A Place Where I Grew Up

Have you ever spent so much time in your own mind that you came to know every crevice, every line, every twist and turn that adorns your brain? Because I sure tried. I roamed in there, day and night for almost 18 years, lost but not having quite lost it yet. Unlike what most would think, the mind is not a maze, it is not complicated. It is an empty room where you… exist. You have the choice to stand, sit or lie down but no real place to lean or rest on. Personally, I prefer to lie down and stare at the inside of my eyelids while the Body breathes and moves and struggles, using it’s lungs, it’s veins and it’s weathered skin to absorb life and knowledge, exhaling exhaustion tinted with wonder.

Here, where I started as a fumbling sphere of conflict and naivety, and through the resonance of the I’s and why’s and you’s and who’s; I expanded. I grew ears, eyes, limbs, but was never blessed with a mouth, although my voice was louder than I could at times bare. As the echo of my thoughts washed over me in waves, the fluidity of this unstable space created patterns and paths that I could barely imagine. With my newly created limbs I grasped at them, desperately craving a permanence that I knew would prove itself hopeless. A permanence that, when away from these frightening moments of desperation and loneliness, would become my static prison.

Don’t get me wrong, this place is my paradise. Much like Mother Nature, the mind’s frightening dimensions and overwhelming power to both create and destroy, are the roots to my love for it and my need to treasure and care for it. This empty room, where things don’t come or go, where things are, yet are not, I have stayed. Whether I float in a non-sea, lounge on a not quite field, or sift my fingers through a vast inexistent desert. This shield, this cloak, this unlikely wonderland had become my very own home. I was my very own home.

Slowly, surely, I used this space up while keeping it empty. The voices that ricochet off the non-walls and the outside that filters through my ever expanding self, so I can almost imagine the feeling of touching the non-walls around me with my fingertips. I crammed every air particle with stories, words, worlds from Carroll, the Grimm Brothers, King, Frost, Bukowski, Dante, Shakespeare, Murakami, Cohen, E. E. Cummings, Faulkner, Mo Yan. The names endless, the vocabulary spanning at least 3 of the 7 seas. Eventually, my collection of non-books was larger than my mind itself and it spilled out into the Body, through the mouth, the ears and the palms of its hands, bleeding through the skin. Yearning to be heard to the point that it seeped through the seams and tore down every barrier and suddenly, the mind wasn’t big enough for me anymore.

It is always wise to spend time with yourself, but now that I am armed with real books and real words and a voice itching to be heard, my fingers wanting to touch the real edges of existence. To simply be, without fear of not being cannot happen by hiding in the mind.


Have You Ever Seen Dead Poets Society?

Have you ever watched the movie Dead Poets Society? The movie where a controversial teacher intrudes in a harsh dictatorship; abolishes the farse they called education, revealing the suffocating conformity they had brought onto themselves.

I cried a lot in that movie. Never in my life have I related so much to a character as I did with Neil Perry. When he died, I cried tears of relief because he had freed himself the only way he knew how to. I cried because I understood the complete loss and despair and the inescapable loneliness; there comes a point where you just can’t bear to talk anymore, where you just can’t bear to try anymore. Is it worth it to rot away in a life full of regrets?

When Todd howls and grieves in the snow, when he stands tall on the chair and does what Neil can no longer do, I sobbed. But I sobbed inexplicably, with an inner turmoil that, for months, I did not know how to put into words. He was the embodiement of all of those I could not bear to leave behind, yet he also embodies all the values I wish I can create after my death; freedom, identity, respect. My happiness for Neil battled my pity for Todd and no matter how certain I was of my own existence as Neil, I could not bring myself to think of the existence of my Todd. And so I sobbed, I sobbed for tethering myself and for the guilt I refused to feel.

I sobbed because I did not want to live the life Neil was supposed to live, I sobbed because I know that many of us fight the battle Neil lost and some of us lost, some of us won, some turned around and charged at their own frontiers, and some of us just never stopped fighting.

How do you win a war against those who blindly believe they are fighting for you?

I’m surfin’ the web!

It’s finally happened! After I delayed it for 7 months I finally got around to getting myself a website!

Now you can buy the book, have a sneak preview, read a bit about me and even contact me. I can’t believe I went from sneakily writing ideas on my arms during class (which I still do… oops) to having my very own website dedicated to a book I didn’t know I wanted to publish!


Please, anyone who understands the weight of a half formed dream, please help me spread the word and put this book on every book shelf and the name Xu in every city. It would mean the world to me if you could just share that link on a social media, tell a friend, anything.

Thank you!


Thoughts that passed through my head in the exam after I finished early put into a strange little poem/spoken word while I waited to leave the exam room.

melancholic and depressed become
watermeloncoholics not expressed.
when the tinker of a bell and
the deep resonant buzz
do not remind us of summer
and crickets riding windchimes.
rather it’s the time that passes for others and hours
that ended for younger.
it’s the spinning fans that
blow back hot air and
despairing sighs.
filtered sun now jaded
by layered glass and rock
in this furnace where
hell scorches all but the paper before me
and the pen in my hand.
the only thing between
me and my true self is a
flimsy, ragged curtain that barely
keeps out the May-June warmth,
and a couple of miles of
notes and paperwork that
are left to write.
exams to sit when the world asks me to stand,
crushed by a silence
I’m not allowed to deny.
my thoughts can be discarded as scrap,
but textbooks filled
with unnecessary crap,
crammed jammed packed
into me through eyes ears and mouth until
my skull can’t hold.
I do not feel educated.
I do not feel like my watermelacoholically
expressed self.
I feel melancholic and
depressed and enraged and
as time freezes over in this roaring inferno.
I am left powerless,
with a pen that runs short on ink.

Survive the Insanity

A stupid satirical article written a couple of years ago. How cute.

In the modern world, where the skies are grey, where the towns are grey, where our hearts are grey. What we need, is a little bit of colour, a little spark in this bleak life that we lead. That we trudge through day by day with nothing that excites us, nothing that thrills us or makes our hearts race.

In the insanely maddening world where the dullness is overwhelming, where we are but a speck of dust, neglected and ignored in this sea of talents. We feel belittled, we feel unwanted, we feel defeated. As we turn on the television, we yearn to escape the boring reality, yet all we find are people who are better than us living the life. People who are worse than us being crushed by the mocking tones of the likes of Simon Cowell and the bemused smirks of the audience. However this isn’t enough, it doesn’t quench our thirst for superiority, our hunger for the tears of the hopeful.

What we want… is danger. So that is what reality shows will give us, with a brand new refreshing survival game that stars all your favourite or most hated actors, Insanity. The blood-curdling screams will send chills down our backs and we will feel revived, finally the world will come alive. Finally the violence and brutality will bring the shine back into our eyes. We think to ourselves that finally here is something that we can relate to our inner beasts. While we sit at home and contemplate getting up to get the remote, instead choosing to battle the floor for it, trying to hook it with the tip of our fingers as we sprawl across the sofa. We are some real animals. Wild.

The show that will allow us to discard our sane selves, the show that will present to us our more sadistic side, where the suffering of some brings tears of mirth to our eyes. It is our own beloved sanctuary, a little twisted world for the dark side of our hearts. Perfection.

This is the place where you the audience will get a choice, anyone you particularly hate? Sign them up to Insanity. Anyone who has gotten on your nerves lately? Sign them up for Insanity! Anyone ate the last cookie that you’ve been saving for months and months? Just sign them up for Insanity and you’ll soon find your problems fighting to their “death” in the legal version of The Hunger Games. You will be able to sit comfortably at home and speculate how Justin Bieber has a most amusing I’m-so-scared-I’m-about-to-pee-myself face. To complain about how fat Snooki looks as she runs for her life and how even in the jungle she looks like a meatball. It will be a perfect family show to watch right after dinner. Fantastic.

Insanity is a kid friendly show, so they have decided to add a slight handicap to all the participants, they will be selected at random to dress up in an animal costume, depending on what kind of costume it is there will be a different “bag of surprises”. What did Easter Bieber get? Chocolate eggs? Those are definitely essential to survive in a murderous jungle. What did Ellen the Elephant get? Peanuts? Perfect to fight against other magnificently dressed actors who for some bizarre reason that has nothing to do with us are trying to kill each other for a mere 100, 000, 000£, I wonder why that is.

At the end of the day, when the winner finally emerges battered and bruised, but victorious and triumphant like a hunting dog that has just caught their prey. They trot back happily to receive their hard earned prize. While we at home praise it, I mean them, and cheer at the satisfying finale, or groan and grumble at the tragic fall of that one guy who we had bet would cheat and come out looking smug. After a brief discussion of how rotten reality television is, we settle down with our snacks to a whole new season of it, with new members, new dramas, and a whole lot more failures.

In this still, boring, safe world that we live in now, it is obvious that documentaries are not what we need, we don’t want education, I doubt we need it, I mean just look at those people who have become millionaires, trusting in luck is the way to go. So no more watching those excruciating shows that rip the yawns out of you, no need to watch the news, just watch Insanity. It is a true inspiration for the future generation, it will show us how the strong will always have an advantage, it is the harsh cruel world that we all want but are too lazy to search for. The world is turning into a disaster, discarded was bravery, courage, honour. In comes logic, responsibility, fear.

So why bother with developments? Why not just go back to the good old days. To the times where hunting was the only source of food, where whipping the kids was good, where the bloody battles in the Coliseum brought on roars of approval. Like our ancestors what we should do is follow our greed, chase after our passions and grab any opportunity presented to us. Show off the raw power of Man, the fearless creatures who definitely never hide behind machines or cheat nature’s survival trials.

As people say; in Rome, do as the Romans. In this maddeningly sane world of ours, where nothing makes sense and we mile around senseless, where we don’t fit in, what we need to survive the overwhelming sanity, is a little Insanity.

To Kill A Mockingbird Speech

Another school related piece. This one is a speech by someone from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

My fellow Brothers and Sisters, let us all sit today and ponder on the injustice of this world, the discrimination, the ever present contempt and shame that the white men feel towards us Negroes. The sins committed against humanity, the sins committed against morality, the sins committed against God himself yet go by dismissed as the true justice. Let us pray that this cloud of evil will one day lift off our precious town of Maycomb. Others might not think so, but we know, in our hearts, that this town, this old, tired, slow and worn out town, is our home.

My fellow friends and family, we have been brought into this world of misfortune, we have been raised with shame and anguish, we have clawed our way into society to shout out our pride in existence. To simply be stomped and crushed and to yet again fall into this dark corner where we fight eternally with sweat, blood and tears just to be shunned from the only place we have ever known. To become outcasts in our own homeland.

Is that what God wanted for us? Were we created to be sinful creatures enslaved by those who think themselves superior? Were we made in this era just to be trapped in our ancestor’s history and the suffering of the past? These are questions that we have all asked ourselves when fallen in despair. However we can’t ever forget that God will never abandon us, that as one door is closed, another one, no matter how far, will open for us to find. So do not close your eyes, because it is out there somewhere.

And yesterday, yesterday a midst of all those who looks upon us with disgust and solid confidence, amidst the plain segregation, amidst the broken promises of equality and supposedly unbiased passing of judgement that were assured to us in the house of justice, we found our ray of light. Amongst the dirtied souls and poisoned hearts, we found a pure, good man, freed from the mob, turning away from the prejudice and gave us the benefit of the doubt.

He believed in all those things that we dream of for our future, he believed in all those hopes we had for our children, he believed, and he tried. Even if he did not achieve the Utopia that we yearn for, he has shown us that everything is not lost. That the day when a black man can stand shoulder to shoulder with a white man is not absurd anymore comes closer and closer, slowly but steadily we are edging towards our goals.

My fellow prisoners in this harsh, cruel country that is known for its freedom. We are in the Great United States of America, the country where anything is possible. Where a white man stands up for a black man, not because of his skin colour, but because of his innocence. Yesterday Atticus Finch, Calpurnia’s boss, proved himself to be an outstanding lawyer, he proved himself to be a saint, he is the key that will unlock that one door, the door that opens up so many opportunities for our community.

My fellow mourners and bitter believers please raise your heads and pray to God. Pray that such injustice will never be allowed to pass again. Pray that more and more men like Atticus Finch will stand and fight for us. Pray that we will have to suffer no more because it is time to take a stand for ourselves. However we cannot only act in anger, we cannot become like those who discriminate. We will learn a lesson from the tragedy that befell Tom Robinson and his family and we will never pass judgement on predictions and assumptions. Now join your hands and let us remember our Brother Tom who has never hurt a fly, a child with a heart of gold that will never be forgotten. Let us take some time to apologise to our Sister Helen, who has fallen ill from the over whelming grief. As we stand before God, I apologise to you Helen for my faith not being enough to save the soul of our dearest Brother.

Then let us give thanks to Mr Finch who has tried his best to ensure justice in a world where the crowd speaks louder than the conscience. Today, anything raised will go to him, because yes my fellow comrades, for the first time, a black man’s donations will go towards a white man. A white man who has never classified himself as that, a man who is now as much part of the community as each and every one of you. We shall open the doors of our church to him just as he opened his arms to our community; we shall accept him in our hearts as he did to us in his life. The day of unity and peace will come; the day of happiness will arrive. So brothers, do not despair, instead raise your heads and thank God that we have taken a small step forward, a small step towards freeing ourselves from the shackles of the past.

No matter how bad the situation is, no matter how grim our lives become, God will always stand by the good. So never let yourselves fall into evil.

View From The Bowling Alley

This was something I did in school for English class in 2013. I had to write a scene from A View From The Bridge by Arthur Miller and it turned out to be in the bowling alley.

After Beatrice walks offstage Eddie comes back into the house and finds Catherine crying. He guiltily sits next to her.

Eddie: (Hesitantly) Come on now Katie don’t be like this. (she looks away from him) C’mere I’ll take you somewhere nice. (Stands up and brings her coat)

Catherine: (wiping tears) Where are we going Eddie?

Eddie smiles mysteriously but does not answer, instead walking out the door. Catherine is curious and follows closely. Lights dim and they walk into the bowling alley. Louis and Mike are lit up, sat at a table in the corner, cigarette butts, empty beer bottles and a few poker cards are strewn on the table. Seeing Eddie, Louis waves him over. Low murmur breaks out as Catherine enters behind Eddie looking nervous.

Louis: Hey kiddo (pulls up chair and makes space around the table for Catherine) old man draggin’ you around is he? (smirks gesturing at Eddie)

Eddie smiles coldly and signals at unseen barman for a beer. Catherine remains silent looking quizzically at Eddie.

Mike: Where’s Paper Doll today? Not hangin’ around you no more? Don’t tell me them wedding bells are fadin’ already! Me and Louis were just talkin’bout saving up for a tux! (Nudging Louis)

Eddie: What you mean? They just kids y’know? Wedding bells ain’t ringing for my Katie anytime soon. (fixes them with a piercing gaze)

Louis: But Eddie we’ve seen your Katie walkin’ round town with our Blondy-

Eddie: Yeah well they’re new y’know, she’s just showing him round the place that’s all.

Louis: She don’t show that Marco fella round does she? (chuckling) Hey Katie, you and ‘im gon’ run away together or somethin’? Plannin’ on leaving our bud Eddie here and dear ol’ B with a bunch of lil ‘uns?

Catherine: (blushing furiously) What… Well I-

Eddie: That boy? (laughing bitterly) He don’t got what it takes. He’s still just a kid! (waving them off) So how’re your families doin’ lately? Heard your boy will start working with us at Pier 42 soon eh Mike?

Mike: Yeah s’about time he starts pulling his own weight round.

Eddie: (To Catherine)You ever met Mike’s kid? He’s a good fella, a real man y’know? Strong like a bull and’ll treat a girl right y’know? Maybe you should meet, yeah you’d like him a lot. (Turns to Mike) Hey Mike what do you think of my Katie and your-

Catherine: Eddie. (Her voice is shaking)

Eddie: (waving her off, a certain gleam in his eyes) Katie, baby, I’m having a conversation here, anyways so Mike your boy and my Katie together what do you think? She’s gettin’ this real nice job you see, and she could really do with a real man you see-

Catherine: Eddie. (More forceful)

Eddie: (pause) What?

Catherine: What am I doing here?

Eddie: (feigns innocence) Just wanted to take you out of the house for a little Katie. You wanted to get out more didn’t you?

Catherine is silent.

Eddie: Well?? This is what you wanted ain’t it? To get outta the house?

Catherine: I never said that, I just-

Eddie: Then why don’t you talk to me no more Katie? (raising voice) You never round anymore, what happened to my lil girl huh? Where’s my lil girl?

Catherine begins to cry and the bowling alley falls silent. Spotlight only on Eddie as he silently stands up and moves away from the table leaving Louis to comfort Catherine. Eddie stumbles away looking lost.