• Love letters

    Stage of divine discontent

    Stage four feels like a six-week jail term. I had travelled reasonably well, global pandemic and all, in stage three. I had stayed somewhat sane and healthy and productive. My home office was pleasant during the day. It served its purpose well. Work was stressful and hectic, but I was grateful to be engaged in meaningful work. I maintained my mental health through long music-filled walks by the bay. Phone calls with close friends. Try not to get agitated, just…

  • Turtle tour of the Gilis
    Travel dreaming

    Return to the Gilis

    I visited the Gilis, three tiny islands off the west coast of Lombok in Indonesia, 24 years ago. I was 21. It was 1993, before the first resort was built on Trawangan and the fast boats from Bali had arrived. Back then, you caught a local boat from Lombok. Gili Meno had malaria and Air was for locals, so most tourists (aside from the very adventurous) went to Gili Trawangan (affectionately called Gili T). I spent five days on Gili…

  • Paris at night
    Creative joy

    With love and forgiveness

    Forgive me if I fail to do our story justice, if I stumble and fall. It is difficult to speak of you without tears. How can I ever forget your pain? Now we only meet in dreams, on a bed of stars, where anything is possible. And we talk. You sing me your sorrow, show me your shame. We are perfectly broken. Were we one and the same? Forgive me, my human frailty, my childish whims. We did our best.…

  • Career business

    The beautiful truth of non-fiction writers

    I recently dated an author of speculative fiction. After a decade between novels, his fourth book was released while we were dating. We went through the anxious pre-release build-up,┬áthe interviews and the worry, and the post-release wait for reviews. His next book was already alive in his mind and he needed to write it down as soon as possible. It was the story he had to tell. I’m at the other end of the writing spectrum. I’ve been an author…