ourselves. Is it frightful, then, that all the collages from EDC are so uniform?

The typical pockets, from what a quick scan of the site suggests, contain the following: wallet, cell phone, physical enhancements (glasses, earphones, cigarettes), the occasional card-sleeve or money-clip, the peremptory blade of varying length and multi-functionality. Their composition is overwhelmingly masculine in the Boy-Scout be-prepared sense, though I’m unsure if this is just a result of confirmation bias from the site’s readership or because most women (most of the ones I know, at least) tend to eschew the very concept of pockets and indeed pants.

I am mortally afraid of handbags. They have a preponderance and inscrutability to them (you can’t, after all, just know what’s in a handbag, you have to scrimmage through it sinistrally, clutching – what a morbid moniker, clutch, when you think about it – to the handles with your good hand, maintaining this pedestrian and utterly nerve-wracking balancing act in the hope that the abyss will soon regurgitate your sought-after possession) that quite literally weighs at my central sense of being. Handbags tether you. Like children and credit card debt, they’ll follow you for life. Perhaps I have commitment issues.

So what do I have in my pocket? Not string or nothing, though I’d rather it were that way. My wallet is my father’s, and contains a hotel key-card (gifted, not stolen) depicting my birthplace luminescent from on high; a 円5 coin from Osaka, or Tokyo, its eye dinted with rust and warm seclusion; and a very valuable piece of stickytape. My cell phone has grown a light-sensing aperture that allows me to feed my social media neuroses with the wave (or several waves) of the hand, Minority Report-style, and a verse about bravery that I swipe past too quickly too often.

My keys hang from a bright red laerdal face mask, designed to permit sanitary CPR with oesophagally-contaminated bikies. I don’t keep the Swiss Army in my pocket, but it was my grandfather’s, from where and when we don’t know: it only reappeared after his death while cataloguing his material remains. Which either makes me just an average 20-something male, or proves that such a thing, no matter how many carefully-styled top-down photographs claim otherwise, could never truly exist.