Author Archive

Wednesday, August 6, 2014


by Leanne Yong


Writing. Something everyone can do, but something very few excel in. Now, before I get into the swing of things, there is a delineation I’d like to draw between people writing for fun, and people writing with the aim of becoming a professional.

I would love it if everyone wrote for fun. It doesn’t matter how terrible you think you are, or how tenuous your grasp of your chosen language. Just write! It’s a wonderful thing to see the dreams and fleeting thoughts in your mind take form, hewn out in the rough constructs of language. Yes, rough–for who has managed to perfectly represent the vivid clarity of our thoughts with words alone? But we try, and sometimes we come close enough to that representation to touch someone else’s heart, regardless of whether our words are the stick figure drawings of a child or the works of Michelangelo.

But it’s another world when one decides to take writing as their profession. One analogy I use often is that of a cook. I can throw together a meal that is edible and tastes somewhat decent–at least, decent enough that everyone doesn’t turn it down from the get-go. But place me within a professional kitchen and the other chefs will tell you that I am more likely to slice my finger than the onion, that I have no subtlety whatsoever with flavours (salt, salt, oh and a pinch of chicken salt for variety!), and that by the time I’ve got anything ready to serve, the customers will have tired of waiting and left the restaurant.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Of Giants and Men

by Leanne Yong

You were a giant, once.

Every step resonated through my world, every word tolled like the great bells of London. You were the sky I aspired to reach, the limits I aspired to challenge. The limits, my mind whispered, that I could never hope to surpass.

For how does one swim better than a dolphin, or change the shifting of the tides, or explore the furthest reaches of space? How does one measure themselves against proportions physically impossible to achieve?

In your shadow, I found my security. You were a fortress, a reassuring presence that meant all was well. I didn’t have to worry. Knowing you went before was enough.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

This is What it Feels Like

by Leanne Yong

Tartan surfacing on athletics track

This is what it’s like to be ‘strong’ and ‘confident’ and ‘capable’.

I am in a runaway car hurtling down a road. The accelerator is stuck to the floor, and the brake is loose beneath my desperately pounding foot. My hands are tight around the steering wheel. It presses against my sweaty palms as I jerk it one way, then the other, praying my grip doesn’t slip and I careen into a pole, or a barrier, or heaven forbid, another car.

All I want to do is close my eyes and scream. I wish I could. But I have passengers in my car. They hold on tight, grit their teeth, and tell me what an amazing driver I am. They how glad they are that I’m behind the wheel. All I can think of is the impending crash, the high-pitched sound of tearing metal, the car and the passengers in a jumbled, screaming cacophony.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014


by Leanne Yong

No Soccer Today

There are moments when you can see clearly that it’s the right time to move on. Open another window, start another phase in your life. I reached that point about two weeks ago, over drinks with a work friend in Melbourne. We were talking about our job and the end of the performance year where everyone has to reset their goals for the next year.

He asked me, “When you’re going into your next project in the company, what goals are you looking to achieve?”

I thought about this. I thought long and hard–at least, as long and hard as one can think after a few drinks. And I realised that my answer was, in fact, “Nothing.” Perhaps that seems odd to you. Lazy and unambitious. The thing is, I’m currently working for a large IT consulting firm. The career path there is pretty much limited to getting on bigger projects, managing larger teams, and having more people reporting to you in various capacities as you also report to others higher up in the chain of command.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Waiting

by Leanne Yong

Armchair 1

He sits in the old recliner, his body sinking into the cushions until it seems as much a part of the upholstery as the faded blue cloth. Spindly legs, legs that once raced about a tennis court and pedaled up steep hills, lie limply on the footrest. Arms which once wrestled the yoke of a plane and pumped iron now lift nothing more than a remote control.

In the background, the TV blares its unending stream of commentary on the latest disaster, a voice of despair in a world breaking down around him. Click. Another channel, another disaster. Everything is crumbling, helpless against the inexorable tide of time.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

One of the Cool Kids

by Leanne Yong

drinking water

When I was at school, I never wanted to be one of the cool kids. I simply didn’t care. I had my group of friends, and that was enough. We were the ones who hung out in the library or raced straight to the computer labs at lunch. We were the ones who did the after school activities like building Lego robots or doing advanced maths. On our last day at school, when the graduating class is allowed to get away with pranks, we were the ones putting up signs on the water fountains saying “Beware of Dihydrogen Monoxide contamination!”

Sure, there were the people I admired–authors, artists, and so on–but it was more that I appreciated their work than the actual person. But I can confidently say that no, I never truly felt any compulsion to change who I was and what I loved because I wanted to impress someone or be friends with them.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Failing Loud and Proud

by Leanne Yong

Day 61 / 365 - Writing Scathing Notes

I attended a panel at a writers’ festival today, and I heard something that really struck a chord with me.

“Don’t compare yourself to other writers,” one of the panelists said. “In this age of social media, where everyone celebrates their successes publicly, it’s easy to just see those. No one blogs about their failures, only their successes.”

In light of that, I want to write about my failures. I want to make them public, celebrate them, let everyone know that yes, it happens.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Dream Room

by Leanne Yong


I’ve dreamed about my ideal room many years now. It’s an all-in-one theatrette, library and lounge. Probably a bedroom as well. (Who needs a bed when you have a comfy couch?)

I don’t need any fancy architecture. A plain rectangular room will do me just fine. It has high ceilings and polished wooden floors with shag rugs–easy to clean, not to mention easy to replace when the rugs start getting worn, black and possibly sticky. Two of the walls, corner to corner, are complete floor-to-ceiling windows, all the better for letting natural reading light in. I’d say self-cleaning, but even my imagination has to meet reality at some point.

There’s a hammock in the corner where the windows meet, and suspended egg chairs from the ceiling. Go ahead, call me a yuppie now, I’ll wait. Done? Let’s move on.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Early Mornings

by Leanne Yong

Little Mackie and the New View

I’ve never been an early morning person before. It’s just too much effort to wake up early. Not to mention, most of my friends are nocturnal creatures. But when I returned from France, I found that jetlag was dragging me back into the land of the conscious at 5am in the morning. Yes. FIVE. AM. Then I figured, why not run with it?

There’s something about early mornings when the sky is still grey and the house is silent, like the pause after an indrawn breath.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Lessons from France (part 2)

by Leanne Yong


Last week, I started writing about the lessons I’d learned from my whirlwind trip through France. This is the continuation of that post–without further ado, Part 2 of Lessons from France!
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