Photo: Lucas Favre
“So I’ll need you to do a travel assignment for like a coupla weeks,” an ex-friend said.
“Well you came to the right guy.”
“I’ll need sixty articles total.”
“That’s, a lot.”
“You’ll need to write two articles a day, about five hundred words each…”
“I guess I can manage.”
“… while on the road, for like eight hours a day.”
“Expenses aren’t covered.”
“Food’s pretty cheap in Myanmar,” Jess said. “So what’s your price?”
I did a quick calculation and quoted the average market rate for 30,000 words.
“We can’t pay you that much.”
Photo: Hassan Saleh
It’s six in the morning and I barely got a wink’s worth of sleep. Insomnia’s a close friend by now, but tonight, my ol’ chum was getting a little too close for comfort.
This is despite the many precautions I’ve laid out the night before—chamomile tea, no screens two hours before bedtime, a light stretch, a cold room.
Well all that’s out the window now, and to make things worse, I have a long day ahead of me, the very reason I’d made all that preparations in the first place.
Photo: Sandhi Soemarto
I’m a fountain-pen enthusiast, and my ultimate pursuit in this hobby involves finding my grail pen. It’s the perfect one that just glides across the page, is ornamented in a way that makes my heart skip, and can take enough of a beating to last multiple lifetimes.
But alas, as any other hobbyist knows, a grail is just an illusion, a placeholder until they find their next one, because there’ll always be something better, or failing that, there’ll always be something wrong.
Photo: Ben Blennerhassett
It’s 4 a.m. and I’m sweating bullets. I woke up ten minutes ago with the surety that I was going to die. I leap out of bed, run downstairs, almost pass out from the effort, then crash on the couch.
Am I having a heart attack? Is there an underlying disease here? Am I going to die?
I’d had similar episodes like this before, but not this bad. Those with hypoglycaemia would understand—the way strength drains out your body, the cold that creeps into your bones, your heart almost beating its way out your chest…
Trevor woke up once again and he wasn’t outdoors. In fact, he would be staring up at a ceiling, unsure if everything before this was a dream. But that thought shattered when he sat up and saw that he still wore the hospital gown—he was very well in the building he’d just exited earlier.
He checked his watch: half-past three. The sun outside still shone brightly overhead, but evening would soon come, casting darkness on his already foggy mind.
He didn’t even have a plan for what was to come. A tight pain gnawed at his stomach, and Trevor was beginning to realise just how thirsty he was. It didn’t help that the taste of vomit still lingered at the back of his throat.
Photo: Nicolas Thomas
Every once in a while I get people asking me if they could write for a living, and my answer’s always: “Why of course.”
Then they ask if they should make the switch from their current careers to writing, to which I’d say: “What. Why! Why would you do that to yourself?”
It’s not that I’m in any position to give out career advice. Eight years in various writing positions probably makes me an average minion at most, but since I’m like one of two writers in my entire circle of friends, the responsibility of pointing hopefuls in the right direction kinda falls on me.
And most times, that direction is away from the publishing industry.
Photo: Andrew Amistad
Trevor awoke with a lurch, first aware of the tubes in his mouth, nostrils, hands, and who knew where else. Then came the retching, his stomach discharging whatever the hell that brown goo was.
He held the bedside table and the mattress as he vomited, not really sure where he was, or if he’d have to clean up this mess later. Light was scarce in the room, signalling either the start or the end of the day.
What was this place? Did he have too much to drink again? That wouldn’t be a surprise. Yes, that’s gotta be it. A celebration. Bits and pieces of information followed his train of thought.