Cathexis Northwest Press
the essay of our lives
By: Anitha Devi Pillai
once i thought we had a colon followed by happy moments. our story in three happy memories categorized neat paragraphs one troubled instance included for variation. then i thought we had a string of commas capturing slices of life our story in several slices or phases proportioned clear sections one concise summary composed for cohesion. yesterday i wished we had a semi-colon connecting gendered voices our story in two gendered faces presented as perspectives a writer’s voiceover uniting the soliloquies. but i found the full-stop buried between us. you are another sentence.
Dr Anitha Devi Pillai is an applied linguist and a teacher-educator at National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), where she teaches courses on writing pedagogy, writing skills and literacy practices. She is the recipient of three Teaching Awards, one from National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) in 2018 and two from Singapore University of Social Sciences in 2014 and 2013. She has published academic papers on writing pedagogy, teacher education, academic writing and the Malayalee community in Singapore, and authored five books including, ‘From Kerala to Singapore: Voices from the Singapore Malayalee Community’ (2017), ‘From Estate to Embassy: Memories of an Ambassador’ (2019) and ‘The Story of Onam’ (in press). Her creative writing publications in 2019/2020 include Monsoon in Kolkata (poem) in ‘Wanderlust: The Best of 2019 Anthology’, That Kiss on your Forehead (poem) in ‘Paragon Press’, Home is a Three Syllable Word’ (poem) in ‘Southeast Asian Review of English Journal’, How do you want your dumplings? (short story) in ‘Food Republic: Literary Anthology’, and Voices (short story) in ‘The Best Asian Stories 2019’. Her next creative project is a translation of Kamaladevi Aravindan’s historical Tamil novel, titled ‘Sembawang’ into English. ‘Sembawang’ is based on the lives of Indians in Singapore and Malaysia in the immediate post British era. "The poem 'the essay of our lives' use the language features such as punctuation and structure of different types of essays to express a difficult relationship between two people."