“Reading was always the one thing I was obsessive about as a kid. It actually got me into a lot of trouble because I would be reading during a math or science class. I used to get whacked and sent out of class a lot, but I’d just bring my book with me and continue reading.

I think I started the year my mom was pregnant with my sister. I had to be alone a lot, so I would go to this small neighbourhood library just across my block and spent about four hours there everyday after school.

I patronised that place until it eventually closed down when I was about 12. I read every single book they had, from Asian folk mythology to Sweet Valley High. I must have read about 800 books. Now, I struggle to finish even one for school!

I’m currently doing my Masters in English Literature at Nanyang Technological University. That’s a socially acceptable way of telling people that I spend a lot of time looking at squibbles on paper and hallucinating very vividly in my head. That’s what reading is, isn’t it?

School’s been great. The people here are weird but in a good way. Reading is a very solitary act, and I think people who turn to literature grow up having this image of themselves and how they fade into the world, because they’re usually the odd ones out, the outcasts.

This place also challenges us by exposing us to books we wouldn’t have read ourselves and  breaking down certain ideas we might have. Not in a very prescriptive way, but more of a ‘you could take this and mix it around with your own ideas inside your head’ kind of way.

That’s why I’m drawn to postmodernism and experimental writing. I want to blow apart all these old ideas on how to talk and form sentences because they’re not enough to address my reality and my truths, and that’s what this is how you walk on the moon is all about.

My friends and I wanted to push the boundaries when we edited this anthology. None of the writers featured here sat down and deliberately tried to create something inaccessible. They were all trying to make sense of their own lives in curious ways.

While they might seem unfamiliar, the stories are actually about worlds that exist inside all of us – worlds of alienation, worlds of loneliness, of yearning to be touched, yearning to connect.

And when you get to these worlds, even if it’s via an unfamiliar path, it makes the reading experience all the more powerful.” – Samuel, 26

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Arman Shah

A former travel writer with fond memories of solo adventures in Southeast Asia, Arman is now Founder of The Everyday People. He's also the co-host of Channel Empathy, a podcast about the marginalised in Singapore.