Week #3: “N”

“For some reason, I’m attracted to you.”


“You have such beautiful hair. Such soft, glowing, skin.”


“I mean, what products do you use???”

Snap, snap.

“What??? You mean to tell me, it’s all natural? Get. Out. Of. Here!”

Snap, snap, snap.

“Please, deary, you must tell me your beauty secret? Aha! See! I knew it! Why, that’s the best lip gloss in town! I know because — I use it, too!”


“Do you ever get tired when people out on the streets tell you you’re pretty? I mean, it must be awful getting noticed all the time!

Snap, snap.

“What? No? Yeah, I guess, you must be used to it.”

Snap, snap, snap.

“So where do we post these first? Facebook? Instagram? Err, possibly not Twitter.”




Week #2: Broken

It was broken, but she was determined to fix the heart that hung limply out of her bloodstained chest. She winced as she tried to keep it in place. There was a drugstore nearby. Perhaps she could find some bandaids or bandages there.

The pain slowed her pace down a bit as she gingerly made her way towards the small shop. Some old fashioned chimes tinkled and an elderly woman with a smile as warm as hot chocolate welcomed her in.

“Hello there, darling. What can I do to help you?”

She tried to enclose the grotesque, dripping thing with her two small hands while trying to appear nonchalant. “I don’t suppose you have any bandages here, auntie?”

“Why, we have all sorts of bandages… Pink ones with flowers, rainbow-colored ones, sparkly gold and silver ones — but, oh, we have those plain white ones, too.”

“A white one will do.” She didn’t see the point of decorating her ruined heart with all that fluff.

“Funny. Most other people who come here lean towards the more frivolous stuff. They say it covers up some of the ugliness… but then again… tell you what. I have some scarlet here in my store. Do you think you’d want to take a look at that one instead?”

“Nevermind, auntie. I just want the plain ones.” Her heart, which had grown numb, started hurting again. “And I’d like to have them now, please, if it won’t be so much trouble.”

Into the store room the elderly woman went. She had two boxes in her hand when she emerged. “I know you said you didn’t want the red one. But maybe you still want to take a look.”

She heaved a pained sigh. Maybe she should give the box a chance. The auntie seemed so set on having her buy it. “Alright. But how much is it?”

“It’s free, deary.”


“Yes, free.”

She opened the box, exposing her heart — already falling apart — as she did so. She unrolled the scarlet bandage and held it out into the light. “It’s… beautiful. But it seems… pre-loved.” She tried to be politically correct with her term. In her mind she simply thought, “What on earth? It’s already been used!”

“Ah, yes.” The lady smiled. “But not recently. Someone did use it, but around 2000 years ago, deary.”

She thought of all the disease that she might get infected with if she tried mending her heart with this abused bandaged. A shudder crept through her already weakening body. “The white one? How much is it?”

“10 dollars. I suppose you want that one, then?”

“I do.”

But still something drew here to the scarlet one which she had unconsciously began to wrap around her shaking fingers. In an odd way, the bandage made her feel warm. Secure. Healed. Whole, even. What if she used it to mend her heart?


“Yes, deary?”

“Nevermind. I’ll take this one.”


Week #1: Dear Sixteen

Dear sixteen-year-old Mari,

You wait little girl on an empty stage, for fate to turn the light on. Your life little girl is an empty page that men will want to write on… To write on… You are sixteen going on seventeen, baby it’s time to think. Better beware be canny and careful, baby you’re on the brink. (Sixteen Going on Seventeen, The Sound of Music)

I have begun this letter with a song because I know that is how your brain ticks. Your default reaction is to respond (in your mind, rarely out loud) with song. Don’t worry, that’s what makes you unique. It will come in handy, too, when you start song leading.

So… What does 25-year-old Mari have to say to you? Well, you’re going to start college this year, little girl. You’re life is going to change dramatically. You will meet a lot of great, interesting people. And, I won’t spoil it for you — but you will meet the one, but you won’t realize it because you’ll spend some time hung up on some other one. Or ones. But you will write a memorable one-liner about the one. And you’ll surprise yourself when you go back on that entry nine years later.

Gah, I said I wouldn’t spoil it for you. Anyway.

Like I said, your life will take a significant 180 degree turn. You will never be the same again. And that’s good. Because I know what you did last summer. Kidding. But I do. I’m you.

Anyway, girl, I just want to tell you to loosen up. Don’t try to please people too much. Don’t put so much unnecessary pressure on yourself, too. CMSC 11 will turn out fine. It’s CMSC 150 that you have to worry about. But hey, you’re still going to graduate with flying colors. So much flying colors that the electricity will go out. You’ll make the Centennial Graduation memorable, darling.

Don’t stop reading books. Don’t stop writing. Don’t stop doodling — oh are those anime characters I see in your Math 1 handouts? Tsk, tsk, tsk, you should pay more attention to your teachers — one day, you are going to be a teacher, too.

You won’t always be as level-headed and pulled-together as you want to make yourself out to be. See how crazy and disorganized this letter is? This is already the 25-year-old you talking, deary.

With that, I’m going to end with this: don’t be afraid to be Mari. It will take you some time to grasp that. I’m still trying to absorb and apply it even now. But that is what I shall leave you with.

Some words of wisdom, huh?

You’ll turn out fine.

Hugsies (Not that you’ll really bring yourself to say “hugsies” in real life),

25-year-old Mari

I'm sorry, I just couldn't resist, 16-year-old Mari. Teehee.
I’m sorry, I just couldn’t resist, 16-year-old Mari. Teehee.

For the 50-Week Writing Challenge. Subject: Write a letter to yourself aged sixteen.

2014 Writing Challenge

50 topics. 50 weeks. Are you in? Let’s do this!

Well, hello there, 2014. So I’ve been musing on what direction this blog will be heading to this year. In my January 1 post, I said I would be starting a happiness project. True, I’ll definitely be doing that, but I won’t be posting my resolutions and progress reports here. And though I am keeping a virtual happiness box, that would be for my personal use, to be opened on days when I need something to make me feel un-blue.

I want to work on some other writing projects, too. There’s the one with the rewrites. And there’s one where I’ll be chronicling my almost-five-years-but-still-counting-stay in Malaysia. Wow, I’d have stayed here for five years this coming June!

So what will happen to http://www.mariscribbles.com?

It will still be around. I’ll still be working on it harder than ever.

And with that, I present to you The 50-Week Writing Challenge.

No, I am not going to list down all the 50 topics here.

I will post them by groups of five, though. And I will be posting my response for each challenge every Wednesday, same time, same place, here in your favorite TV — er, Internet? — station. All the topics are coming from http://writingexercises.co.uk ‘s topic generator, by the way.

So for the first five:

  1. Subject: Write a letter to yourself aged sixteen
  2. First Line: “It was broken, but she was determined to fix…”
  3. Dialogue: “For some reason, I’m attracted to you.”
  4. Scenario: Every day at the station, you see someone you’re attracted to, How would you go about getting yourself noticed?
  5. Title: What Lies Beyond The Garden Fence

 Game? Let’s get it on!

Gift of the Future: One Thing I Desire for 2014

One thing. My top of the head (and very spiritual answer) would be God but since that’s already given, what is it that I really want to happen this 2014? I want a lot of things to happen. So how could I wrap it all up into “one thing”?

Enter “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin.

I bought the book on a whim when I saw it on the counter while I was waiting in line to pay for two little notebooks in a bookstore. I vaguely recalled Adrian mentioning it in a Skype conversation. Impulse then struck, making my purchase total to RM 37.50 instead of the initial RM 6.00.

A good thing for impulse, though. Now I know what I want for next year. Now I know what I will be spending a huge deal of my days on.

I want to be happier. I want to start my own happiness project, too.

“So if you’re pretty happy, why do a happiness project?” “I am happy — but not as happy as I should be. I have such a good life, I want to appreciate it more — and live up to it better.” I had a hard time explaining it. “I complain too much, I get annoyed more often than I should. I should be more grateful. I think if I felt happier, I’d behave better.” (The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, page 13)

Contemporary research shows that happy people are more altruistic, more productive, more helpful, more likable, more creative, more resilient, more interested in others, friendlier, and healthier. Happy people make better friends, colleagues, and citizens. I want to be one of those people. (The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, page 14)

A better friend, a better colleague, a better citizen. Why not, tsoknot? Wouldn’t I want to be one of those people, too?

Here’s to 2014. It’s the year to be happy.

Happy new year, everyone!

via https://mariscribbles.com/2013/12/11/gifts/

happiness proj