I went to a book reading yesterday by Malaysian writer Dina Zaman (she's called 'literary hottie' on the internet, how fabulous is that?) in UM to listen to her talk about her latest book "King of the Sea" which is a book compiled of short stories.
I expected to be starstrucked and get in line to buy her book and get her autograph while blushing and gushing like a teenage girl (long past that phase) after the discussion. (Think Justin Bieber and his girl-fans). But the friendly writer didn't give me a chance to get me starry-eyed because she caught me looking for the location of the book talk and I ended up getting us there. Yay to my inner GPS!
I think about people who label themselves as belonging to a particular religion. But they don't necessarily just practice the religion and full stop. Like the Buddhist priestess I know whom works with crystals, the Malay girl who reads tarot etc. There's always that blurring of beliefs when they cross-over to look for a shaman, a bomoh, witch-doctor, healer, alternative medicines when the orthodox religion gives them no comfort. It's that longing for that sacredness, that connection, the need to believe in something, a ritual, magic, the unknown. It's ingrained within culture and there's no real split between religion and magic rituals actually. And The King of the Sea is exploring the breaching out these boundaries that organized religion so fiercely guards.
I thank people like Dina Zaman and Neil Gaiman for doing what they've been doing, and giving us invaluable tips to continue the often zigzag and unpredictable pattern of the creative journey. Creative mentors are rare gems and hard to come by, and I don't necessarily want to follow their way, but rest assured at least I can be inspired by that fighting spirit!