So that was it. The end of non-fiction class. The funnest class out of all other classes I’m taking this semester. Also the only class that isn’t my major. Hopefully I’ll get to do poetry and advanced creative writing next semester and file at as a minor. Funny how I enjoy my electives more than my major subjects. Semantics and cognitive almost murdered me good! Don’t get me started on morphosyntax. Or just linguistics in general. Not that I despise my major, I just have a love-hate relationship with it, yknow? People will never believe that it’s more than just a “science of language” or that we simply learn many languages and graduate a polyglot (which is entirely a myth). But I have never regretted this. Not once. Okay maybe once while I was bent over past midnight reading spectrograms and questioning the reason for my existence, pulling an all-nighter to measure the duration of people’s breaths. I’m taking the craziest and most misunderstood social sciences major, I’ll be honest. But I’m proud of it and I’m grateful to be blessed with the opportunity to delve deeper into the subject I’ll always have a deep fascination with. I’m pretty sure I’ll go bonkers by the end of my 4 years and start looking around for jobs that could put my deep-seated knowledge of VOTs and MLUs to beneficial use, but at least I know I’ve learnt a whole damn lot. I love what I’m doing. I’m passionate about it. It’s definitely an area of humanities which has made me more aware and appreciative of God’s oft-dismissed gift to men – languages.
In a way, I’m also reassured of my decision of not putting English Literature as my first choice and to have gone with my gut feeling for Linguistics instead. According to my English buddies, reading ten books in a week is a norm, gasp! I mean, given that I’m a slow reader and the fact that I know I’d be pressured to read and remember every single detail (because, exams) and not because of leisure, is enough to convince me that I have made the right choice to read my current major. Personally for me, at least.
Anyway, back to the whole point of this post (I digress). It’s the end of non-fiction class and my tutor, KCB, a local poet and author, shyly addressed the class how it’s been a pleasure to teach and that he hoped we have learnt a lot in his class. I sure did. I never thought non-fiction could be this interesting. KCB is a quiet and funny (without-him-realising-it kind of funny) man. His introverted disposition is a trait I could identify with completely. Everyone left the class in haste while our table stayed back for a cupcake party. I gave him one and he accepted it willingly, holding it awkwardly in his palm. I have a feeling he hasn’t tasted red velvet cupcakes before. I don’t know, he just doesn’t seem like a cupcake person. Such a privilege to be taught by a famous Singaporean writer. It’s definitely a class to remember. Aside from the fiction class taught by Romesh Gunasekaran, a Sri Lankan British author, who is as endearing. So far, these two tutor-writers are the only ones whom I’ve shared my deepest fear with, through my stories. It did feel strange initially. But it feels liberating too. To have an outlet to express my sadness, despair, anxiety, and having them read by writers you know you could trust. What better way to let it all out than through writing.
It helps that they are incredibly supportive of my work. Romesh told me that I am blessed with a knowledge of beautiful language and that I should keep writing. KCB told me that I have written a brave and honest story. These comments are my fuel to keep writing. They keep me going. I’ll always remember why I’m doing this, and the people who have been so encouraging, and keep improving on my writing. Times may be hard for dreamers, but if we were to channel our hardship through art, we will witness a priceless beauty. No one gets the satisfaction out of it but you. Writers get no compensation out of writing – only freedom in its absolute. That’s the only reason writers do it. To free our soul.
(I’m just rephrasing what Roald Dahl said. But it’s the absolute truth so preach it!)
Humairah (Monday, 14th May 2014)