Creative writing, mood and consistency

If you have spare time please take a look at this website http://www.inspirasi.co. This is where I and my 10 fellows currently work on. We develop a social media that inspires people, especially Indonesians, to make use of their time in social media websites for creating, sharing something beneficial and creative.

No, I won’t promote this web in this blog other than just that. So, my daily tasks is keeping our social media alive, posting creative posts about what we do, making profile of unique members, promoting the website and selecting best stories and best graphics twice per week.

In conclusion, my current job is all about creativity, no longer about news translation and editing, which I think is more challenging. While inspirations are abundance, not all of them are interesting. Or not all of those ideas can be executed. Writing about simple stuff, for me, is somehow more difficult.

In addition, I still feel writing has something to do with mood. While some say consistency, practice are all that we need to get all the writings done but oftentimes I need to be in a good mood to write. This is the reason I am as not productive as I want myself to be. And when I am really in a good mood I can quickly get good ideas.

I haven’t be able to make creative writings as a daily duty despite I love this activity a lot. I still consider this as a hobby. As such, making this hobby as an obligation feels weird. That is why I make posts about Inspirasi.co once per two days or once per three days in order not to bore me. I have to be excited while doing that because if I am not, the writing will be flat, news-kind-of posts.

Blessed those who are always happy in writing novels or composing what they love on a daily basis. Salute to those who can feel no pressures when making their hobbies as daily professions. I am on my way there.

 

Reading and Introversion

Do you agree with me that reading is likely associated with introverted people? Well, I do because I feel that way. Reading has been my escape for so many years. Through reading, I feel relaxed. Reading encourages me to write. I always feel better after writing. While reading is getting inside other people’ minds, writing channels my emotion. I am an introverted person. I find it difficult to share my feelings to others, except for a few best friends whom are by my side for many years.

Even so, I prefer texting or sending emails whenever I want to say something personal. The reason is simple; I feel that writing is the best communication mode for a person like me. Oftentimes, I can’t say as lot as I write whenever we meet. I feel so ashamed whenever I have to say something private or important. But the case doesn’t apply for writing. I can tell bunch of stories by writing. Sometimes after I finish writing something whether they are published in this blog or not, I am so amazed to have known that I can write that much. I could have never done that by speaking!

Reading and writing has been my friends ever since my mother successfully taught me how to read when I was 7 or 8 years old. A little bit too late, LOL but never mind because these activities have greatly led me achieving most of my dreams, bringing where I am today. One of my former teachers when I worked as a journalist told me that you have to read more if you want to write better. I couldn’t agree more with his statements.

Reading and writing are inseparable. The latter can not live without the former. And you know what? In the smartphone era where people easily get news or read something via screens, I am proud of myself for retaining my hobby of reading physical books. Call me a conventional reader but reading physical books at the palms of my hands feels magical. There is an indescribable sensation that can’t be put into words, the kind of soothing, calm feelings that I can’t ever experience when I read online articles, even e-books. The art of deep reading, for me, can only be obtained by reading physical books. I can better put my whole self into physical books compared to e-books.

Being an introverted, bookworm like me sometimes feels like going against the tide. It’s not an easy thing to say few words in the era where modern people celebrate extroversion, freedom of expression. Sometimes, I feel like people underestimate my capability just because I don’t speak much. This happened when I firstly worked professionally. I was unfairly treated. But precious lessons are learned in the hardest way.

Did I change my personality then because of the bad experiences? Nope. I maintain the way I am. Instead, I become more guarded. I love myself even more. What I change a little bit about myself is that I become more open-minded because I have to survive in a big city, like Jakarta. I get firmer. I no longer afraid saying ‘no’ to something that I do not want to do. And consistently doing this is a quite hard journey because people may think me as a shy, boring person. Unsociable. But since some bitter experiences that I underwent, I have promised to myself to put myself forward more than anyone else so I have to take all consequences. Sometimes, not all people will love what I do or say but it still feels better to let people down than I have to feel sorry for myself. A very though stance but it is so worth it. It always is.

 

 

 

On the 7 greatest Victorian writers

Oscar Wilde

This Irish playwright, writer is notable for his plays. ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’, which I studied back at the university, is one of my most favorite plays other than ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.’ Oscar, as I read from his ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’, is a the kind of writer who doesn’t like going in circles when it comes telling stories. His way of writing is straight-forwarded, you may find a lot of descriptions, idiomatic phrases but it won’t take long for readers to get the point of what he says. His writings is deep, sometimes thrilling, breathtaking as in ‘Dorian Gray.’

Elizabeth Gaskell

A little bit too bad that Elizabeth Gaskell is not as highly lauded as her compatriots, such as Thomas Hardy or Anthony Trollope. The fact is that her writings is so beautiful, vivid, authentic, as you can read in ‘Wives and Daughters.’ Her ‘Mary Barton’ is one of the most magnificent books I have ever read so far. In addition, the novel says a lot of the struggles of the poor, especially laborers. For those who are seeking books by Victorian writers which touch serious issues but are delivered in lighter languages without losing its charming, lovely words and phrases, Elizabeth Gaskell is definitely the best option. What I love most from Gaskell is that she includes day-to-day, small, simple things as mode of observations in her works.

Anthony Trollope

Trollope doesn’t showcase beautiful language as Gaskell or Hardy, at least as seen from ‘The Warden,’ but readers can still enjoy his profound values in the novel. Indeed, he is a serious writer who doesn’t apply pleonastic approach to convey his messages. If you look for uncomplicated story lines then Trollope’s works may be the best for you.

George Eliot

Mary Ann Evans or George Eliot is probably the most difficult Victorian novelist I have dealt so far. On the surface, her language is as delicate as her compatriots but on the deeper level, she writes difficult topics, even more sorrowful than Hardy’s. While you can label Hardy as a realist novelist, Eliot is a dark thinker. She clearly puts her personal stories in her books, for instance ‘The Mill on The Floss’ where many say tells her troubled relationships with her brother, Isaac Evans. I also believe Eliot is a complicated writer who takes religion as a serious theme that influences her work, as in ‘Adam Bede.’

Anne Bronte

In my opinion, Gaskell and Anne Bronte are two Victorian writers who are ‘on the similar lane’, which means that they are both lovely novelists in terms of language, fair themes. They voice topics that are not overly controversial at that time. Anne Bronte’s writing is much simpler than Gaskell. If I can compare ‘Wives and Daughters’ and ‘Agnes Grey’ since both of them talk about feminism and women roles in the society, the latter is more straightforward.

Charles Dickens

Now I know why some call Charles Dickens is a difficult writer after I finish reading ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’. His labeling as a difficult one is different with Eliot. Dickens brings serious topics in his books, which is different with Eliot who experience personal turbulence in relation with her affairs and also her religious views. While Dickens discusses many topics on the life where industry takes its toll in London. Apart from his concerns about industry, child laboring and poverty in general, Dickens’ way of writing is sophisticated. Though he uses circular plots, his story lines are not straightforward, his writing requires me to devote a lot of focus and time. His writing is not the kind of words that will soothe your soul or blow your mind away like what you may feel when reading Gaskell’s or Hardy’s despite Dickens’s splendid narration. I think this is because heavy topics he is about to deliver.

Also, credit to his characterizations. Completely rigid, each character seems alive.

Thomas Hardy

Hardy is my most beloved Victorian novelist. Although he uses a lot of idiomatic phrases, his story lines are not straightforward mind you for his plot is mostly linear, doesn’t bring up many characters. And his language is really beautiful that usually doesn’t bore me even when I feel a few of his story lines get out of the lines. Reading Hardy’s is truly what it means as enjoying the beauty of literature, savoring the peak of literature as many say happen in the Victorian era. Hardy is a realist or even sometimes pessimist. His writing reflects much of his views about life in general. He likes adoring women, he definitely uses nature as one of the sources of his imaginations. His writing is hard but once you get the flow of his ideas you’ll get hypnotized, just like I.

‘Tenant of the Wildfell Hall’, my second experience with Anne Bronte

tenant

picture source: en.wikipedia.org

Reading the first few pages of ‘Tenant of Wildfell Hall’ after long struggle for completing ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ makes me feel like finding an open road after months inside a humid, vast forest. So refreshing!

It took me by surprise finding the novel at the Kinokuniya bookstore last Saturday for prior visits proved nothing interesting in its classic literature bookshelves. So, I didn’t expect it so much. I thought my options would be books by Charles Dickens, again and again. Good thing about life is that it surprises you when you least expect it to happen. And so it did.

I read the title and although I glanced at other titles, I knew my eyes stuck at the book and I brought it to the cashier. I didn’t know much about ‘Tenant of the Wildfell Hall’, by the way, but somehow the information that I read that the book is the best by Anne Bronte intrigues me. Besides, my first experiences with Anne Bronte’s ‘Agnes Grey’ is quite impressive so why don’t I read her another book?

Without further consideration, I bought the book. Along with the English edition of ‘Supernova’, I got two books for payment. I couldn’t be happier than that day. By the time I write this post, I am at the page 28 out of 590, LOL. A very long way to go. Yes, I know that. But given its straight-forwarded writing method, first person narrative, and definitely a much easier language than Dickens’, I believe I’ll finish the book sooner than the time I took for ‘The Old Curiosity Shop.’

Hopefully!

 

 

Nell’s grandfather; a shocking picture of one’s loss against ill-wills

If you have read “The Old Curiosity Shop” by Charles Dickens you may resume reading this but if you haven’t, I suggest you shouldn’t because this post contains the most shocking, the most terrible sample of one’s struggle against ill-wills.

What I will talk about can be read in the 9th paragraph of this link: http://enywulandari.com/2016/01/14/the-old-curiosity-shop-by-charles-dickens-part-3/ .

Nell’s grandfather addiction to gambling is the source of all their misery. Apart from Daniel Quilp’s wickedness, Nell’s grandfather is the one who should take the blame for their impoverishment. I am really, really shocked when I find out how he holds his belief that gambling is the best shortcut to wealth even after he and Nell runs from the shop-cum-house.

My feelings are mixed up when I read the part.

On one side, as I said earlier, I am astonished with the fact that his addiction remain strong, so strong that Dickens describes the old man’s eyes sparkle when he hears the sounds of some people playing cards as one of the gambling method. It feels like the old man’s life spirits come back.

On the other one, I as a reader, am happy because coming to the part wakes me up from the previous reading journey that almost bores me, honestly. Prior to the part, most plots are about their trips and sorrowful stories all along the path that they take. So, this part, particularly on the point when he steals Nell’s money, refreshes the reading process.

I give credits to Dickens who is able to raise my anger to this old man. I can’t believe what he does to his own granddaughter who rescues his life that far. It doesn’t make sense for me to know there is an old man who is so beaten up that he takes away essential things that Nell saves just to keep their stomachaches filled. The scene when he forces Nell to give her purse when he is about to join a group of gamblers at the inn is really frustrating, makes me so furious. It’s like, how could he?

Later on, I try to take a bigger picture on all this. As usual, as a reader of classics which sometimes portray unthinkable characters, I have to view things by using a lot of parameters; psychology, economic, social, etc, which helps me understanding what he does. The fact that they are both poor though Nell actually has a job as the assistant of the wax-working owner doesn’t make him any less happy. He has problems much more than just making ends meet or paying off his debts. His addiction, self-battle against wrong deeds is the root of all his restlessness, whether or not he realizes it. The peak of it all by taking Nell’s money away, not admitting on what he does is more than enough to sum it up with one word: what?

Sadly, Dickens doesn’t say much about this old man annoying trait and his gambling addiction. This topic is out of the plot after Nell successfully persuades her grandfather to leave the wax-working caravan so as he won’t meet with the gambling group, again. It would be more interesting if Dickens adds explanations on the old man’s bad habit. Because for me, it doesn’t really all about the way of making him rich instantly but it tells more about the old man’s personal problems.

If there were any one ask for my opinion what lacks in the novel, I would say about that thing; that Dickens hasn’t really finished or solved the psychological matters that cause the old man so addicted to gambling. Such important matter ends loosely with the finale that sees him dies in the graveyard of Nell’s. After all the torments that he brings about since the beginning of the book, it remains heartbreaking seeing him feeling so gloomy after her death. The fact that he realizes Nell is all that he has in the world and how he no longer argues her decisions as the book comes to its end is I think the most proper reprisal he could have done to pay off his wrongdoings.

Dickens’ way to make readers forgive what the old man has done? May be.

 

 

 

 

 

“The Old” topples “Tess” as the saddest novel, by far

novel and dry flowers

thank you http://www.jezebel.com for the picture

Charles Dickens completely tears down my heart in “The Old Curiosity Shop”. The death of Nell Trent not long after she eventually tastes the sweetness of life, free from tiring journeys is very heartbreaking. Some say the last scenes prior to her death is too melancholy, fairy-driven tale and the like but apart from that, her fate is so sorrowful.

The last words she speak to her neighbors, her last wishes of being adorned with favorite flowers on her deathbed, the last smile, the very last hug she gives to her grandfather is very unbearable. Although I am prepared with the sad ending of the novel, still… the finale really makes me woeful. To make it much more depressing is her grandfather who spends a few days mourning her death. He, who is the source of all the misery, completely feels her unconditional love right before the book ends. Nell dies not long after that.

Feeling so grieved with her death, the grandfather spends a few days in her graveyard till finally he dies there. His sadness kills him very quickly.

You can all tell how miserable the ending of the book is. When I decided to buy the book I never thought this would be much more melancholy than I had expected. Long, long before I come to the last pages of the book, imagining this company, walking with no exact destinations, feeling hungry, cold, begging for people kindness along the route, an old man and a teenage girl … this scene has made me feel so sad.

It’s Nell’s pure love to her grandfather, her sacrifice, their super deep bonds which make the novel is so touching. It’s their attempts to survive and the deaths that make the book is sadder than “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” by Thomas Hardy.  For me, the death of the grandfather out of sadness is what the book way more sorrowful than the death of Tess. And overall, that what makes “The Old Curiosity Shop” is the saddest of all novels that I have read so far.

 

 

 

The many challenges in reading “The Old Curiosity Shop” by Charles Dickens

reading difficult fictions

thank you http://www.thenation.com for the picture

Do you know how long does it take for me to finish reading “The Old Curiosity Shop” by Charles Dickens? Minus a one-month off due to overloading office works, I take about three months to complete reading the 559-pages novel. A very long reading process, isn’t it?

Apart from the lengthy time, reading the book surprises myself on one fact: I read about 150 pages in just two days. For me, this last fact is an eye-opener in a way that I am still an avid reader after all the struggles of reading the novel. I am still the same bookworm who can spend most of the weekends sitting while reading books. What has caused me struggling reading the novel is that I find it so hard to get rid of those online articles. They suck up my energy. I get easily distracted by the relatively new reading activity.

Last weekend, I go all out, forcing myself to finish the book no matter what happens. So, last Saturday and Sunday I have lack of sleep because after watching football games, I don’t go to bed shortly. I keep reading and don’t put it down until the last page. So I do all that. You don’t know how relieved I am after that. Each time I finish reading thick books, especially very good ones, like ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’, I feel so proud of myself.

When one of my friends ask for my opinion about the book, I reply “the book is difficult.” I tell her that reading Dickens’s book is hard because the surface story tells so much on what the book’s real messages. It says way a lot of than an old grandfather who is en route with his beloved granddaughter to get rid of a debt collector. So that’s why I feel like carrying small rocks upon my head while reading the book. There are many layers need to be taken out to see the real face of the novel.

One thing that I don’t tell my friend: the distractions from those online articles that make the reading process become harder than it shouldn’t be. So when I eventually finish it off, I feel like an amateur runner crossing the finish line of the marathon race.

What is best left from reading the book is that I have so much to say here. I have written four posts about its plot only. I haven’t touched about the themes, thoughts, reactions, and sort of that. So, I can say that reading a book as hard as ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ is rewarded with numerous ideas about it and all that is related to it in this blog in days to come. At the end of the day, it’s all so worth it!