Win a chance to attend a Lunch + Reading Session with me, where you will be one of the first people to read my yet-to-be-published fourth novel.  Read here how: http://ikanatassa.tumblr.com/post/1636818616/lunch-reading-session

Moving to Tumblr

May 14, 2010

I know I’ve had this blog for quite a while. But starting from now, allow me to move my thoughts to tumblr instead. Click here.

The Other Hobby

April 30, 2010

Been busy at work and also writing the third book. The funny thing is, every time I start writing a book, I seem to be always running out of ideas of what to talk about in this dear blog right here. So while you’re waiting for the third book to finish – it’s halfway done now, and I sincerely hope that you are waiting hehe – I thought I just start showing you some of my favorite shots since I started my interest in photography in late 2008.  If you ask what my gears are, they’re pretty simple: got a pocket camera of Sony DSC T-2 (love it because of its touch screen and high resolution), Canon EOS 1000D, Canon Lens EFS IS 15-55mm, and Canon Lens EFS IS 55-250mm.

So here’s one, took this during the F-1 season in Singapore in 2009. The Prince of Darkness, Fernando Alonso of the ING-Renault team.  My friend and I went to see the race last year, bought grandstand tickets, then decided to just walk around the circuit to find the perfect shots.  This one was taken while I was climbing on a fence and my friend holding my ass.


The Third Book

April 11, 2010

Page 91. We are looking optimistic, people.

Morning Thought

April 4, 2010

“By the morning hours, And by the night when it is stilles, Thy Lord hath not forsaken thee nor doth He hate thee, And veryly the latter portion will be better for thee than the former, And veryly thy Lord will give unto thee so that thou wilt be content. Did He not find thee an orphan and protect (thee)? Did He not find thee wandering and direct (thee)? Did He not find thee destitute and enrich (thee)? Therefore the orphan oppresses not, Therefore the bounty of thy Lord be thy discourse.”
(Ad Duha: 1-11)

Writing is always something that I love doing for one reason or another, but mostly because it’s through writing that I can get all the demons inside my head out and invite new demons in. When I say demons, it’s my personal word for whatever things are swirling in between my ears and get me moving.


Anyway, today I want to talk about writing the third book a little bit. For me personally, Divortiare – my second book – is the one book that I really put my heart and soul into whilst writing it. Each word was carefully picked, the metaphors and paragraphs cut-offs were written and rewritten that it took me a total of 6 months before I had the guts to send the manuscript to my editor.

Then immediately after I returned from this trip watching the first F-1 night race in Singapore, I had an idea to write a story that revolves around the race. This was in September 2008. I spent almost a year working on the first page alone, honestly. I revisited Divortiare from time to time during that period and wondered how could I came up with sentences so easily when I wrote it (believe me or not, I came up with the phrase “commitment is like getting a tattoo” in just minutes. This was – of course – during the period that I could write 10 to 15 pages a day). And now that I’m working on the third book – still untitled, by the way – even deciding where I wanted to start telling the story from was really really really difficult. Have I lost my mojo or something? There was a point where I honestly believed that Divortiare was the best that I could have written. Ever. So imagine my predicament.

So guess what I did. I came back to Singapore in September 2009, this time to actually see the whole race from start to end, even the practice session and the after-party and the concerts. My goal was one: to absorb as many experience as I can and to actually relive the whole thing that there’s no reason that I won’t be able to describe everything in detail when continuing writing the third book (that I have abandoned for probably 6 months by then). Which then would make this the most expensive book I’ve ever written.

You see, writing is something that continuously evolves as you – the writer – live through the day. I could never write like I wrote Divortiare because it is literally impossible for me to return to the state of mind that I was currently in when I wrote it. I could try to sit in the same room, turn on the same music, and even wear the same clothes, but I could never relive the whole thing fully. So to try writing like Divortiare would be a useless effort. What I should do is just to write. Period. So as soon as I flew back from Singapore 3 months ago, I tossed the previous draft and rewrite the whole thing all over again.

With my impossible schedule at the office in the last 8 months that left me no time and energy left to write as I get out of the office at ninish and tenish almost every night, the writing schedule has also changed. The only time available now is only the weekends, and even then, I’m always being presented with offers to do other things that I can’t refuse. Then there’s also the new hobby: photography. So since a month ago, I decided to recruit three of my best friends as my so-called editors. What I do is sending them draft after draft as soon as I finish it, even if it is only one page at a time. What they do – besides commenting on the drafts – is demanding more and more draft from me on a daily basis, not allowing me to ‘slack off’, if I may say. What I do is also sworn them to never let the draft be seen by anyone else. It was strictly ‘for your eyes only.’

Another thing that I started doing differently whilst writing this third one is to use social media to communicate more with my readers. Twitter, for example, has proven to be a very effective thesaurus. Well you know how suck my bahasa Indonesia is – what I did when I wrote most of the time is to write sometimes a whole paragraph in English first then rewrite them in again in bahasa. Such a hassle, right? So what I do now – besides using the standard-issue bahasa Indonesia thesaurus – is usually just to ask tweeps who read – I call them tweaders – to help me out with a word or a sentence. I just shouted ‘what’s the proper Indonesian word for keukeuh?’ and dozens and dozens of replies arrived within minutes.

What I’ve learned from the last 2 years since I’ve become a published author is one: writing is an experience. It’s the way you package everything that you’ve seen, heard, smelled, and imagined into strings of words that would create meanings to everyone who reads it. And when I said ‘seen, heard, smelled, and imagined,’ I’m also talking about what I’ve learned from the readers’ mixed responses to everything that I’ve written before.

If I may say one thing, I have high hopes for this third book. And I surely hope I’m not gonna disappoint you when it finally arrives in your hands.

The Last Night of 2009

January 1, 2010

As we grow up, we learn that even the one person that wasn’t supposed to ever let us down, probably will. You’ll have your heart broken and you’ll break others’ hearts. You’ll fight with your best friends or maybe even fall in love with them, and you’ll cry because time is flying by. So take lots of pictures, laugh a lot, forgive freely, and love like you’ve never been hurt. Life comes with no guarantees, no time outs, no second chances. you just have to live life to the fullest, tell someone what they mean to you, speak out, dance in the pouring rain, hold someone’s hand, comfort a friend in need, fall asleep watching the sun come up, stay up late, and smile until your face hurts. Don’t be afraid to take chances or fall in love and most of all, LIVE IN THE MOMENT because every second you spend angry or upset is a second of happiness you can never get back… Happy new year!

– A best friend texted me this last night.  Thank you for reminding me that it’s not the breaths I take that I have to worry about, it’s how I breathe.

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