Family Portrait, Everything I never told you by Celeste Ng

The other day I stumbled on P!nk’s (Alecia Moore) song Family Portrait on Youtube. (The 2002 live version. She changed the lyrics through the years)

At the end of the song she (still) sang these lines.

In our family portrait we look pretty happy
(Can we work it out? Can we be a family?)
We look pretty normal, let’s go back to that
(I promise I’ll be better, Daddy please don’t leave)

Daddy don’t leave
Remember that the night you left you took my shining star?
Daddy don’t leave
Don’t leave us here alone

Mom will be nicer
I’ll be so much better, I’ll tell my brother
Oh, I won’t spill the milk at dinner
I’ll be so much better, I’ll do everything right
I’ll be your little girl forever
I’ll go to sleep at night

And my mind suddenly goes to Lydia, one of the characters on Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. Through Pink’s voice, I felt like I heard Lydia’s begging to her mother.


Everything I Never Told You (Celeste Ng)

Pink’s life story that has inspired the song and Celeste Ng’s novel can’t be more different. (One about divorce the other about interracial marriage and racialism) But they both talk about a scar that a family (and society) left to the children.

Reading trough some pages I felt a little bit depressed. But I care enough to continue. Like birds they learn to fly in a cage too small for them all. (Perhaps this is not the best analogy). But they are all trying to live the best they can. I shed a few tears in the last couple of pages. At last this is a beautiful & hopeful story.


  1. Even though Ng’s book is not YA, somehow it reminds me of YA’s like Dancing on the Edge & Born Blue by Han Nolan. There’s some pain but also hopeful. (Like another Pink’s story on Perfect music video here.)    
  2. I know I don’t talked or reviewed about book often. It’s because finding a book that can really hooked you and you care about aren’t that often. I consider a book is great when I care to the characters. And left me still thinking about the story days, weeks, even months after I finished reading. Celeste Ng’s -Everything I never Told You is one of those book (Also Pink’s song Family Portrait. The video about Pink’s story about the song can be watched here. And the 2013 version is here.)

Just the thing i love

Have you ever read or watch something. It cracks your heart open. And you want to keep it for your self. You want to protect it. And you’re so sure no one can appreciate it and love it as much as you do?

Well this video did that to me. I watched this a while ago.

It reminded me so many little things that i love and enjoy to see when i was living in Japan. And it also hit the creator soul inside of me.

This video is about Hayao Miyazaki when he made his last movie. The Wind Rises.

I was living in Kawasaki July 2013. And EVERY TIME i passed a mobile phone store in Bremen Strasse, I heard this theme song.

(And it’s plenty of time. Since we were living 50 meters walk from Bremen Strasse) And when we went to a mall there were posters of the movie.

The Wind Rises Poster, at Roponggi Hills Tokyo (Summer 2013)

The Wind Rises Poster, at Roponggi Hills Tokyo (Summer 2013)

We didn’t see the movie while we were there. But around March 2014 we went to see it in Blitz GI theater Jakarta, Indonesia. With Indonesian subtitle :)

I have only watch probably 5 or 6 of Miyazaki movies. First one was Spirited Away. I watch Totoro in 2013, when my friend Kei lent us the DVD. Even though its in Japanese language, my son watched it over and over, almost every day, until we bought the english version, so he stop abusing Kei’s DVD.

Still bitter we haven’t got the chance to visit the museum while we were there.  (Last time we visiting Japan in March 2015. The tickets are sold out until end of April 2015. :( ) Maybe Next Time.

Ghibli Museum. On to bucket list. :)


How to published a novel: Notes on Jejak Hati

I have cold today. And what’s the best thing to do when you have cold?Blogging off course :)

No. Really. I just received farewell email from my editor… and I thought, oh my god I haven’t even blogs about Jejak Hati yet. Not that I have to, but Jejak Hati will never exist without a poke from this editor 2 years ago.

Few years earlier Jia Effendi was Loversus editor. When she moved to another publishing house, she called me and asked if I had manuscript she can read and maybe to publish. At the time I was working on Eksistensi Rasa that I had planned as the next book after Konstelasi Rindu. But at the time KR hasn’t even on printed yet. And I looked at my neglected planned manuscript file. “I don’t have new manuscript right now, but I have some neglected book plans…” I said.

And the rest is history. :) No. Kidding.

We talked, and then she gave me a week to polished this book plan.

I send her 3 or 4 first chapters and a synopsis/plan for the rest chapter. She said, “Interesting.” And she expected a progress on the next two weeks.

I finished the first draft in less than 2 months. There’s still a series of editing/ rewriting sessions with Jia and other Gagasmedia editor (Gita Romadhona cs) after that. One and half year later the manuscript finally hit the bookstore.

Jejak Hati (photo by. Kiki the owner of KoleksiKikie)

Jejak Hati (photo by. Kiki – owner of / 

I never thought I will ever going to write this kind of fiction as Jejak Hati.

I was always wanted to write about Borneo diamond mining and the culture around it. I read books (sent by Ersa my high school classmate), research papers (sent by Zulfaizal Putera, a (not my) high school teacher (who just moved to other post in culture department)), journals and some other stuff relates to it. But the reason this idea never become a real book because I thought it’s really hard to put them all together in one single novel without being experimental. And for something experimental I was ready to spend 5 or 8 years writing it. So I was dormant even though I have piles of book about diamond mining.

It was Jia’s background as a writer (she wrote some absurd short stories and I love that she once write about Toraja culture, and that Dangdut singer for FTV) that convinced me to finally give this idea another try. I thought, maybe Jia will understand this.

So I wrote it.

And she liked it.

And I’m grateful for that.

Although Jia resigned as Gagasmedia editor now, I hope we can still worked together in the future. (But mostly I’m secretly waiting for her novel :) )

Oh, some reader labelled Jejak Hati  as romance, culture, fantasy… I don’t even know which one is the correct term. For me it’s just a novel. (Maybe i was influenced by Gaiman a little? I don’t know. No one mention him though.)  Anyway if the reader happen to read this. Thank you all so much!



(Ps. To some book blogger who read and reviewed my book. I hope you guys don’t mind me putting the link below :*

Oh ya, ada yang bertanya-tanya apa saya jual batu Akik. Jawabannya tidak. Pas terbit malah ada yang nanya . “Kok pas banget sih, terbitnya pas lagi musim batu Akik?” Jawab gue. “Hah?”

Trus ada yang kecewa karena ngebandingin sama Konstelasi Rindu. Jawaban saya, they are two different books. Sorry if this one is not for you. Thank you for reading. I appreciate your honesty :* … )

Some of the links are below:

– Jejak Hati by Bacaan Inge

– Jejak Hati by Glasses & Tea

– Jejak Hati by Kamo

– Jejak Hati by Kikie (where i borrow the pict above ;) )