Writing Journey

Your Alternate Ending

Our life is like a book except that the ending is constantly changing. With every decision we make—from what we eat for lunch to the time we go to bed—our future is being revised over and over again. It is an alteration we do not see, perhaps in belief that certain actions are too small to account for anything. But once we start paying attention—noticing even the minute details—we’ll begin to see the ripple of our every action and thought. We’ll realise that with every breath, we are rewriting the epilogue of our story.

To some, grasping the notion that ‘every action has an equal and opposite reaction’ is terrifying. And indeed, it is a scary thought—what will happen with every success and failure? Will we end up with a bad final chapter? What if our decisions change our entire book? Unfortunately, that is how life is. But it’s not all that bad when we start to see the possibilities that come with change.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve come to realise that change is good. Change has broadened my perspective of the world and the opportunities it has to offer. Change has forced me out of my comfort zone—to try new things and embark on different adventures. Change has led me down roads I never thought I would traverse, changing my ending repeatedly—the same unpredictable future from the start now as unpredictable as before, but… much brighter and more exciting than yesterday. Change, if I dare say, is a gift.

Now, of course, there was a time I was afraid of change—a time I feared that it would alter my dreams, divert my goals, and lead me astray from the grand plans I had for myself. But, not any longer. I’ve learned to adapt to change. And with every adaptation, I’m writing a better story for myself. With every trial and error—every uncomfortable moment—I’m shifting my perspective for the better. And so, I challenge you to embrace change too.

I challenge you to create an alternate ending for yourself. You do not have to give up on your dreams. You do not have to drop any of your plans. I, myself, didn’t stop being an author when I started doing Facebook videos. I didn’t stop writing stories while I explored other platforms to share my ideas and experiences. In fact, when I challenged my status quo, my dream expanded. So I’m glad—I’m glad that I’m no longer afraid of change. I’m glad that my ending isn’t what it used to be. And I cannot wait to uncover the alternate end to my story because I know… it can only get better from here.

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Original Works

The Above [12 Genre Months]

“Do not, I repeat, do not do it again,” my mother chastised.

I had yet again provoked her with my disobedience. And though my actions were intentional, it wasn’t because I relished in my mother’s ire. It was simply because she had never given me a reason to stop. After all, I was curious—often wondering why not. Why was I forbidden from the surface? What danger did the beyond present that warranted punishment? What happened—a century before my birth—that forced us to live underground?

“Do you hear me?” my mother asked. Her anger had abated but she remained exasperated—a vexed disposition I could undo with a false promise.

“Yes,” I said. “I won’t do it again.”

My mother handed me a pair of yellow garden gloves. “You are to weed the garden. And if I hear any complain of truancy, you’ll be weeding the garden for the rest of your life.”

“Yes, mother.”

It was pointless to argue and more so futile to ask about the surface. My mother refused to disclose a single detail. Our subterranean society had kept the secrets of our past locked away, and only a chosen few were allowed to unearth the truth. So perhaps, my mother herself didn’t know what was in the above. Perhaps, she was merely repeating what her mother had said to her.

With the large garden gloves—appeasing my mother once more—I headed to the garden. From our small dome-shaped abode, I exited into a narrow tunnel that led to a fork in the path. Having memorised the passages—impossible to navigate if one is a foreigner with no guide—I took a right at the junction, then descended toward another split, where I turned left toward a seemingly never-ending hollow. When I finally came upon the end, there was a thick metal door. Turning the heavy handle, I entered yet another dome.

The dome, of 360 feet tall and wide, was called the garden. My mother was the chief caretaker of the only green space in our realm—the only place where one could gaze upon a palette of bright shades other than stale brown. It homed a variety of flora, sprouting from a carpet of deep green grass that spread across the floor and up the concave wall. It was paradise. It was also the meeting site for my expedition team—oh, if only my mother knew.

“Got caught again, I see,” my fellow weed-puller greeted.

“There’s always a next time,” I replied. “Did you learn anything new?”

Zee was the son of a chosen—his father frequented the above. Whenever his father returned, there would be new samples, ovules for the garden, and a journal full of notes.

“Nothing except that it remains inhabitable,” Zee said.

We had known that the world beyond was inhabitable for the past five years—the reports proved that we could ascend and start a new life. Alas, our people chose to remain. It was a strange decision—in spite of a reason to create a better life, there was no intention to move. Those un-chosen were still prohibited from venturing to the above—the claims of danger lodged into the minds of our people despite the lack of records to prove them true.

“I’ll try again tomorrow,” I stated. “Want to come along?”

“No,” Zee replied. He usually sat out of a mission if he had a valid excuse. But that day, he didn’t have one. He simply said, “I don’t want to do this anymore.”

“What? Why?” Not him too, I thought. Zee had been with me from the start. He was always excited to try and try again. So why the sudden change of heart?

“Just,” Zee said.

“Just?” I asked in disbelief. Zee was the third member on our team to abandon our cause. What reason could he have for giving up a better future—to live in a place full of possibilities, free from this mundanity? “Just is not a good reason,” I said. “Aren’t you tired of this aimless life?”

“I’m tired of trying,” Zee said. “Maybe, one day, we’ll be chosen. Then we’ll see the above without getting in trouble.”

“You want to keep waiting? What if you’re never chosen?”

“Then I guess I’ll just make do.” Zee shrugged.

“What is that suppose to mean? You’re willing to live here for the rest of your life? We already know what lies above us. We know it is worth the risk,” I reasoned.

Zee shook his head. “You can keep trying but I’m done.” He didn’t wait for me to respond, stalking toward a colossal tree of which its very seed came from the land we were banned from even glimpsing.

“Zee,” I called out. “You can’t just give up.”

Zee turned a deaf ear. Alike the two before him, he had relented. But at what cost? Was our search for purpose a meaningless pursuit? Was it justified to let go—to never gaze upon the hues of the sunrise and the awe-inspiring oceans? Would I lose hope too?

No, I will try again tomorrow as I said I would. If I had to spend my days weeding the garden, I would. If I was the only one left believing, then so be it. I had no plans of outgrowing my faith because the above held a promise the present could never offer—the above held a future.


12 Genre Months © 2019 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

(Click HERE for the list of stories in this writing challenge.)

Writing Journey

How Many ‘Passions’ Is Too Many?


One passion is all you need.
Once you’ve discovered what you are truly passionate about—the sole thing that will make your life meaningful—focus all your energy into growing that single passion alone. After all, passion is hard to come by. And because it is a rare commodity—critically endangered like the Amur Leopard—you must give it all your time, attention, and resources. But, if you have two passions…

Then two passions is all you need. Having more than one passion means equally dividing your time between them. You will need to focus your energy into growing both of them at the same pace. If you love to run and love to sing, be sure to clock in enough hours each week for both of them. It’s important that you don’t neglect one for the other. But, if you have three passions…

Then three passions is all you need. You can now balance your time between the three things that make you happy. If you’re burning out from one of your passions, you should switch to another. But because they are all your passions, you must be committed to all of them. They are your passions after all, and your passions are lifelong. But, if you have a collection of passions…

Then this post will keep going with silly and non-applicable rules.

Guys, there’s no number of passions you’re allowed to have. There is no limit—there are no rules. I, myself, have more than one activity that I’m passionate about. And guess what? I’ve taken on new passions and dropped passions over the course of my life too. So if you have a single passion, that’s fine—you don’t need three. But if you have three passions, that’s fine too—you don’t need to sacrifice any of them. You are allowed to be passionate in different ways and areas. You are not obligated to grow each passion at the same pace. And you most certainly can let go of the things that no longer bring meaning and excitement to your life.

Personally, having a few passions give me the opportunity to take a break from one or the other. Collectively, these passions make my life more meaningful—writing gives me purpose, exercising gives me focus, and travelling gives me rest. However, this does not mean I’m free from doubts or the thoughts of giving up. But the very essence of passion—the desire and love that stirs within—keeps me going despite the ups and downs. So whatever your passion is, and no matter how many you have, don’t box passion with guidelines. Nurture your passion but don’t redefine its nature.

Now, if you’ve yet to find something that you’re passionate about, don’t fret! Finding the thing and activity that brings you joy is a journey of trying, challenging, and exploring. Some of us take longer to find what we love while others are quick to uncover their desires. At the end of the day, you move at your own pace—just like passion itself. So give yourself the time to understand yourself better and soon, you’ll find the very thing that you can call your own.      

Writing Journey

Why You’ll Never Be Ready

If we wait until we’re ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives. – Lemony Snicket

If I waited to write my first book, waited to start this blog, waited to make videos—waited to pursue my passion… I’ll be waiting for the rest of my life. There would’ve been no stories told, no lives inspired, no leaps taken, no new experiences, no exciting surprises, and nothing to look forward to—the very thing that turned my humdrum existence into an imaginative and meaningful life. Heck, if I waited until I was ready… I wouldn’t be writing this today.

Personally, I don’t believe in readiness when it comes to pursuing our dreams. Readiness is not important, and it shouldn’t dictate whether we write that book, record that song, or enroll in that art class. Readiness is simply an excuse. And oftentimes, we use it as a reason to postpone the important pursuits in our lives. But, what is ‘readiness’ an excuse for? You might not like the answer but I’ll say it anyway—readiness is an excuse to not face the fear of the unknown.

We are afraid of the future. But… not the future in general. Our fear stems from a pessimism at reality that is ingrained in our human nature. Being optimistic is a choice—the believing that even in the darkest times there is still light. Being pessimistic, unfortunately, is often a default. But I’m not saying that being an optimist removes the fear of the unknown—this fear still exists. However, optimism gives us the little light we need—a light that can help us envision enough to take a leap of faith.

You’ll never be ready. You’ll never be able to predict the future either. But you have a choice. Is readiness a valid excuse to delay your dreams? Is being afraid of the unknown a sensible reason to put your life-changing plans on hold? Yes, you might fail. Yes, your work might not be the best. Yes, what you hope for might not come to past. But just because these are possibilities, they are not reasons. Heck, they don’t even exist to be legitimate reasons. Have they occurred? No. Will they occur? Perhaps—you don’t know for sure. And the paradox: not knowing is the reason to start.

Not being ready is a bad excuse to not pursue your dreams. But not knowing what will happen is a great reason to start chasing them. Life can only go two ways—the way we want it to and the way we don’t want it to. We can’t control what will happen nor can we predict the end result. What we can do, however, is choose to discover the other side.

Unlike avid hikers, I dislike hiking. My only goal, while I mutter under my breath about how torturous it is, is to find out what’s waiting for me on the other side. I like the discovery free from my expectations. It motivates me to complete the climb. And… at the very end of a hike, despite how tiring the ordeal, I find my reward—a sense of accomplishment. I now know what’s there! It might just be a plain landing surrounded by more trees, but now I know. And perhaps on my next climb, I will find the amazing view of snow-capped mountains I’ve been dreaming of. Now… there wouldn’t be any discovery without the climb, would there?

So stop waiting to be ready to go after your dreams! Be excited to find out what’s at the very end of each journey. Don’t be afraid to set sail because of the unknown. You might not know where you’re going—you might not end up where you’ve planned—but you’re going somewhere! And somewhere is always better than nowhere.

Others

8 Things I’m Grateful For In 2018

1. My trip to the UK. Though it was not the best nor the most memorable, I finally visited Potterland of which I thought was impossible.

2. My novel, The Slave Prince, finally hitting bookstores after the arduous hours spent on fundraising and editing.

3. My 3/4 page feature in The Sun newspaper. Who knew I would be given that much print space? Certainly not me!

4. My whole CLEO experience—from the photoshoot to the luncheon—that pushed me into the most awkward social situations, which have now made me a little bolder and more willing to say ‘yes’ to social events.

5. The many times I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone, agreeing to ‘things’ I never thought I would agree to, to push my limitations both in my personal and work life. I accepted so many challenges this 2018.

6. Learning a lot from my day job that has helped me to map my personal plans for the future. I never knew I could take such a route on my authoring journey. I never knew I would be so fond of the words, ‘business’ and ‘consultant’. Simply being willing to learn has helped me to see the endless possibilities standing before me.

7. A life plan for 2019 and beyond that doesn’t just involve writing novels but has a more meaningful purpose. Finally, there’s more to do! And I cannot wait to share it with you. So be sure to keep an eye out for the upcoming posts!

8. My friends, especially the (unlikely) people who are so supportive of my plans and have offered a hand to help me make it happen. And my family, for still being a close unit—still going on family trips and spending Sundays together. Hopefully, next year won’t be that much different.

After all that has happened and that is to come, I have a feeling 2019 is going to be an amazing year. 2018 is just the start of my novel, and like all epic adventures out there…. it’s about to get exciting!

Is there anything in your 2018 that you’re grateful for? Make a list!