Rachel Tey is the author of the middle-grade fantasy adventure series, Tea in Pajamas and Tea in Pajamas: Beyond Belzerac, and most recently contributed an original short story, "The Midnight Mission", to the anthology A View of the Stars: Stories of Love (Felix Cheong and Anitha Pillai, eds). She is also a resident writer and creative writing workshop instructor under Sing Lit Station’s “Book A Writer” programme. Since she was awarded the National Arts Council grant in 2015, Rachel has been featured in The Sunday Times, has spoken at the Singapore Writers Festival, and her books have been presented at the London and Frankfurt Bookfairs. Outside of writing and conducting talks and workshops for schools, she works as a content and communications specialist. Rachel lives in Singapore with her husband, who illustrated her books, and two children.
What do an empty hospital walkway and a canal in an open field have in common? Nothing, except that I was there on each occasion to take the picture, and at both times mortality was on my mind.
Last Christmas eve, as I traversed the deserted corridors of Tan Tock Seng Hospital, the few sentences cycling through my mind struck me as rather poetic. “In the end, there’s very little that matters a lot,” was one of them. The other: “In order not to die, one must live.”
But several months prior, before my mother was hospitalized for spinal surgery, I had already been thinking about mortality.
While on a morning walk in a field behind where I live, I had stared into the depths of an open canal and tried to calculate the height at which a person could fall in without dying. Though I wasn’t actually contemplating the act, I also knew this sudden fascination with the physics of falling from a height ran deeper than morbid curiosity.
How I feel about the Friends: The Reunion is how I feel about most reunions in general. The idea of catching up with a bunch of people from a long time ago is nice, but only if I’m in the mood—and it depends on who’s going. Maybe it boils down to the fact that I’m just not a reunion-y sort of person, which might explain why it took me three sittings to finish the Reunion.
The first time I tuned in was because my husband had put it on. “What? I thought you were a Friends fan,” he said, upon seeing my surprised expression. “Of course I’m a fan,” I insisted, before hearing myself complete the sentence in my head: “except I’m midway through a gripping KDrama.” (Move to Heaven, if you were wondering).
I believe that if the Reunion special had aired five (even ten) years after the show’s final season, I might’ve been more curious about what the actors looked like and what they were up to. But nearly two decades later, most fans who grew up with the show have inevitably grown old(er) and moved on. So why a reunion now?
When people speak of writer’s block, most tend to assume the mind draws a blank in terms of creativity, leading to little physical output. And while that does happen with me every now and then, the real reason why I’m not a more prolific writer is because I’m too busy inventing narratives in my head and listening to inner chatter. And boy, has that been exhausting. Continue reading “If an author isn’t writing stories, here’s why”→