Konstelasi Rindu (GPU, 2013)


So Konstelasi Rindu has been available on bookstores across Indonesia for three weeks now.  Happy? Yes. But there’s should be more things to say, right?  …

Now, why I sub-titled this blog ‘how to get a novel published by Gramedia Pustaka Utama, a memoar’

Well because Konstelasi Rindu is my first novel published by GPU (& fourth from all) after long history of rejections I received from them. Hyperbolic? No, that’s the truth.

I can also say, Konstelasi Rindu probably like the mash-up versions of all novels they’ve rejected. (Actually I can only remember two here :) )

Konstelasi Rindu is about a bunch of architecture students trying to live their life & dreams. The main character is Rindu Vanilla, she loves playing guitar & her mom has been hospitalized (for some reason I cannot reveal more it will ruin the plot for anyone who hasn’t read the book)

The musical part of Rindu has the same spirit as Ayfa, the character on my first novel that gotten this rejection letter. (About a musician who goes solo after kicked out from her band.)


My First Rejection Letter

(Picture taken July 2012, when I clean up my house, I blog about it here)

And about the architecture student life, at some part similar to Fresh Graduates, my other novel about one circle of friends (one of them is an architecture student) who had to face reality after they graduate from college. Fresh Graduate not actually rejected. My editor Hetih Rusli was suggested me to re-write it.

This was our text message conversation at that time. ( I was living in Banda Aceh)


text message, dated october 2008 ^_^

(Picture taken before I gave my old phone to my asisstant)

But I was a newbie and a lazy new writer. I didn’t rewrite it. I never was. The first draft was still somewhere on my computer, untouchable.

An artist friend of mine once said, he better creating something new than fixing what he already made. Well that’s exactly how I was most of those times. I write a lot. But too lazy to edit or rewrite them. If only I’ve read Stephen King’s book ‘On Writing’ before, (or any of those famous writer advice) the story would be different. But I learn the hard way.

Konstelasi Rindu was whole different story with the novel I mention before. This novel probably the 86th version of Rindu’s story I ever write. (Okay maybe the 36th… so many draft I lost track[1]).

Before I send it to Hetih, I probably rewrite it 15 times. And after meeting Hetih…  I felt the earth shaking… Hard…. (Okay, I’m hyperbolic, but you can judge me by this short blog here) She asked me to fixed a lot of things from the draft I sent her.  I don’t remember if she told me if there’s something good on that draft, but I remember she showed me a bunch of things I need to reconsider & rewrite. In one part of conversation she tried to ask me to change Konstelasi Rindu so it can be published for Metropop genre (again). But I think she just give up on me. I’m so sorry & thank you Hetih! :)

Finally after many rewrites, the editing taken over by Riska (and I don’t know how many more editor/proofreader), from I was still in Ciputat to now I’m in Kawasaki, Japan. Two year after the earth-shaking conversation with Hetih on GPU’s office, Konstelasi Rindu finally hit bookstores three weeks ago.

I hope it’s all worth the effort. There’s nothing a writer like me could asked more than the readers enjoy the book, as much I ‘enjoy’ all the process writing it. I hope Rindu Vanilla & friends find home in the readers heart.


[1] But you may find the traces on Montase, a self-published short story compilation.

ps. you can read the preview of Konstelasi Rindu on Amazon 

I was looking through camera roll on my iphone and i found this video.

Tea Serving Doll, a wooden mechanic doll, an automaton or in Japanese called Karakuri.
I took this when i visited The Toshiba Science museum in Kawasaki. There’s a lot of interesting stuff to see there, but this automaton or Karakuri definitely the highlight of my visit.
Tea Serving Doll (Japanese karakuri / automaton)

Tea Serving Doll (Japanese karakuri / automaton)

I still remember this surreal feeling when i saw this doll.  I was reading The Hugo Movie companion book the night before. (If you haven’t watch the movie, automaton was a huge part of the story)
brief history of automaton (hugo movie book)

brief history of automaton (hugo movie book)

So I was thinking about automaton the whole night and the morning after. How the first time Selznick found out about it and then inspired him to write them into a novel and later into movie. And also (yes) how creepy they looks…
automaton (hugo book)

automaton (hugo movie book)

And I don’t know if you ever had this experience when you’re thinking about something too much, and it suddenly come in front of you. That’s exactly what happened when i saw these Karakuri. Apparently one of the Toshiba founder loved playing and learning the mechanic of Karakuri since he was 8 years old. Just like Hugo!
Thanks God the one i saw was rather cute than creepy like those i saw on the Hugo book.
arro-shooting boy automaton

Arrow Shooting Boy automaton

Last saturday, we went to Yamanashi Perfecture.  It’s about 2 hours by train from where we lives.

Growing grapevines welcomed us at the Yamanashishi station. Excuse me when I sound twelve now, but i was so excited because this is the first time I saw grapevines.(and I’m Indonesian, we plant mango rambutan, and guava trees on our garden!)

There were some pergolas at the station with growing grape plant. And I spend quite a while sitting on the bench under pergolas just staring them. :)


Grapevines pergolas at the Yamanashishi train station

Funny story, when I was in elementary school (about 10 or 11) I wrote fiction about spending holiday in my grandmother’s who live near grape farm. I think it was more beautiful in my imagination. ^_^ (or perhaps differently beautiful than reality).

About this, I remember I read somewhere Gaiman wrote Sandmand before he went to America. And few years later he realized America he imagined is different from America he finally lived. (I think this is why he then started to write American God) I read that some other writers too never been to the place they wrote in their novel, and can write them beautifully.  (I don’t know if they can write accurately, but is it important in fiction?)

Back to the station, after sitting under the grapevines for a while and doesn’t want to leave, I checked bus schedule at tourist information centre (all brochures written in Kanji, sigh!) I realize we just missed the bus to fruit park. We have to wait another two-hour for the next bus. We can’t wait two hours. We already came  late, because we’re out of the house by 10, due to household chores and at that moment it was already mid day.

We have option to just  hike for 30 minutes. But learning from experience when we went to Nikko Shrine Heritage Site (I should blog about this one too) my son didn’t like it that he must walked the stone stairs to reach the top shrine at the compound. Not blame him though. I saw some adult lost their breath and need rest too on some spot on the stair. I was exhausted too but mostly for piggybacking my son. So finally we decided to go by taxi for 1400¥ (It’s only 100¥ /10rb rupiah / 1$ US by bus. Sigh! Bye, bye, money)

The view was pretty. We went to the museum, and let my son playing at the park for a while. Grapevines, peach & apple trees everywhere, but the fruit wasn’t for picking. They have another package tour for that. from hill

After like an hour or two we decide to walk down to the station. My son rather cooperative with the walks this time, since my husband gave him task to pick some wild grass while we walk. And the view was amazing, the best part of our trip. Everywhere were grape farm, there were apples and peaches too, but mostly grapes. They actually have winery too, where tourist can taste wine, and picking grapes, but we have no time left for that plus we don’t drink alcohol.

Grapevines behind the sidewalk

Grapevines behind the sidewalk

Small grape farm in front of a house near train station

Small grape farm in front of a house near train station

This place is famous for their Kyoho grape. We buy some at the stall at the park. But when we walk down the hill there’s this lady at the sidewalk standing in front of a grape farm offer us her grapes. And i have to say this is also the very first time i eat this kind of grapes.

Kyoho grape vs King Dela grape. And the Kyoho one shown here is alot smaller than the lady gave us.

Kyoho grape vs King Dela grape. And the Kyoho one shown here is a lot smaller than the lady gave us.

There’s some kind of burning sensation when I bite the sweet juicy flesh. I don’t know what’s in there, but it was delicious. Finally bought some more from this lady. And we’re little shocked because the price is a lot cheaper. Plus this lady gave us some bonus. Sigh if only we knew. So whoever you are, when visiting  Yamanashi for the first time, find this lady, buy grapes from her. She’s awesome!