Better When I’m Writing

Zaki asked me the other day, what things I am still passionate about lately. I gave him three answers, and among those, the first and most definite one was writing. Later I realised that writing is actually the only thing I consistently do since I was still in the elementary school. Though I must admit, I never had any chance to work on it properly.

Part of it was because it seemed like being a writer was less prestigious than being a doctor, or a teacher, or an astronaut, or an architect, or any other profession in this world. And it was just so hard to keep your passion when everyone around you didn’t take it really seriously. In my case, I found it was hard for me not to be tempted with the idea of being “somebody”. And the general definition of “somebody” in Indonesia is anything but freelance, including writing. Most people will consider it as merely a hobby.

I got some people who supported my passion, in different ways, though. My dad used to take me to his school library so I spent most of my childhood drowning into books and that’s how book became one of my obsessions (there’s a story about it here). My mom gave me a diary so I had something to write on. And there was a teacher in my junior high school who once asked me to join a writing competition. I didn’t join the competition at the end (because I wasn’t sure what to write and bit lazy, to be honest) but he was one of the few people who made me feel that I can write. Somehow. Someday. Continue reading “Better When I’m Writing”

The Colors of Autumn


The leaves turned red on those days of October

When fall was here and winter was near

Could you taste the sweetness in the air?

The taste of a life free from despair?


I pictured us walking hand in hand

Along the way where everywhere was a yellow lane

I remembered how I would have waited for you

On that old wet bench in Lundagård around 1 pm or two


Our love grew strong despite the wind

Flourishing like mushrooms under the autumn rain

I became gold, you were getting brown

To the colors of heaven we were all belong.


Lund, 2017/10/23

Kid’s Stories Project: The Old Tree

Story and Illustration by Hayya Habibi

Once upon a time there was one child that loved to go to the rainforest. And one day he saw two big old trees. The big old trees had lots and lots of animals living on them so the little boy went home and told his mom and dad about them.

But when he went back the other day, he didn’t see one of the old trees so he asked everybody, but nobody cut down the tree so he went back to the forest and asked the animals.

One of the animals knew who cut down the tree so the animal pointed to the man and told him that the man was going to cut down the other old tree. The little boy told the man not to cut down the tree because it’s the home for so many animals. If he cut it, the animals would be sad. So the man left his saw next to the old tree and went home.

The end

PS: My daughter said it’s a story about responsibility and taking action in regards to environment.


Kid’s Stories Project: Paman Toto yang Pelupa dan Pesta Ulang Tahun Lala

As a freelance writer who is also a full time mother, I receive lots of requests (or pressures to be precise 😀 ) from my own kid, to write children’s stories for her. I personally think that writing stories for kiddos are way much harder than for adults. Kid’s stories require certain degree of imagination which I’m too old to have. Haha. So, instead of just writing stories for her, I asked my daughter to collaborate with me. To my surprise, she’s quite into it and she often comes up with good ideas.

Early this year, we worked together on a story entitled “Paman Toto yang Pelupa dan Pesta Ulang Tahun Lala” (The Forgetful Uncle Toto and Lala’s Birthday Party). It was all her idea and she even did the illustration for the stories. I was just helping with the narratives and story development. She was so excited about this and she asked me to send it to a kid’s magazine in Indonesia (which I did). However, until now, we haven’t received a single reply from the magazine telling us if the story would be published or not. I think that’s a common practice in Indonesia. Most publishers (or in this case magazine and newspaper) are too busy to reply email from writers regarding the status of their stories. Some say this is because of the enormous number of stories they receive on daily basis. Other say that they are just too lazy to reply, haha, or that replying email is not part of the office culture so they don’t take it too seriously. I don’t know which one is true but my kid is bit upset knowing that we haven’t received any news from the magazine.

I told her that there’s a huge chance our story won’t be published (for various reasons) and that it is a common part of being a writer. I also told her that being rejected doesn’t always mean that our story is so bad. Sometimes, it is just a matter of finding the right media/publisher. And even if our story was not good enough, we can always rework on it and try different media. Writing is a long process. We shouldn’t give up on the first attempt. She was just saying “okay” and I was bit heartbroken to see her sad so I told her that we can still post her story in my website, so at least, it can be read by the visitors.

So here it is, the kid’s story my daughter and I wrote months ago. This will be the beginning of my project with her. We decide to make collaborative works together and post them under the category Kid’s Stories in my website. Some of the stories will be in Bahasa Indonesia, some of them will be in English depending on the idea from my kid since she will be the mastermind behind this project 😀 . Do not expect regular update though as my kid is a moody thinker and I am even a moodier one. 😀

Anyway, enjoy! Continue reading “Kid’s Stories Project: Paman Toto yang Pelupa dan Pesta Ulang Tahun Lala”

Circle Route: Epilog

Rasa-rasanya aku ingin menggantikan sopir yang melajukan bus dengan lambat. Bahkan sering sekali berhenti untuk mengangkut penumpang.

“Aduh Pak Sopir, aku mau deh membayar tiga kali lipat asal bus ini melaju dengan lebih cepat. Aku tak sabar ingin segera sampai di Kewuru,” batinku jengkel.

Sebenarnya aku capek bukan main. Tapi aku tak mau menunda-nunda. Makanya begitu aku menemukan buku dari Bagas, langsung kupesan tiket pesawat ke Jogja. Beruntung ini bukan akhir pekan, jadi tiket yang relatif murah masih banyak tersedia. Aku tak sempat mengabari siapa-siapa. Tidak Tim, atau Kaila, atau bahkan kakakku, Bara. Aku toh takkan berlama-lama di Kewuru. Hanya bertemu Bagas, lalu aku akan kembali ke Jakarta dalam dua atau tiga hari. Begitu rencanaku. Aku bahkan tak membawa banyak barang. Hanya baju ganti dan beberapa keperluan personal yang sempat kujejalkan di ranselku.

Setelah penerbangan hampir satu jam, sesampainya di bandara Jogja aku langsung mencegat bus yang mengantarku ke terminal antar kota untuk kemudian menaiki bus yang lain lagi, menuju Kewuru. Sama seperti ketika pertama kali aku datang ke desa itu. Rute yang cukup panjang. Jelas saja aku capek. Tapi harapan untuk segera bertemu Bagas mengurangi capekku. Berganti dengan rasa jengkel pada sopir bus yang menjalankan busnya seperti siput. Continue reading “Circle Route: Epilog”