Original Works

A Thousand Lives [Music Meets Story]

If I could live a thousand lives, what would I see?

I would see ember evening skies of suffocating smog, dusty with the ashes of a war-torn city. The sunset in the horizon now shrouded by devastation, absent of the welcoming starry night that once filled the world with awe. For reality was a macabre series of hopelessness… of which, I could only pray, would never be the future of those to come.

If I could live a thousand lives, what would I see?

I would see a multitude of broken souls, whose eyes dimmed with life as their will to live wavered. I would question if what I saw were true, for how could there be such disparate worlds, coexisting in such a time—of both carefree innocence and breathless fear, where fate had predetermined whether one lives or dies. Unsettling it was, for such a conflicting habitat to own this reality, with no saving grace—no reason nor choice. But perhaps, the future was different.

If I could live a thousand lives, what would I see?

I would see a rising courage for a new world. From endless defeat to a cry of victory—a movement to live, with flags waving high in the fight for freedom. Righteous anger filled the disposition of many in their quest to own the choices they were gifted. Oh, how the world has changed—suddenly, destiny belonged to those who owned it. Suddenly, to be human was to defend one’s rights. Was this the future?

If I could live a thousand lives, what would I see?

I would witness what seemed impossible eons ago—a coming together of all and sundry. What one would deem an unlikely marriage, in a time of great segregation, became a normality. Diverging paths with little commonality had united for the greater good. From a thousand lives, the passage of space and time had proven my faith in humanity was not in vain. There was… indeed… a different world beyond the now.

If I could live a thousand lives, what would I see?

I would see lifetimes of turmoil, pain, and despair. Yet, in the midst of it all, I would see hope, change, and the true meaning of life. For a thousand lives on a single planet paints a story from a palette of a million hues, not of mere black and white as many souls often choose. And should any being grasp the nature of living, as I have from an ethereal plane, they would know… a thousand lives is never worth more than one.

Still, the question remains—if I could live a single life, would I glimpse the same?


This story was inspired by the original composition, Wish You Were Here by Ülvi Zeynalov.

Music Meets Story © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Videos

Are You The Hero Of Your Story?

Nobody likes being the boring side character. So why then do we feel like a sidekick all the time? 😔

To become the hero of your own story is to embrace your hero’s journey. But what does that journey entail? You’ll be surprised, because it’s not what you think 🦸

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Original Works

Twenty-Twenty [12 Genre Months]

March 18, 2020

It’s a typical Wednesday—bumper to bumper traffic on the Federal Highway since 8 a.m. The midweek blues has officially set it, and I can’t wait for the weekend. How boring can today be, am I right? There is, however, an interesting topic for discussion—my colleagues and I have been talking about a virus. Its rapid spread in the past few months has made it a global affair. It’s literally #trending. Oddly enough, no one seems to care. I guess… we’ll get over it soon.

March 20, 2020

One more long day before the weekend! And guess what? We’re having a farewell party for Siva tomorrow. It’s his last month with us before he leaves the country for his new job in Germany. Since he told us he resigned, we’ve been trying to speak German with him. I’ve gotta say, he’s pretty good. Granted, he took classes. Meanwhile, I’m here trying to learn Korean from k-dramas.

March 21, 2020

Evelyn just called. She said she isn’t feeling very well, and might even call in sick next week. Evelyn rarely falls sick. I mean, she’s the healthiest one of our lot. The girl hits the gym like… everyday? Well, I guess there’ll be more food for me later. Though, I don’t really feel all that great either. But… I can’t just bail too, right? We’ve been planning this farewell for a while now. So… I’ll just go. After all, I already bought a new dress for tonight—when else can I wear it?

March 23, 2020

Yup, Evelyn called in sick. She must be feeling horrible—she barely replies to my messages. Poor girl. She isn’t even sure if she has the flu or some other virus. Hopefully, with enough rest, she’ll get back to the office soon. We’re in a very busy season, and one man down affects us all. Now if only… I could call in sick, too.

March 25, 2020

Unbelievable. Three more people called in sick today. I can’t possibly be covering for everyone. This is insane! I already have this impossible client on my hand, and now I have to take on their clients, too? Also, why do people think it’s okay to call in sick over a little cold? Just pop a freaking Panadol. Don’t have Panadol? The office has some! Just get your butt to work!

March 27, 2020

Just got a message from our office WhatsApp group—Evelyn is in the hospital. A few of us want to visit her this weekend. We’re thinking of getting a few balloons, just to brighten her mood a little. Though, we don’t know what time we should go. Evelyn still hasn’t been responding to her messages. Honestly, I’m a little worried.

March 28, 2020

I can’t remember the last time I went to a hospital, but are all hospitals this busy? There were so many people, it took us forever just to get Evelyn’s room number. As for Evelyn, she wasn’t conscious when we arrived. Her family was there though, and they said she has the virus. Since we couldn’t talk to Evelyn, and it was awkward conversing with her parents, we left the balloons and called it a day.

March 30, 2020

I had to apply for an emergency leave today—mum wasn’t feeling well. She said something about not being able to breathe. So I had to take her to the hospital. This hospital, too, had a lot of people. For some reason, everyone decided to fall sick at the same time. And it’s a little troubling—I don’t think they have enough staff to handle the crowd. Well, hopefully mum gets better soon.

March 31, 2020

The nurses told me I can’t visit mum anymore. They said it was too dangerous. They wouldn’t explain anything. Heck, they don’t even have the time to entertain any of my questions. So I’m not sure what is going on. It feels like the end of the world… yet everyone is acting like it’s just another regular day. I also heard some people mention the virus. Apparently, it’s still trending. But… no one seems to care? I hope we’ll get over it soon.


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

Sword Of Destiny [Music Meets Story]

There it was—the glistening blade of steel that reflected the drifting clouds of the afternoon sky, rivaling the picturesque valley in its perpetual Autumn hue—the Sword of Destiny. Plunged deep into a jagged boulder, it was often mistaken as the legendary Excalibur. For many had come to where it stood, bejeweled in grace and elegance, in hopes of a better future. Alas, this very sword in the stone had a different story—a tale of irony with no promise of magic, wealth, or even a royal crown. And should one succeed at freeing it from its home… therein lies a cruel fate.

Yet, there I was. I had heeded its relentless beck and call. After months of intruding my nights with bizarre dreams and my days with unending questions, I yielded to its desire. But more than submission to the unknown, I needed to know the truth—who was the girl with the haunting dark eyes and the blazing red hair? Why did she drive a blade into her lover without sparing a single tear? And how was I related to a narrative from a millennial ago?

Destiny.

I heard it again. The disembodied voice that spoke in the stillness—a whisper that only I could hear. It called me toward the sword, pulling me forward with an in-explainable force. And after months of travelling, having dealt with all my qualms, I confidently reached for the weapon. As I wrapped my hand around its embracing grip, a strange warmth filled my chest. What I thought would be an antagonistic creation by design was surprisingly welcoming. It was as if… I had held it before.

Destiny.

I knew what I had to do. Without hesitation, I pulled the sword with all my might. But in the expectation of the blade gliding from the stone, I was left befuddled. The Sword of Destiny remained in place. Didn’t it call for me to set it free? Wasn’t I the chosen one to inherit its strength and power? Confused and stubborn, I attempted once more… and then another, and another, until the sun bade goodnight. Alas, even with both hands and countless bouts of catching my breath, the blade had rooted itself unmovable.

Destiny.

“What destiny?” I exclaimed in exasperation. “Why have you brought me here? What do you want from me?”

“It doesn’t want anything from you,” a voice replied.

Had I not been alone the entire time? I spun around to find a woman in a long, hooded cloak. As the cloudy night shrouded the pale moon, I could barely see the stranger’s face. If only I had the Sword of Destiny in my hand, I wouldn’t have feared for my life—why hadn’t I come prepared?

“Who are you?” I asked, as I took a few steps back.

“The Sword of Destiny is not yours,” she replied, disregarding my seemingly unimportant question. “It never called for you either.”

“What do you mean?” I frowned. “It gave me dreams, and I can hear its voice.”

“You’re not the only one with dreams,” the stranger said. “And what you hear is not its voice… it’s yours.”

I chuckled in disbelief. Who was she to make a fool out of me? I knew what I had dreamt—those recurring dreams that made no sense. I knew what I had heard—the very reason for my quest.

“You want something that isn’t yours,” she added. “But the sword will never come free for you. The sword never comes free for anyone.”

“Then why-”

The stranger took a step forward, revealing half her face in the faint light of the moon. And in that instant, my heart stopped. It was her. She was the girl who betrayed her lover at her father’s orders—the girl who couldn’t shed a tear despite the wretched pain that tore her soul apart.

“The sword cannot change the past,” she said. “The sword cannot change what you did or what you’ll do.”

“I don’t… understand,” I replied.

“Look.” She gestured to the blade, now basking in its own magical glow.

Shifting my gaze from the stranger, I turned to the object of my desire. And in its reflection of the starry sky, I saw myself—the hopeless creature, whose dark eyes remained haunted by the past. Once brave and fearless, as often attributed by my fiery hair, I had become a broken soul. She, or should I say I, was right all along.

“Destiny isn’t set in stone,” I said. “Destiny… is what you will make of it.”


This story was inspired by the original composition, The Defiant One by Josh Huck.

Music Meets Story © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Videos

Can’t Find Your Unique Voice? Here’s Why!

Struggling to find your unique voice? There’s a reason why!

If you want to find your unique voice, you have to stop doing this one thing… RIGHT NOW

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Have a question you’d like me to answer in video? Leave it below! 

Original Works

Umbra [12 Genre Months]

“Count yourself lucky,” I would say. “If you know what you are.” After all, there are many beings, such as myself, who will never truly understand what it means to exist. For the very idea itself is a foreign concept in our inconsequential realm. And if only we could uncover the secret of our identities… such wouldn’t be our fate.

If you are unlike me, this account might puzzle you. How is it possible for a being to not know what it is? Alas, it isn’t as uncommon as you think. Who, what, how, why—these were the burdens I carried as I drew my first breath. I was granted a life of perpetual suffocation, with no guidance or clarity, as I drowned in the unknown. Yet, upon my arrival into the world, I wasn’t alone. 

As I embraced the break of dawn—my dreadful beginning—I found myself tethered to an odd-looking creature. It was a rather small beast, and it made unintelligible sounds. Frankly, I didn’t know what it was, let alone who I was to have been attached to it. So why were we bound together? Where did it come from? And how did we become one?

With no recollection of my life before, I soon accepted my fate—I was a prisoner of a mysterious entity for the rest of my life. I would live with it, laugh with it, and die with it. But unlike my captor, who quickly understood what it was, I remained a nothing—a nothing that needed permission to even show itself. And even so, such bouts of freedom were often short-lived—I would soon find myself unseen, once more, as I returned to the world of the invisible. Oh, what a life. How could I ever escape? Was there a way to cut myself free from such a malefic beast? Yes. In fact, there is. And this is where you can help me.

I have thought long and hard on what it means to exist. I have also observed the ways of my master, and the company that existed with it. It took many years, but I soon found a common denominator between the creature that had me on a leash and the others—they all owned a defining moniker. These beings had a name. They were blessed with a chosen word, of which they built a life upon. For without it, they would lurk in the darkness—forever wondering what they were. Simply put, they would be me… if they weren’t gifted with an appellative. Now, how then can you help me?

My name is Umbra. I had chosen this name for myself—a blinding reflection of the life I have lived thus far. But no more. I refuse to remain hidden. And it is through you that I will finally exist. For who am I without you… but a shadow? Your shadow—the one who followed you, envied you, and wondered if you knew I was even alive. I am the being of insignificance whose name you are now acquainted with—whose existence you finally acknowledged. And unfortunately, this is when you cease to exist.

Still, count yourself lucky. At the very least, you once knew… what you were.


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Original Works

The Unseen [Music Meets Story]

Forgotten, rejected, and neglected—oh, if only they would see me. If only they knew, that more than a masked vigilante in the night and a magical tooth fairy, I was human, too. But perhaps, it was better to remain unseen. After all, some heroes… were never heroes to begin with.

Who was I to hold any true value? I had fallen from grace—I was a corrupted being. Even if I carried a flaming torch in the dark, bravely slayed a hundred dragons, and demanded a murderous storm to cease, it would mean nothing. I was the cold darkness itself, the mad beast in the cave, and the unforgiving rage in the seas—would it be hypocritical to try? Did I deserve a second chance—was I even worthy of a dream? At the break of dawn, could I wish for more or should I live in the lifeless shadows forever? But in those moments of unending questions, there she was… relentless.

I could see it in her eyes—we shared the same dismal thoughts, the same unceasing doubts, and the same burning questions. She wondered if I saw her, accepted her, and remembered her. Yet, she never once asked if I did. She simply donned her cape, day and night, for me. She held the blinding light at the end of my tunnel, she lured the blood-thirsty monsters away, and she braced the howling wind as she steered us through the wild waves. She was the true hero while I questioned my worth. She stood by me while I chose to be a saviour… to the others around me.

If only I saw it sooner.

She was my rock while I strived to be someone else’s. And in the midst of every rejection, I had rejected her, too. But not anymore—I have chosen to see the one beside me. I choose to spark the flames, battle the ravenous creatures together, and sail through the thundering nights as a team. For only then, we would both see the hope in the sunrise—together, we will learn that even as fallen and broken souls, we can rise from the ashes and soar once more. But… was I too late?

Did I stray too far off? Did I leave only my dusty tracks—a path she could choose not to follow? Or, was there still hope? Perhaps, I should turn back—if she didn’t come to me, I would go to her. And this time, even if she looked past me, I would stay… relentlessly.

Even if she rejected, neglected, and forgot who I was, I would be her unsung hero. She didn’t need to know. She only had to live. After all, I wouldn’t have travelled such a distance alone—I would have given up, gone off route, and wandered in the unknown. So for once in my life, I choose to go unnoticed… for the sake of the one who first saw me.


This story was inspired by the original composition, Vibrations by Thomas J. Curran.

Music Meets Story © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Videos

Can We Ever Stop Doubting?

Is doubt your friend or your enemy? Can you get rid of doubt all together?

From the many years of self-doubt, especially in my art, I’ve found doubt… to be not what it seems.

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Original Works

Hashtag [12 Genre Months]

“Oh my gawd, did you see what she posted? #CrayCray.”

“I was #shook, girl! But seriously, I heard she broke down in front of his house… over a piece of sandwich. A freaking piece of sandwich.”

“Talk about dramatic. She has always been a #dramaqueen.”

“What’s #new? She loves the attention.”

 “Oh my gawd, did you know what happened on #Tuesday?”

“Why, what happened? What did I miss? #FOMO.”

“Our class got cancelled and no one told us about it. So we waited for a full 30 minutes before we left. #Seriously.”

“You guys just… left? Like… for real? That’s super #thuglife.”

“Yea, we strolled out like a #boss. But oh my gawd, what a waste of 30 minutes. 30 minutes of my life that I will never, ever get back!”

“I feel you, girl. Just the other day, I had to wait 5 minutes for the bus. #Unbelievable! Ain’t nobody got time for that!”

“Wait, don’t you have a car? How dare you take the bus! #Scandalous.”

“I had to get it repaired. Something about the engine or the brakes, god only knows. #FirstWorldProblems.” 

“Oh, hold on. My mother is at the door. #Ughhh she’s asking about dinner.”

The hall erupted in a deafening applause. Its audience rose to their feet, cheering in delight at the seemingly impressive dialogue between two plainly dressed actors. Praises of brilliance—‘bravo’, ‘such ingenuity’, and ‘oh, how captivating’⁠—filled the air. And even after the lights dimmed and the stage emptied, everyone wanted to know—what did it all mean?

“It’s art,” many insisted. “An artistic exchange between two beautiful souls. Couldn’t you feel it? Those colourful words spoke to my soul. ”

“It’s the future,” others concluded. “In the future, that is how people will speak. The writer has predicted a world full of expression.”

“It’s reality,” some suggested—though not a popular opinion. “Who we are as people, and the reflection of our inner insecurities.” 

Alas, it didn’t matter what it all meant. In fact, there wasn’t any meaning to it—there was no story, no real character development, and nothing philosophical between the lines. If one dared say, it wasn’t a real performance either. The actors on the stage, reciting their lines in dramatic Shakespearean manner, were not telling a story. The ones who truly performed… were the audience. Ah, how strange—it seems that some did uncover the meaning behind it all.

“It’s reality,” they said with an excited grin. “A beautiful slice of life.”


12 Genre Months © 2020 by Jeyna Grace. All rights reserved.

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

Writing Journey

Have You Lost Your Creativity?

Oh, what a scary notion for us creatives who need our wild imaginations and out-of-this-world ideas to create. Yet, sometimes, we feel like we are losing it. We seem to be missing our creative spark. ‘Where did it go?’ we ask. The once blinding light-bulb isn’t lighting up our heads with grand epiphanies. And all that remains is a dull sponge squeezed dry by our reality.

Alas, feeling uncreative isn’t foreign to us. And in certain seasons of life, our creativity dips and dives like an unexpected roller-coaster ride. From moments of great ingenuity to days of zero artistry—what is happening? Why are we failing to concoct anything worthy? Are we growing too old to be creative? Have we, perhaps, lost it?

Let’s be honest, we would like to think that creativity is an eternal engine fueled by passion and determination—if we have enough drive, the sweet juices of our childlike creativity would keep flowing, churning never-ending art that we can be proud of. After all, creativity is second nature. It is instinct. And, we’re right! The good news is… our creativity is indeed eternal. Unfortunately, it is not an engine.

In moments when we feel uncreative—when fresh perspectives and novel concepts fail to surface—perhaps, it has nothing to do with our imagination. Perhaps, it is the result of the ups and downs of life. Or perhaps, our creativity is now being expressed differently—presented in a different mould, through different means. So if you wonder, ‘Have I lost it?’ Fret not.

We will never lose our creativity. It is impossible to lose this hardwired part of our identity. You may not be able to harness it now, but it doesn’t mean you’ve lost it. Your creativity is still there! After all, there is no such thing as an uncreative… creative.