writing poetry again


As I started scribbling away during my days of depression, I recognized this little call inside me that said, “write more, write more, write poems again!” In fact, many moons ago, I wrote poetry. I was no Robert Frost, but I wrote a lot in my spare time, experimenting with words and phrases, expressing the melancholy and confusion I felt as a teenager. Similar to many other things, I stopped writing creatively for a long time, until that little spark got ignited again by Farnoosh, one of the bloggers I greatly admire.

Summer of 1998 I went to a pre-college program in the US for 8 weeks. First time I was completely on my own. I had wanted to take a class in creative writing to learn more about writing poetry. Advice from teachers, parents and every other adult in my life was that – poetry is no use, take another class.

I relented and unwillingly compromised, so I took a writing class in social and ethical issues. More practical, was the response. It would help your analytical thinking and help you for law school. I nodded, mute with rage inside that I could not even spend 8 weeks studying what I wanted to, after giving up 2 years of my life warped with funny symbols in calculus and random theories of little carts crashing at each other to create velocity and momentum. (Under the Hong Kong education system back then, at the age of 15 we all had to choose to study the sciences stream or arts & humanities stream; sciences stream was generally considered elite for the subjects were prerequisites to studying medicine etc, which were also considered elite professions in Hong Kong)

Since then, I had stopped writing poetry. That was almost 12 years ago.

how depression can stimulate creativity

Until a few weeks ago, by chance I was on Twitter, and I saw Farnoosh’s tweet about promoting ourselves. She is the owner of an inspiring website called “Prolific Living,” – I had been a follower since the days of my depression but only very recently started to take part in discussions. Farnoosh created a page for anyone with an aspiration to use her page to promote themselves, their businesses, their causes, and invited us to write about ourselves hence. I clicked on the link she posted, and suddenly was flooded with a sense of nostalgia.

Some things cannot be explained. Perhaps the universe was trying to send me a message, and remind me of who I am inside whilst I continue this journey of recovery and self-therapy. Perhaps it was God’s little voice inside me, nudging me. Perhaps it was a simple coincidence. Perhaps it was fate or destiny or whatever it is called.

Doesn’t matter how we define it. I suddenly wanted to write a little poem on that page, without even thinking consciously, “I will write a poem.”

I closed my eyes. I typed. I paused. I typed again. I opened my eyes. And I saw this appear in the little white box before my eyes:



Travels about




All burnt out




In my little space




Finding my place



against depression

To set myself free



Self Awareness

Just to be me


Not exactly a sonnet. No rhythmical rules followed. Didn’t matter. I chuckled, obviously happy with my work. It might not qualify as a poem, but at least it is a little rhyme.

I was so touched, I almost cried. I had not written anything that can be remotely called a poem for 12 years.

But today I write again, for me, and for no one else.

Thank you Farnoosh, thank you depression, thank you God and whatever force out there in the universe.

Since then, I found another inspiring website, “Change Your Thoughts” by Steven Aitchison that also has a space for others to promote themselves. Thanks Steven.

And since then, I also jotted down another poem on the back of the newspaper a few days ago. Maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to show you.


These are just my thoughts and I’d love to hear about your experience and what you think in the comments below. Also, if you liked this blurb please share with your friends and help my blog grow. Thanks!

39 Responses

  1. Annie Andre says:

    Noch Noch,
    thank you for sharing those 2 sites I especially liked Farnooshes site and have book marked it.

    I am not a poet and i never will be but the closes i have found to it and the satisfaction it gives to you is my writing on my blog. I am uncovering things about myself i never even knew.

    I never knew writing could be so therapeutic but i’m fast learning it’s benefits.
    Loved your poem. It reminded me of a Haiku. rapping Haiku? Is there such a thing? LOL

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Annie

      thanks – yeh Farnoosh’ site is very energetic, you need to try some green juice 🙂

      hmm, i’ve not heard of rapping haiku… haiku I know a bit, hahah. thanks i’m glad you enjoyed the little poem, if I can call it that. it indeed is therapeutic. i seem to write more when i’m on the down. don’t know if it has any links…

      Noch Noch

  2. ann says:

    I like your writing and relate to your joy in finding your voice in poetry. Good luck with your blog. I’m going to look up Farnoosh now.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Ann

      Thanks for coming by, nice to meet you 🙂 do you write poetry too? i see you have a great project on not to worry going on. good luck with that!!! and yes, look up Farnoosh 🙂

      Noch Noch

      • Ann says:

        Just wrote my first poem and posted it this evening. Nothing special but fun to write and play with!

        Might do more of that. It’s hard to write a long post every day.

  3. Ani says:

    i love this blog and really enjoyed your poem, it was like you summed up you with all the words that you feel in a weird witty poetic way. cant wait to read more.. yay xxx

    • nochnoch says:

      ANIKA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! yay. my first ever comment from you 🙂
      i miss you!!!
      glad u like it – do u approve? 🙂

      noch noch

  4. Farnoosh says:

    Noch-Noch, you are the sweetest, the kindest and THE MOST POETIC. Stop listening to anyone who says that you should stop writing poetry or that you are wasting your time with it. Listen to your own beautiful heart, and I so LOVED that poem. Thank you for such a big shout-out, and I am so happy to be an influence and a good thing in your life. Big hugs { } !!!!

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Farnoosh

      Thanks for dropping by and yes indeed thanks for giving me the inspiration to write the little poem. I re-read it sometimes and giggle to myself. Yeh, i’ll keep writing!!! thanks for being there in cyberspace for me, and for many others!!!

      Noch Noch

  5. Leslie says:

    Love it. The urgency and brevity of your words really packs a punch.

    I took two poetry classes in college and I think these classes did more for my overall writing skills and environmental consciousness than any other (or so I like to think). The thing I remember most vividly is that each line, each word, should express something urgent. It took me a long time to build up the confidence to really put my most urgent thoughts on the paper, but eventually I did.

    Today I started writing a poem. Soon I might be brave enough to share it too.


    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Leslie

      Oh!!! I look forward to reading your poetry, i’m sure you can write well coz it seems you are proficient in a few languages (as on your webpage). Do you come to China at all? i’m in Beijing in case you are here next time

      That’s a good tip you gave me there, urgency. I remember reading guidebooks on poetry and said that each word in a poem must be there for a reason, otherwise, chuck it out. I’ll remember “urgency” next time I write a poem

      I always have trouble making things rhyme though ahah

      What poetry do you write?

      Noch Noch

      • Leslie says:

        I lived in Beijing for about two and a half years, from December 2008 to June 2011. I am sure we know a lot of the same people, and I’ll definitely be back at some point. Not sure when, but I’ll let you know!

        In poetry class I remember struggling to write about an awkward encounter with a boy. It involved too many drinks and close quarters at a summer camp in the woods of northern California. Each week we’d bring in 10 copies of our poem, for all 10 people in the group. It was incredibly intimate. I think I wrote 10 drafts of that poem. It wasn’t until number 6 or so that I actually got to the root of the awkwardness and the urgency I wanted to express.

        Here’s the link to the class website:

        Rhyme is tricky.

        You’ve inspired me to write more, more creatively. One step at a time!

        These days what I want to write about is resistance. The voice that says NO, that insists on stopping and hesitating and surfing the internet instead of actually making something. Fear, which manifests itself in procrastination. I also want to write about love. And family. And complicated intercultural contradictions.

        Big hug,

        • nochnoch says:

          Hi Leslie

          Ah!!! We definitely overlapped, I arrived in Jun 09, and yes I’m sure we know some mutual friends. Maybe when you are back next time we’ll find out!!! Or facebook is a good way to discover that haha

          I’ve never been to a writing camp before, have been thinking of that for when I get better. I don’t know how I am with dealing at the intimate setting and critique right now!!! That poetry class you described sounds very harsh but probably very fruitful!!
          Thanks for the link to the class!

          Look forward to more of your writing on your blog. Perhaps I will publish my fox poem too in the next few posts for you 🙂

          Noch Noch

  6. Justin Mazza says:

    Love it Noch. Writing is such a healing art form for the soul. I commend you for writing your poetry again. Keep at it. 🙂

    • nochnoch says:

      Hey Justin

      Hello again!! Thanks for the encouragement yah! Yah I’ll keep writing. It’s opened up that little bit in my head again 🙂

      Noch Noch

  7. Hanan says:

    You did it again, Noch! Well written and you were as creative as always.
    I loved these phrases the most:”thank you depression, thank you God.” It made my eyes water. How brave of you! That tells me how much you’ve grown already from of this experience… and there’s more to come, more gifts concealed behind it… Maybe it is the start of an uneasy truce between depression and you that will mark the beginning of true healing, of seeing that life is here to support you and that it won’t quit till it brings the best in you.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Hanan

      Thanks 🙂 I’m trying to find my creativity. it’s good to get positive feedback. spurs me on. Sometimes its still a drag. But I soldier on. Thanks for standing by me, and always inspiring me in your emails. My healing comes with friends like you!

      Noch Noch

  8. MW says:


    I am a new reader and fellow sufferer of depression. Just wanted to share a link to a recent documentary, if you haven’t already seen it.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi MW

      Welcome to my little blog! Hope you enjoyed it and will come back. Thanks for the link, I couldn’t load it from here with the VPN and slow connection, but I read about it. What a great movement!! Did you join it?

      Hope you are doing ok despite depression. There are ups and there are downs but there are loads of us out there!

      Noch Noch

      • MW says:

        Thanks Noch Noch!

        I hadn’t thought about it not being able to load outside of North America. If it is available on YouTube, it will be called “Darkness and Hope: Depression, Sports and Me”.

        The trough I’m in right now isn’t the lowest I’ve experience, maybe 75% at its worse. I can still manage and plan for the future so that is a great sign. It’s hard to be patient with myself as I’m used to working at a fairly fast pace mentally.

        I’m happy to hear you are engaging in creative activities again. That part of me is just starting to come back too. When I actually sat at my piano and started playing about a month ago, I got tears in my eyes because I hadn’t realized how much I’ve missed.

        Keep up the great work and thanks for your support!


        • nochnoch says:

          Hi MW

          Thanks – yeh youtube is blocked in China, and I try to load it with a VPN on but it’s soooooo slow!!! I’ll try to find a way to load it when I have better connection.
          Oh you play piano too!! I played a lot when I was younger but hardly touched the piano for a while now. I’m trying to learn the gu zheng (chinese zither) and it helps to calm me down too. What do you play?
          Happy to hear the creativity coming back. It’s the good thing about depression, isn’t it? we explore haha

          Noch Noch

  9. Hi Noch,
    Excellent post, thank you! You’re right, there is something about writing poems when you’re down… I’ve read poetry before, but it wasn’t until the death of my father, that I wrote my first Haiku, with more to follow.

    Keep writing! Perhaps you can include some of your poetry in your posts? This one is so elegant yet intense! 🙂

    Take care! Vlad

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Vlad

      Oh! I always had trouble writing haiku though, at least if I were to follow it strictly. Sorry to hear about your dad though. I hope he’s resting peacefully. Will you share some of your poems too on your blog? I’m contemplating sharing this one I wrote over the weekend about a fox. Still editing it, so maybe, maybe…

      Noch Noch

  10. […] within our hearts, people will feel it and resonate somehow. With so much encouragement from the last post, and readers / followers on Twitter & emails urging me alike, I’ve managed to patch up […]

  11. Zub says:


    I like the ideas for your blog, Nochnoch, well as long as you’re you and not the loch, nochness monster! :O Excuse the pad pun.

    Agreed, that poetry is good for depression, or when just processing things. It helps me relax, and order the confusion a little. 🙂 — Is there a picture of you somewhere?


    • Noch Noch says:

      Hi Zub

      haha i used to be called the nochness monster by my friends 🙂

      Do you write poetry too? It indeed is good to express feelings and thoughts!

      Yup – the photo in the pages “My Story” and “About me” is me 🙂

      Thanks for coming by. Hope to see you here again

      Noch Noch

  12. Wow! Congratulations, Noch! It sounds like this is a little piece that was missing in your life. I love how you describe the words flowing out of you so naturally, unconsciously. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt that way about anything before, so I’m really happy that you have rediscovered this feeling for yourself. =)

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Samantha

      Yup – I’m happy too. I feel a bit bouncier everyday just to think, “oh i’m writing again” 🙂
      thanks for sharing this happy thought with me, and I hope you find that “thing” for yourself which makes you, you know, giggle to yourself 🙂

      Noch Noch

  13. TechManinder says:

    It was quite a nice and informative post. Thanks for sharing this…I was just wondering abt the meaning of the your name nochnoch. It really sounds unique and good.

    • nochnoch says:

      HI TechManinder

      My name “nochnoch” came from my original name, which includes “noch” in it. Most people started calling me “noch” when I was young, then “nochnoch” – then I got lots of “noch noch” jokes haha, and I thought that’s quite fun, so why not. So now I’m Noch Noch, and hardly use my original name anymore, it’s also a way for me to give myself symbolically a new life with a new name

      I’m glad you like it!

      Noch Noch

      Noch Noch

  14. jared says:

    I initially had to check out this post because of the picture. It reminded me of my wife and I’s trip to Curacao where the staff heard it was our honeymoon and filled our room with Bougainvillea petals. I mean they were everywhere and the bath tub was overflowing with them. It was a nice gesture but a pain to clean up! LOL

    Nice poem. I’ve had a lot of similar experiences in my life. Depression, lost sense of purpose, and years of just “existing.” It’s hard to imagine at one point I considered giving up all together. It really is a miracle, the gift of desperation, and how much has changed in my own perception of myself and this world.

    • nochnoch says:

      Hi Jared

      Thanks for coming by – and yes ahha, the petals are a pain to clean up. The sacrifice we pay 🙂

      I echo what you said about depression. I sometimes cannot believe I’m still alive, but if I am now I’m trying to stay alive. It has changed my perception as well on life and priorities. It can only get better. It’s a great project what you’ve got, and helping many with fear, stress and anxiety. I find sometimes, the issue is that we don’t even acknowledge we have fear, stress or anxiety. Once we admit it, we are one big step towards betterment.

      Stay well
      Noch Noch

  15. […] way, I am thankful for depression, for it helped me rediscover my creativity once again, and my writing. I am thankful for depression for it gave me a husband. I am thankful for depression for it opened […]

  16. […] as therapy, encouraged by my doctors and psychologist. Sometimes I like to go to coffee shops to write, so I do not stay at home all day and shut myself up. This forces me some social contact however […]

  17. […] days I do not know why I write anymore. Is it a continuation of my therapy, so I may become more self-aware and channel my anger […]

  18. […] this fun again, be it in my writing, my bears, or simply smiling at my own reflection, is an […]

  19. […] in that short week. Slo now read and wrote – a lot. I used to indulge in both. I wrote and read poetry, prose, novels, non-fiction, and short stories. I wrote in my journal everyday. I thrived on using […]

  20. Firepaw says:

    I need to tell my friends about this site!

about Noch Noch

Enoch Li, (pen name: Noch Noch) was born and raised in Hong Kong and Australia. She has also studied / worked / lived in the US, France, UK, Japan, The Netherlands, China, and has travelled to more than 40 countries. She loves travelling and her curiosity in foreign cultures and languages has led her to enjoy her life as an international executive in the banking & finance industry. However, she was forced to take time off work in 2010 due to her illnesses and after spending time in recovery, cooking, practising Chinese calligraphy, reading and writing – in short, learning to take care of herself and letting out the residual work stress, she has transitioned into a Social Entrepreneur and founded BEARAPY to help corporates make workplaces mentally healthy, and support executives to become more resilient.