I Saw the Sky

The following post is another old draft (written around 10 months ago). One part is about the sky, and the other is about art and censorship:

Context is a wonderful thing. I’m not just talking about context within the confines of art or conversations, but across everything. There is a very real and inherent pointlessness in everything if you take it out of context. I choose to not look at that as something depressing, but rather as an opportunity to forget all the stress that burdens the mind sometimes. It’s a chance to laugh at the futility of our efforts to fight against entropy. I don’t really believe that everything is pointless, though. That’s the power of context right there: the power that we have as humans is to put things into different perspectives, for better or for worse. Regardless of context, I think what I can safely say is that when I was here, I saw the sky, and it was beautiful.

I was talking with my sister the other day, and she was telling me about a presentation she’s working on for her class about the responsibility of authority to censor art, and it got me thinking. Let’s break it down: what gives an authority authority? Either it is given by the people who chose it, or it is taken by the people in power. Let’s assume that we’re in an ideal world and that the first case is the one that’s happening. What is the difference between the man in power and any other man on the street? It’s the responsibilities that he has to carry out. So we can say, for now, that an authority has power because of the responsibilities it was elected to fulfill. If it fails to fulfill them, then it is not an authority anymore. Now, moving on the second part of the question: does censorship diminish the value of art? I noticed an interesting discrepancy here when I was discussing this part with my sister: she was thinking of art as a whole (i.e. as a concept), and I was thinking of art as in a specific piece of art (a film, song, etc.). We both agreed that censorship diminishes the value of art. My sister’s conclusion for her presentation in the end was that an authority’s responsibility to seek the greater good of its people, which includes censorship, and so an authority should censor while keeping in mind the fact that it should maintain a balance between the value of art and the greater good of society.


Something bigger

The following post is a draft from about a year ago:

This is just a fleeting thought that came into my head a few moments ago. I was watching this TED talk about intelligence, and was thinking about the Earth. The whole planet is covered with water or land, and let’s look at the land closely: all of the dust and ashes and sand have been around for thousands and thousands of years now, only in different places and in different forms, but they’ve always been there. In the TED talk, the man mainly says that intelligence is about increasing future possibilities and not getting trapped. Now let’s apply this to the Earth: the sand and dust and ashes that make up the earth we walk upon and then rest within naturally apply that principle. A grain of sand will survive forever, even if in different forms, and while it can’t increase its own future possibilities, we can do that for it. The point I’m trying to make here is this: we, as (supposedly) intelligent beings, or at least as beings that are more intelligent and sentient than sand, are able to manipulate the sand and shape its life. Now let’s take this idea a step further: what if we’re the grains of sand, and the things controlling us are as inexplicable and mysterious to us as we are to sand grains? For example, let’s assume that the Earth (the planet) is a different life form. Let’s assume that the Earth is literally alive. We could then say that the Earth is intelligent because it keeps creatures of all sorts on its back to take care of it. Forget about pollution and global warming and such —  Earth will definitely survive these — and think about a bigger issue. Assuming we’ve evolved from the Earth, and that Earth took care of us until we reached the point where we can defend it against asteroids. (We may be made of stardust, but we can’t remember what we knew as stars. We can only miss it.)




One: With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

Two: So let’s go to bed before you say something real.

Three: We can whisper things, secrets

Four: Cause I’m your jazz singer and you’re my cult leader.

Five: No matter what I do.

Possessed – a five-lined stolen poem of other songs

With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair, so

Let’s go to bed before you say something real.

We can whisper things, secrets

Cause I’m your jazz singer and you’re my cult leader.

No matter what I do.

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Little Revelations No. 1



1) Stretching a perfectly symmetrical shape in width is the same as stretching it in length, only that the stretch happens in a different direction.

2) In any number of chess games around the world, the number of winners will be equal to the number of losers by necessity. 

3) I came across this comment a few days ago: “Sure, but the guy who invented the first wheel had a pretty great idea, but it didn’t mean much until the next guy invented the axel (sic).”

4) If we move fast enough, everything will happen at the same time. I wonder if the same happens if we’re slow enough.


Conversations and Poetry

I love having interesting conversations with interesting people. My favorite conversations are the ones that are about you, and not what you watch, listen to, or read, etc. Those are the easy option. The other option is the more stimulating one because it’s about who you are when everything else is taken away: where you’d like to go, what you think about, what you do, what your handwriting looks like, etc. I’ve recently come to notice that the people I know with whom I have interesting conversations can all write well.

During a conversation with a friend the other day, I noticed that I’ve filled many notebooks in the past few years, but mostly with nonsense. There are pages upon pages filled with random words (handwriting practice) and futile thoughts and tired poetry. There will occasionally be something worth rereading here and there, but the bulk of it is just ugly. And yet, I still write down the nonsense I have to say. Here’s an old poem that I’d written for a friend to make them feel better at the time:

How can you say that there aren’t any miracles
When you’re surrounded by hands and eyes?
Notice the way flowers bloom –
And the day and night; see how
The death of one gives birth to the other?
Forever in flux, hugging the Earth,
Fading in and out of each other,
Coloring the sky a different shade of blue every day.

Speaking of poetry, I recently fell in love with the idea of writing poetry in French. I was listening to Yann Tiersen, and the titles of his tracks, which are mostly in French., caught my eye. The title of one album specifically caught me: Les Retrouvailles. I had no idea what the world meant before I looked it up, but I had this feeling that it had something to do with lost time that was somehow found. (It’s the resemblance to the word “retrieve” that got me thinking along those lines.) Anyhow, I decided to have a go at writing French poetry (with the help of Google Translate) about lost/found time, and here’s what I came up with:

Les jours perdus que jamais soignés
Ont retourné une fois de plus
De vous voir étaler vos ailes d’argent.

(The lost days that never cared
Have returned once again
To see you spread your silver wings.)

Art by Alice X. Zhang

Haikus: To Write Poetry


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To write poetry
Is to breathe language in, and
Then breathe wonder out.

To write poetry
Is to become wet with life
And its emptiness.

To write poetry
Is to preach the beauty you
Find in tired eyes.

To write poetry
Is to breathe life into a
Bag of bones, wishes.

To write poetry
Is to see the stars above
The temples of rhythm

To write poetry
Is to taste the music in
A spoon of money.


“How come you don’t write anymore?”

Sincerely, Salma

…I got asked. At first, I didn’t understand the question, how did she reach such an assumption?

“You haven’t published a long piece of writing for a long while.”


I don’t know if it’s related or not, but since I actually stopped publishing whatever I write online because of lack of time (at first), I’ve noticed a change in how I write and the things that come out. It’s more comfortable to write for yourself, and, believe it or not, it’s even more gratifying!

To write without thinking is to write what has been truly sitting in your mind. Even when it comes to fiction. Not out of fear of being judged or criticized, but because, at least for me, writing is something I do to grow and expand on thought. Having someone like or dislike what I write simply doesn’t make any difference, and I say that in…

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The Ghost of Memories Past


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Some days I just don’t feel like speaking and am tempted to stay silent for the whole day, offering no explanation to others as to why I am not talking — it’d ruin the silence if I told them — so I just ignore everything for a day. I do that just because I feel like I want to remain silent, and not because I’m sad. I like this self-fulfilling silence. Of course, as it happens, there’s always something that makes me speak every time I attempt to have a silent day, but I still insist on trying. Anyways, what I wanted to say is that this self-imposed, self-fulfilling silence sometimes helps me think more clearly. You should try it sometime.

Some nights, before I go to sleep, the ghost of memories past will knock on my door and ask to be let in, and I always let him in. My house is small: it’s got a bed, a cupboard, a window and a table. He always sits at the table and refuses to drink the tea I offer him. He sits there, looking at me with his bright eyes, piercing my soul — but never uttering a word — and why would he want to speak? I already know what’s on my mind, his mind, our mind. He reminds me of things that I’ve chosen to forget. He reminds me of the weight of my words and actions and how they’ve never lived up to expectations. I wake up the next day and find it hard to rise; the air feels heavy in my lungs. Why did he visit? Why did I let him in? I always let him in, and he always weighs me down. I recently discovered that he visits everyone else too, and they all let him in. We dare not speak with him because whatever he’ll say will remind us of what we have forgotten on purpose, and we dare not leave him outside because the idea of his presence alone is enough to weigh us down, so we decide to get it over with. The ghost of memories past is too real to be a ghost — and he’ll be visiting you again soon enough.