木漏れ日 – Komorebi

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Komorebi.

I first heard about that word from my literature teacher, roughly fifteen years ago.

“It is a word in Japanese that you can’t translate to English, or any other languages directly,” he explained during class. “A rough translation is the interplay between light and leaves when the sun shines through trees.”

I took a note of that word in my notebook. I wasn’t the type to jot down anything during class, but there was something about the way he pronounced the word that made me wanted to remember it. Komorebi. A Japanese word. Light through trees. I replayed his explanation over and over again until the word stuck to me.

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The Black Dwarf

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A dead star–that’s what I am.

Just like a star that ran out of fuel–destined to wane in the dying universe. A star that shrank in size so greatly it couldn’t even turn to black hole. Like a solar system that lost its core; a hollow space populated with planets no longer bound by celestial gravity. I was left adrift in the boundless ocean of negativity.

And on the edge of the observable universe, there I stood by the entrance to my heart.

There was the door you once opened.

It is now closed.

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The Same Seat

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He didn’t know what crossed his mind when he decided to leave that message.

It’s not like he expected anyone to read it, actually. You wouldn’t find a person crazy enough to reach beneath the seat of their seat on the train, expecting to find a secret message from a total stranger. Yet after serious contemplation, he scribbled his message with tiny writings on a scrap of paper, folded it really small, and stuck it beneath a seat on the train with a duct tape.

He knew people would be eyeing what he’s doing if he snuck the secret message in broad daylight, so he decided to wait until the last train. He ensured the car was mostly empty–there was only one elderly who was half asleep and a girl too busy with her phone–and used the opportunity to did what he was set out for.

On the paper, he wrote: “Hello, my name is Edward. If you read this, please reply with your name and stick it back into place. Thank you.”

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2017 Writing (and Reading) Goals!

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First of all, I know that it’s February. It may seem too late to announce my writing goals for 2017 now, but since I want to participate in Wordbound, I might as well complete them all. (At least that’s the grand plan. Let’s see how this turns out.)

Wordbound is a term used to describe this really cool project kickstarted by Kristina Horner. The idea is, she will be posting new writing prompts every Wednesday all year long in order to encourage writers all around the globe to write more. You will be given a week to complete the writing prompt (until just before the next prompt is announced).

I think the beauty of this project is that we are not alone in doing this, kind of like how NaNoWriMo always feels like a joint project even though the novel writing process itself is a solitary effort. What’s more important is that we get to have something to write about every week. And what are writers if we don’t write as frequently as we can?

Not only that, Wordbound will also be retweeting your submission on their official twitter account. So on top of getting back to writing regularly, people who follow the Wordbound account can also read your submission and give comments, feedbacks, and just be nice to each other. You will have to agree with me: productivity + feedback + making new friends = a must try, hands down.

So unsurprisingly, I will be jumping into the bandwagon. We all knew what happened to my writing muse and productivity in my previous post. And in order to get in shape for writing as soon as possible, I thought it is a good idea to start with the basics once more: writing more stuff.

More specifically, posting more regularly on my blog.

Also writing for my upcoming novel project, which has been delayed for an eternity.

I will try to keep this blogpost as minimalist as possible, since there will be tons of writings in the future. So instead of bombarding you with paragraphs of writing goals and why I thought it was a good idea to put them up on the website, I’d do this instead.

Alicia Lidwina’s 2017 Personal Writing Goals:

  1. Populate my Alicia Lidwina blog. Yes, populate this blog with more posts.
  2. Write a new novel with Indonesia as the setting.
  3. Challenge myself into writing 100 poems in a year.
  4. Challenge myself into participating NaNoWriMo 2017, after 3 consecutive failures.
  5. Write something outside my usual genre. (I’m thinking of comedy. What do you think?)
  6. Fill in my personal journal every day.

And although the Wordbound prompt didn’t specify for it, I will also include my 2017 Reading Goals.

It is not completely unrelated, if you think about it. Reading is to writers like listening to good music for musicians, after all.

Alicia Lidwina’s 2017 Personal Reading Goals:

  1. Read 100 books in a year.
  2. Read at least 30 non-fiction books from that stash.
  3. Read at least 5 books related to writing as a craft.
  4. Only buy 1 new books for every 3 books that I’ve read. (This way I can control my budget and what goes into my bookshelves)
  5. Organize my personal library, little by little, as I read through the year.

As you can see, the two lists are not very extensive. I try to keep it as realistic as I thought it would be by not exaggerating or overestimating my abilities. While reading 500 books seems like a necessary goal in order to decrease the tower of books I have not read, it is not realistic. For example, if I have enough time to read 500 books in a year, I’d rather use the time to write and do my other hobbies.

So that’s my personal goals. I just hope the doing part will be as easy as the writing the goal part.

(We all know it won’t).

Love,

Alicia

Of Writer’s Block and Planning My Writing Retreat

I couldn’t even count the number of times somebody asked me: “When will you release your next book?”

80% of the time, I would give them a quick smile and say “Soon,” or “I’m working on it,” or something to that effect. And 80% of the time, these people would be satisfied. They would nod and then forget all about it the following day–which works in my favor, if I may say so myself.

The truth is, I’m getting tired of being asked the same thing over and over again. I’m tired of pretending to work on something, when I actually am not. It was getting difficult to keep up with everyone’s expectation. Especially after my debut novel, 3 (Tiga), which was released in August 2015.

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[PROMPT] HOW TO SURVIVE A BORING CLASS p.10

This is just a very fun prompt I discovered on Tumblr. I hope the lighter tone and theme would balance out the melancholy and drama of yesterday’s post.

The most important thing to remember is to keep your eyes open.

The lecturer in front of the class can be anything from a saint to a jerk, but that does not mean you are exempted from paying attention. Now, the definition of paying attention itself has a branched meaning: you could either be a teacher’s pet and really pay attention in class–occasionally taking notes while absorbing everything you can, or you can simply pretend that you are paying attention.

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Image by: lhueagleeye.wordpress.com

There are literally 5 ways the lecturer would judge whether you are listening to them or not:

  1. Whether you look at the whiteboard (or in some cases, the projector screen) or not.
  2. Whether you are talking to your friends or not.
  3. Whether you are obviously staring at your phone for more than one minute (or for even one second, if your educational institute prohibits carrying a smartphone into class).
  4. Whether you are in your seat or not.
  5. Whether it is really you on your seat or not.

Of course, more modern approach has been sporadically adopted by more and more lecturers around the globe, but those five on the list are the golden rule that teachers, lecturers, and seminar speakers alike hold on to more than anything else. It would be wise for you to at least fulfil three out of five, lest you will be judged as not paying attention.

Now you might be saying, it would be easy to complete three out of five: you just have to attend the class on your seat (which will complete two out of five by itself), and not talk to your friends. Even if you are staring at your phone the whole time, you could just make an excuse that you don’t bring your laptop or notebooks with you, and you are forced to take notes with your phone. Easy peasy.

The real challenge comes from actually staying awake.

And by staying awake, I mean by keeping your eyes open.

It is harder than it sounds. Imagine if you had gone to a drinking party the night before the lecture. You would barely have any energy to drag yourself to the class, and although you know you would be receiving a divine punishment for falling asleep in the class, you just can’t resist the numbness and the drowsiness. You would be coming to class not to pay any attention to the lecturer, but rather, to sleep. (Although it is quite debatable why would you come to the class in the first place instead of pretending to be sick).

It isn’t a myth: keeping your eyes open will save you more than any other tips covered in this book. If surviving a boring class would have a golden rule, it is to not piss off your lecturer. And if there is one traffic-free highway to not pissing off your lecturer, it is by paying attention. By keeping your eyes open. By staying awake.

We will be covering most of the art to stay awake on classes on the next chapter. There we will learn the tips and tricks to stay awake even when you barely had any sleep the previous night. We will learn how to play DOTA the whole night before a 4 hours long lecture and still be deemed as paying attention for at 95% of the duration. We will also learn how to trick your lecturer into forgiving you in case they find out about your tricks–all of that in Chapter 3.

Prompt: Write a page from the book “How to Survive a Boring Class”.

Alicia Lidwina – 2017

[PROMPT] The Voicemail

Am trying to write based on writing prompts. This one is taken from an Android App called Writing Prompts. I just randomized the prompt and wrote about the first one that was displayed. 

It was just another mundane Tuesday evening. I had been out the whole day doing presentations and pitches to prospective enterprises, presenting everything so fast because I had memorized most of the materials the previous day. Usually, I would return home very tired; I wouldn’t even be able to shower until the dawn breaks, when I would usually cursed myself for falling asleep as soon as my body hit the couch.

If I wasn’t so tired on the day, I would saunter sluggishly to the fridge, and fished out a can of cold beer and something to eat–usually leftover takeouts from yesterday. On these days I would remember to actually shower before tucking myself in, although I always felt like being hit by a wrecking ball the following day–blame that on the alcohol.

But either on exhausting days or sleepless nights, there was always something that I never failed to do every single evening, and that was to check my voicemail.

That mundane Tuesday evening was no exception. Continue reading

Cry

I won’t cry.

I promised you I will see you off with a smile.

So I won’t cry.

At least, you won’t see me cry.

Yes.

You won’t see me cry.

But even after you’re gone and you stop thinking about me

(did you ever?)

I will still see you in my dreams

As the drops melt away, through my eyes

And you shall be there

Forever walking away from my life