It felt like it hasn’t been that long since I released a new book. And quite understandably so, too, since I just released Unspoken Words back in January. Yet here I am, writing a blog post about how my third book came into existence. It feels almost surreal, because just one year ago, I would’ve never dreamed of producing two new books in such a short time.
Have you ever fallen in love so hard, you couldn’t help but see everything through a rose-tinted glass?
Even as I am writing this post right now, I find it hard to pour everything on the pages, because just like with 3 (Tiga) and Unspoken Words, Maybe Everything is also a very personal project for me—one that I never intended to publish when I was still in the process of writing it.
Maybe Everything is essentially a collection of poetry, prose, and short stories that I had penned from 2014 until late 2017. It spans over the period when I was still in a “hangover” state after finishing 3 (Tiga), and up until just before I finished editing Unspoken Words. While my previous two books took a relatively short amount of time to write (14 days and 9 days, respectively), Maybe Everything took the longest to complete.
I have talked about this on my Instagram account: Maybe Everything is inspired by my own personal heartbreak. It is a shameful chronicle of my own personal experiences, from living my life to its fullest, falling in love, having my heart broken to pieces, and finally moving on from said relationship. And perhaps this is why it took so long for me to complete the manuscript—because I couldn’t possibly say that it’s finished when I was still helplessly in love.
One day, a friend of mine who knew I had been writing in secret about love and heartbreaks asked me, “Why didn’t you publish them?”
I recall we were sipping our morning coffee from Starbucks, waiting for the cinema to open so we could watch a movie. Her question caught me by surprise because she was never the type to concern herself with my writings. In fact, I don’t think she ever showed any interest in my other books.
“It’s too personal,” I remember myself replying.
She let out a hoarse laugh, and then coughed a few times before pulling out a bottled water from her bag. “You have always published stories that are too personal. I think that’s your specialty. Why stop now?”
“I didn’t know you read my books,” I said, completely astounded. For the longest time, I was convinced that the only thing that could make my friend read books was if there were pictures of half-naked men inside the book, printed in full color.
My friend just laughed and never brought up the topic again. But that conversation stuck with me for days, even when I believed she had forgotten all about it. Why didn’t I ever think about publishing them, I wonder?
The most logical answer could have been because unlike my other books, the writings I wrote in Maybe Everything still felt fresh. It was like an open wound; the one that still stings if you touch them ever so slightly, and could still remind you of the pain you experienced when you got them—bruises, cuts, gashes, anything.
My friend knew, of course, because I’ve spent nights crying on her shoulder when I couldn’t move on from this unhealthy obsession towards a guy who didn’t even love me back. And I used to hurt myself emotionally whenever I thought of all the possibilities of me being with this guy when in reality, all I really need to be happy was myself.
But really, the reason why I didn’t think about publishing this collection of writings back then, was because I wasn’t sure that it’s finished. And it really took me a long time before I finally laid down my pen and decided that it was prime time to “close” this chapter. To finally declare myself free from such primal slavery.
During which, of course, I called my friend to announce that I was finally ready to compile all my writings thus far, and submit them to my editor. Over the phone, I could hear her voice getting drowned with the sound of EDM. Knowing her, I was so sure that she was on her fifth round of vodka.
“Good,” nevertheless, I heard her say. “You finally let go of your fear, eh?”
She said that I was always so unsure of myself. Always being the meek one; the oppressed. She thought that I was afraid of being out of love—so much that I tend to forget how liberating it was to not harbor feelings towards the wrong person. She said that only by releasing my grip and letting go could I finally be truly happy again. With or without someone to love romantically.
Perhaps she was right.
In retrospect, it was fear that drove me to finish my books.
For 3 (Tiga), it was the fear of solitude. For Unspoken Words, it was the fear of regret. And while it took me the longest to realize about it, I think the fear that drove me to compile Maybe Everything and submit it for publication… was the fear of addiction.
You know, when a love grows so toxic, it blurs the line between compassion and obsession. I think I was already treading the tightrope separating common sense and insanity back then. I wasn’t truly in love—I was just obsessed; I was addicted to love. And that would certainly explain why I felt so liberated and free now.
It took me years, but I have all the love I need now.
I have all the happiness I need.
The writings in Maybe Everything is separated into 10 different themes, each having its own nuance and exploring different sides or aspects of love. The way I grouped the writings is as follows:
- Of Life
- Falling in Love
- Fighting for Love
- Unrequited Love
- Broken Hearts
- Losing without a Fight
- Losing Freedom
- Thinking About the Past
- The Cycle of Love
- Second Chances
I believe everyone falls in love differently. Everyone has their own personal love stories to tell, which is why I’ve decided to leave the interpretation of each group/category to the readers. While I’ve written the prose, stories, and poetries in the book based on my own experience, I believe that love itself is a universal emotion.
And whether you are currently in the first stages of love, or in the process of picking yourself up after falling down a long way, I hope there will be something in Maybe Everything that you could relate to. I hope there will be something in the book to convince you that it’s okay; that you’re not alone; that everything will be alright.
Here is from me, someone who had fallen in love.
Someone who was imprisoned by addiction.
Someone who profusely believes that everyone deserves to be loved.
I will be posting new content every Saturdays, be it writerly stuff, or just things that I like to write about. This includes my own stories, information about my books, and things that interest me. Keep yourself updated by following me on Twitter and Instagram.