I survived Day 1 in KL!
The awesome thing about it is that I met so many people who are also writers or poets, and a whole lot of people whom I’ve only known online. On hindsight, it could have been a little lonely and I was admittedly a little restrained because I don’t know where I stood with the KL crowd. However, a handful of other people made up for the fact that I wasn’t very forward and said hello. Maybe I looked more approachable because I’m alone?
The first person I met after checking in at Silverfish is none other than Lydia Teh. I introduced myself and we ended up having breakfast together. We were heading to the same workshop (Tash Aw).
Tash Aw’s workshop is about the beginning of stories – how they hook the reader and what the suggest about how the rest of the novel is like. It’s nothing we don’t already know if we (especially avid readers) sit down and think about it.
We also studied the openings of several famous novels, where it became very much like English Lit class and you can start picking out the lit students in the crowd.
At the end of the workshop, it turned into an autograph session. Lydia introduced to Kak Teh. I’m not very sure who she is but her name is spoken with the tone of voice normally reserved for respected celebrities. I guess I should start reading her blog.
Cat appeared halfway through the workshop. A group of us decided to give lunch with Tash a miss and head to a mamak because we’re poor and can’t afford Alexis Bistro.
After lunch, we went our separate ways. I stopped by Silverfish to pick up two copies of Dina Zaman’s “I Am Muslim” (next session). The shop has a huge collection of Malaysiana. You can barely find any of these in Kuching. I stopped by MPH next and got Harmony Silk Factory for Tash to sign in his next workshop. I’ve been meaning to get a copy but decided to get it when I’m in KL so I don’t have to cart another book there and back again.
Anyway, Dina’s session was partly about her book and partly about the Muslim society, which is expected because they overlap. I can’t remember much of it now because I was sitting in an after-lunch coma, but it’ll probably come back when I get around to reading her book.
Benjamin Zephaniah was next. It was performance poetry all the way, with some background. Since British Council brought him in, Sunitha was there so there’s another familiar face.
At some point, Benjamin teased me about being so serious or something like that. I thought he was talking about someone behind me but one of the BC people later insisted that he was talking to me. Well, poo. I would have responded if I knew!
Here’s a video I took of one of his poems.
Chet collected me from Bangsar after it was all over. It’s so great to finally meet her! She took me to The Curve since it’s near where we live, and we went to The Street, which is this row of shophouses with two floors of all manner of restaurants. It was mind-boggling. We went to Chet’s favourite Vietnamese place and we had pho.
Xeus joined us there. It just occured to me that I met two authors whose books I brought over to KL to be signed, and I met the both of them on the same day and not have the books on me! I’m gonna be carrying a lot of stuff with me tomorrow.
The three of us went to Borders to browse.
Hmm, what else. Another trip to KL is definately a must, but I need to save up enough money to make it worth it. So many things to see and buy, so little time and money!
Well, I’ve blabbered on for longer than I planned on, so I’m off to bed in the company of one of the books I acquired today.