Critical Emancipation

Sometimes it feels like I’m wait­ing for inspi­ra­tion when I write. Like I’m wait­ing for a spe­cif­ic mood, or a spe­cif­ic song to come on and guide me through an entry. Lately, that inspi­ra­tion seems to avoid me. I keep try­ing to write about things that I feel I should write about, instead of the things I want to write about. Every time I search my head for the prop­er mood or mind­set, it’s only mem­o­ries that appear.

And they sur­face like pho­tographs, each one a still frame cap­tur­ing an expe­ri­ence, expressed in sound, warmth, light, and odour. I’m on the streets of Hong Kong again, sur­round­ed by peo­ple, brows­ing through the knick-knacky stores with the heat of the sun soak­ing through my shirt. I’m skat­ing on the Canal, map­ping the imper­fec­tions of the ice as I glide across them, the night sky burn­ing with the orange of win­ter. I’m won­der­ing through the mall of my home­town, enjoy­ing the strange famil­iar­i­ty of a place I fre­quent­ed so long ago, hop­ing I don’t bump into an ex. I’m in uni­form, clutch­ing the lapels of my blaz­er, as I step out from the heat of grandiose wood­en doors into the snow-washed quad. I’m on the bus to New York, try­ing to fig­ure out which pas­sen­gers are com­ing or going, won­der­ing where my own jour­ney would take me.

I fight against these mem­o­ries, try­ing to write about some­thing more rel­e­vant. In the end, I write about noth­ing, and I can’t fight against it any­more. I have to write the things I want, inspired by the things I think. I have to let go one more time.

From myself, instead of oth­ers.

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