(TYIP) Hibiscus

One time I wrote a story about a woman with steadfast eyes, a surgeon whose little island saw pirate flags approaching and closed upon itself, held its breath.

My girl left her little house, though, when she was called to the ship to treat an illness that was eating away at the crew. I wrote her amputating a man’s leg because she saw no other choice, then I wrote her watching, with an enduring heart, her husband slowly dying.

That story sits abandoned in my drafts, an old, dusty thing— descriptions of island plants and thatched roofs, of an unlikely affinity growing between a criminal and a doctor. I went back to it when I meant to write about hibiscus flowers and what they signify, and found that I’d written my doctor as the embodiment of that flower with no inhibitions. I wrote delicate beauty literally; deft hands and a tender appearance, but a roaring heart in her still. It sounds as though it will shatter, that beauty, but I see it as a fleeting thing, something hopelessly alluring but unafraid to leave; and even if it weakens and withers and dies, it remains tethered to you, like a single gentle breeze on a sweltering day.

Anyway, it’s a waste to leave it unread forever, so here’s a relevant little piece of it:

“Nothing about the affair was effortless, but he could see it, the efficiency of a doctor, comparable to the best naval surgeon he’d seen, mapping the joint and finding the last of the broils, and the first motion and the blood, and other than his first mate tying the limb tight and holding its owner up, she had no hands to assist, none to wipe the sweat beading on her brow.”

(Really, will I ever stop writing about women being so fierce, so fearless? I don’t think so.)

On Ash and War Between Us

Hello!

I’ve password protected my previous post because I thought no one would be interested, but I just noticed that it’s gotten quite a lot of hits. I put a lot of time and effort into it but don’t feel ready to have it posted in the open yet. Would be happy to give you the password if you DM’d me on instagram or on twitter 💓

IoH is finally on insta

One of the things I’ve been trying to get myself to do (but couldn’t because I never had the energy to) is expand to other platforms. I think I’ve grown too used to WordPress, and it’s gotten stale. So I decided to start an instagram page, then I decided not to- then I forced myself to, and here we are: Inkofhers. Can this account get a quick “May your owner not abandon you,” prayer? Ameen.

 

(don’t) Live

Run

What from? I would

Ask my dread

But instead it pried open

my ribs, crushed this heart

and, run

it planted into it

Run from what?

Run

until your lungs can carry air no longer

That was then,

be still

Now it tells,

very still

But why?

rest your back upon earth

let her claim you again

But how?

let her vegetate and grow her

life upon you, crush you

with fear, and the weight of your sins

I see,

be still

be earth

I see,

until your lungs carry air no longer

Women of iron (excerpt)

Here’s a part from the WIP project I talked about in my last post:


 

“And truly, she is made of iron. I saw her sail, saw her wrench the authority from Captain during a storm, and command from the stern men twice her size. From the day she planted her sea legs on the deck of that ship we’d recognised her a formidable opponent, then a certain leader, honed and chiseled into discipline by years she’d spent in suffering. She then became either too unafraid to die, or too confident of her plans to overtake Captain, who later gave her his heart and his fortune, and made her his wife.

Lady Eboshi didn’t shy away– took the love and gold he granted, and his heart. I saw her standing over his body that night, when his hometown was burning to the ground. Her dagger had sliced open his jugular, and like the wild creatures she’s always condemned, she carried the stench of blood in her very being.”

Return of the life updates you don’t really need: fierce women, dreamy boys, more magic

Hello hello!

(Yes, I’ve abandoned this blog. I have. I’m gonna punch myself in the mouth for it.)

How are you guys? How’s quarantine treating you? I hope you are all staying safe and healthy.

Due to the fact that there practically are cobwebs growing all over this blog, I’ve decided to challenge myself into writing and posting something every single day. I’m thinking starting small, only a week, and seeing where that takes me. The initial purpose of inkofhers was to encourage me to write and post everyday, but I don’t think less than 50 posts in 3 years qualifies as success. (Edit from the future: Something about forcing myself to write just to post destroys the ‘quality’ of my writing. I didn’t want to post pieces I’m not happy with, so I’ll quietly quit the hell out of this. I promise I’m writing a lot more than usual, though!)

Remember how, in my last post, I described a strange need to delve into magic? I did; I watched Ghibli movies, read fantasy (unlike myself) and some more mythology (A LOT like myself), and listened to retellings of fairy tales on podcasts to put me to sleep. A writing project that I ended up prying out of that is a back story/character study of Lady Eboshi’s character (what can I say, I’m just too weak against women being kings). I’m trying to make it so that even people who haven’t watched the movie can enjoy it. It’s turning out much more extensive than I’d thought, so I really hope you guys will give it a shot if when I post it.

On reading: I’ve pushed myself into finishing 2 books in less than a week and discovered that I have, in fact, not lost my ability to read. I just need to relearn how to focus on things that are longer than a single damn tweet. Throughout, I’ve also been savouring the book “Howl’s Moving Castle” by Diana Wynne Jones, the masterpiece behind my favourite movie by the same name. I’ve been enjoying the book tremendously; the characters are so different from the movie it’s just amusing. Movie Howl, the gentle prince of my heart, is a far cry from the insufferable, overdramatic moron in the book (who, in all honesty, still managed to snatch my heart and run with it). Sophie’s steadfastness is the same, and she’s a lovely character. Book Sophie unapologetically slides snarky comments to Howl all the time, and there’s so much bickering it’s had me laughing out loud several times (and I really never laugh while reading).

I’m going to wrap up this babble-turned-book review mess now. Thank you so much for reading if you’re still here. Please stay healthy and safe during these crazy times!

 

freedom in quarantine, and a hunger for magic

Over the past year, I’d been tormented by a single something that had found its way into every one of my thoughts. It had nagged and tugged, begging to be considered, calling out sometimes, and whispering in others. For a long time I ran each of my aspirations and plans through it, and it made it difficult to see what I wanted my future to look like, and what I’m willing to do to get there.

Really, it wasn’t as dreadful as I make it sound, maybe not even at all. But I know that I didn’t really want it, but I had made it an obligation and committed. I’d committed to it initially, when I hadn’t an idea what that year would bring, then it built up with the days and the months until it was unbearable. It was my turn to beg, but I couldn’t possibly pull myself out of it.

But a thought passed by my mind a couple of evenings ago; it was quick and faint and fleeting. What if that thing just undos itself, ends and crumbles before me, while I uphold my perfect, pristine sense of commitment.

I’m a terrible person to myself, so hellbent on fulfilling obligations that are often just excruciating limits I bring upon me. A sane person would at least try to remove themselves from a situation which clearly brings them distress, but me? I couldn’t, it was unthinkable. I’d committed, after all.

But then it did, it ended itself.

And God, I was so overwhelmed with a shower of complex feelings, with profound relief, and happiness twinged with disappointment. I think I was sad at the thought of parting with this thing that I’d tossed about my mind for an entire year, or maybe I was sad at the time I’d spent worrying about it, just for it to eventually vanish into thin air.

Right now I’m still trying to get used to this newfound freedom. I’d once read comparing toxic relationships to a bad toothache. My relationship with that reality was similar: painful, I didn’t want it, but I feel its absence now that it’s gone, and I continue probing that gap with my tongue, trying to make sense of it just being not there any more.

And no, it wasn’t a bad relationship, and it wasn’t something as horrid. It was a huge step into something I’m so unfamiliar with, such uncharted territory, something I was so scared of, and most importantly, something I wasn’t ready for. It’s over now, and I should probably stop giving disclaimers (lol).

Since my metaphorical shackles broke, I’ve been craving all things magical. In fiction I found myself seeking forest sprites and elves under odd mushrooms, old spirits haunting the woods, fairytales. This penchant for fantasy is very unlike me, so stern in the books I read, recently having been stuck in the “if it doesn’t benefit me or add to my knowledge, I don’t want it,” nightmare. I’m just feeling free of the harsh judgement I held towards myself; maybe it’s why I let myself want the childish magic I’d loved as a kid.

In real life I’ve been thinking of what comes next, finding it okay to have dreams and aspirations, unapologetic and unfiltered. I had taught myself to want the bare minimum just from the fear that I’ll want something and never get it. And while I’m still far from perfect, I know that I’m learning to take myself less seriously everyday, to fear rejection less, and to want more. It’s painful and scary, the thought that things I so deeply desire might not be mine. But hey, what if someday, they do?

 

Dystopian mornings in London

I tragically fell into the habit of visiting a certain coffee and tea house every morning.

One of the very few things I know about myself for sure is that I’m a creature of habit. Routine grounds me, prevents my mind from running off into whirlwinds of worry and doom about there not being enough time (time for what? I don’t know, really, but I always feel like I’m about to run out of it.)

So when I realized that my sanity depended on the little chalkboard that said, “Coffee room open,” before the staircase that leads to the basement, I knew I was deep trouble. The fact that this certain coffee shop was a whole 5.5 thousand kilometres away from home wasn’t about to make anything easier.

(For the better part of 2019, I lived in London. I stayed there for another month and a half of 2020, but I didn’t develop this infatuation with that coffee house until the last two weeks.)

But I still went everyday, tormented by the thought that I’ll have to tear this part from my daily life soon. My mother joked that I met a lover there; that would explain why I was so dedicated.

(I didn’t.)

Inside the coffee house is another staircase, steep and a few hundred folds as claustrophobic as one outdoors. It takes you down to the cafe, and it honestly is a magical, magical thing how descending down that narrow set of steps brings about new sounds and noises and light, a little morning tucked in a coffee-scented basement in London.

I would drink my coffee in peace, with myself and everything else. I’m such a conflicted person inside, an anxious, angry mess. But I don’t think about it, or about life and what it may bring. I just have my flat white in such a serenity so foreign to me and the constant grinding in my brain.

This may sound incredibly romanticized, the half-hour I spend in a café being nothing more than daily routine to many. But it’d become a sort of ritual, a cherished and private escape from myself before anything else. I would read a tragic non-fiction book, Midnight in Chernobyl while listening to its audiobook, because I like it that much, and because Russian names are very difficult to keep track of.

In a sense I didn’t become unaware of the madness of the world above that little basement, but I just for a half-hour detached myself from it. There’s no dystopia more vivid than this reality– and I can’t tell if it’s a coping mechanism, our brain’s final attempts at grasping whatever thinning strands of hope it can find, seeking comforts enveloped within this world, hidden in its folds. But if it’ll spare me the torment of all this dread I’ll take it, delusion or not, for a few minutes of my day.