Amid the confusion of last year, with the pandemic taking hold of the world like a baby gender reveal-caused forest fire, and the sudden shift to work from home (for some of us, at least) amid quarantine measures being passed down by governments, I was actually able to write two stories of some publishable merit. There’s Wednesday Girl, another story borne of my ongoing frustration with the depersonalizing nature of corporate life, and – naturally – a pandemic story titled Vicious Animals.
Wednesday Girl has just been published on the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, my second contribution to the review following A Flowchart For The Queen. The other story has been accepted into an anthology of pandemic writing pending publication by the University of the Philippines Press. I haven’t received word on when it’ll be out, and I don’t really have prior experience of publishing with a university press, so I’ll forego comments on the story until I have more concrete release details.
With regards to Wednesday, though, the story was the product of two unconnected ideas: I wanted to write a follow-up story to Flowchart, taking on the theme of absurdism in the corporate workplace, and I also wanted to put in a cameo of one my favorite Korean pop singers, former GFriend member (the girl group disbanded all of a sudden earlier this year) Jung Yerin. I should mention that Yerin is also the name I gave to my cat, which I adopted at two months old back in February. Jung Yerin appears as Ms. Jung/Tuesday in Wednesday.
In Wednesday, the titular character, F, is a frustrated mathematics genius who accepts a job as a secretary for a corporation whose president is infamous for being the salvation of the entire country’s economy. Two things strike F as unusual with her job: first, the company enforces a strict hair and dress code for all the president’s secretaries (among them F herself); second, in all the time she works at the company, she never sees the president once.
My sister, after having read the story on the Review expressed to me her exasperation at yet another weird story whose meaning refuses to be teased from under the surface. And truth be told, I found the story quite weird myself during the whole writing and editing process. But I find that being so evokes the same puzzlement and exasperation that I’ve always felt about being part of this great capitalist machinery. That, or I’m just one weird person trying to cause suffering in the poor readers who come across my work. What do you think?
Nevermind I don’t wanna know~