3.25 AM

3.25 AM

My eyes were wide open for no reason—at least, not one I could think of.

Maybe I simply slept for too long the night before.

I closed my eyes for a couple minutes before finally deciding that it was useless. If I wasn’t going to sleep, then I’d better get productive doing something. Then it would probably feel as if I’ve finally accomplished something meaningful, would it not?

I turned on the reading light and opened the textbook near my fūton to continue my last reading. I tried scrutinizing the text but realizing that I could make very little sense of what I’ve been reading and that I kept on reading the same paragraph over and over again.

So I finally got up and decided to make myself a cup of a warm hot chocolate.

I moved to my cushion and opened my MacBook to read a summary I made for a class last week. Maybe this one would be easier to digest, I thought to myself, as I opened the Pages application and scrolled through the document.

I tried reading the words out loud, kept denying that my mind kept wandering and wandering elsewhere—everywhere, basically, and tried to comprehend as much of what I’ve been reading—which was basically very, very, very little.

I finally opened my facebook instead. Not sure of what I was actually looking for there, I ended up searching for Word Porn. One of my favorite pages where I spent most of my procrastinations, reading beautifully composed words, if not at all nonsensical. Despite knowing how empty words could be most of the time, I strangely find solace in reading these neatly typed fonts—as long as there is no grammatical errors made—reading quotes or short stories or simply short poems about someone or something, which could be about just anyone, including me. As much as I hate nonsensical motivators and self-help books, somehow I could never compare these words as of the same level as those two I just mentioned. These words, short though they might be, always take my minds elsewhere—wandering and wandering in some fantasy and fictional world elsewhere, where I would construct and deconstruct stories based on the words I read on the page—and sometimes, it would take me into my memory palace, where I stored many of my valued irreplaceable moments—what I always referred to as the “bottled moments,” as if they were some kind of old books I could reread again and again from time to time, or rewatching my favorite movies where I could just skip to my favorite scenes and replay it for maybe a thousand times more. These are, of course, the happy moments, which I cling on to very keenly and hold on to very tightly, since, deep down I realize that these are one of the things that really keep me going on, moving on with my life and survive anything that pass by.

Then without premonition or warning of any kind, I felt tears rolling down my eyes.

I wasn’t even reading anything sad, and the last quotes I read did not even take out any sad memories from my memory palace, yet there I was, starring blankly at the screen—obviously no longer reading whatever I have in front of me, but trying to digest what just happened and wondering.

Of course, by now I’ve come to accept, no matter how unsensical it is, or how confusing it is, that sometimes—or many times, it is completely okay to just cry without any reason. Although, since I don’t really believe that anyone could truly cry without any reason at all, perhaps the best way to put it is that it is alright to cry without comprehending at all the reason why. Maybe I would eventually find out, or maybe not at all, but maybe it is okay to just dip in the sadness—or dwell in whatever it is I am feeling when the tears just roll out—without first investigating the cause. There is always a reason, I think, of why anyone cry at all. Sadness—of course, frustration, anger, jealousy, rage, pity, compassion, love, and maybe even madness, but I believe it is never really out of nothing. There must always be a reason why anyone is crying, but is the reason that important? This was a question I used to ask myself years ago.

“It’s okay. We girls sometimes just feel that deep sadness, and it’s okay if you don’t understand it, you know. It happens, and there’s nothing abnormal in it,” my confidant, and the closest person in my life at that time said the words to me as I was crying and frustratingly telling her that I don’t know why I really cry. I remember feeling deeply ashamed and stupid, as I felt completely embarrassed for being caught off-guard crying, and making everybody coming at me and asked if I’d been hurt or something. I felt exposed and weak, and she then just hugged me tightly until I stopped crying. As she said those words I felt a bit of relief. That I’m not abnormal for crying for no reason at all, and that maybe, maybe, it wasn’t at all that weird. I still felt exposed and weak, but it was not like there was anything I could do to turn back the time and hid myself elsewhere so no one would see me crying anyway.

And those are the words I’ve been holding on to now, as an excuse, or a justification, or whatever you’d like to term it, whenever I feel like crying, and I’ve been using the same words as well to stop finding the reason why whenever I cry. I mean, come on, I have my feelings turned up and down already, and I still have to think of why it happened? It’s just too much. I could just drown myself in the emotional roller coaster of sadness or frustration or whatever emotions I am feeling and just wait until it passes without having to feel burdened with the obligation to find out why now, so why make my life even more complicated?

So that’s what I’m doing right now. Crying. Just that. For god knows why. And just wait until it passes. At least I am alone in my room, and no one could see me. I am not exposed right now so I could let out all my emotions—burying my face on the pillow and cry my heart out, pouring and burying all my emotions there, without feeling bad or ashamed, or even fear that anyone would ever find out. Then I’d pass this, so that later today I could resume my life as if nothing unusual has happened.

4.05 AM

I’m fine. I’m okay now.

Woe Is Me!

Woe to you, humans!

For you have so many different faces,

and wants

that urge the desire

to have so many different things at once.

*

And woe to you, morons!

For you judge people

based on their hair color,

and whether they are fair-skinned or dark-skinned.

*

For you value people

based on what car they drive to work,

or whether they own the latest gadget,

as well as their profession.

Since when

a Blackberry or an iPhone could define its owner?

*

Shakespeare once asked,

“What’s in a name?”

Now here’s my questions:

How can you tell that John is richer than Wagiman?

Or,

why did you say Michael is a much better name than Eko?

*

I thought

nothing defines a man better

than his mind

and his attitude

* * *

I told you already that I’m terrible with poems.

Sorry, it’s a terrible poem. I know it is.

And I guess I’m taking things too far here.

To write “man” is quite stereotyping and overgeneralizing.

Then perhaps I ought to address that to myself instead.

So,

Woe is me!

For I told people

that we shouldn’t judge people

based on their appearance

but on what’s inside.

Yet I did the exact same thing myself.

* * * * *

P.S. A related random story will soon follow.

Writer Questions: Fill It Out!

So I stumbled across this post and inspired to do the same thing. Questions are taken from the same blog (which was also taken from other site as you could read yourself), so the only different things here is only my answers. It’s indeed fun, and you could also try this out to kill some time ;) Reblog this!

The Questions

  1. What is your favorite word in the English language?
    ‘Really’ and ‘indeed,’ I suppose, for I’ve been using those two words quite frequently. Don’t know why but those two words keep appearing every time I try to write a conversation.
  2. Do you prefer writing poems or stories?
    Stories. Definitely stories. I enjoy poem but I definitely enjoy stories better.
  3. Where do you get your inspiration?
    Erm, well… games, movies, other novels I read, and definitely reality.
  4. What is you least favorite word?
    Hmmm, can’t think of any right now, but I don’t think there’s any at all. I will update this later if I could think of any, though.
  5. When and where do you like to write?
    Ideally, I’d picture myself writing in a coffee shop (while drinking cups of coffees), but I think I shouldn’t wait to be in that place to be able to write something. When I got the idea for a story (mostly short–really short–stories these days), I would look for anything: cell phone, pencil, pen, papers, notes that would allow me to write the ideas before I lost them.
  6. What do you think makes a good writer?
    The great concept they have. I don’t know whether this is the appropriate answer, but I always adore those writers who have these concept of the world of their story, the characters as well as the traits of each characters and such–their concept as a whole. I always miss this and got chunks of concepts instead of a whole complete nice concept. (Did I make myself clear?)
  7. Do you, according to the criteria you just described, think of yourself as a good writer?
    Nah. Not yet, but I wish I would be someday.
  8. What is one thing you hate about writing?
    To have the incomplete concept. To fill in the gaps and such. Most of the time I have these ideas how I should start and how I should end the story, as well as how the conflicts, climax and anticlimax would be, but I’m always confused what to write to fill in the gaps. Damn. Any suggestion, writer fellas?
  9. Why do you write?
    Because I love writing. I love putting and arranging words nicely, and to be able to express myself in a way that I’m unable to do in reality. Some people are better with words, you know. (Or is it just me?)
  10. Who do you write for?
    Myself. And perhaps some other close friends out there, who share the same passion and interests.
  11.  What is the best book you have ever read?
    Wow, this is tough. I would have to choose between Jostein Gaarder’s The Castle In The Pyrenees and Michel Faber’s The Crimson Petal and the White, but in terms of concept, I think I have to say that I’m in awe with the latter.

  12. Who do you look up to?
    In terms of authors, I would definitely say Jostein Gaarder. I love all his novels. (All that I’ve read, of course.)

    Jostein Gaarder

  13. What do you think makes you able to write?
    These ideas and conversations and scenes that won’t stop playing in my head; and I know that I just have to write them down before I lose them.
  14. Do you ever get writer’s block?
    Whoa. Often. Especially when I’m running out of ideas of what to write to fill in the gaps. Or when I reread my writings and think it’s not good enough. I had scrapped plenty of my writings already :( And perhaps when I’m afraid to write. Damn.
  15. What is the next thing you are going to write?
    Hmmm, I got this story already, I’m thinking a story of a mother and a daughter, who got something like a… broken relationships, and I plan to make it an open-ending, perhaps. And the story, sadly, would be most likely written in Indonesian, but like I said, I’m still figuring out how to fill in the gaps between the climax, anti-climax, and ending. Urrghh, I feel like I’m a bad writer already.

via Writer Questions: Fill It Out!.

Holiday Project

First of all, I think I ought to explain about the holiday since I once read a post in WordPress that August is a no-holiday month in the States. Here, the no-holiday month is the cruel July. But this year in August, we have this national holiday to celebrate Islamic big day, called Idul Fitri, or Lebaran.

Wikipedia explains that Idul Fitri “is a Muslim holiday that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting (sawm).” So exactly a month before this Idul Fitri, moslem people would start fasting for a whole month, and by Idul Fitri, they finally break their fast. Idul Fitri happens on a different times every year, so next year, Idul Fitri might not happen in August anymore.

Normally in Indonesia, during Idul Fitri, people gather with their family, and this has created quite a chaos in the traffic for years, since in order to gather with their family, people who go to another city would return back to their hometown, hence creating traffic jam–sorry, I mean massive traffic jam. This year, the traffic jam is no different. Normally–or usually, traffic jam in Indonesia only occur in big cities, such as Jakarta, Surabaya, or Bandung, but on Idul Fitri–or  a couple days before Idul Fitri, the traffic jam happens everywhere. And the only city left with no traffic jam is, in fact, Jakarta.

Everybody is so anxious to get back home to see their family that they get very impatient while driving. It’s not rare to see multiple cases of accidents on the road, and even train hijacking.

Long story made short, it’s annoying.

But anyway, I made it back to my hometown, safe and sound, and now I got approximately 4 days to be with my mum with nothing to do, really. It’s my 2nd day at home, and so far, my mom has been trying to make me acne-free and fatter by feeding me foods as long as I’m awake. I don’t know whether it would make any difference, though. All these time, I always eat and eat and eat, and I even have late-night snacks many, many times, yet people keep telling me I’m getting skinnier and skinnier.

Other than hunting for new local coffee shops, and trying to get a wi-fi connection every day so I could access the internet, open readbud.com, and read sarticles in order to make some money even during the holiday, I don’t really have many choices other than browsing the internet and idling at home.

So yesterday, I managed to persuade my mom to visit our old house in the city, where my novels and knitting yarns and needles are stored. I was also successful in convincing her that I didn’t bring too many novels with me and that I would finish them as soon as possible while I’m at home. So here’s my holiday-to-do-list for now, in my hometown:

Read:

  1.  The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson (currently reading),
    I have actually watched the movies–The Millenium Trilogy–but I happened to watch the third part without reading the novel yet because at that time, I already moved to another city for work, so now that I got time to read it, I’m so relieved that I watched the movie before I read the novel. Apparently some parts in the movie are very different than the ones in the book, and if I had read the book at that time, I would doubtless not able to enjoy the movie. But since I read the book after I watched the movie, I am a fan of both the movie and the novel.
  2. The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad,
  3. And The Ass Saw the Angel by Nick Cave,
  4. The Shadow of the Sun by Ryszard Kapuscinski,
  5. Falling Angels by Tracy Chevalier,
  6. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling,
  7. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux,
  8. A compilation stories of Sherlock Holmes.

Reread:

  • Border Wedding by Amanda Scott

Knit a scarf (the white yarn) and redo the old one (the blue one).

The novels are those who I own from long time ago (bought them, given or lent by a friend) yet I haven’t got the time to read them all, and the blue scarf is the one that is still halfway finished, and I plan to redo it since I think it’s a bit too wide. After I finished that one, I’m going to make a white scarf. I usually sell the scarves after I made them, but if no one’s interested, I’d definitely make them my private collection. I think it’s kinda cool to own scarves that I made myself, don’t you think?

Random Story #2: A Fresh Start

   T looked at her new room and told herself that she had been very lucky, indeed. At least compared to friends’ experiences. Most of them who sought for jobs in places far away did not even get an accommodation as fine as the one she had. For that, she reminded herself, she ought to be grateful.

   Well, she was thankful, indeed.

   She got a nice place to stay, and her new workplace was also very nice. She had meet her co-workers the previous day, and got a tour around her new office. She had not yet met her boss–or her boss’ boss, but she saw him walking out from his office yesterday while touring her office, and he smiled at him. Well, at least her boss showed some courtesy. He was not one of those horrible tyranny bosses, at least. That was good enough as a starter, she thought to herself. It was her first day, anyway, sure she could not expect too much. Besides, she was getting fond of her new workplace already. She had been worried that her office might be one of those dreadful offices where everybody were so busily engaged with their works that they might even be too busy even to say a simple “Hi” to the newbie. But no, thank Heaven, her office did not give her any single impression of those horrible things. At least, it had not given her that impression. Again, it was her first day, wasn’t it? And she was already in love with her new job, and her new office. Her co-workers all gave her warm welcomes and made sure she made herself comfortable in her new environment. Her boss (not her boss’ boss) was so down-to-earth and hospitable that she wondered now what she had done exactly to deserve such a kind boss. She was truly thankful for this. Her new office did not at all intimidate her just like she had imagined before. And everybody, knowing that she had come all the way from her hometown which took almost 8 hours for her to get to the city–her new workplace, to be precise, tried to make sure that she had not come for nothing. Their warm reception had made her wondering whether she had met the most agreeable people on earth. They expressed her worries about her coming from far away, and whether she had managed to find a nice place to stay, and tried to inform her about places where she could get nice food and other stuffs, should she needed any. What had she done to deserve all these, really?

   Then she reminded herself, that she should not be far too excited, yet, for it was her first day. Then again, she was reminded that she had chosen to find jobs far away from home. Away. Far-far away from everybody. And most people tend to find things like this difficult at first. The first days/months/years of adjusting are always the hard ones. But not for her. So once again, she mumbled a ‘thank you’ to God, if He does exist, and if not, to whatever supernatural powers out there which had made this easier and nicer for her.

   Yes, she had decided to seek jobs located far away from places she knew. Places where familiar people stayed. She had told herself so many times before that she wanted a fresh start. Without family connections. Without interference from those people who–she knew it by heart–only wanted to help her out. People who thought that their connections or powers could help the a fresh-graduate who were–at that time–desperate for a job. And the offers were all tempting, really, but she decided she wanted to shape her own future. She thought that if she could not do this alone, that she never could. Ever. She hated the idea of relying her future on others’ hands, already. So she hardened her heart and said a firm “No” to every offers and opportunities that had come to her through the hands of relatives. No, she told herself. No matter how tempting those offers were. No. She should make it on her own. At least she ought to try. If she failed, than maybe she was not as good as thought she was. Then maybe she could turn to those relatives who had been dying to offer her thousands other opportunities. But she shivered only to think that she might be a failure after all, and that she then would have to rely on others after all.
Fate was not so harsh, it turned out, as she finally got an opportunity to get the fresh start that she always wanted. In a new place. Meeting new people. She thought her chance to finally prove herself worthy, were she worthy at all, had come after all. So she accepted the offer. Of course she intentionally failed to mention this “fresh start” and “a brand new beginning” to her relatives when they responded negatively upon hearing the news. Why ever the job should take her far-far away? Too bad she was not so lucky to get a job nearer to home, indeed. And all she said in response was a nod, a smile, or a simple “Yes,” with a sorry-look and a sorry-smile. Yes, she felt sorry indeed, to leave her comfort zone, but then she reminded herself that she ought to give herself a try, indeed, for if she did not leave her comfort zone, she might never be able to leave at all. She ought to. She ought to give it a try.

   So, after a final glance around her room, she smiled and felt content already. Yes, she was truly grateful. Then she unpacked her stuffs and arranged it comfortably in her room.

   A fresh start.

   She took a long deep sigh.

   A fresh start.

Random Story #1: True Love

   “Do you believe in true love?”

   I laughed, if not snorted, upon hearing such question being addressed to me.

   “Is this a trick-question?” I asked him, sarcastically.

   “No, of course not. What makes you think so?” He asked me back with a confused face, as if I asked something incomprehensible.

   “Because it sounds wishy-washy, and cliche, mind you,” I answered.

   Now he looked even more perplexed.

   “What?” he said, expressing surprise and disbelief.

   I decided to shut my stupid mouth with a smile, trying to look smart.

   It didn’t work, as he didn’t avert his gaze on me.

   “What?” I asked him, with a sarcastic smile on my face.

   “How could you say so?”

   I gave a snort of laughter, expressing–this time–my own disbelief.

   “Well, if you’re so sure of the notion of true love itself, do enlighten me, sir, the idea of this… so-called ‘true love’.”

   He stared at me in astonishment.

   “Well…,” he paused, struggling for words, as my previous request seemed unexpected to him. “Eeeerrrr, true love is…,” he paused again, but then continued, “…is an unconditional love. When you love someone despite his or her faults and past errors, I shall say. …or vice versa, I guess.”

   “Hmmm,” is all I say in response.

   “What? Are you telling me you don’t believe in that kind of thing?”

   “Well, I do believe in true love, if I live in fairy tale,” I answered, then quickly engage myself in papers that I need to grade, in order to avoid further questions.

   “Excuse me?”

   Fuck, it didn’t work.

   I pretended that I didn’t hear that.

   “Whatever do you mean by that?”

   Fuck, he’s not gonna give up easily, wasn’t he?

   “I mean, sir, I live in the real world, in a jungle called reality, where, I believe, the so-called ‘true love’ really is a scarce thing.” I explained after I took a long deep sigh.

   His eyes widened as he heard my explanation.

   “Wow,” he muttered. Whatever that means.

   “Have you had bad experiences in love or something?”

   God, please, I pleaded in my mind, while sighing again and rolling my eyes.

   “No, I have not, but the idea of ‘true love’ seems ridiculous to me, is all.”

   “Geez, why are you so negative?” he asked me, at the same time amazed.

   Why, oh why can’t I just shut my bloody mouth up?

   “Because I’m being realistic,” I said, trying to put a final tone in my answer, hoping this guy would take the cue.

   My answer was stupid, and thoughtless, of course. But I can’t seem think of anything else to shut this guy’s mouth and mind. Cursed me, I thought to myself.

   “Realistic? That is you being realistic!? Have you been mistreated or something in the past?”

   “My God, what does it take for you to quit?” I finally grew impatient and decided to show my annoyance. “No, sir, I have not been mistreated. In fact, I have been loved, if not too much, perhaps overwhelmingly.”

   “I’m quite fond of romance, actually, but I believe they ought to stay in books, novels, and movies, and I like it if they maintain their existence there,” I added quickly, before he managed to say anything further.

   And now he laughed sarcastically in return.

   “My God, you’re strange,” he finally said.

   “Yes, I am,” I decided to respond with a smile before I finally turned back to grade students’ papers.

Hoefler Text, I’m In Love

Regarding my previous post here, I suppose most of you can see that I’m quite a font-geek. Yes, I am. I was serious when I wrote that I could scan words and sentences more than once only to adore the beauty of the font style and design.

I hope I didn’t just scare you off.

Because I’m gonna write more.

In the post that I linked above, I mentioned that my current favorites are Georgia, Plantagenet Cherokee and Rockwell.

But what I didn’t tell you is that I’ve been hunting for one particular font, actually.

I stumbled across this font when I was reading the English version of Tolkien’s The Hobbit back in high school (and it was around… 2004 or 2005, I suppose), and what really captured me is (don’t laugh!) the design of the numbers of that particular font. I thought it was Times New Roman at first, but then I realize it looks a lot like Garamond, but I knew it’s not really Garamond. So what is it? I knew for sure I couldn’t find it in my Microsoft Word.

The pretty beautiful numbers

Then one day, I came across a website where you could download fonts for free (I forgot the site’s address, though, sorry), so I was extremely curious about that font and I did some hunting and browsing for that particular font.

But I was out of luck.

So finally, the search of the font was long forgotten.

Too bad, fate didn’t allow me to forget my obsession of this font since fate made me cross path with that font when I was reading the Indonesian version of Pramoedya Ananta Toer’s Buru Quartet. The font used in the latest edition of the quartet was the exact same font, although the size is much larger than the one printed in Tolkien’s The Hobbit. I know the font by heart by then and if I couldn’t own the font, then at least let me adore and appreciate its beauty, I thought to myself. So perhaps you could imagine me staring at Toer’s book, looking like I was reading intently, but what I actually did was starring at each letter one by one to admire them all.

Sorry, did I freak you out? Please don’t.

Not yet, at least, because it wasn’t my last encounter with that font as I was currently reading Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives and Daughters. Oh yes, the font came back to haunt me once again. This time, it’s worse since the font was printed particularly with the same size as the one in The Hobbit. Small fonts, with small spaces next to each other. Beautiful. Very very adorable.

Now this is the best part.

Recently I’ve been using an old iBook G4, and found out that I couldn’t really create an .xls document since the only document-editor software that I had here was TextEdit. Simple but not so fancy, I say.

So I googled. And found out that I should’ve had an iWork application. Or I could always switch to Microsoft Office for Mac, but, hey, if we could try a new one, why not give it a try, eh?

So finally after hours and hours upgrading this and that (remember this is an old, old, old laptop), I finally able to install iWork ’09.

Then I got very much excited.

But that’s not the best part yet.

So after I got my hand on iWork ’09, I started to try this and that, and finally settle myself editing and typing stories that I currently writing. Now, since this Pages application allows me to change fonts (something that I don’t think I could do with TextEdit, but if you’re a pro Mac user, perhaps you guys could tell me more?) I started to try out the fonts.

I keep forgetting that I’m not using Microsoft Windows any longer.

Turns out Apple got many, many different fonts in this Pages app. So I browse and try each one of them. (Yes, I guess I’m particularly geek in this kind of thing.)

And then I saw this font ‘Big Caslon’ and I thought to myself, “WOW. This is my font!”” because it actually resembles the one that I’ve been looking for so much.

Until I realize the capital letter “W” is different.

The 'W' I've been looking for.

Freaky, huh? I sure notice that kind of details. Especially because the capital “W” letter was the reason I thought that font resembles Garamond.

So, turns out it’s not the one that I’ve been looking for. But it’s probably the closest one I could get to my dream-font.

And then I realize there’s another font that resembles my dream-font very much. This one is called ‘Hoefler Text.’

So I clicked that font type and see what it looks like.

And I noticed the capital ‘W’ letter.

“Holy heck, that’s THE FONT!” I screamed to myself.

Turns out, when I was browsing for an image of that particular font to be put in here today, I found this explanation on Wikipedia that Hoefler Text is “a contemporary serif Antiqua font that was designed for Apple Computer to demonstrate advanced type technologies.”

How nice, Apple. Nice job. Thanks for being so stupidly exclusive. Sure this explains why I couldn’t find this font anywhere, especially anywhere in Microsoft Word. Jeez!