Homegrown: An exclusive with Things We Forget’s J. J. Penn

A long, long time ago (four years, to be exact), way before the Sticker Lady’s branding of Singapore roads, there was Things We Forget. If like us you’ve been luckless in finding one of their motivational post-its—you can tell exactly what it is if you see it with the bright yellow sticker and cute penmanship—things are about to change. Using the pseudonym J. J. Penn, the creator of Things We Forget will have a book compilation of these great little reminders out on October 1. We talk to J. J. Penn about love, self-help books and of course, SKL0.

Describe your current state of mind. 
Calm and positive. But then it might be the effect of the anti-flu medicines I’m on right now.

What are you listening to? 
“Night on Bald Mountain” by the Moscow National Symphony.

Do you plan where you want to leave your post-its?
No, I leave them wherever I am. I know a couple of them have been picked up because people write to me saying they’ve found them.  

Any surprising responses?
A lady once wrote to me saying that one of my notes stopped her from killing herself. She was contemplating suicide when she chanced upon my blog. That made me feel really blessed.

What did you think of the SKL0 saga?
It was a molehill made a mountain by both sides. Plus I didn’t see what her point was besides provocation. Honestly, if it’d been me in that situation, I’m not sure how I’d have reacted.

Congratulations on your book deal. How did this happen? 
Marian Lizzi, the Editor at Penguin USA, found me on Facebook.

Self-help books—do you read them? If yes, any favourite authors? If no, forget it. 
I used to, but I don’t any more. I highly recommend The Antidote by Oliver Burkeman—happiness for people who can’t stand positive thinking.

Would you say you’re a loner, or a social person?
I’m a bit of both depending on my mood, what my preoccupations are and what I’m working on at the given moment.

Who knows who the Postit Guy really is?
My family and close friends.

Why all the mystery?
I think it’s a lot of fun. Besides, the notes work better if their source is kept neutral. The reader can focus on the message without mixing it up with its creator.

Wise. What is the most important thing you’ve learnt this past year? 
That your mind affects your body and vice versa. Take care of one and you take care of the other too.

What does love mean to you and how do you get it? 
Love means acceptance without judgment. And you get love by staying easy and not trying to grasp it.

Things We Forget: Little Reminders of What Matters Most is available for pre-order on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound and Book Depository.

Reader Interactions

Leave A Reply


Support local news and join a community of like-minded
“Coconauts” across Southeast Asia and Hong Kong.

Join Now
Coconuts TV
Our latest and greatest original videos
Subscribe on