Coast to comedy.

A random half-thought I’m going to leave here –

Living in land-locked Beijing I’m often reminded of the coast.

The crunch of sunflower seed shells under my feet as I walk to the supermarket.

The heckling caws of ‘dachelema?’ from the swooping blackmarket-taxi drivers

(I’m tempted to throw my yi jiao at them in mimicry of my lack of fish ‘n’ chip fries).

The whiff of that faraway smell of yonder distance, though in China that smell is often caused by the filthy wasted ends of humanity, and not the waves of the ocean.

The rocking pull of the subway cart as it swells under the weight of 5pm chaos.

Things about life so far –

On Sunday I went to a literary event run by a café/bar/library called The Bookworm. Star guests were two Australian writers Nick Earls and Jesse Brand, Jimmy Qi a Chinese turned Canadian, and the MC was a comedian who talked about ex-pat quirks called Cherry Denman. The event was a discussion by these four writers/comedians about the nature of comedy in literature, a genre they all dabble in with success.

Nick Earls was by far the most outspoken of the four and wielded his microphone like a gladiator about to do battle. Unfortunately he negated to critically answer some questions posed by Denman, and instead hid behind his battle worn shields of well-rehearsed anecdotes about the comedic instances he has experienced in his everyday life. His narcissistic displays were made comedic when he stated that it is ever so funny to attack people he knows who are narcissists in his book, as a narcissist never think it is they who are being attacked. I assume he gave this quip due to a lapse in his personality judgement/brain fart.

Jesse Brand was brash but in that way where you enjoy being rubbed the wrong way. The other two gentlemen frequently subdued him when it came time to answer questions openly. A case of minding your elders? Perhaps. But when he did have a spare moment to talk he managed to fill it with the rushed staccato voice of someone who understands the crunch time of slam poetry performances (he is the currently Australian Poetry Slam Champion).

Jimmy Qi was eccentric as anything and spoke often of his twenty two years experience (I was waiting for the exact month/week/day calendar but he refrained). He glued the discussion together by having the ability to empathise with the other speakers but also inputting some original content so as to keep himself on point.

What did I take away from this? Raise the stakes. How high can you place a character, or indeed your own writing, so that if when it falls you push it the comedic values are enhanced to their fullest potentials. I’m not really a story writer, but I enjoyed thinking about that quote in situations relating to caring for personal embarrassment or not.

I met one co-founder of Beijing’s biggest food delivery network –Jinshisong. He joined in our Rummikub card game and adapted quickly to it, this might be because he successfully used some online poker sites to make money just cause he could (software engineers, watch out for them at the table).

I have gone from days on end with nothing to do, to days on end-to-end because they are so crammed up they overflow their 24-hour boundary. The Beijinger is still an amazing internship to have in this city. I’m hoping I can approach the topic of permanent work in a few weeks. Until then it’s still that good ol’ 21st century semi-scam of great experience. If it doesn’t work out come late May I’ll most likely stay in China and hunker down with some online study for technical writing. I think it’s something I’d actually be good at and enjoy, not many people can say that about jobs these days.

I wish I could write more, but that means things worth writing about need to have happened. If I think of any more I’ll write them soon. This head-cold is clogging my mental filter. Apologies.

E.

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