the humble watermelon

words, music, and the greater art

Regina, This Time.

If I can boast the fact that I’ve been to more provinces in Canada than the average Canadian, it is largely thanks to the Canadian Chess Challenge. And of course, my brother, for being the chess player of the family. This year, our family packed our bags and drove for a half a day to the city of Regina, green scenery and bridges on glistening lake. Our fourth year and fourth city, succeeding Halifax (NS), Ottawa (ON) and hometown Winnipeg (MB).

Though each tournament has brought about new forms of experience, I know in my heart that this year is comparatively different than all the others. In my luggage, I’ve packed research books instead of novels, a calculator instead of my (now defunct) iPod. I’m even typing this on Saturday evening, with the last half-day of tournament still ahead of me, for I fear I will force my time on other priorities once I set foot home. All to say that these last two years, the balance of my life has tipped to the weight of academics, and this event could not emphasize it for myself any more.

And that is okay. Of course it is okay. How should I expect it to be otherwise. Read the rest of this entry »

(Passive) Memories

As a writer, as a diarist, as a poet, and as an all-around feeder on nostalgia, I have always counted on experiences to last. I have always expected to experience moments that would define the course of my life, that would shift my perspective on appearance and images. But with each burst of emotion and late night revelation, I seem to be disappointing myself: there are scarcely lightbulb moments… mostly temporary dilations.

Social media makes it seem like our lives are shaped by a breathless series of defining moments. There is a raw, sentimental captions accompanied by a candid picture of an exact second. And at the moment, the feeling is true. The emotions are cursing through the veins, and the hand shakes with an anticipation for the reveal. But what has the memory become of in two weeks, in a month? Most likely just a nostalgic reminder of a humid summer night. But the caption and picture are still there, and so our Internet identity is gifted with a seemingly life-changing moment.

Read the rest of this entry »

Classical Piece of the Week: Norfolk Rhapsody No.1

Classical Piece of the Week

Missed the last one? Here’s a link to Piano Concerto No.5 “Emperor”, 2nd mvmt.

Music creates an atmosphere, does it not? If so, then the music of Ralph Vaughn Williams could not stray any closer to truth. This week, I have picked the only orchestral rhapsody he has completed: Norfolk Rhapsody No.1 in E Minor, composed in 1906 and revised in 1914.

Vaughn Williams wrote three orchestra rhapsodies in total: the second was left in fragmented forms and completed by other musical hands, while the third was discarded by 1920, and is now lost (placements are fluid however, that is a human’s hope). Read the rest of this entry »

Thunder Bay

Often the most simple and unassuming demonstrations of life are the ones to be the most treasured. This weekend our Youth Orchestra travelled to Thunder Bay, Ontario, to perform in a Valentine’s Day concert alongside the Thunder Bay Symphony Youth Orchestra (TBSYO), Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra (TBSO), and the Thunder Bay Symphony Choir (TBSC).

The journey was born on clear roads and a blue sky of gray gradients. There was a quiet optimism in the air, but often the sleepy haze of Friday morning washed down any heightening frenzy. With a stop at Dryden, we filled up a Subway in quite an impressive manner, and then quickly set off again to fulfill our eight hour drive through naps and sunny conversations. Read the rest of this entry »

Coconut Corner, a poem

Coconuts are plentiful at coconut corner,
A sharp knife and a tree-long hook
Brimming coconut water, coconut flesh
Mild, lukewarm, afternoon’s aroma.

Souls are plentiful at coconut corner
Clear eyes and pearl-wide grin
Fingers’ prick on tip and straight slant on flower of age
Vibrant, tangible, afternoon’s aroma.

Humbleness is plentiful at coconut corner
Wooden bench and stump of tree
Shy grass greets pavement sand and worn skin
Simple, unassuming, afternoon’s aroma.

Months; Here and There

These past few months I’ve been absent and present, but mostly I’ve been living between the transitions.

It’s hard writing in between the transitions. Some things feel to personal, others feel too brief. All feel lightly fleeting. Poems are easier. I open up my notebook on nights when art surges in me, and the pen guides my way. Videos are even easier. Here, people are walking, there, is a painted alley. I click record on both.

But writing, you need to showcase a triumph or a defeat. To connect with the reader, you need to express your ideas, whether abstract or concrete, and then render them meaningful and substantial. There have been true and honest moments in my life these past few months, but they do not feel concrete in my memory. The only difference between them and all my other memories is that I’ve tried to hold on to them more. They might not even be pulling away, but I keep a tight grip on them because I worry about their loyalty. Read the rest of this entry »

Two Nights, One Summer

There are two nights this summer that I remember fondly, and deeply, and boldly.

The first night, I realized with a crying force that dreaded responsibilities are written in the laws of the universe. The second night, I experienced a dizzying happiness that resulted from tears and recent strangers whom I now shared a piece of my life with.

The first night should have made me a happier person. And it did, but only for that one night. Hereafter, I slid into a slump that I wish could be explained in a simple syllogism. You see, I’m the kind of person that worries about upcoming deadlines and tasks constantly. And I used to comfort myself by telling my mind that all would be better once I am able to complete my check-list. That night, on my bed, I smiled and laughed because I realized that I should give up on dreading because life will never stop giving me a reason to dread. It was a soft, incandescent lightbulb moment. So why did I disintegrate after the sun rose? I think sometimes when the mind suddenly knows it realizes that it knows so scarcely the voids of existing. Read the rest of this entry »


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