By Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé
Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?
I always tell friends writing keeps me away from the fridge but in all seriousness, it’s because I love telling stories. Writing has always been an outlet for me – I can’t imagine what life would be like if I stopped.
Tell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?
I just finished writing a one-woman show with my sister about our mother. Our mom’s life story has always been a source of inspiration in everything that we do. I always wanted to write a one-woman play since birth so it just made sense to combine the two things.
Describe your writing aesthetic.
1/2 cup of conversation, 1/2 cup of poetry, one teaspoon of funny and sad and a pinch of nostalgia.
Who are your favorite authors/screenwriters?
Authors – Louisa May Alcott, Maya Angelou, Leonard Cohen, Paulo Coelho, Margaret Atwood, Bell Hooks, Jeffrey Eugenides, Laura Esquivel, Tina Fey.
Screenwriters – Pedro Almodovar, Neil Simon, Denys Arcand, Charlie Kaufman, Wes Anderson.What’s the most challenging piece of writing you’ve attempted? Tell us why.
Probably the play I just wrote. I haven’t written in a play since the 1800’s, so it was a good challenge. I got to play journalist and interview family members which was like riding the world’s tallest emotional roller coaster. It was scary, fun, and had a couple of twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting.
What’s your idea of bliss?
To be able to live my life in good health, a happy frame of mind, surrounded by good people, art and lots of cheese.
What makes you angry, and I mean all-out-smash-the-china raving mad?
The nightmare that continues for Neil Bantleman and Ferdinant Tjiong and the five cleaners in Jakarta who have been wrongly convicted of a crime they didn’t commit (look up freeneilandferdi.org and you’ll see what I mean).
What books would you take with you on a three-month retreat in the boondocks?
(I’m a little over the place) The Oxford History of World Cinema, And Still I Rise by Maya Angelou, Tina Fey’s Bossy Pants and the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
Your house is burning down. What’s the most important thing you’d want to take with you?
I’d like to say some jewellery that’s been in my family for a while but knowing me, I’d probably grab my tweezers. Please don’t judge.
Describe your life philosophy. In a sentence.
I’m not sure I have a life philosophy but I’ve always been fond of the tagline from the movie Labyrinth – Where everything seems possible and nothing is what it seems.
Arianna Pozzuoli is an educator, spoken word performer and storyteller. She is a two-time member of the Toronto Slam Team and has competed and featured at various venues across North America, the UK, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines and Australia. She is currently a Drama teacher at the Canadian International School of Singapore.