Conversations, Entry #1: Has Regret Helped You Grow as a Writer?


From now on, I’ll share comments posted by you, dear readers, that have inspired me, in a rubric I’ve generically named “Conversations.” I highly value your insights, and occasionally I’m sure there will be a few that are too valuable to be left buried and forgotten in the comments section, seen by my eyes alone.

It’s not the first time I’ve done this, as you may recall from this post and this little survey. But I hadn’t thought of dedicating an entire category to reader responses.

Until now.

I envision this to be a weekly post. There may be irregularities, however, should I fail to sufficiently engage my readers. 🙂

For our debut, I present you this inspiring comment I received from Melissa Janda, in response to my post, “Have You Been Using ‘Epiphany’ Wrong?

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Find Your Element, Overcome Obstacles: 3 Success Stories

The Element cover“We all have distinctive talents and passions that can inspire us to achieve far more than we may imagine,” writes Sir Ken Robinson, Ph.D., in his phenomenal book, “The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything”.

He encourages every one of us to find our Element, “the place where the things you love to do and the things that you are good at come together.”

Some call it “the sweet spot.”

Unfortunately, it’s not always easy. I know that the “necessity” to settle into a routine, to choose job security over job satisfaction, can prevent you from doing what you love. You drift further away from your Element each day, thinking it’s the safest route to take—while the opposite is true. Continue reading

On Education, the Arts, and Writing


First of all, let me just say how funny writing is, and the process through which any written material comes to fruition. This particular post is the result of my discussion with Julie Israel a few days ago. One thing led to another, and soon we found ourselves talking about education.

Respect the arts

Unfortunately, we live in a society where the arts—and writers, in particular—are not appreciated. First I thought that it was strictly an Asian thing. But Julie soon confirmed, “Even in the States, writers are not thought particularly high of. Certainly some are; but generally-speaking, I think, writing is not seen as prestigious work. Even when it comes to basic schooling, which has been hurting financially in recent years, the arts are usually the first thing to go.”

Why is that? Continue reading

When a Writer Calls Out for Help..

Help Wanted

Okay. So I need help. Not professional help for my mental health—although if this continues I suspect I may need some, after all—but in my writing. (Note: By “this” I mean “life”)

I don’t really have a writer’s block. What I have— nay, what I am, is rusty.Like my iron ashtray, left outside on the roofless balcony during the harsh winter months, I need to rekindle the fire—even if it’s with searing cigarette butts. Because the latter seems to be what my ideas are made of lately—dark ashes clouding my mind, clogging the blood vessels where creativity is supposed to flow, unhindered.
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Get Published or Die Trying… or Would You?

Daniel Maclise - Caxton Showing the First Specimen of His Printing to King Edward IV at the Almonry, Westminster

I bet this post would be immensely popular had one or two of my books been published by a major publisher—but I’m not there (yet). Or had I published one or two of my books myself, which ideally had been well-received—like Cristian Mihai, whose book “Jazz” I recommend. But I’m not there (yet) either.

So let’s assume that this will definitely happen in the future and that right now, I’m “writing ahead” as an investment. Continue reading

To Write or Not to Write in English


As a board member of Bom Cerpen (short story bomb in English) — whose main task is to encourage aspiring writers from Indonesia to write short stories in Indonesian — I am presented with a painful dilemma.

“Do I write in English or in Indonesian?”

It’s really a question for all aspiring writers from Indonesia. But for every other writer as well, who feels the need to choose between the most prevalent language in popular literature and their native tongue. Continue reading

Writing Is Meditation


Today I had an epiphany. Not the religious kind, more like a Joycean one. You see, I like to meditate. When I do, I don’t see lights or saints. I merely observe my breath as it goes in and out. Sounds simple, right? Well, many people think writing is simple. Sometimes, maybe. Most of the time though, it’s hard. This morning I was writing after a meditation session, when I remembered something a fellow meditator once shared:

A student went to his meditation teacher and said, “My meditation is horrible! I feel so distracted, or my legs ache, or I’m constantly falling asleep. It’s just horrible!”

“It will pass,” the teacher said.

A week later, the student came back to his teacher. “My meditation is wonderful! I feel so aware, so peaceful, so alive! It’s just wonderful!”

“It will pass,” the teacher said.

This is an example of anicca, which basically means: Nothing lasts forever. I believe it applies to writing as much as to anything else. Continue reading