(In case you are wondering, I am back on fictionpress too)
By now, most of you will have realized that I am prone to long and unannounced hiatus. Sorry, my blog reader, if you are still there (or if you do exist at all). Between work and preparing for master courses and random projects and pure laziness I did not have that much time to write. When I did have, insecurities attacked and everything was kept in a state of rewriting ad infinitum.
While I was on hiatus, I had a little chat with my boss on a return work trip from Jakarta. He just recently found out that I aspired to be an author, and he asked, "Why do you write?"
I forgot what exactly my answer was, but I remembered that I was a little flabbergasted at the time. Perhaps I mentioned something about how nice it felt to be acknowledged as "the writer" on my circle of friends and to have a few people referring to themselves as "Vera's fans" after posting several stories on internet. I mentioned something about my mom who introduced me to the world of fiction writing when I was really young. I recalled the first story I wrote : I was five, I was watching Tom and Jerry when I got this idea of a frien-emy relationship between a dog and a cat, not unlike Tom and Jerry. I wrote the story on a book I used to collect English words and draw Sailor Moon on. I finished it shortly after Noktah Merah Perkawinan was aired. My mom was ecstatic when she found out, like she just discovered a Tolstoy in the making. She said if only I would use more down-to-earth names (I don't know, like "Ani" and "Budi"?), I would definitely go places.
"Yes," he said, "But why do you write? What is the purpose?"
Perhaps I said something but in my brain I was like "WHY DO I WRITE? I DON'T KNOW, SIR, WHY DO YOU BREATHE?" Because like reading for Scout Finch in "To Kill The Mockingbirds", I don't really think about why I do it, I just do it. I started to really think about writing when I was unable to do it...which is what exactly happening in these past few months.
What was happening in these past few months, you ask? Oh, a lot. In fact I will blog about it real soon, haha. I also have this one supposedly short project which somehow prevented me to think about another. Felt like I was unable to write other things if I haven't finished this one. "No problem," I thought to myself, "this is a short story anyway. Should not take that long."
I started that project thinking I want to immortalize moments. Sceneries. Feelings. I wanted something that would make me relive that moment, every corners adorned by a reminiscent of something. Memories fade, feelings too, and some things I just don't want to lose.
I wrote and rewrote because I thought perfect moment deserves the perfect portrayal. I worried that people would not "get it". I worried that people would not even read it. I worried about one thousand other things and I move forward with the average rate of 2 words a day.
Perhaps I don't write fiction for myself like I often thought. I write it for others because otherwise why am I worried about their reaction so much? When I write a scene I want them to see the way I see it, put their feet into my shoes...
Of all people, I, as someone who studied psychology, should have known better. It was one of the first thing we learned : perception. That one stimulus could be interpreted differently by different people. That the way one person view something is influenced by myriads of factors: physical, mental and situational. Difference is given. Striving for perfection is one thing, but aiming for a perfectly similar view about something is entirely different.
When a story is published for the reader, the writer is dead. He/she does not have any control anymore over the realm he/she has created. Ironic, but that is okay. Now it is in the hand of the readers, they can interpret it differently, and they will. That is okay, too.
It should not stopped me from my "immortalizing moments" though. Great fiction does not have to be detached from the writer's life...Tolkien's Middle Earth stories is influenced by his experience in World War I, and my German course instructor said that you can practically learn about Goethe's life through his writing.
So here I am, writing. Recording my journeys, finding myself in the process, and perhaps finding reasons too, but that would not be my main purpose. The important point is I have to keep writing.
And for the first step of learning to reconcile between my "immortalization" mission and learning to accept criticism and forgive myself, I published that pain in the ass of a project on fictionpress, entitled 'Ode untuk Mathieu' (written mostly in Bahasa)