Sleepless in Setiawangsa – 12

Bukit Setiawangsa looks serene after the raging storm a while ago. Puddle of water splashes away with every passing vehicles down my balcony. The sky is starless but the clouds have cleared. This quiet balcony is the Camelot of all places in my life. In the still of the night, I flip through my old moleskin in desperate search to put up a new post here. Nothing materialises – nada, nil, zero – only empty pages reign the sacred moleskin. Writing is a tricky affair; there are moments when it pours like rain; at times you will find yourself staring at the empty pages for hours on end. This Sleepless in Setiawanga 12th’s draft has been sitting in my draft box for a month.

I recently chanced upon an opportunity to rekindle an old friendship with Oyen – my friend during the torturous CLP course. While not being the best of friends, Oyen was never in my bad book. Trust me, I do have few names in my bad book. Hey! I am only human you know. Personally, I think Oyen has too much brains for me to catch up with. No pun intended.

We sat at Friday’s one lonely Thursday evening under the pretext of discussing about work (yeah right!). Oyen toyed with the idea of taking a sabbatical leave to finish the thing she desires to do; her doctorate, write a book or just read herself to oblivion while trying Nigella Lawson’s recipes at home. I smiled listening to her raving on and on about her intended sabbatical. For someone like Oyen, that is a complete U-turn. Marriage has mellowed my old friend.

Oyen graduated from Ivy League university, passed her CLP without much effort, an eloquent orator and a budding writer (I suspect so). But Oyen deleted her blog. She told me in earnest that she can’t write if she keeps worrying about what people would think about her. So long as she fears judgment from the public eyes, she can’t honestly put her thoughts into writing. Her statements struck a chord in my heart. I never really thought of what people would think of my writing. I figure since this is my blog, I can pretty much nurse my neurotic thoughts here. Ah, Oyen got me there…

A renowned publisher once told me that the key to writing is to keep on writing; to which I stared at her in blank confusion. In all fairness, I can’t just write for the sake of writing. Inspiration needs to move me before I can start dancing my pencil across the acid-free paper. I guess I wasn’t born to write. For me, writing is a skill I have to sharpen ever since I found the joy of reading.

And writing is a lonely pursuit; writing is a reclusive affair edging you on the border of insanity. I have tonnes of unfinished drafts strewn around in my life – stuffs I scribbled while waiting in court, incoherent pieces I wrote in fists of anger and poems I drafted when Jefree first swept me off my feet. But the pieces now sit in a box gathering dusts and cobwebs for I lack courage to do anything with it.

I end this post with a quote from one of the best movie ever written in this century, Finding Forrester, where a great author says this to his protege, “No thinking – that comes later. You must write your first draft with your heart. You rewrite with your head. The first key to writing is … to write, not to think!”

I guess that renowned publisher was right after all. Good night sleepless wherever you are.



11 thoughts on “Sleepless in Setiawangsa – 12

  1. Dont be silly, you write a wonderful piece everytime.

    I do second the idea “write from the heart”.

    Dont quit ok!

    Dear Noktah,

    No, quitting is not in the equation yet… just crazy thoughts submerge once in a while!

  2. I guess I wasn’t born to write….elviza.


    My sis Elv said that? Dear sis, then what the hell is the the thing that keeps on pulling me back here to check if there is anything new from you day in and day out?

    (It must be either you are that good or I am on drug).

    Sofia, Sofia, Sofia…. you say the nicest thing. Such a melody to my ears…

  3. Hello love,

    i concur with the 2 guys above. even when the idea doesnt flow you seem to be writing still, and exceptionally well at that.


    are u well already? Hope you finish those nuisance of antibiotics! Thank you little bro, for everything

  4. Mish…

    I echo all those above…you ni merapu meraban ke hapa (merendah diri bebeno le you ni)…you punya tulisan addictive tau…go write a book now…i tunggu…

    Ha ha ha ha ha … I merapu meraban bila tak der idea lah sis. Hah, you tunggu lah buku tuh sampai bila2. First draft pun belum ada. 🙂

  5. Salam Elviza Mish:

    Mish,Mish….apa yang merapu meraban mengigau nih? Tengah kena PMS ke(hehehe….mampus aku kalau jumpa cik adik ni lain kali.Better make sure wife is always by my side nanti).

    You write beautifully. Raden is right, your write ups are like candu.

    Saw Finding Forester 2 weeks ago (Astro) and I remember that scene btwn Forrester and the kid.

    I believe to be a good writer one must write and write and write and read and read and read.

    Doc TA,

    Ha! Tahu takut… nasib baik I suka sangat kat Mrs TA yang muda belia tuh (unlike her significant other! ahaks!).

    Thanks, thanks, thanks bro….

  6. I second ALL of the above!

    What la you??!! I think you do write from your heart – without even trying! Smooth and flawless. Fullstop.

    Go, Elviza, go!!!!

    Thank you Wan Shana, the Super Mom!!!

  7. Elviza .. elviza … Elviza…
    Just be yourself and Write Away. We love you for what you are …. by the way you are good writer actually.

    Terima kaseh Dato’…. atas sokongan dan “belanjaan” dato’ pada saya selama ini 🙂

  8. why bother what people would think about you?

    BTW, I think you are an EXCELLENT writer.

    – saya yang sleepless in gombak –

    Dear Sleepless in Gombak,

    No, I usually dont give a two hoot what people say about me. Its just that particular conversation with Oyen gives me something to think about. Thank you so much for the support, form the bottom of my heart.

  9. Sis El,
    Your pieces of art of writing are all addictive alright. That’s the reason you top my must-read list on my Google Reader.
    Sis Raden said it, and I guess we’ve been talking about this before. You write SiS, and you’ll be on a book signing tour 🙂

    Little Bro,

    Book signing tour? Lammmmmbaaaaatttt lagi kottttt 🙂

    Hows the study treating you?

  10. As usual that bumbling Mat Salo is always late to the party…

    Mish, you’re right. Writing is hell of a lonely pursuit and like what your friend Oyen thinks (maybe rightly so), writers open themselves to ridicule. Especially bloggers. That’s ok. The trick is not to give a shit. You know you must be doing something right with 100,000 hits (and counting!)

    I admit. Writing is a form a neuroses, but a good one. And now with blogging, a fun one too!

    The most difficult is writing to please yourself. I am never pleased with my crap, honestly. Perhaps I have no business writing because I’m a blue collar roughneck more comfortable with grease and seedy bars! But if I could do it, then anybody can.

    So please keep it up. See where it will take you. One day, you will surprise even yourself.

    How else can I explain that I’ve met so many nice people who have enriched my life so bloody much? 🙂


    You wrote, “…am blue collar roughneck more comfortable with grease and seedy bars”. Let me tell you, girls go goo-goo-ga-ga over bad boy’s statement like this. Ah, so sexy… 🙂

    I agree, writing is a neurosis!

  11. Elv,

    Apa nih? jangan lah dok merendah diri sampai lagu tuh [raden darling…lagu apa? lagu hindi lah kekekek]

    I wish i could write like u…[tengok nih sampai skrang tak boleh tulihhhhh pun blog i tuh]

    you r a good writer !!


    Bukan merendah diri, its my honest-to-god feeling everytime I start writing. Its a constant battle! Wish I could write like Steinbeck (in your freaking dream Elviza!).

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