When I was younger, writing resolutions for the new year was something to look forward to. This was a quick way to feel hopeful, to feel that all the things that remained unfixed at the end of the year were not unresolvable. You’d get another go at losing weight, finding love, painting more – whatever it was,  January gifted the sense of promise that things could change and would be better. As I grew up, these lists became shorter – I thought this would make things more achievable – eventually I only aspired to do only one thing. One year it was to smile more, another year it was to frown less. Last year, it was to write everyday.

At this time, I wrote with a pencil and into a Moleskine – on impulse I’d want to write, then abandon any thread of a poem or story I had begun, to embark on a new trajectory – and as a result, each Moleskine filled was an accumulation of untied knots, wonderful beginnings, all leading to a shapeless nowhere. Writing everyday would discipline me into a narrative, I thought; it’d help me pursue A to Z and mature me as a writer.

As it happened, the universe took notice and a month later, I became a journalist. After which, there was no choice but to write daily – in a way, things had overcorrected, though I was immediately sure that writing would play a leading role in my life. Thoughts were best expressed on paper through art, and I would soon find others who felt the same way.

ISSUE has given us a new discipline. To produce something new, monthly – aside from this, the conversation within the team would serve to evolve our work. We’ve become smarter about choosing our themes, if before we wrote a list of ’emotions’ as guidance, and arbitrarily picked a few from there. We’re about to go on a different trajectory, ‘Commitment’ will be the last of our cleaner themes, before things get a bit less boxy.

Still, Commitment has opened the floor to a lot of personal stories – which we always welcome – would-be love tales, devotion and its sometimes eroding nature, chance encounters and the epic decisions that have similarly epic effects on our lives. The ISSUE team is expanding fast, but the stories, I hope, remain small, intimate, relatable and precious.

One of those stories is by Nadzirah Hashim, who most recently found FriendlyFashion.My, an online store for pre-loved items. We met Nazdirah during Ramadhan, on a hot afternoon when we had to settle with doing the interview on a flight of stairs. Nadzirah’s life has taken a few drastic turns, and we find the motivation that has driven her to finally do what she has always wanted to – even if the odds were at times set against her.

Do read, indulge, savour what our team has prepared this month. Behind the scenes, I can assure you, there’s a lot of effort to make sure we push ourselves to write about things that make us uncomfortable, to explore new angles and to push our work to go beyond the plain or conceptual.

Khariyyah,Ying Xian and Irina join us as columnists from this month onwards. Meanwhile, we also have a diverse mix of contributions from Lee Lian Kong, Sara Benggon, Liyana Dizzy,  A Arjuna Daud and Jehan Aziz. Fiction, essays, poetry, and submissions in different languages and mediums. Our new Contributions Editor Derek Kok eagerly waits for your contributions. This page will tell you about our next themes,and where to direct submissions to.

Also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

– Al

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