There are two people inside of me, the first quietly writes her internal monologue on the back of her eyelids, inside her chest and another, the second, writes about all that is irrelevant, all that is external, the time, the day, the night. I live in a one room apartment with a bathroom, on the ground floor of a Taiwanese apartment block. I work in a school. How much of anything I write is the truth? How much of the truth exists in anything we read? If I were to write the truth, it would be for my own peace of mind. I bought a Canon EOS M and watched the red sun set. Carrier bags of pineapples. Sugar on the ground. I bought a watch too.
Other people would be affected. My entire life has been about other people. Why did I come to Taiwan? I’m asked this question so often and each time I reply with something new, I forget the previous answers, I forget the question. I change the subject. The truth isn’t about all that exists externally and although it’s interesting to read, the relatable external occurrences are written for the benefit of others. Yet, the internal truth seems too dark, it is something which lives within us, our realities are controlled by conversations we have with ourselves, in our mind, the things that make us happy, the things that don’t. Every now and again it is easy to tell the truth, to externalise that which is internal but it’s always filtered through thought, it’s never emotion in its purest form. It has been written, even before it is spoken, with other people in mind.
One of my illustrations was recently featured on Tumblr, I felt quite proud and I now realise that I should probably draw more as although I don’t usually like my work (I find it so hard not to delete it), some people see things differently. A friend of mine wrote a post recently, he mentioned living alone and I realised that at the age of twenty three, I’ve spent six years doing just that with a single break in between where I lived at home. Even then, it was never my home up (I feel as though it eventually became home), which was strange as it was the home my family moved to but I didn’t. I have made and exhibited art work related to the notion of home, to being amongst worlds, military brat, a third culture kid, a global nomad, a gypsy, all of the terms I heard as a teenager. Terms which circled my mind constantly, terms I never fully understood until I began to analyse my existence, to examine my life, my behaviours, my thought processes, my rituals, my patterns, practices and my need to feel in control. A persistent lack of consistency, of stability, causes more than just stress.
Where are you from? In the UK, I found it hard to answer this question and yet here, I say the UK, or England as the language barrier prevents me from going into further detail. Where am I from? I wonder.
I called myself an amateur genealogist for a while. I loved finding historical records of houses and of the people who lived in them. I’m good at finding people, particularly those who don’t want to be found, birth records, death records, census records. I surrounded myself with information about other people’s lives as a way to escape my own. My landlord in Oxford made me feel uneasy about the room I lived in. I was a lodger. I knew it couldn’t be true and that someone had influenced his entire view of his home so I sought out to change his perception, to enable him to see beyond what was an uncomfortable past. I found everyone who had ever stayed in that house, in my room. ‘Georgian and Regency terraces, so important a feature of many towns, are thinly represented in Oxford, presumably because of the city’s lack of economic growth, and the requirement at that time that dons remain unmarried and resident in college.A few isolated groups survive, notably the late-Georgian stucco terrace at London Place, St. Clement’s.’ I lived on the end of those houses, the room on the third floor, with the window facing onto the street. Originally, there would not have been a view of the park as there is now; there would be a house in the way. The artist William Turner actually lived on London Road (not London Place) in St. Clement’s. He died at his home on St. John Street, Oxford in 1862. I have yet to decide whether or not to go into detail about the house I lived in.
The room I live in now, has no history, I am the first person to live in this room. Prior to this building being built, there may have been another home here at one time but I don’t believe this to be the case, it seems as though this space was waste land, based on the over growth remaining behind it. There is no way of accessing the back of the building and there is no roof terrace to see it clearly. I stood on a ladder at the end of the corridor the day I managed to successfully use the washing machine and was able to see out of the window properly. I acted fast though as I was unsure of whom the ladder belonged to and why it was there.
It’s 23:38PM, I finished marking three piles of exams yesterday, all of which took twice as long as they should’ve as almost all of them were written by children who should never have been allowed to move forward, there are so many children here who fail exams and are allowed to continue into the next stage of learning, rather than keeping them back in order to help and give them more time to practice. It’s absurd. They of course blame the teachers for flawed systems such as this. Parents need to understand that there is no shame in a child going backward if it will inevitably push them forward in the grand scheme of things, that it would ultimately improve their child’s life.
Sometimes I truly believe some parents are more worried about feeling embarrassed themselves than the welfare of their children. Being a slow learner doesn’t mean you’ll never amount to anything, it just means it takes a little more time for things to sink in. I was once told that I write statements as though they are true. This was said to me in a negative, critical or perhaps a constructive manner that I now recognise as being interesting information. I do write like that, I write as though a reader might be as accepting of my writing as I would be of theirs. I write without predicted contradiction or argument in mind, I write as I can, I only write as myself. I try to write for others, so that one day they might write for me.