Of How Celebrating the Fallen Leaves Came into Existence

It certainly feels like it has been forever since the last time I posted here on my blog. And I never expected my next blog post after taking a long time off would be about a new book, either!

Yes, you read that right. I will be releasing a new book soon, and I am very excited (and also terrified to death) because of it. I’ve been teasing the existence of this project on my Instagram and Twitter for quite a while, but now that I have received a physical copy in hand, I can’t say I’m entirely cool with it.

Lo and behold, my 5th book (or 6th if you include the independently published, limited edition Maybe Everything booklet that I made several years ago), Celebrating the Fallen Leaves.

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My 2021 New Year’s Resolutions

Yes, I know, it’s already several days into the year, but I think it’s never too late to come up with your own New Year’s resolution, even if you’re several months late!

Here’s the story. After 2020 ended, I read my journal from start to finish, taking note of all the things I aspired to do at the start of the year, and what I actually accomplished, twelve months into the future. Surprisingly, I managed to cross off quite a lot of them.

Obviously, not all of them. Due to the pandemic, I pretty much had to give up on my resolution to “travel more often” and “go to the gym every week”. But since there was nothing I could do to change the situation, I decided that it didn’t really matter if I couldn’t accomplish several things due to covid.

In retrospect, though, 2020 was a very hard year. Adapting to working from home is one thing, but having to do the chores and keeping my sanity in check were not exactly easy. Which is why I’m planning to keep my 2021 resolution simple.

The theme of 2021 for me, would be “peace”.

Photo by Andreas Dress on Unsplash
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Saying Goodbye to 2020

To be honest, I never expected my next blog post to be written on the very last day of 2020.

I didn’t even plan to write anything a week ago, lest I’ll sound overly dramatic and emotional with all the reminiscence and rewind of everything that happened in 2020. I’ve seen enough posts about it. The same highlights; forest fire, corona virus outbreak, black lives matter, election, and a ton other things to name a few.

However, after much, much contemplation, I’ve come to realize that above all, 2020 had been an insurmountable obstacle in front of us–a mountain so high we thought we could never go past it, and yet we did. Maybe it’s the combination of all the bad things that happened this year (because, let’s face it, we’ve seen just about every bad things that could happen, happened in 2020). Or maybe it’s the fact that the year is ending, and we’re excited and giddy to welcome the new year, as if all our problems would just vanish the moment the clock strikes midnight.

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Of Struggles, Reason to Fight, and Moon River

When I was a kid, my father almost always worked until very late every day. It baffled me to think that I never had a good, long, conversation with him until I hit puberty—not because we didn’t want to, but because he was never around, to begin with.

After all, he always went to work before I even woke up, and returned home after I fell asleep. And to be perfectly honest, I think there was a little part of me that resented him for that—for not being around when I wanted to talk to him about my day, or anything.

Photo by Cherry Laithang on Unsplash

“I don’t have a choice,” he said one day, during one of the rare moments when he actually got to go home early. I remember it clear as day—the sky was dark, curtains were closed, and my mom had stored all our food in the fridge because that’s what she always did after I finished dinner; my dad never ate at home.

“What do you mean, you don’t have a choice?” I remember myself asking.

“No matter how tough the going gets, I need to work for this family. For you,” my dad replied.

“You mean for the money,” I retorted.

He didn’t deny anything. Instead, he looked at me, let out a long sigh, and gazed at our half-dilapidated, leaking ceilings for a good second or two, before continuing our conversation with a lower tone to his voice that almost resembled a whisper. “Yes, I do this for the money. But you have to remember where the money goes. It goes to our food. It goes to electricity so you can sleep comfortably with the AC on every night. It goes to your school tuition. It goes to our family—hence I do this for the family.”

“But families don’t run on money… right?” I remember my younger self asked him.

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

To be honest, I don’t really remember what he told me that night. Even after I asked my dad about it, he simply said that he already forgot, and proceeded to bombard me with other questions about how my life went, how was work, and so on. But as I try my hardest to paint a picture of that sliver of memory, I imagine my dad would most likely reply with something out of his wisdom bag—something that only a man who worked for money, and worked for a family, could ever have spoken.

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My Favorite Stationeries – Early 2020

If you know me at all, then you would know that I’m borderline obsessed with stationeries. And I’m not just talking about my obsession for fountain pens—I love all stationeries equally. Want to make me happy, even during my worst days? Just introduce me to some unique, cute stationeries, and 9 out of 10, I would snap out of my bad mood instantly.

I know, I know. With me being a writer, and a stationery addict—pssh. Painfully obvious and common. But I’m okay with that. There’s just no helping it! I just love the feeling when I find a brand new stationery product I could marvel over all day long—be it a new pen, notebook, or anything.

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

And if you clicked on this blog post, chances are, you’re a stationery addict, too! (Or you would just close the page after reading this sentence because I have just generalized my audience. Or because I sound weirdly jollier than usual. I don’t mind. I’m on a happier mood by default whenever I’m talking about stationeries.)

So anyway, here’s a short list of all my favorite stationeries in early 2020, not sorted in any significant order:

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Acknowledgements (Polaris Musim Dingin)

I somehow made it like a trend not to include the acknowledgements page in my recent books. There is a valid reasoning for that, however, in case anyone thinks that I simply don’t have anyone to thank for. On the contrary, I would much rather post the acknowledgements on my blog instead, out of time (and space) constraints.

In any case, I’d like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to the following individuals for their gallant contributions toward the completion of Polaris Music Dingin.


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