Four days ago I celebrated Islamic New Year on my own. And hey, the number agrees with my birth date! In a way it is awesome, but what more wonderful is it was the two years mark of me being a full time writer. That day couple years ago I landed my feet in London and discovered a whole new heart and mentality. Tell you what, when the new year's eve of 1441 visiting me, I was a bit ready to let go. "This all okay," I said, and (without having the intention of romanticizing what I do) "I have worked hard enough too." That night I got food poisoning and I was puking like a mad man. My guts all over the floor and I got massive diarrhea. I was all alone and perhaps I thought I was dying and nobody will know, which sound funny to me with the shit and all.

Anyway, I survived the fever, etc. because I forced feeding my mouth oatmeal and lots of fluids and popping Panadol like candies.

Kaleidoscopically speaking, within these two years I received two grants and got to do residencies in two different places, I visited more than 14 cities in six different countries, doing reading and being panelist as writer for first time in several occasions (even two times in Frankfurt Book Fair!), attending literary festivals whenever I can, finished and published a novel in Indonesia, one of works translated into Malay, one into English, one published in Singapore and two in the UK, for first time doing radio interview, got articles about me and my works in the newspaper (Jakarta Post!), got my novel adapted into a play, finished another draft of new novel (that now I'm redrafting), etc. etc. but above all, I got to know hundreds of these new very comforting people. That all happened within two wonderful years where I was happy as myself.

For a new comer in literary scene like me, I have achieved many. Even I understand that luck played a great role in the path, most people didn’t know that I worked for that luck too. Shamelessly, I am always throwing and inviting myself into things. 

Initially I am very shy person, but I cast it all because I needed to be braver. I remember I approached a publisher/agent during a book fair by saying: "May I recommend you a good book? You should read this." "Why?" he asked. "Because I wrote that." He smiled nicely and then we became friends on Facebook. I would approach a lot of publishers and introduced myself like I am some very serious writer, collecting their name cards and contacting them afterward, I am sending my manuscripts to their emails, sending my profile, asking how are you, really wonderful to meet you, oh wow you are holding that even? can I get free tickets, etc. etc. I kept doing that for the whole two years I made a lot of contacts (I think I have it on excels), one of them then became my publisher in Singapore and UK and some became friends. Some others didn’t become anything but I am lucky enough to crisscrossing with them in my life

I can be very frontal and perhaps come off wrong, but that's the only method that I understand, to be a clown. People like funny stuff, I like it too. But actually this push came from sad realization that for people like me: there will be no another chance. I am not privileged enough to travel or to be in the same occasion ever. Unless I am lucky again. So I always try to make the best of anything at that moment. Which will appear also as a very pushy personality. I know it is bad and I feel bad most of the time too. After I talked too much or joke around too loud I walked home and think a lot about it and hope I didn’t insult anybody. I hope I was not annoying. I don’t like hurting people. I think too much too, and that is bad. This I am saying that, things are didn’t just simply given to my hands and I didn't wait.

That leads to another thing…

Recently I have been thinking about admitting to someone, anyone, that maybe I am just a total fraud. And one of these days people will find out how incompetent and if I were rich of something it is called rich of lack-ness. I am too wish that I am well read, more intelligent with mucho depth all crucial for this profession. But that is not something that can happen right away. Oftentimes it is inheritance.

I remember I had conversation with aspiring writer who apparently is very intelligent, "I don’t understand how can someone like you write novels?" he blurted out in a very condescending tone regarding my not knowing of many things. 
It hurts me, but I just answered that with a shrug and stupid smile. I was not really angry because maybe somewhere deep inside I agreed. But to think of it again, I kind of felt insulted. I might have something too, you know? Yes, I am not taking life and self very seriously, am not very smart, but I might have some depth as well! Not that deep I mean, but I can't be all that bad. Fuck that person who said that mean thing. He's just jealous because he is not sensitive enough to be a writer. God, I can be emotional sometimes!

I know I am bad, but I don’t need you to tell me that I am bad because I am also aware that I am not that bad.

Another thing, it's a bit cheesy, but you don’t know how shocking it is for me to accept a lot of kindness.

People just don’t understand that when they buy me coffee or lunch or ask if I was okay or if they can help, or by just giving emojis in their chats, those are already overwhelming for me. Compassion and love is not language that I fully understand and even I very much longing for it, it is simply alien thing.

I don’t know why I am writing all of this, I actually have written more on this matter, but decided just to post these broken excerpts. Maybe I should write a book called How Do I Honestly Really Feel and These are the People That I Met (But Not Only In a Weird Occasion). But I think that is all for now. I’m going to take shower, have dinner and send a secret smile to people who is smiling reading this.

I am holding on here for a while, I might get better in what I do. And when I do, I will never forget your coffees or emojis.

Happy new year to all you my love. Sincerely,