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24½ Days of Trying to Get My Shit Together

CAMBODIA | Wednesday, 1 December 2010 | Views [576]

PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA – What was meant to be “30 days of literary abandon” turned out to not really work out so well. My final wordcount was about half of what it should’ve been. I won’t go into the specific reasons why, what with this not being MySpace and me not being 16-years old, but it did involve at least one broken heart.

Having your heart broken = #nanowrimo fail. Sorry, 2010. Maybe next year. – Me on Twitter, Nov. 24 2010

Instead, I went on a quick mission down to Kampot where I drank way too much and was almost robbed. I also went on a quick jaunt over to Koh Tonsay (or Rabbit Island), which is what I’d imagine Koh Phangan to look like 25 years ago. Idyllic, basic, with bamboo huts and electricity only between 6 PM and 10 PM, and skinny-dipping in amongst phosphorescent plankton.

Unfortunately, the people I met up with were mostly short-timers, which is not really a criticism as such, but there are only so many backpacker-centric conversations that I can bear (where’s cheaper, where’s the biggest party, where’s the hottest babes, what’s the best deal to Sihanoukville, etc.) They were good people, and I’m glad for their company. I just wish that I’d been able to be better company.

I then returned to Phnom Penh and continued to drink too much, despite knowing that alcohol does not soothe a sore heart (particularly given the goings-on within my brain).

And then, on November 22, there was the terrible stampede near Koh Pich (Diamond Island) in Phnom Penh, right near Naga World Casino, which resulted in approximately 350 deaths. The following Thursday I went to the bridge where the stampede happened and took some photos of the commemorative service being held there. After knowing what this country has been through in my lifetime, it was a very sad occasion. Fortunately for me, everyone I know in Phnom Penh is safe and well.

I also got into a nasty headspace cycle early in the month. It is frighteningly easy to do in Cambodia. I like to think that I’m a somewhat sensible person, and that comparison is easy to make when you see some of the people around Phnom Penh, for whom breakfast beers or a shot of something in their morning coffee is a standard start to the day. Anyhow, my mood would’ve also done fuck-all for my writing even without the broken heart. Eventually, I managed to eradicate some newly-found bad habits and even cut back significantly on the caffeine (!!) and have been sleeping reasonably well. I’ve also been having some very vivid and image-filled dreams. My subconscious seems to be speaking to me more clearly, and I seem to be able to understand it more fully.

Yesterday I returned from a very quick trip to Battambang to assist a friend with the filming of a documentary for HOPE for Cambodian Children. I managed to get a few photos as well.

I’ve changed my plans a few times, and things right at this moment are a bit up in the air for me. I still want to keep on writing, and have had my planned several weeks away from Oceans Of Venus now. The project I started for NaNoWriMo 2010 was going to be a crime thriller set in Cambodia, it then morphed into a blokey and quite hedonistinc version of Eat, Pray, Love, but then it stalled completely. I don’t think what I’ve written is utter shite, but it’s not too good either.

And now it’s December. I’m still going with the flow.

Tags: battambang, cambodia, diamond island, indochina, kampot, koh pich, koh tonsay, phnom penh, rabbit island, southeast asia

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