Roy Peter Clark says so and I just can’t agree more.
I can tell you I have done too much short-writing. Yet, I have no idea whether my brief pieces are quite good or just so so or mediocre. I hate to say this, but a writer does need acknowldgment from others, even the writeups are just not meant to be read by others. Even if it’s a personal diary, we still need the acknowldgment from ourselves.
Writing short is an art itself. As a web content writer, I know how it feels to create a short piece within only 20 minutes, without further editing or editorial check. That’s how I mostly write along a typical day. Because we are thirst of hits, pageviews, visitors, and an improved Alexa ranking. I don’t truly care but when my employer says so, that means I have to care. All those things are to me merely byproducts, but these people think they’re everything. Poor them. Wrong mindset and what can I do about it? Nothing.
So I stop complaining about all the crap and non-sense. It won’t change things no matter what. And instead, I pour my energy into something greater and more productive; writing. What else?
As a novice journalist, this could be my baby step to the acme of my career. The career of writing…
1.”Jika pistol muncul dalam cerita, maka harus ditembakkan. […] Maksudnya, jangan memunculkan alat yang tidak semestinya dalam cerita. Kalau pistol muncul, ya harus ditembakkan pada suatu adegan dalam cerita. Chekhov suka mengarang cerita tanpa hiasan berlebihan.” (Hal 22-23)
2. “Memang tubuh manusia dibuat sedikit banyak tidak simetris. Ketidaksimetrisan itu sendiri tidak layak dikatakan sebagai di luar kebiasaan alam. Kelopak mata kanan dan kiri Tengo sendiri sedikit berbeda bentuk. Buah pelir kirinya berposisi sedikit lebih rendah daripada buah pelir kanan. Tubuh kita bukan hasil produksi massal yang dibuat sesuai dengan standar pabrik.” (Hal 30)
3. “Lebih baik jangan mengucapkan kata-kata yang tidak perlu.” (Hal 51)
4. “Kusarankan, lebih baik jangan bidik pelipis. Menembak otak dari pelipis jauh lebih sulit daripada yang kamu kira. […]. Bagi manusia, saat kematian sangat penting. Cara lahir tidak bisa dipilih, tapi cara mati bisa dipilih.” (Hal 62)
5. “Pekerjaannya memang tidak banyak menimbulkan stres dan hasilnya cukup untuk hidup sendiri, tetapi dia sama sekali bukanlah semacam sokoguru masyarakat. Sambil mengajar di bimbel, dia menulis novel, tapi belum diterbitkan sebagai buku. […] Satu-satunya hasil kerja yang layak dibanggakan adalah menjadi ghostwriter, penulis di belakang layar, yang mengubah Kepompong Udara menjadi buku terlaris, tetapi soal itu takkan diberitahukannya kepada siapa pun walau mulutnya dibelah.” (Hal 80-81)
6. “Menulis kembali masa lalu memang tidak ada artinya, Tengo sungguh-sungguh merasa begitu. […] Walaupun masa lalunya ditulis kembali seteliti mungkin dan seantusias mungkin, situasi dirinya pada masa kini secara garis besar takkan berubah. Waktu memiliki kekuatan yang cukup besar untuk membatalkan perubahan yang dilakukan tangan manusia. (Hal 84)
7. “Seolah-olah memagari rasa kekosongan yang fatal itu, dia harus menciptakan kepribadian diri yang cerah. Tapi jika hiasan kepribadian itu dikuliti, maka yang tersisa hanya kehampaan tanpa dasar, kehampaan yang menimbulkan kehausan dahsyat belaka.” (Hal 91)
Kebohongan kadang bukan tentang memelintir fakta tetapi memenggalnya sedemikian rupa demi keuntungan tertentu.
“Seekor tikus bertemu dengan kucing jantan besar di loteng kecil di bawah atap. Tikus itu terdesak ke pojok, tak bisa melarikan diri. Sambil gemetaran, tikus berkata,’Tuan Kucing, kumohon, jangan makan aku. Aku harus pulang ke keluargaku. Anak-anakku menunggu dengan perut ksong. Mohon biarkan aku pergi.’ Kata kucing,’Jangan khawatir. Aku takkan memakanmu. Diam-diam, sebenarnya aku ini vegetarian. Tidak makan daging sama sekali. Kamu beruntung hari ini bertemu denganku.’ Tikus berkata,’Cihuy, alangkah indahnya hari ini! Betapa beruntungnya aku bertemu dengan Tuan Kucing vegetarian!’ Tapi sebentar kemudian, kucing itu menerkam si tikus, mencengkeram badannya kuat-kuat, lalu menusukkan gigi tajam ke tenggorokannya. Dalam penderitaannya, tikus bertanya pada kucing dengan napas penghabisan,”Tapi, katamu tadi kau vegetarian, tidak makan daging sama sekali. Apa kau bohong?’ Sambil menjilati sekitar mulutnya, kucing berkata,’Tidak bohong. Aku memang tidak makan daging. Kau akan kubawa pulang dan kutukarkan dengan daun selada.” (Dikutip dari 1Q84 karya Haruki Murakami, hal 94-95)
While waiting for the food I ordered at my regular eatery, someone came in.
We saw each other – a few seconds of eye contact and nothing happened- and he ordered ketoprak, a food basically loaded with tons of carbohydrates. I was waiting for gado-gado, an option of meal that seems healthier as it is of vegetables and a half slice of chicken egg. The fried peanut sauce may be the one villainous ingredient on the plate.
He stands around 5 feet 3 inches. He has got that brawny and boyish figure. There is almost no stubble of facial hair. No beard, no sideburns. Even moustache barely grows right above his thin lips. The slim-and-fit denim and dark navy blue polo t-shirt seem to be his statement of casual latest fashion, things I also wear often. His nose is decent, neither too diminutive nor super huge. His straight black hair is combed to the left. No excessive fat deposit is in sight, and he’s got that thin body that I bet won’t exceed 60 kgs when weighed on a bathroom scale. And his eyes are glued to the smartphone screen. With a pair of small eyes protected by black-framed glasses, this young man is, I suppose, just like me. Wait, is he my twin?
But he eats faster and much noisier than I do…
Maybe we are not that identical but well, who knows?
Now I am wondering, what if I have a twin sibling? Could it be fun or hellish?
B. K. S. Iyengar is widely known for his masterpiece “Light on Yoga”, a thick how-to book that most yogis and yoginis refer to as ‘yoga bible’. The pictures are captivating and jaw dropping, too, especially if you’re a beginner. There are too many unusually contorted photos of Iyengar there that murders almost every beginner’s spirit of starting doing yoga, or conversely, these novices are so motivated that they vow to themselves they want to be the super bendy guy they see in the book. It seems like every yoga enthusiast, practitioner and guru endlessly cite the sentences of Iyengar.
And today, once again Iyengar had a mention in the workshop at which Christina Sell was teaching. As she said we needed to take a look at Light on Yoga, some of us blurted,”He (Iyengar) was born that way.” Christina said,”No.”
REALLY? We stared and frowned at each other, in utter disbelief. How can it not be an innate tendency, a gift from God? Was Christina possibly joking?
Christina went on once she thought we wouldn’t believe her words that easily. “He (Iyengar) was born very sickly,”she explained. As he grew up, he couldn’t sit down properly for 30 minutes in regular classroom chairs. He thought it was abnormally shameful, because everyone else managed to do that. His mother passed away following his birth and being the son in the family, he wasn’t treated like a golden boy. Iyengar was cast off by the family, who thought he must have been dead anytime soon. His older sister got married and practically left young Iyengar alone. With such a frail body, Iyengar also found it hard to touch his knees. In other words, he wasn’t born that bendy and stretchy!
To add to the amazement, Christina told us he started to practice yoga of his own style during his middle age (40’s). “Not really young. He wasn’t a 20 something man.”
Now Iyengar is in his 90’s. Still alive and kicking. ‘Pretty fly’ for a yogi that age.
So it’s all about regular practice as we can see it. He earned his being outstandingly bendy with a long time of toil.
Cuma orang gila
Yang nekat yoga
Padahal hanya karena
Tapi mesti kutinggalkan
Tanda perpisahan untuknya
Musholla yang penuh suka duka
“Did you know from an early age that you would be a writer?” I was asked.
I answered,”I didn’t know. I loved writing longhand, and still do now. I wrote longhand like a clerk for hours. I can stand it better than solving math problems, which killed and stressed out my brain almost instantly.”
Nobody is aware of the fact that I’m just an amateur. Maybe I’m a professional, slightly, but still I have got a lot to work on. I’m no published writer. Well, I’m published writer ONLINE, but considering how many bloggers and casual writers out there, I feel a bit depressed. How can I stand out amongst them all? My work gets published like 25 times a day, but as I look back, those 25 pieces are not really my work. So I’m not going to take pride of the paraphrasing job. That’s all about quantity.
But being a writer should also take quality into account. And I need to work more on this. I have to. Or else, I’ll be condemned to be a failure.
In fear of being a huge failure, I feel like I have to find role models. A perfect author for me to be aspired to. John Irving seems like a perfect candidate!
Irving claims he had a pre-writing moment when he recognized from childhood that he felt enough to be with his friends ONLY on his school days. Other than those days, he preferred wanted to be all alone. It does sound like my childhood, too. I’d rather be at home, studying, or doing things I liked on my own. I wanted full control of my environment. And allowing people to come into my private circle was too risky. I wanted them to stay away. Even my parents, and siblings. I kept diary but my parent found and no privacy was enforced at home. So I stopped writing any personal stuff on a piece of paper. The writer in myself was dying. I shifted to my own imagination.
The young Irving liked to keep a journal too and drew sketches of landscape on it. He liked to go home alone and to stay in a room alone, and to play at his grandmother’s garden by himself. Sounds like an introverted personality to me!
How much do you enjoy being alone? That more or less determines whether or not you’re going to be a writer.
I’m a loner. And my parents still think I’m cold, too introverted, and silent. Also, my coworkers think I’m a cold person. It’s just because I need to focus while writing and that means I have to ignore them completely when I’m working. That’s something non-writer folks will never understand perfectly.
As Irving puts it,”There’s a desire to be in a comfort at being alone.” That said, it gives me hope, that I’ll be a writer someday. A true writer, an author who makes hsi beloved ones proud for being himself: a loner on the corner.
Sebelum menyebut layanan jejaring sosial yang ia buat sebagai Twitter, Jack Dorsey pernah mempertimbangkan untuk menggunakan nama-nama lain. “Kami saat itu akan menggunakan nama ‘Jitter’, lalu ‘Twitch’. Semuanya terdengar kurang enak dan kami ingin menggunakan nama yang artinya sensasi fisik. Saat Anda mendapatkan pesan, ponsel akan bergerak-gerak. Tapi rasanya Twitch kurang bisa menyampaikan citra yang baik,”terangnya sebagaimana dikutip dari sebuah wawancara dengan Kevin Rose.
Jack kemudian mengatakan ia mengambil kamus dan menemukan di entri berawalan “tw…” lalu ia menemukan kata “twitter” yang artinya “letupan informasi yang singkat dan tidak penting” dan “kicauan burung”. Kata itu ia temukan di kamus Oxford baru. Sempurna! Ia pun memakainya.
“Karena kami berbasis di ponsel, dan ponsel menjadi bagian penting dalam kehidupan, dibutuhkan kode pendek yang cuma 5 karakter. Lalu kami memutuskan untuk menghilangkan vokalnya menjadi ‘twttr’ agar orang bisa menggunakan Twitter di ponselnya sebagai layanan,”kisahnya.
Namun, eksperimen nama brand itu terganjal. “Twttr” sudah diklaim dan digunakan oleh pihak lain sehingga timnya harus opsi nama tersebut.
I once said to my friend that being a writer means one should get cerebral. That entails the endurance of sitting all day long (or standing if you have that standing desk), working alone, without being and feeling lonely because one is much too busy, engrossed with and accompanied by all the intellectual work.
When I write, everything else comes second. That brings the consequence that I ought to entirely disconnect myself from the outer world. It keeps the mind laser-focused. Think only one thing on your mind and do write about it without hesitation, without fear or anxiety that you have neglected other things and people around you. Don’t bother thinking about the chats you can’t reply right away, the texts your parents sent, the phone calls your employer or client did to reach you. All these things can wait. Once again, they can wait. If you say they must wait, they’ll wait. It’s just a mind game. Be the master instead of the slave.
That said, I always try to write offline. Like now, I am typing on my BlackBerry without the mobile network turned on. Or if I find a desk, I’ll sit and work on my laptop without getting connected to the wifi or internet connection so I won’t be disturbed anyhow.