differencesI was googled something and came across this one blog. After I got the information I needed,  my eyes stumble across her other post.

Her friend is gay and is in a relationship with another male. He spoke to her that he love a person not a gender and apparently the person he love is a male… bla-bla-bla…

For she love her friend, she’s will never judge him she wrote. She isn’t God. She wont preach, because they are adult enough to know what he did is sin. And deep inside she prays that one day his friend would be able to love a woman and get married.

Suddenly, I remember back to when I was in high school (no it’s not about a friend who is gay :P)

One day when I had extra math tutorial with my math teacher. During the break my math teacher spoke about my friend. “Your best friend Christine is very pretty. Too bad girl that pretty is Christian.”  With we-are-the-best-moslem-but-your-best-friend-is-christian- pity look. And then she told me that deep inside she prays that my best friend Christine would convert to Islam one day.

I didn’t say anything, even though I know that what she thought was wrong.

(No I didn’t try to correct her with the fact that Christine was actually moslem and only half of her family was Christian… I just… I didn’t understand with her simple wish. The conversation felt like an error to me.)

What about being different? Why some people still think different is bad? Why different is a sin? Why different is pity? Why can’t different be just different? (And why don’t we just use them as a trigger for us to know and understand other more?)

Honestly for me, different is not lesser. (Hopefully this is not because I was raised in a somewhat chaotic-non-standardized-family for I can’t ever look, follow or be in just one thing.)

For I believe in the power of praying. Rather than praying for converting ‘the others’ to become ‘one of ours’ can we pray for love and for peace despite all the differences instead?

love, laugh, and grow.


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