There is something about Moleskine

The Library
August 24, 2008
12:30 a.m.

Eons ago, I promised my secret correspondent, Dearest Phantom, to get all wax lyrical about a notebook. Yeah, you heard that right: a bloody notebook. Somewhere along the way, I got lost in transition and my memory did a flip-flop in my head – sending me to sleep dearly on my promises.

But, forgotten promises (just like the Ghost of Christmas Past) have a knack of haunting your conscience at the most bland time – just like tonight. Refused to be haunted by phantom of my old pledge, here I am, getting all wax lyrical about Moleskine: the legend of all notebooks.

When we first met, Moleskine and I, I haven’t a clue that my mispronunciation of his name had, somehow, turned whatever crush he had on me into a morbid distaste. He muttered under his breath, “What an ignorant, classless, unpolished woman this Elviza person is! She has not an inkling about legendary piece such as myself.”

To which I replied, “Who on earth, would spend so much money on mere pieces of paper?”

I was convinced that humankind has become something totally incomprehensible to my mediocre lifestyle. I promptly returned Mr. Moleskine back to its shelf. Whatever love I have for that unique shop named “How & When” at Bangsar Village had vanished into thin air with the revelation of the notebook’s exorbitant price tag. I was sure never to return to this cheating shop!

At this point, I have to be a tad pedantic, thus I sincerely apologise. The correct way to pronounce Moleskine is “mole-a-skeen-a”. However, mere mortals like us, say it the exact the way it is spelt. Really, who could blame us?

Admittedly, our first meeting was less than desirable, let alone be a moment to cherish for a lifetime.

I cursed the dead Christopher Marlowe as his lines kept flashing across my mind, “Who ever loved, that loved not at first sight?” And I found myself, more and more drawn to Moleskine, with each passing minute of the hour; hours of the day. Just like love at first sight.

In my highly reclusive, pedantic (read: boring as hell!) life, I have committed the cardinal sin of falling in love with the legendary Mr. Moleskine.

All of Moleskine notebooks are handmade. Its pages are made of acid-free papers and thoroughly checked for defect before reaching the shelves. They are exquisitely designed, stylishly bound and thoughtfully strapped around for the owner’s convenience.

Legends in artistic pursuits, such as, Earnest Hemingway, Pablo Piccasso and Bruce Chatwin had written and sketched in their Moleskine. But that fact has little bearing to me, there is something about Moleskine that makes my pencil just sail smoothly across its pages and pages thereafter. Time has no meaning once I start writing on Moleskine. My very first Moleskine (a birthday present) is tainted with stains of coffee, scratched from top to bottom, but I still love the piece like a treasure of a lifetime.

In short, Moleskine is: the Manolo Blahnik of all shoes, the Ferrari of all cars, the Fendi of all handbags, the Oscar de la Renta of all wedding dresses, the Apple MacBook Air of all laptops. Get the picture?

And I fell in love with him.

A thousand times good night.

Kalau Roboh Kota Melaka …

Yusri and I are old friends, we went all the way back to that freezing continent of England, and beyond. The fact that he married one of my closest friends just added tenderness to the friendship. Apart from being an exemplary husband and intense lover to Kak Long, Yusri, has an added gift to his name. He is highly articulate and when he writes in Bahasa Melayu, my mind would be stupefied, drunk in the beauty of classic Malay language.

Yusri recently wrote series of old Malay pantun on his Note’s section at Facebook. And I get all wax lyrical about it, I keep reading it even days after he published it. My favourites are:

Kiri jalan kanan pun jalan
Sama tengah pokok mengkudu
Kirim jangan pesan pun jangan
Sama-sama menanggung rindu

Surat ku layang untuk berkata
Penyampai hasrat kata di hati
Kalau sungguh kasihkan saya
Jangan dibuang sampai ke mati

Kalau roboh kota Melaka
Papan di Jawa hamba dirikan
Kalau sungguh bagai dikata
Rasa nak mati di pangkuan Tuan

I have said it before, and I will say it again: I want to be poet and die in pursuit of the same.

Anwar Returns to Parliament

The Library, 10:44 p.m.

I told you before that it doesn’t take the world’s greatest witch to predict Anwar’s swift return to Parliament today. The voters of Permatang Pauh had voted for the entire nation in this mother of all by-elections the country has ever seen.

I know for a fact that Rocky, Black, Zorro and few other bloggers have set up camp in Permatang Pauh since nomination day, and I must say I got my news faster than Malaysiakini. You people rock!

I’ll be damned if Barisan Nasional (BN) is not going to fight the return of Anwar Ibrahim in the august house and thus making inroads to lead the country on the symbolic September 16, 2008. Wake up BN! Wake up! Seriously, do you need someone to throw a bucket of water on your face before the said date, do you?

Hats off to Najib Tun Razak who has been there throughout the campaigning period to lend support to Arif Shah. A little humming bird told me this evening that Pak Lah left Penang in the evening during the counting period. A sign that that he has conceded defeat earlier.

Anwar has delivered his first part of the promise, that is, to make a return to Parliament. PKR supporters are now waiting with bated breath for the second part of the promise: to rule the nation by September 16, 2008. The question now is, would Anwar have enough “frogs” to form a simple majority in Parliament and kick BN in the teeth?

I told you, we are living history. As it stands, here’s the summary of the result from Hishamudin Rais’s blog:

Anwar Ibrahim: 31,195

Arif Shah: 15,524

Hanafi Mamat: 92

Majority: 15,671

Malaysiakini has the official results.

Prayers for Bapak

Just off the phone with Nuraina and Maria Samad. Tokoh Wartawan Negara, Tan Sri Samad Ismail, is ill. He is now in the care of Pantai Medical Centre at ICU ward. His condition is stable but still critical. Prayers for the great Bapak to make it through this ordeal in no time. Rocky has the report this morning.

The last time I saw Bapak was at his house during Nuraina’s Raya do last year. He was having a ball of time flocked around by beautiful ladies.

(Picture stolen from Rocky’s Bru without his permission).

Sleepless in Setiawangsa – 16

The craft of writing never ceases to antagonise me. I know, I have lost myself in the world of poetry lately, and really, I don’t have a plausible explanation to offer you. I need a harsh jolt of reality to begin writing again; preferably writing a piece of substance as opposed to my meaningless rambles, I normally do here.

Last night – after Dim Sum for main course and black coffee for dessert – Laila asked me in earnest, “If you don’t have to work, what would you do?” She looked at me straight in the eyes while adjusting the furry balls shawl around her lithe shoulders. Raihana sipped her coffee and nodded in approval to Laila’s question. She frowned a little – no, she frowned a lot. All eyes fixated on yours truly.

Pretty tricky question Ms. Furry Pinky!

Somehow, an answer cracked through my lips without a moment’s pause, “I just write -“

“What’s stopping you now?” Raihana halted me mid-sentence.

Precisely, what’s stopping me now?

“Hey, you guys want to help pick my dad’s birthday present at Pavilion later?” Laila ended my uneasiness with her sudden change of mind.

With that, the three of us left the question right where it belongs. But Raihana’s voice kept ringing in my head throughout the night: “What’s stopping you now?”

Later in the privacy of my room, the answer dawned on me, as I watched the moonlight filtered through the curtain. I am just the world’s greatest procrastinator: I twist and turn, I make redundant phone calls, I play with my boy, I flip the book I have read countless of time, and I twirl the pencils for hours on end, all before I could eventually think of the first sentence to write. There, I have said it.

I find it beyond me to slay the dragons of syntax, punctuation, grammar and contents.

What do they eat those effortless writers? I could name a few in the blogsphere: 3540 Jalan Sudin, Tunku Halim (he doesn’t really count since he is a published author), Awang Goneng, Eliza’s Haberdashery and the list is just endless.

What about that incognito Mat Bangkai who blogs at Tea & Scones? I cannot get enough of his writing. He writes his post with impeccable English ensconced with stylish flair. I bet on my last Ringgit that he doesn’t twist and turn before he writes. And Kak Teh once told me that Awang Goneng could just write – anytime, anywhere.

Recently, I chanced upon this book by Paul Raymond Martin (whoever that is) at Times bookstore. Martin writes:

“I used to preach that a writer must be disciplined. Seat of pants to seat of the chair. Write every day. Blah, blah, blah. I no longer believe that. Writing is a matter of desire, not discipline. If you want to write, that’s what you’ll do. If you want to you’ll rearrange the circumstances of your life to make it possible. If you want to write, you can’t not write”.

Huh?

Martin is the fine one to be saying all that, since he hasn’t the faintest idea that creative writers are literally destitute, here in Malaysia.

Also Sire, desire I have got a plenty, it’s the talent that’s lacking. Not to mention opportunities. Thank God for WordPress though. If at all – and with enough courage and insanity in my veins – may be I should rearrange my mortgage and hire-purchase installments, chuck my day job aside and just write to my heart’s content. I couldn’t careless whether it’s good or not, I needed to do it for me – just like the air that I breathe.

On a completely irrelevant afterthought, I shall misuse this space to thank Laila for the Montblanc pen. Ah, my very first Montblanc, notwithstanding the fact that, I normally write with pencils all the time.

Good night Sleepless wherever you are.