Diary Burning: Horrible or Usual?

Andy is a friend of mine who everyone will never thought to be a diary keeper. The 37-year-old guy looks too sturdy and manly. His biceps have girth twice as mine. So is his visceral fat level. Though I take pride that both of us share the same muscle mass percentage. While I’m somewhere between the ‘lean’ and ‘thin’ spectrum, he is positioned at some point in the ‘stocky’ side.

He one day declared that he had managed to successfully let go of anything that he used to clench tightly. These past things were among other things a stack of diaries he wrote and thus treasured for all these years especially during his adolescence years.

“I burned them all down… I am now relieved. I let them go. These past memories. I used to keep them like my gold and silver bars inside my safe. But now that I know it’s no use to hold on to them, I shall move forward, make progress with my current life, and leave everything in the past behind. Hence, total relief,” he went into greater details.

I never took him as a diarist before and I got even more surprised to discover he had burned all of his diaries. What a waste of time and energy and dedication. As a diarist myself, I know too well how much it takes to write a diary entry every single day in your life.

A diary writing session is my very precious time slot in a day. I liked it, as that is just the right time to write about things I cannot write publicly. Things everyone else does not need to know or think or care about. I write it down for myself. Not even for posterity. Well, maybe. But for now, it’s all about myself.

So all that said, I’m questioning my own aim of keeping a diary.

My favorite living diarist David Sedaris was asked by his friend’s 7-year-old child and he wrote about it in one of his books “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls” that I love and keep reading for many times.

He wrote like this in response to this question:”That is the question I’ve asked every day since September 5th, 1977. I’d known on September 4th that the following afternoon I’d start keeping a diary without it consuming me for the next 35 years and counting. It wasn’t something I’ve been putting off. Once I began, I knew that I had to keep doing it. I knew it well what I was writing is not a journal but an old-fashioned girlish keep-out-this-means-you! diary. Often the term I use interchangeably though I’ve never understood why. Both have the word “day” as their root but a journal in my opinion is a repository of ideas. Your brain on the page. A diary, by contrast, is your heart. As for journaling, a verb that cropped off around the same time as scrapbooking, that just means you’re spooky and have too much time in your hands.”

“Diary” is about feelings and “journal” is about ideas and thoughts. A journal is more intellectual, filled with worthwhile stuff. But a diary is a feminine form of expressive writing (am I being gender-biased?).

So why is burning down a diary deemed horrible?

Although a diary tends to contain pointless rants, fleeting moments of daily grinds, I still believe that any diary is worth keeping. Keeping a diary is never a regrettable thing for me. Even, it’s a good thing for my psyche. Everyone’s psyche!

And if keeping a diary is one thing you regret, why don’t you just donate or give that away to someone else? But just don’t burn it down in purpose.

I liken burning down a diary to burning down a book. What makes it even worse is the fact that you had spent so much time and energy in the past for it and suddenly for any reasons, you exterminate it with fire. I never condone such a thing. It’s like murdering your past self but that won’t happen because burning down the diaries won’t erase the sad and grey memories we had in life. (*/)

How Smoking Writers Quit Smoking Successfully

Creative people and caffeine and tobacco are like a trio.

When I was working at an advertising agency, I came to learn this fact the hard way. With me as an exception, everyone in the office is a smoker and coffee drinker. Even the female coworkers. Even the female coworker who just had a baby and then was breastfeeding it. I judgmentally questioned her motherhood moral and conscience. What a workplace!

Traumatized by this, I then quit working there and changed my workplace. I was appalled by how much smoke and fumes I had to inhale on working days, giving me a shiver everytime I saw them.

As a writer myself, I have never drawn inspiration from smoke or cigars or cigarettes or any tobacco products. Even the overly-hyped vape!

I am not fueled by those things while writing. I am fueled by fresh water, whole foods and ample night sleep and serenity.

So is it really necessary that writers must smoke?

Two of my favorite writers don’t seem to agree. Even in their professional journey as authors, they can stop smoking totally. And by making the decision, they are even more productive.

David Sedaris has a rather unique story of quitting because he did not quit smoking because of himself. It’s more because the Ritz Carlton staffers who prohibit smoking in all of their establishments. He told NPR that his mother’s tobacco-related death and being shown a lung of a heavy smoker did not change his mind about smoking but once he found out that he can never smoke while spending nights at any Ritz Carlton hotel is a shocking reason to pick from a lot of more logical ones.

Haruki Murakami in his running memoir “What I Talk about When I Talk about Running” said after he sold his club and established a more steady income from writing, he then radically changed his lifestyle.

From nocturnal to diurnal.

From unhealthy to healthy.

From sedentary to active lifestyle.

From an owl to an early riser.

Murakami saw the needs to stay fit because he is the type of person who easily gains weight if going physically inactive. And he is very grateful about this as it encourages him to stay in shape as long as he can so he can write more in life.

And he chose running because running is cheap and doable without any special equipment or infrastructure or supporting facilities. He doesn’t need a world-class jogging track. A decent lane will just do. While he started running, Murakami also gave up smoking.

“Giving up smoking is a kind of natural result from running every day. It wasn’t easy to quit. […] But the desire to run even more makes me not to go back to smoking and a great help in overcoming withdrawal symptoms. Quitting smoking is quite a symbolic gesture of farewell to the life I used to lead.”

So what’s the takeaway from these two authors’ journey to tobaccoless life?

Probably this: A combination of external interventions and some internal motivation could be of greater help for those who want to quit. (*/)

Writers’ Commitment Renewal

Ethiopian_-_John_the_Evangelist_-_Walters_W850153V_-_Open_Reverse

Last night I discovered someone’s Instagram handle. Out of curiosity, I clicked it and I was led to a feed full of heavily edited travel photos, urban landscapes and social gatherings.

Very typical, indeed.

But what caught my attention is the bio of the feed owner. It says: “travel writer”.

Wow!

As a linguist and bibliophile, I just cannot help myself admiring those who have a knack for and talent of writing.

Writers are always intelligently sexy to me. And that is irrespective of their physical shapes.

Travel writers in the glory days of leisure economy are known as a highly respected profession.

They travel for – well maybe – free.

They make money in the process.

They showcase such a leisure lifestyle that everyone envies.

They are on holiday all the time, it seems.

They enjoy being in the wilderness and still looking lively, sprightly, fashionable, photogenic and cool ice cream.

This is a to-die-for job for millenials of my age and generations that follow (Gen X, Y and Z).

But as I clicked, I found a webpage that is dry and deserted.

The most recent post was dated back on some day in 2016.

I compared to his Instagram feed which has quite a huge following for some unknown self-proclaimed travel writer (or it is I who do not know his level of popularity).

Well, I formed a conclusion that now one does not need to get certified by anyone else but himself to be called “travel writer”.

Though you may think I am as sinister buffoon as one can be, I take some lessons to learn for myself from this disappointing discovery.

And one of those is UPDATE YOUR BLOG MORE OFTEN THAN YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA FEED!

That is especially recommendable for someone who claims himself or herself a writer by profession. No matter what the field s/he is writing in.

Because if you don’t, you deceive the public.

Social media services has sucked up so much of our time and turning us from writers (read: content creators and producers) to readers (mere consumers of ideas, emotion and information).

So the next time some people think it is enough to become a travel writer by showing a heavily edited holiday photo with a short caption on Instagram, I would say: TRY HARDER. (*/)

Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

One Sure Way to a Better Writing

1130px-Albert_Anker_Schreibendes_MC3A4dchen_1902RAISE your hand if you hate reading a book that frustrates more than entertains you.

Well, I’m no exception.

I’ve recently started reading Yuval Noah Hariri’s “Homo Deus”. And in spite of the buzz that this book is extremely cool (and thus reading this in public makes you look intelligent, critical and impressively updated), I still have to struggle to find enjoyment in reading it.

But then I realize that a book is supposed to be a main food for thought. And reading a good book is like feeding yourself a nutritious super food. It definitely makes you healthier and more alive than ever before.

So I came to the conclusion that a good book is also like a healthy food: it’s not as delicious as junk food but it offers numerous benefits in the ways we’ve never imagined.

The fact that I write for a living also pushes me to read not only good but great books. It’s more about enriching my vocabulary, strengthen my linguistic ‘muscles’ than keeping up with all the trends.

Yet, what happens now is that I – and a lot of us – am reading more online materials than great quality books. We read more trashy, clickbait articles that are produced or reproduced within minutes and fewer book that are very well thought and heavily edited and revised by experienced editors of major publishers.

And it’s no wonder that our linguistic skills including our writing skills just suck, getting rotten and rusty from day to day underuse.

If you’re a writer or copywriter or anyone working in the domain of language and creativity like me, chances are you’ll find your work or your sentences monotonous, boring and less enticing the more you consume ‘junk’ content every day.

It totally MAKES sense! If you read trash, you write trash as well!

Simply put, to write better, watch your reading materials. Make sure you consume good quality materials.

And science even justifies this!

A study by the University of Florida and published in International Journal of Business Administration revealed that people who read only online content (social media content and popular online news outlets with less quality) have the lowest score in their writing complexity than people who read journal articles or great quality fictional works such as novels written by critically acclaimed authors.

What is ‘writing complexity’ we are discussing here? There’re many factors that show someone’s ability to produce advanced and complex structures in writing. This complexity may encompasses lengths of sentences that one produces, how sophisticated someone’s choice of word (diction) is, and so forth.

Complexity of writing sometimes does NOT necessarily mean you have to write lengthy sentences that confuse readers. Making complex yet efficient sentences means we are able to tactfully organize more than one ideas in a sentence without being lengthy. We just have to make sure that every word is impactful enough to be there. Each word has its own reason to be in a sentence.

What is interesting to note is that this is irrespective of duration. That means it’s not about how many hours you spend, but more about the quality of reading materials you consume on daily basis. Those who have better writing skills admitted they only spent several hours a week reading quality materials instead of online stuff that is packed with listicles, clickbaits, or hoaxy and sensational news items.

And because writing is a type of communication, this rule also applies in speaking skills learning. Someone who wants to master better speaking skills must also try to listen to great quality oral materials.

I know that not all online content available is bad for our writing skills development. But if you’re a writer or someone who earns a living by writing, please take this piece of advice: “Read well-written things”. A co-author of the study mentioned some of the best online news outlets such as “The Economist” or “Wall Street Journal” or “New Yorker” magazine but in my opinion well-written and well-edited books, be it non-fiction or fiction, are still the best option.

And because I’m Indonesian, I can translate the advice to this: Read more “Majas Kreatif” or “Tempo” magazine and less Detik.com, IDNTimes.com, Brilio.co, Tempo.co (yes, the online channel of Tempo just displays cheesy and racy clickbaits), Viva.co.id, Merdeka.com, TribunNews.com, Suara.com, OkeZone.com, etc. (*/)

 

5 Most Valuable Life Lessons from Top CEOs

The experience of writing CEO profiles is a humbling one. (Photo credit: Mine)

EXHAUSTED but relieved and elated.  That’s what I really feel right now. It’s perhaps similar to what a mother or father feels after a newly born baby finally in their arms. A gruelling nine months have passed and now it’s time to unwind a bit and celebrate.

With hindsight, I can sense a great deal of passion spilled into the book. My passion, too.

The project was a blast and came to me without any warning. I was recruited as one of the writers because interviewing and writing [and rewriting, if needed] profiles of more than 30 CEOs in several months with tight deadlines was too overwhelming for one or two writers.

Anyway, here is five hugely valuable life lessons  learned from a number of CEOs I interviewed in person.

Courage to move and start anew

It’s a lesson I discovered when I interviewed Mindaugas Trumpaitis, CEO of PT HM Sampoerna Tbk. He admitted that his success is thanks to his family. His parents allowed him to leave their politically turbulent country, Lithuania, for working overseas. He had roamed Latvia, Switzerland, Finland, Mexico and Ecuador and Peru. Now he also explores Indonesia, making a history with the company he is leading.

Reinvention for improvement

Sometimes we have to let go our current career and be daring enough to take risks and ‘jump to another boat’. That’s what Trumpaitis taught me. He worked as a lecturer at Klapeida University for a decade before he made up his mind to enrich his knowledge and insights and reinvent himself as a businessman. Imagine that, from an academician to a business executive. Quite a move, isn’t it?

Making the most of what you have

Another example of this lesson is Rino Donoseputro’s career journey. The leader of Standard Chartered Bank Indonesia said bluntly he never wanted or dreamed of – even the slightest – that he would someday take the helm as a business leader at a bank. What he wished for was a career as a diplomat, traveling from a country to another. A career of banker, therefore, never crossed his mind. But then destiny led him to another path somehow.  He even described himself as a reluctant to passionate banker.

So if you think your dream is unreachable, think again. What you have now is probably what will eventually make you successful. You just have to find a way to be passionate about it. Don’t do the job just because you need the money [though it really matters in fact] or because you want the pride and prestige of being a part of a cool company or workplace.

In Rino’s case, he managed to show his best and impress his then global CEO Mervin Davis in a taxi trip to the international airport one day in 2002. That’s when he knew his life would never be the same again. He was offered by the CEO to move to London, where the bank’s headquarters was located and worked there as a staffer directly working for the global CEO. So never compromise your quality performance even if you think your job is not the best in the world. Strive for the excellence no matter what. Because that’s how you’ll get noticed by the universe.

Integrity

Paulus Sutisna of DBS Bank Indonesia learned a lot about this when the crisis hit his former workplace, Citibank, in 1997-1998. As a banker, he knew and experienced firsthand the bitterness of Asian financial crisis. That was the right time to learn people’s real characters. Some are deceitful, he discovered. They showed no intention to cooperate with his bank and then got away with the loans. “Some looked very rich but after the crisis, they refused to pay and even avoided us,” he recalled the darkest days in his career. However,  very few still had their last shred of dignity, trying to negotiate their loans with him and his bank, and maintaining good relationships even they could escape and disappear if they wanted to. Then he learned his clients’ characters and that proves to be useful later on.

I see this as a good point. Regardless of the industry we work in, integrity is so important and should never be compromised. It’s the last quality that has the greatest significance other than competence and many others. If one has integrity, anything else in him would be appreciated. But once integrity is fading away, any other factors would fail to be taken into account.

Organization

Get involved in an organization so that you can learn a lot about leadership and humans and how to manage them. All these skills are always useful even if you’re living as a hermit in the middle of a jungle.

Iqbal Latanro of Taspen taught me this. He has always wanted to be actively involved in any organizations since his days at elementary school because he knew that way his leadership and communication skills would grow rapidly.

You may find the more complete narrative of these CEOs’ thoughts inside “Indonesia Most Admirable CEOs 2017”. It is now sold at Periplus, Gramedia and Book and Beyond outlets in Indonesia. (*/)

My Portfolio [as of February 2018]

Here is a collection of my published works in various media, both print and online. Some are written in Indonesian and some others English. They’re chronologically ordered, from most recent to oldest. Click on the titles of article to read further.

February 2018

“Indonesia’s Top Foreign CEOs 2018” Book

With Pieter Daniel Van Zyl of Allianz Utama

With Marc Louette of Sampoerna Agro

December 2017 

Perjalanan 3 Dekade Nurhayati Rahman Lunasi ‘Utang’ La Galigo [Magdalene.co]

November 2017

One of Writers of “Indonesia’s Top CEOs 2017” (Warta Ekonomi)

August 2017

Writer of Art Republik Magazine (3rd edition)


August 2017

Co-facilitator at Social Media Workshop (August 8th, 2017) for Itjen Kemenkes’ public relations division

 

July 2017

A keynote presenter  and facilitator at Social Media Workshop (July 27th, 2017) for Itjen Kemdikbud’s public relations division

 

A keynote presenter  and facilitator at Social Media Workshop (July 27th, 2017) for BPKP public relations division

 

June 2017

Translator of “Ensiklopedi Suku Bangsa Indonesia” by Zulyani Hidayah (funded by LitRI and to be published by Springer, Singapore)

October 2016

Runtuhnya Wibawa Pusat Bahasa

 

September 2016

Penulis, Pajak dan Kesejahteraan [Detik.com]

Mengapa Entrepreneur Perlu Lebih Skeptis Saat Membaca Biografi Orang ‘Sukses’

 

Kenapa Seks Sehat bagi Wanita Tapi Bisa Memperpendek Umur Pria?

August 2016

Jebakan Kuantitas dalam Inkubasi “Start-up”

April 2016

Kintamani Bali Dog (as editor)

 

January 2015

One of authors in “Menemukan Makna, Merayakan Cinta” (Yoga-themed collection of writeups)

October 2014

Writing for YogaInIndonesia.com. (click to read the article)

January 2013

Featured on Tabloid Nova as social media officer of @ciputraway (which I initiated in August 2010)

 

 

Penulis Kelas Bulu

“Tidak bisa tidak. Kamu harus belajar tampil lebih tua,” tegas orang yang bernama Raksasa itu pada saya karena dalam pengamatannya rupa ini tertinggal cukup jauh dari usia kalender saya. Ia kerap menggunakan nama itu untuk membuka percakapan. “Tahukah Anda berat saya dulu 110 kilogram?” begitu kalimat andalannya melenturkan lidah di pertemuan-pertemuan dengan budak-budak korporat yang bermasalah dengan bobot tubuh. Ia berani jamin langsung detik itu pembicaraan mengalir secara alami karena meski namanya begitu, perawakannya sekarang jauh dari gemuk. Tiada bekas-bekas lemak tampak di badannya yang sekarang saya taksir cuma 60-70 kilogram itu. Saya akui ia memang pesilat lidah ulung yang mampu mengemas topik sesepele apapun menjadi menarik.

Kembali pada sarannya tadi yang begitu blak-blakan, saya bereaksi datar saja. Mungkin alis saya sedikit naik karena dahi mengernyit. Bukannya saya tidak tahu. Saya juga diam-diam berpikir sama. Banyak orang lain juga, saya sangat yakin. Tetapi baru orang ini yang berkata terang-terangan.

Lalu ia menceritakan si Marto yang sama-sama sekecil saya. Ia menyarankan Marto yang dulu masih kurus itu untuk memakai jas berlapis busa di kedua bahu, kemeja lengan panjang, dan kaos dalam dalam waktu yang sama. Cara berpakaian yang hangat dan nyaman di gedung berpendingin udara terpusat yang suhunya mirip kutub tetapi neraka buat yang mesti kerja di ruangan bertemperatur semi tropis yang mesin AC-nya kadang bocor dan dikendalikan manual dengan remote control. Pokoknya ia haruskan Marto terkesan mengembang, lebih besar dari sebetulnya. Kalau Marto adonan kue, pria itu juga mungkin akan menggelonggong mulut Marto dengan berliter-liter baking soda. Padahal tempo hari bertemu Marto, saya pikir anak itu lumayan berisi. Jadi apa rahasianya jadi begitu? Saya jadi iri. Atau apakah ia juga diberinya resep menaikkan bobot secepat-cepatnya? Saya makin liar berspekulasi.

Penampilan penting, sangat penting, tandas Raksasa lagi di depan saya. “Nanti apa kata orang kalau saya bilang kamu yang akan nulis? ‘Apa pak? Anak sekecil ini yang nanti nulis? Bisa? Yakin?!!”

Bibir saya bergetar. Kebingungan mau tersenyum kecut atau tertawa. Saya tidak percaya penulis juga mesti memoles citra fisiknya seperti ini. Saya bertanya dalam hati,”Apakah saya keliru masuk ke ruangan ini? Mungkin ini ruang untuk menyaring para model catwalk, bukan penulis.” Tetapi lain daripada dia yang memuntahkan kalimat demi kalimat dengan royalnya, saya telan mentah-mentah gumaman tadi seiring dengan ludah. Saya goyang-goyangkan sepatu, mencoba melepaskan kebingungan tanpa terlihat hendak gila. Padahal sebenarnya saya hendak berkata,”Semau Anda sajalah…”

“Baiklah, Akhlis,” hibur saya pada anak kecil bernama ego yang sedang terisak-isak di suatu sudut di dalam batok kepala,”Anggap saja ini audisi akting dalam sebuah produksi film. Kau harus memerankan penulis yang tinggi besar. Itu lho seperti Ewan McGregor di film ‘Ghost Writer’.”

Kutipan-kutipan Paling Berbobot dari Novel 1Q84 Karya Haruki Murakami (4)

“I am who I am, no matter who or what I am connected with – or not connected with.” – p 900

“But I found that the longer you teach, the more you feel like a total stranger to yourself.”- p 905

“Once you have achieved something so magnificent, you have to be content with it.”- p 909

“Knowledge and ability were tools, not things to show off.” – P914

“Blood had a frighteningly long memory.” – p919

“Ever since she could remember, she had always hated this thing called God. More precisely, she rejected the people and the system that intervened between her and God. For years she had equated those people and that system with God. Hating them meant hating God. (…) They preached about God’s kindness, but preached twice as much about his wrath and intolerance.” – p928

“Writers have to keep on writing if they want to mature, like caterpillars endlessly chewing on leaves.”- p946

“People need routines. It’s like a theme in music. But it also restricts your thoughts and actions and limits your freedom. It structures your priorities and in some cases distorts your logic.” – p 972

“If you do the same things everyone else does, in the same way, then you’re no professional.” – p 973

“There are lots of things ordinary people can do that I can’t. (…) On the other hand, there are a few things I can do that most other people can’t. And I do these few things very, very well. I’m not expecting applause or for people to shower me with coins. But I do need to show the world what I’m capable of.”- p 1005

“Life might just be an absurd, even crude, chain of events and nothing more.” – p 1048

“‘Your father must have really liked his job. Going around collecting NHK subscription fees.’
‘I don’t think it’s a question of liking or disliking it,” Tengo said.
‘Then what?’
‘It was the one thing he was best at.'” – p 1054

“That was his basic way of thinking. Principles and logic didn’t give birth to reality. Reality came first, and the principles and logic followed.”- p1056

“‘Cold or Not, God Is Present,'”- P1090

“If we die today, we do not have to die tomorrow, so let us look to the best in each other.” – p1091

“Good – that’s what’s most important, he thought. Everyone’s death should be mourned. Even if just for a short time.” – p 1096

“A certain amount of ambition helps a person grow.” – p 1098

“But I never count on luck. That’s how I survived all these years.” – p1100

“It’s very difficult to logically explain the illogical.” – p 1104

“The things she most wanted to tell him would lose their meaning the moment she put them into words.” I p 1106

“I’m the one who decides what’s good and what’s bad – and which way we’re headed. And people had better remember that.” p 1107

“Thinking about time only seemed to slow it down.” – p 1114

“If death brings about any resolution, it’s one that only applies to the deceased.”- p1123

“Sometimes our memory betrays us.” – p 1150

Elevator Girl

‎Do you know the feelings when someone – of all people you have encountered in a place this huge and tall you frequent – happens to know a book you are reading? Exactly know the book like you do! That is what exactly what my friend feels today.

He finally found someone who knew the book he is read‎ing is the one read and favorited by the murderer of John Lennon decades ago. And that is not a kind of piece of information anyone knows even for a literature student. So this person is so so erudite, literaturewise. A person who knows and recognizes the fictitious world beyond this mundane, floody and boring real world.

Isn’t it wonderful? Life always surprises us, he told me jovially. I can’t agree more with him.

“Should I fall for this person?” he asked.

That sounds absurd. To fall for a girl who happened to know the book you are reading is quite beyond my ken.

Yet I know if his heart wants it, I told him to simply ignore what I uttered.

He told me again and again how smart this human being seems to be at a glance. She looks more than just a lowly slave of a big corporate. She has got that thing, he explained. What is the “thing”‎ is something he cannot explain further. It is stuck there. Without any clear explanation whatsoever.

Wildly Witty Quotations from "The Catcher in the Rye" (1)

“Life is a game, boy. Life is a game that one plays according to the rules.” (p11)

“I don’t give a damn, except that I get bored sometimes when people tell me to act my age.” (p 12)

“Do you feel absolutely no concern for your future, boy?”
“Oh, I feel some concern for my future, all right. Sure. Sure, I do.” I thought about it for a minute. “But not too much, I guess. Not too much, I guess.”
“You will,”old Spencer said. “You will, boy. You will when it’s too late.” (p 17-18)

“I mean I’m not going to be a goddam surgeon or a violinist or anything anyway.” (p44)

“He stood there, reading it, and sort of stroking his bare chest and stomach, with this very stupid expression on his face. He was always stroking his stomach or his chest. He was mad about himself.” (p46)

“You always do everything backasswards.” (p46)

“In every school I’ve gone to, all the athletic bastards stick together.” (p49)

“All morons hate it when you call them a moron.” (p50)

“You never saw such gore in your life. I had blood all over my mouth and chin and even on my pajamas and bathrobe. It partly scared me and it partly fascinated me. All that blood and all sort of made me look tough.” (p51)

“Almost every time somebody gives me a present and it ends up making me sad.” (p58)

“I put my red hunting hat on, and turned the peak around the back, the way I liked it, and then I yelled at the top of my goddam voice,”Sleep tight, ya morons!” (p59)

“Mothers are all slightly insane.” (p62)

“He was even more depressing than the room was. He was one of thise bald guys that comb all their hair over from the side to cover up the baldness. I’d rather be bald than do that.” (p68-69)

“Sex is something I really don’t understand too hot. You never know where the hell you are. I keep making up these sex rules for myself, and then I break them right away.” (p70)

“The only trouble is, she is a little too affectionate sometimes. Shek’s very emotional, for a child. She really is. Something else she does, she writes books all the time. Only, she doesn’t finish them.” (p76)

“I’m not kidding, some of these very stupid girls can really knock you out on a dance floor.” (p79)

“You don’t always have to get too sexy to get to know a girl.” (p85)

“We’d get into a goddam movie or something, and right away we’d start holding hands, and we wouldn’t quit till the movie was over.” (p89)

“I certainly like to hear him play, but sometimes you feel like turning his goddam piano over. I think it’s because sometimes when he plays, he sounds like the kind of a guy that won’t talk to you unless you’re a big shot.” (p90)

“People are always ruining things for you.” (p98)

“One of my troubles is, I never care too much when I lose something.” (p100)

“I wasn’t sleepy or anything, but I was feeling sort of lousy. Depressed and all. I almost wished I was dead.” (p101)

“It was against my principles and all, but I was feeling so depressed I didn’t even think. That’s the whole trouble. When you’re feeling depressed, you can’t even think.” (p102)

“The thing is, most of the time when you’re coming pretty close to doing it with a girl – a girl that isn’t a prostitute or anything, I mean – she keeps telling you to stop. The trouble with me is, I stop. Most guys don’t. I can’t help it.” (p103)