PO­ETry in mo­tion

Let your spir­its soar thanks to the pages of the l at­est book by young Malaysian author, Charissa Ong.

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Start­ing young, Charissa Ong had al­ways writ­ten, and used to write fan­tasy sto­ries in pri­mary school. She said ,“I didn’t know that I liked writ­ing at the time, I just day­dreamed a lot .” The 26- year-old is aU I/UX Lead( User In­ter­face and User Ex­pe­ri­ence De­signer) by day, but her pas­sion lay in writ­ing and she pub­lished a book, and has done it again. When asked about her ex­pe­ri­ence, Charissa Ong re­vealed that there were def­i­nitely chal­lenges lead­ing up to it .“I was dis­cour­aged, ig­nored and re­jected. Long story short, I ended up open­ing up Pen wings Pub­lish­ing in 2016 to pub­lish my­self .” Print­ing her first an­thol­ogy of po­ems and short sto­ries, Mid­night Mono­logues in 2016 which went onto win MPH’s Best Book of 2016, Charissa opened up about the jour­ney of pub­lish­ing Day­light Dia­logues which was re­leased in Au­gust this year. Can you tel lusa lit­tle bit about what read­ers can ex­pect from Day­light Dia­logues? Pre­pare to have your hear t bro­ken, per­spec­tives shifted, and your imag­i­na­tion run wild. I’ ve com­piled and writ ten an ar­ray of po­ems, prose and short sto­ries that would leave you ask­ing for more. What was your process/ headspace when you were writ­ing it? Po­etry and prose pieces are writ­ten when­ever I get in­spired through­out the day by daily events. The short sto­ries , how­ever, are more planned oc­ca­sions where I would sit f or a cou­ple hours un­til I com­plete writ­ing it from start to end, then go back and edit it 10 more times un­til I’ m sat­is­fied. In a dig­i­tal age that has over­taken the de­mand for the printed word, what made you want to pen books? I ’m a de­signer by pro­fes­sion and a mar­keter by heart. I’ m also a col­lec­tor of books and ap­pre­ci­ate vin­tage works of ar t . So, no mat­ter how dig­i­tal the world is, my hy­poth­e­sis is that peo­ple would still want some­thing to break away f rom all of t hat. Who are your writ­ing in­flu­ences? Khaled Hos­seini and Neal Shus­ter­man. How did it feel to have your per­sonal feel­ings and emo­tions on pa­per and on­line through your po­ems? Was it some­thing that was tough at first? It was pretty easy for me be­cause I can eas­ily de­tach my­self from it by say­ing” Eh, it was from along time ago, la .” How­ever, many peo­ple still seem to as­so­ciate me with it and I don’t re­ally min dita tall. The Asian stigma of not be­ing hon­est about your feel­ings is the one thing I de test most of all. It’ s worse for men. What does it feel like to know that your po­etry speaks to so many peo­ple out there? Amaz­ing and hum­bling.

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