Be comforted; your book can find its own way . . .
The Ash House made it's debut in August 2021. The Diva went on zoom and talk shows, had a blog tour and received 4+ stars on Goodreads. But, despite the warm response a big hit she was not!
It was a little disappointing, but what was I to do. I'd a new MS to work on. Then, a fall which put paid to any attempts to write paragraphs. I decided to let the story and her characters find their own way. And, they have.
It's always surprised me how stories find their audiences.
At Singapore Writers Festival 2022 the diva ended up on "If i had more than 24 hours a day", an event panel co-produced by independent comics publisher Difference Engine. Moderated by award winning podcaster/writer Wayne Rée and cartoonist/game creator Charsiew Space Benjamin Chee, it featured panelists playing an interactive choose-ur-own-adventure computer game ... One of the least likely SWF panels i'd imagine the Diva appearing at. yet there i was, channeling her amidst a bunch of creatives whose wonderful work had come my way by pure chance... or... if you like... serendipity.
There was Suffian Hakim whose sharply incisive and incredibly funny parody Harris Potter and the Stoned Philosopher i picked up randomly at Kino because my daughter's friend's husband said to give it a go. i've been a fan since!
And then Wayne Ree whose twice monthly Thursday Ghostmap podcasts I've become addicted to, and whose zany comic prose work with Benjamin Chee I am now enjoying. The connection with Wayne was first made by SingLit Station at The Ash House's first public reading in 2022 and then when Difference Engine sent me the new Ree/Chee Work Life Balance, a couple of months ago. I've no idea why comics publisher Difference Engine might think a writer of literary fiction would fall in love with that m.s. But they did. Hence, my discovery of a new genre.
To be fair, I didn't see playwright Nessa's Anuar's Dayak Days or Riders Know When It's Gonna Rain. But the titles intrigue. And i had badly wanted to go to Rindu Di-Bulan, the 2019 Fringe Festival offering about a Chinese boy adopted by a Muslim woman that was produced by Nessa's theatre art collective Rupa co.lab. Meeting Nessa on the panel has sparked my interest in that form of story making, if not as a creator certainly as a more active theatregoer.
So in sum, what am I trying to say?
First - It seems stories make their way as they will. We, story makers, simply have to let them go wherever, whenever. And, if unbidden, a story finds its way to us, well . . . that's a gift to be welcomed with open hearts.
Second - As evidenced by Suffian, Wayne, Benjamin and Nessa, there seem to be an infinite number of ways to make stories. If I'm word-blocked, well . . . There are comics to consider!