Thursday, July 2, 2009

Striking Gold

On Tuesday evening, I finally submitted my first draft of short stories to my editor/publisher. There are 27 stories altogether. From experience, it will take around 2 months until the book is published.
Only the day before, my co-author from our first book was shortlisted for an international award for her solo collection. That is great news. It gives a strong recognition to Malaysian literature. The award provides a solid platform for our publisher to stand and strike big deals from. He can now directly market his books internationally.

It is hard to believe that it was only 2 years ago when we worked on our first book together. I've seen how much she has improved. Of course, she started at a slightly higher level than the 2 of us; her language command is stronger. Nevertheless, her win is a boost to all. It proves that dreams are not too far away. I am so inspired, but also very nervous. I know my editor/publisher is going to come down even harder on us now, if that's possible. After years of patiently searching for hidden gems, he has struck gold, finally:)
Below is my latest boarding school tale. I've wanted to include a racial piece in my upcoming collection. I am so glad that it came, even at the 11th hour.

Colours - 1st Cut


He pushes back the tip of his glasses and finally speaks. “Assalammulaikum.”
“Waalaikumsalam, Cikgu.”
“Before we start the session, why don't you introduce yourselves first? Let's start with you, Tok Batin.”

He gestured towards a plump and short boy seated next to him. His unusual choice of a nickname seems to fit as somehow the smart-looking lad does remind one of a village medicine man. We giggle quietly. The boy seems startled before regaining his composure and starts speaking confidently. “Assalammulaikum. I'm Nizam from Perak.” The teacher signals to the next person and we all take turn one by one.

Once we finished, he turns to the first boy again. “So, Tok Batin, tell us what made you choose this uniform?”

He looks puzzled.

“You are the only one here who is not dressed in light blue top and dark blue bottom. So, why? You like this colour?”
He looks down at his peach cotton shirt and dark brown pants. “Yes,” he grins.
“This is a good colour. It's a warm colour. Warm colours show courage.” He pauses for a while and turns to look at the rest of us. “Do you like blue?” He asks no one in particular. “Blue is a weak colour, it's the Malays' favourite colour. Blue and green. Chinese likes warm colours, red, orange and yellow.”

He points to my lap. “Even your file is blue.” He chuckles.



Nong said...

Keep on writing. Will be waiting for your book to be published.

Take care...

Hazia said...

Thanks for the support, Kak Nong:)