Am not thinking of the blog. I meant writing, in general. My habit has dwindled from sort-of-full story a week, to a paragraph every two days, to one a day, to nothing in the last two weeks. I mentioned some posts back on how I’m not doing NaNo this year, and my stance has not become any better.
No, it’s not simply because of Writer’s Block. Not because I suddenly can’t think up of words for my stories, or that the story does not come. No, it’s far more basic, something so ingrained most people never notice it. It’s…
Lemme tell you about language. People in different parts of the world speak different language. Why do you suppose? Because people are different. Even if they all speak the same language, the things that are said in one part of the world can still be wildly different to people on the other side, be it simply on the topic or how it is said and how the words form. Different way of life calls for different way of speaking.
I live in Indonesia, literally the other side of the world who speaks the language that I use for writing, and quite often for thinking: English. There’s a clear dissonance here. My everyday life is riddled with speaking, communicating, and spelling things out in Indonesian in its endless variety. But when I’m alone, or perhaps sitting down with a pen and paper, the words come in English. I suppose that’s why I used to enjoy the mostly American side of the internet so much; we speak the same language. And from the internet and stories, video games, books written in English, I gain the subjects for all of my writing. But few things from real, actual life that I live in.
Some blog posts ago I said about how the cities that are considered real life for western people – New York, Washington, London, Paris, et cetera – are no more real to me than Skyrim or the Middle Earth or the Koprulu Sector. They’re fantasy. Stories. And these places, its people and its intricacies told to me in English, are the things that populate and form my stories. Even when I’m writing something realistic, present-time, even slice-of-life, they’re based off the English-speaking world. For me, no more real than fantasy of a sort.
I tried writing in Indonesian once. About my city and the people who are around me, those who speak the language. It didn’t work out. Already on the first sentence, the words popped out in English, forming sentences that only make sense in English. I gave up, and tried rewriting everything in English instead, but already on the first sentence the Javanese-based names stand out sorely within the English words. And then came the terms, the untranslatable specifics, details that won’t make sense in the western world. I gave up again. Let’s just make something general that’ll work anywhere on the planet you are.
I suppose I could try making it tourist-friendly-like. Like also a premier to Indonesian culture while also being a story, but I don’t think I can do that yet. My stories are personal. If I want to tell something about my city, my country, then you’ll have to know its basic. You’ll have to know its language. I have to know its language.
And, by all means, I realize now I don’t actually know anything about my own country, simply because I can’t use its language. The details, the people. The words form in my head in English, creating worlds based on people who speak English. The world I live in is Indonesia.
I have not been writing recently. I have not kept an online identity lately. I used to really like the internet, used to stick around message boards and write until the break of dawn like someone who didn’t have a life. I don’t think it was because I had no life, but because real life and my brain speaks different languages. And trying to understand my own language was a pain while English was already bliss. This paragraph is not entirely literal.
But things change. Real life has suddenly turned awesome, and I have suddenly become fascinated by it. I moved away from the internet, moved away from anything that speaks English. My brain still lives and breathes English, the words still popped out in that language from across the ocean, but I’m starting to teach it Indonesian, the language of my birth and forefathers and life.
Look. See. Learn. Don’t shun it. English is magnificent in its beautiful strings of why-is-it-not-phonetic words. But Indonesian, glorious Indonesian, is yours and you should be proud of it.
Indonesian, as a language, is amazing. Indonesian, as its people, is amazing. Indonesia, as a country, is having problems But it’s still young, it’ll get there.
I don’t think I’ll start writing in Indonesian, but I can try understanding it. Writing something useful is great, writing something useful for my own people would be just the darnedest thing.
To note. Nothing in this post is entirely literal.
And I think my review for FTL: Faster Than Light (which is a game I just recently discovered to be awesome) and Touhou Pocket Wars (which is a game I recently rediscovered to be awesome) is still due.
Dan terjemahan buat CD ZUN yang lan. Yang kedua udah jadi, perasaan, tinggal dicari.