Upon Reading Bird By Bird: The Writing Frame of Mind – Jealousy

“Of all the voices you’ll hear on KFKD, the most difficult to subdue may be that of jealousy.” ~p. 122

Oh, God. Why do I have a feeling like I’m not gonna like this chapter?

“You are going to feel awful beyond words. You are going to have a number of days in a row where you hate everyone and don’t believe in anything.” ~p. 123

And it’s gonna be more than just feeling awful beyond words, if the jealousy is toward your dearest friend, it is said.

I really hate to admit this, but she is right.

A friend of mine once recommended this book to me, called 1 Perempuan 14 Laki-laki (1 Female 14 Males), which is a compilation of short stories by Djenar Maesa Ayu and her friends, about life, and mostly sex, if not love. The title is taken from the process it took to make the short stories–Djenar, which is referred as the “1 Perempuan” in the title, met some of her friends who are all males (14 males in total), and created the short stories together. She’d met them one by one, one story at a time. The thing is, they would write the short stories together, in a way that someone would start the first or the first two sentences and the other would continue with another sentence or two. Then voila! We got 1 Perempuan 14 Laki-laki.

I was damn jealous of her accomplishment.

Especially since I used to have this mindset of the great authors such as C. S. Lewis, J. K. Rowling, and Michel Faber, who I thought spent years and years before they finally able to finish and publish their books. Not to mention C. S. Lewis had to finish seven books to finish his Chronicles of Narnia, mind that!

Like I’ve mentioned in my previous posts, I used to have this thought that those awesome writers must have such a wonderful concept about what they were going to write, as well as the world they wanted to create inside the book before they finally write their stories.

Of course I was wrong.

But I was burnt with jealousy at that time, especially after reading how Djenar described how she and her friends managed to finish the book.

I was like, “Seriously, that’s all it takes?”

Of course she mentioned several problems in completing the stories, such as finding that the next sentence(s) that her friend wrote turned out to be completely different with what she’d expected, hence, she’d need to change the plot she’d created in her head and made a brand new plot to follow her friend’s train of thought.

Been there, done that myself.

When I was in this Star Ocean Club in Junior High, I wrote in the previous post that M and I would write a story and we would take turns in writing the story. Of course we don’t write one sentence at a time. We would usually write scene by scene before we finally take turn. Or sometimes, we would even ask for an ‘extension,’ or some extra space in the book if we have some plan about a specific character. I would usually told M that I had this plan about this character and I would need to finish writing about it first before I could finally give the book to her.

But sometimes, the same problem happened. Sometimes, M would write something that was completely different from what I’d expected, hence, the plot that I already had in mind would be ruined and wouldn’t make any sense if I kept trying to squeeze it in the story. So I’d changed it.

Well, of course, now I write my own story myself. No partner in crime, no.

But still, I was jealous. Were it that easy to create a story, should everybody not publishing their own books now?

I told my friend who recommend this book to me about my jealousy, and she said, “Isn’t the essence of the story is that the readers enjoy reading your story? Why bother?”

That was a massive blow to my ego and my pride. Ouch.

Of course, fine, that’s not the essence of writing a story, but still! I’m still jealous. (I don’t hate Djenar Maesa Ayu, though. Just wanna make that clear.)

I couldn’t imagine my level of jealousy if I ever find a friend that I know publish a book and become a success. Thank God I found none so far.

“But some of the loneliest, most miserable, neurotic, despicable people we know have been the most successful in the world.” ~p. 124

Serve them right.

No, what am I talking about? I should be sorry for them!

Of course, when I first read that, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe came to mind right away. Then I remembered Nikolai Gogol as well.

Marilyn Monroe

Well, I don’t know them, of course. And I really should be sorry for them.

But sometimes, I can’t help but becoming this evil bitch who feel this guilty pleasure from their misfortunes. Well, they made me jealous with their success, so to know that they experience this misfortune seems worth the pain they caused in me.

God I’m evil.

One time, a friend of mine applied for a scholarship program in Fulbright. When I first heard that, I already felt jealous. The only reason I couldn’t apply for the same program is because I was way beyond the due date, so the only chance for me is to apply next year.

Of course I smiled brightly and tried my best to cheer her up.

But I was actually jealous.

I love my friend and all, but hell, I knew about the scholarship even before anyone ever heard of the word ‘Fulbright’ and know what in the world ‘Fulbright’ is! Then more and more people became to know what it is, and the scholarships they offered, and they began to apply.

On the other hand, I was really glad to share the information, but at the same time, I was screaming, “No! You’re not applying to Fulbright! No way!” inside.

I once applied, of course, for a different program, though. Then I got rejected.

Another friend of mine who got the scholarship told me that many people who got the scholarship are those who have applied for many, many times. They are people who also deal with the same rejection, so I shouldn’t have given up only after the 1st rejection.

But still, just the thought that my beloved friend applied to this program actually tortured me. And I felt terribly awful. Like I’ve transformed into this horrible monster with no goodness nor kindness inside its heart.

I was telling her that she should go for it, that it’s a great opportunity and how great it would be if she actually got accepted in the program. On the other hand, I was wishing and praying so, so badly, “Please, God, please, don’t let her got accepted. Please, please, please don’t do this to me,” because if she ever got accepted, I would feel like a total loser  just because I got rejected and she got accepted.

But the torture didn’t end right there.

When she already thought that she got rejected and finally forgot about the application at all (she faced it very cheerfully, though–completely different from me), she texted me and told me that she got a callback, telling her that she’d have an interview. An interview means that she’d passed the 1st stage and she’s moving on to next step, getting closer to the scholarship program.


Of course I told her how great it was, and I told her to prepare everything very carefully. I told her everything that I could tell her to support her as a good friend.

And I meant what I said. I really did. At the time when she told me about the interview, I was cooling down already, and I didn’t feel so much tortured like I used to when she first told me that she applied for the program.

But this evil voice inside my head, who kept praying and wishing that she wouldn’t go through and that she shouldn’t get accepted, stayed. It never left my head. And I hate it more than anything.

I kept telling myself that she’s a much better person than I am (which is true), and that she’s way more diligent and smarter than me as well (which is also true), and that she deserved it. She really did. I meant it.

Yet I felt jealous.

Then after another several months passed, and she was anxiously waiting for the news, she finally told me that she didn’t got accepted.

The first thing that I felt the moment I heard that was relief. I was relieved that she also got rejected.

I wasn’t thrilled, and I felt sorry that she didn’t get accepted. I also told her that she ought to apply again next year and I was anxious, if not pissed, when she told me that she wouldn’t apply the next year because she said she wanna settle down with her job and everything, but I was relieved she didn’t got accepted.

I knew that I could just tell her about what I actually felt, but it would either pissed her off (which is unlikely, I think) or it would make her feel bad, and would resulted in her being uncomfortable of sharing similar stuffs anymore in the future. I don’t want that.

“Jealousy is one of the occupational hazards of being a writer, and the most degrading.” ~p. 124

Okay, the last example has nothing to do with writing at all, but I was trying to explain how terrible I could be when I feel jealous toward someone. Even at my close friend.

And, true, it’s degrading, indeed! I felt like a villain while I’m supposed to be this Cinderella who never have any ill thought on anyone at all.

Well, who in the world can actually be a Cinderella, right?

I know by heart that it wouldn’t be the last time I feel jealousy or harbor any ill-thought toward anyone.

“My deepest belief is that to live as we’re dying can set us free. Dying people teach you to pay attention and to forgive and not to sweat the small things.” ~p. 125

Yes, of course, how many dying people finally tell others about how many regrets they’re having? Many.

And of course most dying people would forgive everything in an instant. Don’t we all wanna go to heaven and live happily ever after?

That is, if we believe in heaven and hell after all.

The fact that they’re dying actually make them very lucky, I suppose. Some people actually skip the dying part, and never got any chance to actually regret anything, let alone forgive and forget. For example, I’m 22 year-old, and many people (including me) would  think that I’m still so young, and I still got a long journey toward the future, but then, I could just walk out of the house one day and there could be this car, speeding, with a drunken driver, who did not see me, and bam! So long, long journey ahead.

Of course, I wouldn’t pray for that (knock on wood), but that’s one of the possibility, right?

"You better watch out. You better not cry. Black Peter is coming to town!"

Of course, a book, or a novel (most likely children books) would tell us and teach us how to forgive and forget. “Because if you ever feel jealous toward your friend, you’re not a good kid. Then Santa wouldn’t come by and drop you a present.” Of course in my culture (which more or less has adapted the Dutch culture in celebrating Christmas), it’s worse. Not only Santa wouldn’t give you your Christmas present, but his assistant, Black Peter would kidnap you and took you away from your home to be punished for being a bad kid.

Of course, most books (children books, of course) would instead tell you to behave well, obey your parents, never think bad of anyone–except strangers, for they could just snatch you away and then asked your parents to send them a huge amount of money in order to get you back–and be a good princess (for girls, though). To keep it simple: be a Cinderella.

But it’s definitely easier said than done. Like everybody could forgive that easily. If it’s true, then there wouldn’t be any war, divorce, or racism, I believe.

So what? Should all of us got sick and become one of those dying people every time we feel jealous toward someone? Definitely not a solution.

“…another piece of the solution dropped into place when my friend Judy said that the problem was trying to stop the jealousy and competitiveness, and that the main thing was not to let it fuel my self-loathing.” ~p. 128

Okay. Now I’m starting to love this chapter.

Well, first, Lamott’s therapist actually told her to “go ahead and feel the feelings,” and she wrote how it felt like shit. Well, sure. Not just the feeling that feels like shit, I would definitely feel like shit, too. Remember the self-loathing and the guilt before? I’m gonna be the happiest person on earth if I could just skip that step. Probably.

But that last piece of advice is brilliant! Why should we try to be a good kid and try not to think bad toward others? Of course, it’s not a good thing, but at least it’s normal, right? And it’d occasionally happen. The only person who could skip and omit jealousy from his head and heart is probably Jesus, and fine, maybe, as Christians, we might want to set Him as our role model, but who could actually avoid jealousy for the rest of his life anyway?

So… okay. We feel jealous, so what? Just let it flow. Maybe just think of it a part of a normal human life, and that it’s a process toward another stage in life, and eventually everybody feel it, and at the same time, it would eventually go away as well.

Jealousy. Big deal. So what?

Upon Reading Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott: The Writing Frame of Mind – Radio Station KFKD

Apparently, KFKD stands for K-Fucked.

“It is perhaps the single greatest obstacle to listening to your broccoli that exists for writers.” ~p. 116

Whoa. What the hell is this?

“Out of the right speaker in your inner ear will come the endless stream of self-aggrandizement, the recitation of one’s specialness, of how much more open and gifted and brilliant and knowing and misunderstood and humble one is. Out of the left speaker will be the rap songs of self-loathing, the lists of all the things one doesn’t do well, of all the mistakes one has made today and over an entire lifetime, the doubt, the assertion that everything that one touches turns to shit, that one doesn’t do relationships well, that one is in every way a fraud, incapable of selfless love, that one has no talent or insight, and on and on and on.” ~p. 116

I hate the left speaker.

So what to do?

Breathe. Calm down. Relax.

Yeah, right. That easy, huh?

If only.

Every time I accidentally (yeah, believe me, who would ever want to hear the left speaker intentionally?) listen to the left speaker, I would feel terribly depressed. And to get over that is as hard as getting over an ex. Not that I still love him or what, but it’s not always easy to start all over again, start a brand new start, or just simply walk, meeting eyes to eyes then greet him casually like nothing ever happened.

Or maybe that’s just me.

But seriously, it’s not that easy.

Dealing with a writing containing our emotions, thoughts, minds, and even soul, is always like dealing with something fragile for me.

Hell yeah, I’m a perfectionist.

Which is why the accidents of listening to the left speaker happens quite often to me.

It’s like dealing with a sacred, if not cursed, thing, and when something goes wrong, it could take me a whole lot while to be finally able to look at it again and greet it casually.

“Hello. Long time no see! Let’s get back to work now, shall we?”

Eerrrr, never happened. Most of the time, what happen is this:

“Errrm. Hi.” (long silence) “…so…” (long silence) “Well…, I guess I’ll just… I’ll just come back later.” (then leave)

Pathetic, I know.

Arrrgh, why the hell did I pour out what the left speaker told me here?

Okay. Breathe. Calm down. Calm. Down.

“…we need to align ourselves with the river of the story, the river of the unconscious, of memory and sensibility, of our characters’ lives, which can then pour through us, the straw. When KFKD is playing, we are at cross purposes with the river. So we need to sit there, and breathe, calm ourselves down, push back our sleeves, and begin again.” ~p. 121

Right. The characters are always the key.

Think about my characters.

Think about my story.

I used to think that our lives are just like a story in a novel, where each of us is the main character of each of our own novel. So who wrote it? God.

Well, at least that’s what I used to believe.

The thought barely cross my mind nowadays, but reading this book (specifically this chapter) reminds me again of how I used to think of my life and people around me.

I used to enjoy having these kind of thought, really. I would imagine that a big old guy, a.k.a. God, would sit in front of a fancy table, with a fountain pen in His hand. Then I would imagine Him writing about me, about my life, and every time I’m having a problem, I would, of course, feel devastated, but I would imagine that this is a novel about life, where God is writing a story about me, about how I struggled with life and all. And in every story, there’s always a climax. And of course, anti-climax, even though the latter barely cross my mind whenever I’m dealing with the problem. What usually came in my mind instead is, “You idiot! This is reality! Not this stupid imagination of a novel of you!”

Still, the thought fascinates me.


So now, I’m the creator of my characters. I’m writing their story. I have to write them down and tell their stories. Right?

I know if I do nothing, their voices and stories would never leave my head and stuck in there.

Oooh. Scary.

Upon Reading Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott: The Writing Frame of Mind – Broccoli

“…when you don’t know what to do, when you don’t know whether your character would do this or that, you get quiet and try to hear that still small voice inside. It will tell you what to do.” ~p. 110

Cool. Now we have this magic thing inside us that should direct and guide us, or, in another word: show us the way.

Wait, are you talking about  conscience?

Oh, wait. You’re talking about broccoli.

Yeah, so we call that magical thing as broccoli, I guess.

“You need your broccoli in order to write well.” ~p. 111

Noted. I’m eating broccoli right now.

Oh, that’s not what you meant?

“Sometimes intuition needs coaxing, because intuition is a little shy.” ~p. 112

Right. Of course you’re talking about the Shy Intuition.

I suppose this Intuition has a sibling called Inspiration? Or maybe I tend to get them both mixed up. Sorry.

Funny how they both can be really shy.

And they get braver and less shy after midnight, just when I’m about to go to sleep, then they knocked on my bedroom door and told me to write, right there, right now. Grab your pen, baby.

“If you stop trying to control your mind so much, you’ll have intuitive hunches about what this or that character is all about.” ~p. 113

Ouch. Did you just give me a slap on the back of my head?

“It is hard to stop controlling, but you can do it.” ~p. 113

Oh, great. Now I’m the control-freak.

I’m not.

I swear I’m not.

Except any of you are insane enough to make me a coordinator or a chairperson of something. I made my one of my crews cried, remember?

Wait, that doesn’t mean I’m a control-freak, right?

I’m not, believe me.

. . .

Okay, I guess you don’t believe.

I guess Mr. Intuition and Inspiration don’t believe it either.

Fine, fine. Maybe I’m a mind-control-freak.

I’m a person with massive plans in my head, sorry.

I’m a person who always plan everything that I do and say. Including in my writing, despite the fact that I kept saying I love free writing.

Oh, I love free writing, I really do. I can just stare on the screen of my laptop and start to write once I get a topic, especially once I know what I’m gonna write exactly. But whenever I’m not sure what to write, I barely write.

(Which perhaps explains the inconsistency of the number of posts I publish every month.)

Sure, many times I let my mind wander around, and then my hands would take the lead and just type and type. But most of the times, the result of this usually ends up in either Trash or Recycle Bin. Really.

I guess what really struck me as I’m reading this book is the fact that it’s not actually the plot alone that holds the story. It’s actually the characters I created and the story that come with them. That’s a brand new idea to me. Even when I send short stories to magazines, what I usually do is plan a plot, and once it’s completed, I’d began to write. But whenever my plot is still incomplete, it felt so… so useless to write.

There’s always a first time for everyone, indeed, eh?

“Writing is about hypnotizing yourself into believing in yourself, getting some work done, then unhypnotizing yourself and going over the material coldly.” ~p. 114

Oh, shoot. Really? Seriously?

Why do I feel like I’m so not prepared and ready for this?

Oh, butterfly in my stomach. Butterfly in my stomach!

Upon Reading Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott: The Writing Frame of Mind – The Moral Point of View

“If you find that your start a number of stories or pieces that you don’t even bother finishing, that you lose interest or faith in them along the way, it may be that there is nothing at their center about which you care passionately.” ~p. 103

Ouch. I hate to admit it, but I’m sure she’s right this time.

Whenever you read any of my blog post that really seems like a bunch of nonsense? That’s it.

Whenever you read a super short post? Most of the time, that’s it. (Not trying to imply that most short posts are the heartless ones.)

Well, I don’t wanna infer that I have such an amazing blog here either. I like my blog, period, and I don’t wanna change a thing in it.

You love my blog? Thank you so much.

You hate it? Critics, please!

Well, that’s not the point of this post, though.

I remember when I wrote my first draft in the short story that I sent for a competition in 2009. I finished the first story, but as I read it, I feel like… I feel like it’s not at all that I’d imagined it would be. I somehow felt much less connected to the story. So I scrapped it, and began to write a brand new one right away. I barely knew what I wanted to write at that time, but I thought I’d just typed and typed and typed, and see how it’d go. Later, after I finished it, I would then compare and contrast the first and the second story, and see which one I liked better.

Finally, I felt that the second story is much more personal to me, and I felt like being a part of it, like it’s what I’ve been wanting to say all these time.

So I finally sent it.

“When you start of writing, if you are anything like me, you may want to fill the page with witticisms and shimmering insights so that the world will see how uniquely smart and sensitive you are.” ~p. 104

Ahhh, I love the part of tricking people into thinking that I’m smart or all that stuffs. Don’t think it ever worked, though, but I always love witty tricks.

I guess this is where you always tried to catch your reader’s attention in the introduction. As unimportant as it might seem, it’s probably one of the most important thing in writing, I suppose.

I remember my cousin reading my published short story once, and my mother asked him, what do you think made me earned a second place, instead of the first. Then, my cousin told her something I never expected would come from him:

“Well, this is interesting. The most obvious differences between Dian’s story and the first winner is, I think, the way they begin and end their stories. In the winner’s short story, he/she started it with something very interesting, that would definitely catch the reader’s attention the moment they read the first line, while Dian’s introduction to the story is, compared to the winner, rather boring. However, towards the end, the story began even more interesting and ended very nicely. In contrast to this, the winner’s story didn’t end as interesting as Dian’s story. I guess that’s why.”

Well, of course, I barely know why so. I really am doubting my ability to do telekinesis, including mind-reading, but somehow, my cousin’s opinion is something to be considered. It’s a great input, I must say.

With such inputs in mind, perhaps, then I began to read The Crimson Petal and the White. And maybe, with such shaped-mindset, it is why I admired Faber’s work in that book. He began his introduction with the simplest, commonest sentence: “Watch your step.”

Okay, I know that perhaps not every one got struck by the simpleness of this one boring sentence. Perhaps it’s just me.

But the fact that Faber caught my attention right away with that sentence is what makes me adore him so much. The moment I read that sentence, I was stunned. Who in the world would start an introduction with “Watch your step” anyway? And why did I got so bewitched with that sentence? I was amazed and at the same time wondering what could have crossed his minds when he chose the dictions he used when writing that book?

The moment I read that first sentence, I imagined that I was coming out of a carriage, with the narrator, standing on the street–or the entrance of the book–ready to greet me and take me, and guide me into the world inside the book. I was fascinated by the beauty of the word arrangements and I fall in love with the book already when I read the second page.

Well, okay, maybe I’m exaggerating.

Just expressing what I feel, by the way.

 And then, as we moved forward in our writing, we began to share our emotions, our thoughts, and most importantly, our beliefs, to the readers.

“To be a good writer, you not only have to write a great deal but you have to care.” ~p. 107

I second that, Anne Lamott.

As a writer, we act as a mediator who tried to share what we believe and what we think of life and everything in it in our writing.

In The Crimson Petal and the White, another thing that really fascinates me is the way he portrayed people from different societies, along with their mindset and different kinds of beliefs in and about life. Take for example Sugar. My favorite lines of Sugar is:

“God damn God, and all His horrible filthy creation.”

Okay, fine. Maybe that’s too bitter.

And it might not be a good thing to say, especially in front of kids.

Not to mention it might be offensive for some people.

But you can’t help but admit that there are people who actually think bitterly of their own creator just like Sugar.

He portrayed the life of prostitutes in the Victorian-era England, along with William Rackham, who later came forward as Sugar’s ‘rescuer,’ by making her his mistress. And not just Sugar, Faber also told the story of Sugar’s friend, Caroline, another prostitutes who, of course wasn’t as lucky as Sugar.

Then suddenly, in the second part of the book, he switched to a complete different society, by portraying the life of Henry Rackham, who were determined to become a clergyman, as well as Mrs. Fox, another church-goer who was involved in some kind of volunteer work, trying to ‘save’ prostitutes from the destruction of hell. Hence, it’s the complete opposite of William and Sugar’s life.

I’m not an expert in literature, but wow, I was in awe with the book.

I was fascinated–really fascinated–with the way Faber portrayed many different people, with different mindset, as well as coming from different classes of societies.

I think what made me so fond of the book is the way he wrote about complete different people. Ones so innocent, and ones so… bitter.

In p. 107, Lamott quoted the fourteenth Dalai Lama, “My true religion is kindness,” but then went on saying that, “Unfortunately it does not make great literature.”

Cinderella is so old-fashioned, indeed.

“…the acknowledgement that in the midst of ourselves there is still a good part that hasn’t been corrupted and destroyed, that we can tap into and reclaim, is most reassuring.” ~p. 106

So I guess, this is why I stick to watching House.

As annoying as he is portrayed in the series, we, the audiences, always melting in scenes where House shows even a little affection toward his patience.

Remember the episodes where sometimes patients decided to give up, but then House decided that he wouldn’t care and would fight till the very end to save his patient? Even when somehow it seems so cruel because it would mean letting his patients to suffer excruciatingly. And it gets annoying when we sometimes realize or put into thinking that House isn’t actually thinking of the patient. He cares for nothing but himself, as well the patient’s case, which intrigues him. What he cares about is actually the mystery and the puzzles in the case, not the patient himself.

Yes, we hate Gregory House. But we love him as well.

“So write about the things that are most important to you.” ~p. 108

Will do, ma’am. I will. And I hope I’m not procrastinating this time.

Upon Reading Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott: The Writing Frame of Mind – Looking Around

I finally reached Part Two. Yay!

“Writing is about learning to pay attention and to communicate what is going on.” ~p. 97

Ahhh. Details. My favorite part, and at the same time it is also my least favorite.

As much as I adore Dickens’ attention to details, I hate it because to me it’s just like beating around the bush (seriously, English. Don’t you have a simpler and easier word for this? We call ‘beating around the bush’ as bertele-tele in Indonesian. That simple).

I admire how Dickens were able to put a thorough description about rain in his Little Dorrit, and at the same time hate it.

“In the country the rain would have developed a thousand fresh scents, and every drop would have had its bright association with some beautiful form of growth or life. In the City it developed only foul stale smells, and was a sickly, lukewarm, dirt-stained, wretched addition to the gutters.” ~Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens.

But again, I suppose, it’s what makes the book even more intriguing, and interesting.

And I thought I also said that I love metaphors.

And isn’t that why I love The Crimson Petal and The White so much?

“I honestly think in order to be a writer, you have to learn to be reverent. If not, why are you writing? Why are you here?” ~p. 99

“Let’s think of reverence as awe, as presence in and openness to the world.” ~p. 99

Boy, much to learn. Much to learn. Still got much to learn, indeed.

“To be engrossed by something outside ourselves is a powerful antidote for the rational mind, the mind that so frequently has its head up its own ass–seeing things in such a narrow and darkly narcissistic way that it presents a colo-rectal theology, offering hope to no one.” ~p. 102

So… basically, or put it in another way, it would hopefully cure my skeptical mind?

“Perhaps I should have just drowned myself while I bathe later.”

Then after the tub was filled, she took off her clothes and jumped in.

She felt the warmth of the water and she felt surprisingly comfortable. So she closed her eyes for a while.

Then she opened her eyes.

She stared blankly at her legs as she sat on the tub. She wrapped her hands around her legs in the water as she lay her chin on her knees.

~Random Story #5

Now that I reread it, maybe I should put a lot more detail into it.


Much to learn. Still much to learn.