When it became clear that my unannounced hiatus was stretching longer and longer; when my workload was piling up week after week; when – shockingly, it was becoming clear that I was in no mood to read and was whittling days with not a page of a novel being turned, I knew that I wanted to write a “Checking In” post. Partially to just get the writing going, partially to list down the heavy backlog of blog posts that I still wanted to write and were therefore pending.
At first, I wanted to finish my “Checking In” post by mid-August. But I got swept away by work. I would mentally note an arbitrary deadline but work was unrelenting. Finally, I told myself that I should just crank out and upload “Checking In” anytime before September 10, when I would be leaving for my USA vacation.
Well, it’s early October now and I’ve been in Indonesia for more than a week. Whoops.
I’m always a flurry of apologies and excuses whenever I start blogging again. While I’m always genuinely sorry for absences and wish I could write more consistently (for myself too, since persistence and writing everyday will make me a better writer), I can’t pretend that blogging takes precedence over my job.
In my case, up until my flight boarding time to San Francisco, I was frantically wrapping up an article in an airport coffee shop. It was worth it, though. I got to spend my vacation work-free. Being an INFJ, sometimes I couldn’t stop myself from helping out my office here and there – until my own supervisor told me to knock it off and just enjoy my damned vacation.
So enjoy my vacation I did.
After coming back and unpacking, it became clear that putting the brakes on book buying throughout July and August was the right thing to do. I bought no books in August and got two free hand me downs from my grandfather in July (details here).
Look! Just look at this pile. There are 16 books here. It took me a while to reorder the configuration of my shelves so these new books will fit.
Haul of shame
Bonus: I, uh, stole September’s start and bought the anthology Kumpulan Budak Setan prior to my USA trip at the local Gramedia. I’ve wanted to read Intan Paramaditha’s feminist/Gothic short stories for a few years now. The book I actually wanted was her short story collection Sihir Perempuan (which I will roughly translate as Women Magic) but I couldn’t find it. On a brighter note, this anthology includes short stories by Eka Kurniawan (who I seriously need to start reading) and Ugoran Prasad (who I have never heard of, but who knows? He might be a new favorite author for all I know).
Kumpulan Budak Setan (roughly translated: Slaves of the Devil)
Another no buy is in order: no new books throughout October and maybe November.
A “Checking In” post seems a good place to list down all the blog posts I wanted to write during vacation. Or even all the posts I had hoped to finish pre-vacation but didn’t, and yet I still want to write them anyway.
Here’s a list of pending book reviews:
- Laskar Pelangi (The Rainbow Troops in official English translation) by Andrea Hirata
- The Vegetarian by Han Kang
- The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
- A Pocket Full of Rye (Translated to Indonesian as Misteri Burung Hitam) by Agatha Christie
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott
Additionally, I have plans to write about my USA trip and the book shopping I did. Combining all the material into one post is too much, though. I’ll need to split the post into three, denoting the three major areas I visited.
- San Francisco and the South Bay Area in California
- Seattle and Spokane in Washington
- New York City Area
Each post will be about the books I bought, musings on local bookshops, and some of the photos I took. Since I have accumulated a backlog of food and general travel photos, I can write about that too (Let me know if you’re interested).
Well, look at how this simple “Checking In” post has bloated. Congratulations on making it this far and I hope it won’t be long until my next post.