Friday, January 15, 2010

First Year Club Meeting

Yesterday I was the meeting chairman in our club meeting. It was not the first time for me as I performed this role once or twice in the past in Singapore. But it was the first time for me here in the US. I was a bit apprehensive having looked at the prepared script to make sure I don’t forget anything. In Singapore, my tendency is always to follow the script and avoid straying from it. I tried to do the same here because it will keep my mind focused on the series of club activities. But it turned out to be much easier. One only needs to live in the moment and react positively to occurring events. My mind often strays so I had found it difficult in the past.

But this time I felt utter freedom in front of the club. It was like I could say anything I wanted, make any mistake, look like a fool and still be successful. It’s a feeling I never felt before in front of an audience. It’s like I am accepted for whom I am and don’t need to pretend which I appear to do when strictly following the script. The feeling was that I could throw away the script and just be myself. I even cracked a joke which I rehearsed beforehand. But I was able to spontaneously introduce the joke during a lull in the proceeding. Most of the club members said I did a good job; it was ‘workman’ like in its manner as one said. This comment I appreciated because I could not pretend to be relaxed and enjoying my task as host; at least not yet.

I think the local atmosphere here is more open and allows one to be oneself. Everyone is free to express anything he likes although to a certain extent. After all one must be within the bounds of decency which I am often tempted to cross. Happily it feels very conducive to express oneself. I guess it’s the way people are raised or taught when young. On the other hand, I feel that I have been raised to be repressed and secretive with regards to communication and expressing myself. One can guess that it has affected one’s self esteem as well. I am not sure if it’s biological because of recent discoveries of a shyness gene in DNA studies.

This ‘psychological opening’ with regards to expressing oneself and communicating with others should be useful for a writer. Development means a holistic growth in terms of meeting with others and having a healthy sense of expressing oneself; in other words having healthy interactions in common society. This would help in the ‘abstract’ work of communicating by words. I guess writer’s workshops can provide this type of outlet or meeting with other writers or reporters. Still the point is to achieve a sort of basic confidence that will ease the writing of words and creation. For others this maybe taken for granted if one comes from a healthy environment that stimulates this normal sort of growth.

In the scheme of things, it’s really a small matter in a writer’s growth though a needed foundation to move forward. I can say that it is only now that my mind seems to be wide awake during these meeting. There seemed to be many thoughts in my brain in the past that kept me from being in the moment. Maybe it is the straight forwardness, openness and lack of guile in the people here. I am currently listening to Michael Chabon’s works and he writes with such openness that it represents everything that I have experienced here recently. One gets the feeling that anything is possible.

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