Ice cream owls.

Harper hands me her phone, or rather, thrusts it at me with impassioned fear, and, as probably intended, it hits me in the face.

Her reasoning: she was in the midst of a mindless Twitter scroll when she stumbled on a photograph of a girl holding an ice cream cone but upon closer look, it was actually a tiny owl.

“Why do photographs betray you like that?” she says, crouched by the foot of her bed as I nurse my nose, now throbbing.

“Have you met a photographer before?” I ask her. She looks at me with wild eyes before turning on her bluetooth speaker. She plays a song that could’ve been sung by an elf at a speakeasy before pulling out two instant memories from her dresser.

“When Rebecca took this picture, she was half dizzy with lemon lime bitters. When I told her to give me the camera, she batted my hands away with such force that I toppled over the bridegroom.” I wanted to react in disbelief but Harper just glares at me with sinister knowing.

I pass the phone back to her to calm her.

“You weren’t in love with the bridegroom were you?”

“He used to be in love with me.”

I watch her sneeze, the corner of her eyes filling with tears. A symptom, apparently.

“Of what – sadness?” I shrug a maybe and she laughs so uproariously, the neighbour’s dog started barking. She orders me to stare at the photograph once more and I can’t help but admire her dress. It was soft pink, off-shoulder, embellished with pale green lily pads. Her face was ostentatious in its glee, a hand on the bridegroom’s shoulder, steadying herself.

She flicks the back of the photograph with her fingers. “Do you see happiness there?” I nod. “Do you see sadness?” I shake my head. “Do you see a flicker of doubt? Fear on anyone’s face?” I look straight at her.

“It’s an honest photograph,” I say. “Just a bunch of friends laughing, celebrating.”

She pushes her phone right in my face again, and with malicious anger, “Yes. Unlike this Stupid. Ice cream. Owl.”

Edit: *bridegroom, not groomsman. Harper thrives on drama.


Coco shoes

“I spent a good amount of time watching vignettes of the Chanel parfum campaign this evening,” Harper says, sprawled on a well-sat beanbag by her dresser. She’s twirling the second instalment of the Game of Thrones series between her fingers and if she isn’t complaining about finger cramps, she would be very soon.

“Did you enjoy this spiral down a lane of ethereal beauty, posh and Knightley?”

She points to the 20ml, gilded spritzer poking out of her bag.

“The Mademoiselle campaign was launched in 2011. I started wearing this when I outright lived hashtag la Dolce vita. And call me petty but it so happens to be filmed by Joe Wright, my aesthetic coach (he doesn’t know it yet). So yes, this is entirely the work of fate.”

Harper may have told you about her daring dreams to traipse and traverse the mountain of media, but she often barricades herself in self-denial about this as she pursues her career in a violently fashionable soirée.

She says that owning two pairs of white shoes is enough for a decade but if someone says your work shoes look like someone a grandmother would wear, then wear it everywhere.

“Your feet possesses the power to physically transport you to places of learning, entertaining, napping, mhmm. Never doubt your choice of footwear when you feel good in them. It helps with achieving your dreams.”

Imagine how much we’ve taken for granted the littlest of these things. Big picture often screams plans and preparation. Anecdotes, however, are the most powerful testimony.

And Harper plans to take over the world as fashionably cheap as she could egotistically muster.

“See smaller things bigger,” she says, finally flipping open the novel. “And get out. I have a chapter to go.”


Last night, I went hunting for a Supermoon with my dad. I was wrapped in a flushed Afghan, proud bare feet, and a condition of spontaneity incurable.

It was loud when I exited my room, minutes, seconds, even! to falling in deep slumber when I remembered 11.51pm and jolted upright. My dad was in the living room watching a silent movie or something, the audio was turned down very low, and I tip-toed to the door.

The pavement scratched my feet of course, and I cranked my neck to a disappointing sky.

It was too chilly for summer.

I flag hauled the roller blinds and exited through the backdoors. My dad’s doing some renovating out there. Sequestering the roses by the fences, long-planks bedecked ready for varnishing. It doesn’t smell like paint anymore but everything’s just so white.

I climbed a cement block by one of the supporting beams, adjusting my glasses in the fog (cold chilly and all) and squinted and craned and wished. Puffing, pulling my weight, yet again disappointed by nothing. And everything.

There were hints of red, but the newspaper was false. The sky didn’t clear enough for us dreamers to behold a majestic trifecta promised.

I blame the anchor. Jane, I think. Weather-lady my b*m.

How glorious is authored destiny!

On my bed, I read The City of Ember. It’s a hard-bound copy, taped and sealed with a promise of a light darkness. To mark my passage across its pages is a deep, velvet red leather bookmark embossed with the words, The Hobbit. It often reminds me that I should return to my literary sojourn of Middle Earth very soon.

As I read through, I came upon plenty of pages that were left dog-eared by its previous borrower. I ask, why on earth do they perform such sacrilege to books!

(I’ll never get over it.)

When I pinched the dog-eared page with my fingers, I felt, suddenly, an instant connection to whomever once read the same written words, and felt the same roiling emotions as we followed Lina and Doon on their quest to save a city forgotten under the earth.

I often wonder if our destinies, our individual strings that lay across the world in tight leashes or unspooled across the continents, have always been so active in our every day but we simply forget, or are whimsy to it, because we are tragic creatures who’d rather dream of it, or watch it unfold in other people’s lives than our own?

What if we pledged our days, bygones and so, tightly to the reality of our own authorship of our lives? If we but say when and allocated a smile for the littlest touches between all of us; the lingerers and wanderers of this magnificent terra!

Can you imagine?

The unfolding of our watery courses in this vibrant/muted suburbia, country town, village, anchorage, city.

The illustrations we produce for each other without knowing; the photographs we share, seen by eyes thousands, millions of measurements away.

The same breath, the same persons.

Every one, every soul.

So entwined, connected, affiliated!

Destiny! Like, how glorious is authored destiny!

In that, it’s la Nouvelle Année!

I cannot believe that we have passed the juncture to a new age already. Here’s some stats:

21% of my time this year has been about the contemplations of creativity. There were no physical, actual iterations of it. Just mere whims.

64% has been quite sad. Often, I dreamt about a life different from the one I asked for, prayed for. The pipe of gratefulness having burst mid-way and I attempted to not fix it wholly.

15% were the laughter. Much repressed, and mostly during the first half of this year when we had destination weddings, and I slept late, woke up late, free to write and adore and stand in the rain as it fell in torrents by torrents. And New Zealand. O, magnificent New Zealand.

100% a mixture of what seems to be the consensus for most of us for this year. It seemed like a travesty, all of what has happened, your sense of purpose dwindling to the social structures that are starting to crumble around us.

But hey, Harper, my compadre, believes in glorious faith. In the destiny written for us, some as black as the darkness between the stars, some as bright as light reflected on a metallic surface. It is a destiny that binds us all together. A journey where we equip ourselves in accoutrements for every experience, wonder, awful, tragedy, happiness.

And the never giving up.

So let’s be grateful for our family who are annoying and who are annoyed by our foolishness and loud/soft voices. Let’s be grateful for the times spent on trains, car rides, planes or dragging wheelbarrows. The feeling of being full (even though there’s still room for dessert), and hey, the failures too.

We have come a long way. And I’m excited that we are two years away from calling this new age, the ’20’s. My absolute favourite.


For a record-breaking entire week, Harper drank coffee.

After each day she would interrogate herself with personal, intrusive questions because she has a penchant of terrorising herself at a constant, educational basis.

She was afraid to tell her boss that she drank coffee for said full week, fearing that he will never, ever let her live it down in her entirety at this boisterous company of coffee-drinkers and spillers. Harper believes she may just keep this to herself until the Christmas party.

FM: It’s been a solid 6 months of declaring your love for tea in the entire office.

H: *with a headache* And I’ve never regretted mouthing such prideful words in my life.

FM: Tell us something extraordinary!

H: Two weeks before, I attended a 70’s themed pre-Christmas party. Most of them were younglings and it was such a fabulous affair of dress-ups and boogies. Imagine two lines of 10 kids dancing to YMCA simultaneously. It was glorious.

FM: Do you feel old?

H: I am so swamped at work that I feel like I’ve put on ten years just this past week. Hence, the caffeinated swamp. But I will always be the “baby” at work as they so affectionately (horrendously) call moi. Most are far too engrossed with this band called Midnight Oil while I’m like Tay-waah? Good thing a fellow-person of nine and twenty believes in me.

FM: What’s the hardest thing about graphics design?

H: The severe underestimation. Folks, if you’ve never done graphics designing in your life, stop asking for a turnaround time of today. You’ll get quality American coffee (disgusting).

FM: Imagine yourself three days from now: It’s two a.m., you’ve got your luggage checked-in, Bon Iver as a lullaby, cameras packed, organic, 100%-sugar juice bought at a ridiculous airport price…what’s the takeaway?

H: Sleep! Much, much sleep! I won’t get it until the night of the next day at a country as foreign as my knowledge on the Lord of the Rings and even then, there will be lots of catching up with my soul sister whom I have not seen in two, very excruciatingly long years.

FM: Even though it’s pretty much gone by?

H: Even though. I talk to her pretty much every day. I talk to him pretty much every day too. There’s never a limit to how much one can mean to you.

FM: Last thoughts before sleeping?

H: Don’t buy a gimbal.


The greater purpose.

I’ve been so caught up in the avalanche of workloads that I find my shoulder hurting and my entire self salivating for a bite, just one tiny, minuscule, microscopic bite of a cheesecake forever craved.

I’ve never had such a week where everything seems to have gone wrong. And yet, dear ghosts, I find myself impeccably calm in such situations, uncaring for the personal judgments of my superiors that I felt incredibly liberated from the fatal thoughts of the “what if they don’t like me?”. I suggest you all try it. Freeing.

In the other light, there are so many things to look forward to in the next concluding months of 2 0 1 7. I want to begin with fulfilling numero uno on my list of fernweh’s having started Harper F.M. and that is to visit the vivacious, mountainous, racketeering New Zealand of Down Down Under. Yes, in countable days, I shall be trekking with a Maz-tiff by my side, ploughing down the road with our Brego’s and our Legolas wigs styled the Targaryen way.

And upon the conclusion of that trek (edit: cannot wait), we return to the shores of a few more weeks of the day job before finding ourselves in a time wrap ready for the release of the sequel of the 7th of an instalment that equals to nine episodes. Stoked?


Importantly, on the eve of the eve Christmas, there will be a road trip in there somewhere where I will re-live the days of lying down on an astroturf underneath the Massachusetts stars unearthing my great purpose with my favourite companion of companions, amidst shaking breaths but now, in summery flower dresses and plentiful-a-bug spray.

Melbourne. No apologies.

Before that, let’s rally the real for some fun office ping pong competition, much forgiveness, vigilance, diligence, and no fear. As, there is still much. But deep breaths, H, deep breaths.

You are called for a great purpose. Live it.