B-sides and Backslides

Guess what I received in the mail today all the way from Singapore…

This book was sent to me by a lovely lady named Damyanti Biswas whose blog Daily (w)rite  focuses on subjects of far greater import than mine.  She’s also a acclaimed author whose work seems to span many genres.  And (as if that wasn’t enough) she is the force behind We Are The World, in Darkness, be Light, a group of bloggers from around the world who inspire to restore faith in humanity through stories of hope. 

From time to time, Damyanti also hosts guest bloggers.  Recently the title of one of those guest posts caught my eye.  Dear Writer: Are you a Good Scavenger?  Here’s a teaser:

Conversations overheard and snatched. Tying down the balloons of scattered thoughts. Finding a wry insight into an unusual sight. Turning over an image for a pun. Decoupling couplets. Allowing a rhythm to run rings round your head.

They’re the poetic equivalent of doodling, writing exercises you do to limber up. – Felix Cheong

At last, I thought,  another writer for whom a cafe is a place to eavesdrop!  Another writer who sees a stranger on the bus and can’t help imagining where they’re going and why.  I responded that I when I scavenge thusly, I feel like a vampire wantonly taking what is not mine. I guess he liked that comment because Damyanti sent me an autographed copy of his book (with a very nice note from her).

B-sides and Backslides is a collection of poems which Mr. Cheong wrote between 1986 and 2018 and put on the back burner.  We all have those pieces we’re sure aren’t good enough. But we can’t quite throw them away because either we may be wrong or because we hope at some point to have the wisdom and skill to figure out what they’re missing.  And so with that in mind, Mr. Cheong has “remastered” his early pieces “for contemporary consumption, complete with my own version of liner (linear) notes.” 

(don’t know what this hashtag means though, do you?)

Anyway, thank you Damyanti and Felix!  I’m sure I will enjoy the read!

16 thoughts on “B-sides and Backslides

  1. Oh this rings true with me. I’m always on the lookout for a good snippet of overheard conversation. Or unusual, but harmless, behavior that seems out of place. I am a people watcher, I am. Congrats on receiving the book. No idea what that hashtag means.

    1. I have friends who claim they can write in public and sometimes I’m a little jealous. I’d certainly get a lot more done if I could. I always take my laptop along on trips and end up getting nothing done!

  2. So happy you loved the book, Jan— Felix will be very pleased.

    Thank you for your kind words. I’ll do my best to deserve them— my blog and my writing is all thanks to the kindness and help from good friends like you.

    Felix is an amazing poet— I look forward to your reactions to his work.

    1. #SGLitFTW simply means “Singapore Literature, for the win”! FTW is Internet slang for cheerleading a cause or someone 🙂

  3. Restoring hope in humanity is a noble cause indeed. The way I see it, the times demand it. Also, Felix giving you the answer to the # riddle was pretty awesome too. Not a bad way to start a weekend, Jan. 😀

    1. It sounds like they have a very supportive writer’s organization in Singapore. I’ve read a few of the stories inspired by Damyanti’s challenge and they are wonderful.

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