For nearly two weeks now my life has been defined by waking up early in the morning, writing, doing housework, heating up Laksa Johor to eat while watching Pride and Prejudice. It is the 2005 version directed by Joe Wright, starring Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfayden, Judi Dench, Donald Sutherland, Penelope Wilton, and Tom Hollander. The Janeites, literary critics etc do not like this movie but I love it more than the much-loved BBC miniseries for many reasons. The music, the cinematography, the chemistry between Knightley and Macfayden — and the breath of fresh air it lends to an old classic.
So it’s been really comforting to dip into my plate of Laksa Johor while watching 15-20 minutes of this every morning. It became my private, happy place. So when I finished watching the movie, I started watching it again! Who cares about the critics, right?
Today I finished my last 418 calorie serving of my Laksa Johor and feel bereft.
It was my first time making Laksa Johor. I used this recipe nearly faithfully (I used ikan kembung — wolf mackerel instead of ikan parang — wolf herring, because I couldn’t be bothered with the bones. I did not use the tamarind pulp and stuck to the asam keping for a souring agent, because I prefer the sourness to come from the lime/lemon. Also, I used lemon instead of calamansi limes!) and was beyond thrilled with the results. I made it a bit thick which means a little bit of gravy could go a long way and so it was the consistency it should be, like a Malaysian spaghetti bolognese you eat with your hands.
However, the conversation around Wickham had me cause to explore issues to do with class that’s really part and parcel of the text. The movie of course exaggerates the class distinctions by having the Bennetts be even more vulgar and that made me think about my own families (paternal, maternal) and how the class divide can alienate even within the same bloodline. In this time of grieving, perhaps I may have made errors of judgement in reverting to being too trusting.
For now, going within, reaching within myself to bring out as much work as I can while healing my mind, body and soul is my main priority. I won’t have any publications for the next few months so I’m taking the opportunity to have a holiday from twitter and Instagram. I’ve disabled my Facebook for the same reason as most — privacy concerns. I’ll be back on other social media between August-November and will bow out again from November to mid-March 2019. I intend to spend the time fruitfully finishing my monograph, chapters and articles due, and Rosemirror. Bowing out from social media in November will better facilitate the work I intend to do on Masks of the Apothecary then. I promised myself that if I don’t have an agent for Watermyth by end of this year, I’m querying Masks of the Apothecary next year. To refresh your memory, this is the first novel in The Yrole Triptych, that Sesen trilogy I started writing so long ago, and then put on hold for the Cantata of the Fourfold Realms sometime in 2010.
I think I’ll be making more Laksa Johor while I’m at it! It’s actually easier for me to stay away from social media these days because the time I used to spend on twitter I’m now spending counting calories on my calorie tracker. 8)
(Although I still have batches of my rather amazing curry laksa so there’s that! Ask me how much I love all versions of laksa!)