Why Write

Note: I talked at the discussion on “Why Write” at UWRF 2015. Here are my thoughts.

For me writing is always personal and political at the same time.

I started to write novel just 5 years ago. My first novel was published in 2010 and until now I have written 4 novels.

I used to be a journalist for years, had been writing reportage, news, story based on fact, based on what people said, make sure that everything already passed the check and balance process. As a journalist I used to write stories that relates with public interest, trying to make my writing as a criticism to government, trying to make unknown problem get attention from many people, trying to make people who don’t know how to speak can be heard. At the time, I started to believe how words have big influence to people. It can make government change their decision, it can make people know there is something wrong with their society, their country.

And then one day I found that journalism doesn’t fit me anymore. I need bigger space to express my feeling, my ideas, and my imagination. Then fiction became the answer. I combined my journalism’s experiences with my story telling intuition. I came to believe later that fiction does have more power in influence people mind while printing new conciousness.

Writing fiction for me is about my feeling, my thoughts but it is also all about persons, people and how they live their life and share it with others. All writings – including  fiction – is about communicating and sharing ideas and stories.

My first novel, Entrok/The Years of The Voiceless, highlights how my experience help me create a novel. As a girl growing up during the New Order Era, I felt and watched the brutality of a period.

My second novel 86 is also based on my experience covering corruption cases. It was born out of frustration on how little we could do to deal with this systematic problem.

My third novel Maryam/The Outcast is based on my friend’s experience as an Ahmadi and my concerns about the fate of this group.

My fourth novel Pasung Jiwa/Bound/Gebunden touches issue about how every individual deserves freedom through the story of transgender and all levels of discrimination they are facing.

Overall, I write about my generation and the current and real problems they encounter rather than about the past with of course full awareness about history.

After all, writing is about courage and freedom. Without both of those we say and stand up for nothing.

The session of "Why Write" at Ubud Writers Festival 2015

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