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THE JAKARTA POST
Young writers test the limits of teenlit
Daniel Rose , Contributor , Jakarta | Sun, 05/11/2008 12:37 PM | Lifestyle
A man who works in marketing and rarely reads fiction said that whenever he heard the word “writer”, the first thing that crossed his mind was eccentricity.
His definition of “eccentricity” is introverted and quiet on one hand; extroverted and rebellious on the other. In short, he thinks writers are a strange breed. Where did he get this idea? “The Hours and Finding Forrester,” he answered.
Three young writers sat in the waiting room of Gramedia Pustaka Utama (GPU) publishing company one afternoon – two girls and a guy. The girls, Ratih Kumala and Dyan Nuranindya, were wearing T-shirts, and the guy, Fadil Timorindo, wore a washed-out jacket and skinny jeans. There was nothing eccentric about their appearance.
“Maybe age has something to do with it. Younger writers like me or Ucu Agustin tend to be more relaxed, even though we write serious stuff,” Ratih Kumala, 27, said. “I grew up in Solo, and older writers there believe in finding inspiration from within, but I prefer to hang out with all sorts of people,” she added. Ratih’s novel, Tabula Rasa (Grasindo, 2004), won third place in Dewan Kesenian Jakarta’s Novel Competition 2003.
But the-man-who-works-in-marketing-and-rarely-reads-fiction is not alone. Fadil Timorindo, whose hairdo resurrects Hilman Hariwijaya’s famous fiction character Lupus, sees literary fiction writers as a group of brainy yet mysterious people.
“High literature works are beautiful, so I guess the writers need to dig deep into themselves to find ways to express that beauty.”
Fadil, 18, the author of the recently published teenlit Let’s Party (GPU), is one of the few males who write in this genre.
Let’s depart Jakarta for a moment and go to Surabaya to meet another young writer. Stefani Hid, 22, has three published novels under her belt. Dealing with heavy subjects like existentialism, depression, obsession with death, and absurdity, Stefani is a pretty laid back person in real life. “I write to get my problems out of my head. I mold anything that is clamoring inside it into sentences. It’s a good form of therapy,” she said.
Subjects like existentialism and depression sound cool, indeed, but our young writers, especially those of pop novel fame, are aware that young readers are especially fond of love stories. Stephanie Zen, 20, another Surabaya-based writer, has written four novels that deal with this theme. “Believe it or not, three of my novels tell love stories in a musical setting: band groups. The other one is about a girl who falls in love with a badminton player.
Dyan Nuranindya’s best-selling novel Dealova (GPU, 2004) is also about love between young people.
“Tabula Rasa in many places deals with romance in general: relationships between males and females, between a young person and an older person, and between lesbians,” Ratih, who has been married to prolific writer Eka Kurniawan for two years, said.
Do these young writers dare to go further and speak of the unspeakable theme in their works, considering how some, if not most, Indonesians react to the word “sex”?
“Yeah, my novels have some sexual content. In a talk show in Depok, one man who claimed to be a teacher said my works were a threat to the morality of the nation’s youth. So I told him that was not the message,” Stefani, who started writing at the age of 16, said. “Besides, people should no longer turn away from this kind of topic, especially not young people.”
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BEBERAPA BULAN MENGISI KOMPAS
Alhamdulillah, pernah dalam beberapa bulan Dealova dan Rahasia Bintang masuk dalam jajaran buku laris di harian Kompas…..