In Their Own World (CBWC: Letter B or W)

“A Boy and His Bike”. Location: Surabaya, Indonesia. Image by Erlyn Olivia.

“Besties by the Water”. Location: Banjarmasin, Indonesia. Image by Erlyn Olivia.

“Little Bike”. Image by Erlyn Olivia.

“Big Window”. Location: Berlin. Image by Erlyn Olivia.

Just random pictures of things that start with the letter B or W. Taking a short break from writing poems and just enjoying this sharing of old pictures. One day I may write a poem inspired by these pictures.

Please check out Cee’s Black and White Challenge to see more awesome images. For this week, the challenge is to find items or images that start with the letter B or W.

Day 6: The Space to Write


Writing can be an absorbing task. When I write, I need books around me. Sometimes accompanied by coffee and food too. I rely on notes sometimes that I have collected. Or sometimes, idea just came out and I wrote without needing any notes.

When I write, I can go into my own world. Therefore, a place that fits me to write will be my house, or in my room to be specific. Once in a while, I can do it in a coffee shop, but if the coffee shop is too crowded then I have a hard time concentrating. People can be obnoxiously loud in coffee shop, so I have to choose the right one. And I can be picky. I have one that I frequented, with a strong wi-fi, but then the food sucks. The cook seems to like salty food. Then there is another one with good choices of food, but then the wi-fi sucks. In other words, I haven’t found the perfect one yet.

Luckily for me, I always have my home where I can be free to…type away without worrying about noise level. Something to be thankful for.


In addition to the writing task for day 6 above (which I thought was lame and not challenging enough), I must ask the following favor from my readers. I need your suggestion of ideas for me to write which you can put in my Contact section. Write your own contact information and comment there for me to follow up later in my future writing. Your suggestion will be part of my writing task in the future. Thank you.

Day 1: Why Do I Write?


I write because I hear voices…

No, just kidding. My apology if that sounds unkind. Just trying to start my essay with some catchy words.

But putting joke aside, it is to me akin to hearing voices, although not in that sense. I write because I saw, overheard, or read something and then it was as if a voice, an energy, was pulling me toward my laptop (or a piece of paper if I didn’t have my gadget with me) and transferring what I experienced into writing. Sometimes I had to do it right away because if I waited, it would be forgotten later. And when I say it was like an energy, perhaps it was. I wouldn’t feel satisfied or calmed before I wrote it down. In other words, I write because something is pulling me to it. It’s as if I have to. I have to write it down. Just have to share it.

That’s it, share! I write because deep down in my heart, I love sharing. I value sharing, or communication in that matter. Without sharing and communication, this world means nothing or things will not work out well. Of course, we have to be cautious of what we share. Nevertheless, sharing connects people. Sharing is a form of intimacy, and it is healthy, rather than keeping things inside. When I feel afraid or intimidated to share how I feel with someone, it is then that I know I no longer feel close or intimate to that person, let alone trust. Sharing is the fruit of trust.

A friend of mine told me one time about my writing style. She said that sometimes she was amazed at how much sharing I could put into my writing. What a lovely feedback, which appreciated very much. However, the feedback didn’t deter me from continuing my style of writing. I will share a part of me as much as I think it would somehow help others too, but I also believe that every writer has a part of him or herself that will always remain a secret. Writers just know where to draw the line.

True, there was a time when I couldn’t write. I think it was because my attention was distracted and directed onto something else in my life, which now looking back into it, I should have actually still continued writing. Writing and those other things in my life should go hand in hand, instead of those other things taking over my passion in writing. Once I refocused my life, I realize that writing is it. This is the part of my life that I am good at and can be proud of. I’m not an expert in writing, but I’m proud of it. What I have accomplished so far has been self-taught (autodidact). Never took any course, but gulped a ton of books, and that’s how I learned to write. In my previous blog, I challenged myself often to finish writing prompts and poetry challenges. I’m restarting it now. The positive feeling is the reason why I write. I’d like to improve more in my writing skills and produce something.

I am also bilingual — fluent in speaking, reading, and writing in Bahasa Indonesia and English. The bilingual part is both my strength and my weakness, and also another reason why I write. I would like to contribute to the writing world with my bilingual skills. I don’t know yet how I’m going to do it, but I plan to accomplish something in that aspect.

So, these are the reasons why I write. What about you? Why do you write?


How about a Blind Date with a Book?

I wrote before how books can be like destiny. So why not then entertain a new idea, a blind date with a book. Care to try? Here’s how to do it.


It sounds impossible, but it’s been done. I found the photo below on the internet, more specifically from Those who love to write and need some ideas on what to write, I recommend this website.

Apparently this idea has been tossed around in many book clubs, discussed by bloggers all over the world, and so on. I am sure in some places, people might have repeated this action.At first, I thought it was a good idea too. I’m trying to remember if I definitely ever pick up a book solely based on its cover. I probably do almost all the time. I realize however, that book cover can sometimes be misleading. When browsing book shelves in bookstores, I must admit that colorful book covers or books with catchy title will gain my interest first. It never fails. My hands just lose control, apparently my eyes take over the control of my body, and voila! The book is in my hands. That is how usually things happen with me in book stores. Then, I will go straight to the back side (this never fails too) to read whatever information it can offer me about the content. Afterwards, come the argument in my head. It usually goes like this, “Do I really need this? Is it good? It looks interesting”, which then is countered by another voice, “No, you still have unfinished ones at home. Finish those first. Put it back.”  “But, I’m almost done with those. In case I can’t get to any bookstore next month, I should just prepare one. Just in case.”  “Yeah, but do you have the money? Look at how much that costs.”  And there goes the reality check. The counter-argument usually wins by this time, because books in English are unfortunately so expensive in Indonesia, especially new books.  If I do finally decide to buy the book, then the information about the book must have done a good job to be able to capture my interest.

In other words, book cover and some words about the book are usually the two things that help me decide which books to get. I am having a hard time with the idea of having a blind date with a book. What if I become disappointed with the book? What if it’s not to my liking? After all, I do believe in books as destiny, remember? Perhaps if they want to sell books covered like this, then they should at least lower the price or give us an option to exchange the book if it doesn’t match to what we want (I think I just gave you my opinion about the real blind date too *grin*).

But I will entertain some of the questions on the prompt above anyway. So what would be the 4 or 5 descriptions written on the wrapping paper that would help me picking a book? I actually like the question because it allows me to look back at the types of books that I have read. There is a pattern, and here it is in order of its importance to me:

1. Memoir
2. Survival
3. Detective (or adventure)
4. Self-improvement
5. History

The last book that I read has the following descriptions:
1. Happiness
2. Spirituality
3. Life balance
4. Destiny
5. Dreams

I know what you think. I obviously ventured away from my usual pattern in that last book.

As a whole, I’m not a big fan of this idea of covering books, or even movies, music, game from their identity. I think those of us who love books, movies, music, games, choose them as an escape or an adventure. It would be a nightmare escape or adventure if we get trapped inside a journey that we can’t enjoy. But then again, there are people who will say that the true adventure is when trying something completely new or unknown.

Different people, different taste. In my case, just give me my choice of escape, please.

Books as Destiny?

The following essay was originally written in January 2016 and published in my other blog.

I’m currently reading two books at the same time. Call me greedy, but I am trying to read both of them as fast as I can. By next week when the new semester starts, who knows if I’ll have the time to read again. It’s a sad truth about a teaching job, but it’s reality. So as the wise Master Yoda would have advised me: speed reading, you must do, my child.

Those two books are: The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin S. Sharma.

I’m starting to come to this thought that maybe books do work like destiny for us, at least they do for me. Why? They seem to come to me at the right time. When I find the ones that I can connect with, they seem to appear at the right time. I bought Robin Sharma’s book long time ago — probably about a year ago, but never read it. I left it somewhere in the house, and it was soon forgotten, hidden underneath a pile of junk stuff. Then, just recently, more precisely last weekend when I suddenly had a burst of energy to clean up the whole house and unpack moving boxes that have been sitting in the back room for two months, the book appeared in front of me still wrapped inside its plastic. Brand new, never been opened. I saw it and said to myself, “That is my next book.”  I just knew it.  I started reading it this morning and the message from the book just hits me deeply. I thought what a perfect timing to find this book. It also makes me wonder why didn’t I read it before when I first bought it. I must have bought it because I was interested in it. I usually picked my books carefully. But how come I never opened it until today?  This is when I’m starting to think that maybe meeting books is like meeting new people. Sometimes we just click right away when we meet a new person, and sometimes we don’t — no chemistry at all. And I am talking about meeting anyone, with any gender, in any context, for any kind of relationship.I met the first book, The Happiness Project, more recently. It was on the day when I stopped by at a local mall to buy a nice big glass jar for my 365 gratitude notes project. While at the mall, I stopped by at the ATM machine that happens to be near a bookstore. Surely, my feet seem to have walked by themselves towards the bookstore (honestly, that was exactly what happened!). And there in that bookstore, my destiny found me. Now, I must say that I have seen this book before in other bookstores, but my point again, why didn’t I have any interest to get the book before? Why now? The book also spoke to me and hit the right chord.

Each of these two books serve the same purpose for me, answering an important question that I have been pondering lately. However, each has its own way of serving its purpose. While Gretchen Rubin intrigues me and opens my eyes to new ideas of activities to be and maintain happiness, Robin Sharma covers the deeper end of my question, a more spiritual aspect. I’ve been enjoying reading both books and will continue for a few more days. Hopefully I can squeeze in some reading time before bed time in the next weeks until both books are done.

Talking about books working as destiny reminds me of another book that truly changes my life. It’s no other than a book by my role model, Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat Pray Love. Now, that is truly destiny. It almost felt as if Elizabeth Gilbert was talking to me when I read that book. EPL is a proof that a stranger in the form of an author can leave a very deep, long lasting impact on another person. This is why I celebrate the existence of books, especially books that can leave me in awe, make me reflect on my life. At times, as if it’s forcing me to stand in front of a mirror and see who’s looking back at me. I love books that can make me ‘feel’.  Make me cry, laugh, angry, or surprise me. Or how about books that can take us on an exhausting journey with complicated, multi-layered characters. Yes, I still remember the first time I read Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and then how sad I felt when getting to the end of the series. Like many HP and LotR fans, I went through a grieving stage at the end. I was a late LotR fan — was introduced to the series only in the early 2000s before the movies came out, so I still vividly remember when I devoured those books. I think I lost many sleeping hours during that wonderful journey.

Books! Whether you believe it as destiny or not, I still think we can learn plenty from books. Books do talk to us, like humans do. In some occasions, books as dead objects probably send a better and clearer message to us than do some humans. So if that is the case, then going back to my previous hypothesis, why don’t we look at books as our destiny? It makes perfect sense to me.

The Story of Three Best Friends

There are these three best friends, who always come together at night time, mostly on weekends. It’s hard for them to find time to meet during weekdays because of “other priorities”. Tonight for example, on this late Sunday night, they meet again. And what a moment it is. They sure feel like they are in heaven. What an explosion of sharing between these three old friends — sharing of emotions, sharing of that moment, the here and now. At times no words are needed. They just know what to do, it’s an old dance step that they have rehearsed together for many nights before.

And so on a night like this, I, as the witness to the meeting of these three best friends, can feel the strong emotion between these three friends just by the sheer opportunity to be part of this moment.  Thank you for being here. As always, thank you for letting me be a part of this. Thank you for another beautiful night. And as for my token of gratitude, here is a poem to a moment like this.

hissing sound coming from the kettle
it’s ready, I thought
pouring the water over you
and you come alive
inside my cup
exploring your surrounding

Canon in D starting in the background
right about time, I thought
turning it up
and you come alive
inside my ear
tugging at my heart

Lastly, I pull you onto my lap
feet up, glasses on
taking a deep breath
and then you say
are you ready?

my three best friends
leading me on a blissful
solitary journey
into the night


Note: I wrote the piece above without doing much thinking. I just knew that I had to write something for what I am feeling right now, but no inclination or plan on how I was going to write it. And the next thing that happened, the words just came out through my fingers. It was when I started to write the title in the beginning when I knew what I wanted to write. The whole thing felt magical in a way, as if something else is moving my fingers. I know it was me who did it, but if felt kind of unreal. I am savoring this moment because moment like this doesn’t come too often in writing.

I had a very lovely day today and yesterday, and maybe the positive feelings were the ones that initiated the energy that pushed me to write the piece above. I had a very very lovely weekend, and I am so grateful for yesterday and today that I’m almost tearing up rekindling the memories. I have spent these two days interacting with friends either through face to face conversation or by chatting, watching a classical musical recital (which is very rare to happen in my city) with a friend, spending the night at a friend’s house and talking away into the night. The next day we had a lovely breakfast, exploring some stores (our kind of stores, which means no clothing store) and then continuing with lunch while enjoying every minute of our talk. Then I still managed in the end to go to church, made dinner and spent time with my three “other best friends”, which you might have guessed them by now: a book, music, and a cup of hot tea. My corner of heaven, my hiding place, my treasure of contentment.

Solitary and feeling content, it was actually one of the topics that my friend and I discussed today. There is a difference between being alone and feeling content as compared to feeling lonely. I know both situations fully well. I have experienced many occasions of both. While I enjoy the former, I detest the latter. Luckily today it was the first situation. And so while it lasts, I intend to taste every minute of it.

Good night and good day. May you also feel content and be thankful about it whenever you experience it. God bless us all.


Originally published in January 2016 in another blog.