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“The Quarter Life Crisis Poet”
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Twitter: @CattVaughan
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Rules for Unrequited Love


Rule No.1

  Never beg for their attention,

  You’re only making yourself a fool

  They will feel more disgusted with you

  Avoiding you more and more


Rule No.2

  Avoid waiting for their messages

  They will never ever put an effort to read it

  Even if they do, for them, 

  It’s just useless.


Rule No.3

   Stop dreaming of them loving you back

   Because no matter what you’ll do

   Unrequited love will always remain unrequited love


Rule No.4

   Move on and forget it happened

   It might be hard but it’s worth it in the end

   Learn to walk away on things not meant to be

   God will send the one when you’re ready, not when you’re lonely


Rule No.5

   Ask help from God

   No one can ever heal your heart more than…

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The Heritage of Cirebon

What an Amazing World!

Twin White Tigers Welcome Visitors to Cirebon's Keraton Kasepuhan (Palace of the House of Elders) Twin White Tigers Welcome Visitors to Cirebon’s Keraton Kasepuhan (Palace of the House of Elders)

Throngs of vendors fill the narrow alleys outside the royal courtyard. Colorful shirts for souvenir and appetizing scent of bakso – meatball soup – keep bargain hunters and tourists stay in this maze-like seasonal market for hours, among other things. It takes a while for us to find the entrance to the Keraton – the Royal Palace – as we have to navigate through the tarpaulin-covered narrow walkways while spotting a modest Ferris wheel at an open space. It is merely one week before the celebration of the birth of the Prophet Muhammad, often carried out in festivities across the country.

It is not an easy thing to locate the entrance gate. But fortunately the typical hot and humid air of coastal cities in tropical regions is absent this time, sparing all of us from…

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Architectural Gems of Old Cirebon

What an Amazing World!

The City Hall of Cirebon

Six giant golden shrimps shine brightly under the sun, perched above the half-moon portico of the fine white building. The Indonesian flag flies proudly over a well-manicured garden filled with all sorts of tropical plants. On top of the structure, an emblem also depicting a shrimp seems to further affirm the city’s reputation. Bart, Badai, James and I are standing in front of the City Hall of Cirebon, marveling at this vestige of the Dutch colonial period in the port city. Constructed in the 1920s as the Raadhuis – city council – the Art Deco building also served as a meeting place for Europeans who lived in Cirebon until the Japanese took over and turned it into the city’s seat of administration.

The modern city of Cirebon traces its history back to the 15th century when it was still a small fishing village on the…

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Poem: The Best Friend I Never Had

best friends_fl

The Best Friend I Never Had

Thank you for the headband
customized like
Blair Waldorf
Waldorf Astoria?
This weekend, my friend.
A slumber party like the old days.

In ways
it should have been – could have been.
I missed out so much
my only clutch
you stole
my crutch
you stole
It was just bad luck

So now I write to make it alright
I write what could have been
if you’d only let me in.
My stories, my dreams
create a new team
of worthy opponents

Top 20 reasons to give poetry books as gifts

poet | artist

The holiday catalogues have started to arrive in my mailbox. And while I’m admiring how pretty they are as decorations for my recycling bin, I felt the need to write a little guidance on surviving this annual season of materialism. Here’s my top-20 list of reasons to make it easy on yourself — buy poetry books for everyone on your list. (My kids helped with this, so please forgive the sarcasms!)


Top 20 reasons to give poetry books as gifts

#20 – Won’t go out of fashion (because it isn’t fashionable to begin with).

#19 – They probably don’t already have it.

#18 – Everyone needs more poetry!

#17 – Shows that you think of them as extremely intelligent, emotionally sensitive, and spiritually evolved people.

#16 – Makes you seem quite intelligent, emotionally sensitive, and spiritually evolved.

#15 – Non-perishable.

#14 – Cheaper than a great bottle of wine.

#13 – Invites reading lines…

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“… It cuts me up inside and the only person I share that with is me. You don’t know me…” – On Poetry, emotions and reactivity.

girl staring darkness

My poems are very personal. This August challenge literally makes me feel like the whole world is looking inside my journal and they are going to know exactly who and what I am writing about… Which is false. We are usually just projecting ourselves and at the end of the day nobody was there for me, nobody was around when things happened so they cannot possibly know…

People deserve to take what they want out of a piece of art and I hope that at least they can get some kind of comfort, recognition and feeling of belonging from my poetry that they are not the only one feeling the same way or have been through similar situations.

I really like recalling lines from film or TV or art or anything that captures how I feel. The above headline quote is from an episode of the 90’s TV show Angel and it sums up how I feel about my poetry even though the original context and meaning of the line is irrelevant to my poems.

The point is we need that understanding from someone to explain and surmise a state or emotion previously beyond our comprehension.

You are welcome to share lines of my poetry that make you feel something and ignite a feeling of connection from writer to poem to reader to your heart… Tag me on twitter @CattVaughan or share poems from my Facebook page /CatherineVaughanWriter.

At the end of the day my poems are about my life yet are also not about me and they are in some ways about “saving somebody’s soul” [Angel, Sanctuary S1 ep 19] and then they end up being about everyone, particularly everybody that is hurting right now. I’m very conscious of the fact that souls need to be saved, I’m so aware of human suffering on all levels…

Notably it’s too agonizing to write about certain hurts or traumas all the time so in this upcoming August poetry challenge some poems are about lovely things like cherry blossoms others like “Tiara” are completely imaginative and fictitious and some bare my deepest secrets… In my earlier published works it was autobiographical yet expressed in a veiled manner as I did not have the audacity to say what I felt whereas now I am more explicit with my feelings yet the events described may overlap it may be about more than one person or there may be some artistic licence and imagination to bring a poem to life…

I know how important and meaningful certain song lyrics and quotes are and how they make me feel and I truly hope and would be honoured if any of my poems make you feel that sense of deep connection.

The biggest lessons I’ve learned is that you can’t control anything or anyone. People just think what they think regardless. Sometimes it’s because they don’t know how to think other times because they’re just closed up in their own minds. I made the assumption that when girls said to me they have dated a guy like the one in my poem 2am that suddenly their relationship pattern played out the same way mine did. But in reality they could tell me what the guy did and how it made them feel and it could be totally DIFFERENT to the situation I was writing about. Sure the poem has resonance but it’s possible the sentiments or situation differs vastly. I’d hate to explain the literal meaning of a poem and then it is totally at odds with the reader’s initial interpretation it would just give the feeling of dissatisfaction like when a book is turned into a film you can’t be happy with both versions because one conflicts with how you imagined it to be.

I’m still at a very early stage with my poetry and there is no gap or separation from my words and me. Some Poets have a totally separate identity from their art and heart they can convey personal experiences in poetry yet remain detached. At this phase in my life I haven’t got to that level but I just have to remember that I will someday and everything I’ve poured my heart and soul into will just be words on screen/words on ink. Eventually I’ll reach that threshold and be detached… Or perhaps that’s the beauty of my art that it truly is an imprint of my heart and soul and maybe my poems will forever make me suffer and I will become a tortured artist because I cannot let go…

I felt the need to maybe explain some poems but what is the point? It would still get misinterpreted anyway… Unless someone was in that period of my life and was right there next to me as I wrote the poem they would simply have no clue what it’s about, they don’t need to. They can just take whatever they want from it. I relinquish control from then on which is a very important step to making poetry.

Explanation isn’t required in art. I’m only just starting to understand this. Misinterpretation also acts as a liberator and gives me the permission to write what I need to write.

I may have published “my heart / your art” in a self-conscious moment as I lacked the bravery to admit that “my heart is my art” but now I come with full force to declare to the world “I chose my art over my heart.”

I have to remember I’m still young and it’s so early in my literary career. I haven’t even started. These emotions fuel my art and help to counteract writer’s block. As painful as some of these poems were to write, ultimately, it’s inspiration and is helping me build a body of work. It comes at a huge cost but I couldn’t not be doing what I am doing.

I’ve come to a place of acceptance and maturity. Quite simply all this pain and anguish is a creative catalyst, without it I would have no art. Literally. It is just who I am.  It took me a really long time to realize it and understand what my style is but it is romantic, not necessarily filled with lovey-dovey stuff but with attention to detail, appreciation, sentimentality and nostalgia.

Juxtaposed with the fact that in my mind I keep thinking that my poetry and my novel will (verbatim) be “the death of me.” I really do die a little inside each time I write poetry particularly when I have to read my poems aloud. So much of my art is simply a mirror of the cocktail of chaos that my life has been, so I have no choice in what I write.

You have to be so painfully honest in art. At least, that’s the standard I hold. I guess it’s because I’m so intense and an all or nothing kinda person. It doesn’t mean you have to be explicit like describe how they look or outright explain that it was your best friend who screwed you over or whatever the case may be. It just has to be the absolute truth of the emotional dynamic or the wave of emotion or ’emoji’ has to be accurate you can’t downplay it.

If Van Gogh didn’t go all pointillism on canvas we wouldn’t have Van Gogh. If I hadn’t have experienced repeated lost love and unfulfilled love and dissatisfaction with the philistines I dated I’d never have have my novel.  If I had the bohemian boyfriend I always thought I would have my novel would never be conceived and I’d be lost and never found.

From absence and lack we can make our best art. A lack of love or a lack of understanding can create a covetous cocktail of creativity.

I guess without it I’d be stuck feeling like I had something to make and do but coming up blank. If you want to be a writer you have to have something to say…

It’s the dissatisfaction that keeps me moving forward therefore I’m always searching. I shall continue to be on the search for everything and may spend a lifetime this way.

Join me on my journey…



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Official Merch for my debut poetry Book The Quarter Life Crisis Poet is also available!

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How to hygge…

the hygge project

So you have heard about the new Danish craze that is hygge (HOO-gah) (and if you haven’t heard of it, refer to this post).

Perhaps you grasp that it is cozy, but give me an example, you ask…besides fresh mugs of coffee and crackling fireplaces…

How does one hygge?


Hygge is a subjective term, and different for everyone. In my humblest opinion, hygge boils down to simple pleasures that bring you joy.

Create a pleasant environment: you don’t have to live in Scandinavia to cozy it up like the Danes; here are some of my favorite ways to hygge at home, no matter where I am:

  • Light a candle (specifically in an earthy scent like pine or vanilla, or even better, scents that smell like baked goods)
  • No overhead lights, use warm, cozy lighting like lamps and string lights
  • Play music, often. One of my favorite things to…

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