PRESENTATIONS for “Three Weddings And Jane Austen” in INTERNATIONAL Blogs

I’m very happy to know that my book Three Weddings And Jane Austen [TW&JA] has received international appreciations from book blogs outside Indonesia. The Jane Austen communities are so many worldwide, and I feel honored that some of them appreciate me and my book as part of Jane Austen community, although they haven’t read it, of course. I do wish someday my book could be translated into English and other languages, so that people around the globe can read it, and hopefully enjoy it. 🙂

 

22 April 2012, Man Vs Books Club [@MVBClub], asked me to share about my experience in reading and writing. The blog’s objective is to encourage men worldwide to read and write more. I of course endorse that mission, and write an article to do just that! 🙂 The blog address:  http://manvsbooksclub.wordpress.com/jane-austen-guest-book/jane-austen-and-an-indonesian-family/

 

 

27 April 2012, Maria Grazia’s blog [@SMaryG], asked me to present my book and myself to her audience. Since they couldn’t read my book because it’s written in Indonesian language, I then wrote a rather long article, showcasing a little detail about my book, myself, and my beloved country Indonesia. And since it was too long, Maria decided to post it in two parts. And this post is the Part One. 🙂 The blog address: http://thesecretunderstandingofthehearts.blogspot.com/2012/04/indonesian-gentleman-loving-jane-austen.html

 

2 May 2012, the Part Two of my guest post in Maria Grazia’s blog goes live. She wonderfully adds a tagline that I love so much: “Ready for a fascinating journey to Indonesia?” **I hope everybody’s excitingly ready** 🙂 The address is:  http://thesecretunderstandingofthehearts.blogspot.it/2012/05/indonesian-gentleman-loving-jane-austen.html

 

 

 

9 May 2012. The www.paperblog.com is a place where blogger members around the world submit their articles, so that people can view them in sort of magazine layout, which is easier to choose and read. Maria Grazia is one of the members, and she posted my two-part article in the CULTURE and BOOK Sections of PaperBlog.com. The second part of that article received good responds as it’s placed at the MOST READ articles “of the Day”, and then “of the Week”, and then “of the Month” in May 2012. The address of the article is here: http://en.paperblog.com/an-indonesian-gentleman-loving-jane-austen-meet-prima-santika-part-ii-194926/

 

 

 

7 May 2012. It is indeed a “dream come true” event for me that the JANE AUSTEN CENTER [JAC] in Bath, UK acknowledges my book! A Senior Member of JAC named Stella once asked me to write a presentation about my book and myself, and then of course I did it excitingly. My presentation then was posted on the Forum Section of www.janeausten.co.uk and received a good number of viewers. Only in two days it reaches more than 100 viewers, and within a week it became more than 200. I’m happy with it, while other post didn’t do as well as mine. 🙂 The address is here: http://www.janeausten.co.uk/forum/forum/biographies-sequels-follow-ons

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Kuis “SEMINGGU BERSAMA BUKU #ThreeWeddingsAndJaneAusten ON TWITTER”

Saatnya saya bagi-bagi buku “Three Weddings And Jane Austen” [TWAJA] buat para pecinta novel Indonesia. Kuisnya 7 hari, hadiahnya 7 buku. Kuis berlangsung dari tangal 1 sampai 7 Oktober 2012. Hadiahnya spesial, karena buku ini akan saya tandatangani dengan mencantumkan nama pemenangnya. Boleh juga kalau ada pesan singkat yang ingin saya tuliskan. Your wish is my command! 🙂

Caranya – tentu saja – mudah, yaitu:

  1. Follow akun twitter saya @primasantika.
  2. Jawab pertanyaan kuis yang muncul setiap hari di twitter saya selama seminggu. Nggak harus semuanya kok, minimal 4 [empat] hari aja juga boleh.
  3. Pertanyaannya mudah, jawabannya ada di link yang saya sebutkan disitu. Semuanya memang seputar buku “Three Weddings And Jane Austen”, tapi tidak harus membacanya dulu untuk bisa menjawabnya.
  4. Hanya ada 1 [satu] pertanyaan setiap harinya yang akan saya twit sejak jam 8 pagi. Jawaban harus disampaikan di hari yang sama sampai batas jam 24.00 WIB.
  5. Menjawabnya jangan lupa menyertakan hashtag yang sesuai dengan pertanyaannya.
  6. Pemenangnya diundi dari para peserta yang menjawab dengan benar sekurang-kurangnya 4 [empat] pertanyaan dari total 7 [tujuh] pertanyaan harian dari saya.
  7. Pemenang akan saya umumkan melalui Twitter saya pada hari Senin, tanggal 8 October 2012.
  8. Buku hadiahnya akan dikirimkan segera setelah saya mendapatkan alamat yang jelas dan “perintah” penulisan tandatangan dari pemenang.
  9. Kalau sampai dengan tanggal 9 October 2012 [sehari setelah pengumuman] belum juga ada konfirmasi dari pemenangnya, maka saya berhak memilih peserta lain sebagai pemenang dengan mempertimbangkan poin nomer [6] diatas. Demikian seterusnya sampai ketujuh buku tersebut terkirim kepada sang pemenang sejati.

Baiklah para pecinta novel Indonesia, sampai jumpa pada acara kuis saya ya! Semoga kalian pemenangnya!

Take care and have fun… 🙂

…prima…

Perkenalan Saya Dengan JANE AUSTEN

* IMPIAN MUNCUL BELAKANGAN

Ya, Three Weddings And Jane Austen [TW&JA] adalah novel perdana saya, sekaligus karya tulis pertama saya yang pernah diterbitkan. Kalau yang tidak diterbitkan – dan kalau layak disebut sebagai karya tulis – ya hanya sebatas puisi atau kontemplasi pendek di Facebook dan Blog, seputar kehidupan pribadi saya dan sedikit resensi film. Sejauh yang saya ingat, sejak SMP saya sudah suka menulis puisi. Dan saat itu PR yang menyenangkan bagi saya adalah tugas Bahasa Inggris membuat dialog. Mungkin karena saya suka nonton film, jadi saya suka berandai-andai dialog itu adalah adegan film, hehehe. Sedangkan untuk memasuki “dunia” tulis-menulis sih, saya rasa momennya ya baru sekarang ini, saat saya berhasil menerbitkan buku pertama saya. And I might add, it’s a whole new ‘wonderful’ world here! 🙂

Mungkin memang ini impian saya, meski saya tidak memilikinya sejak kecil. Lebih tepatnya, ini adalah impian saya sejak mulai menulis buku ini. Tentu saja saya sangat senang mendapati buku saya terpampang di toko buku. Di hari pertama penerbitannya tanggal 12 Januari 2012 , saya mengunjungi Gramedia Grand Indonesia dan menemukan buku saya tertumpuk banyak sekali di samping rak buku bertajuk “Best Seller”, meski tentunya buku saya belum jadi best seller ya. Saking senangnya, saya dan beberapa teman langsung berfoto-foto ria disana, tak peduli dilihatin dari jauh oleh petugas keamanannya, hahaha. Alay deh pokoknya! “Dasar first-timer!” pikir saya menghujat diri sendiri, hehehe. Namun yang paling mencengangkan adalah pajangan buku saya di Gramedia Mal Kelapa Gading. Saat itu masih di hari pertama penerbitannya, seorang teman mencari buku saya disana berputar-putar di seksi “Buku Baru” tapi tak ketemu. Begitu dia mau menulis di komputer informasi, dilihatnya disamping komputer tersebut buku saya dipajang setinggi dinding dibawah tanda “Informasi Buku”.  Dia foto memakai hapenya dan mengirimkannya ke milis kami. Waktu itu malam hari, saya membaca email di rumah sepulang dari kantor, dan saya terkejut luar biasa melihat foto itu sampai menangis! Saya langsung ambil wudhu dan bersujud syukur kepada Yang Maha Pemberi Nikmat atas kebahagiaan teramat sangat yang sedang saya rasakan saat itu. Pengalaman yang tak terlupakan bagi saya. Ya itu tadi: dasar first-timer! Hahaha.


* BERTEMU JANE AUSTEN

Semua berawal dari hobby saya menonton film. Saya penggemar film drama dan musikal. Sejak SMP saya sudah suka film-film klasik dan film-film baru yang berlatar belakang jaman klasik. Alhasil saya mengenal Jane Austen melalui film Emma, yang diperankan Gwyneth Paltrow. Lalu disusul film Sense and Sensibility yang diperankan Emma Thomson dan Kate Winslet. Saya sangat suka dengan kedua film tersebut, baik dari segi ceritanya maupun karakter para tokohnya. Lalu pada suatu hari, kira-kira di tahun 2000 atau 2001 [waktu itu saya masih tinggal di Surabaya], di salah satu toko buku Gramedia di Surabaya saya menemukan buku Jane Austen edisi asli [bukan edisi dipersingkat atau dipermudah bahasanya] yang ternyata harganya murah, yaitu 30.000 rupiah saja per buku. Saya buka pengantar bukunya, ternyata disana dijelaskan bahwa Jane Austen mempunya enam novel utama, dan kebetulan saat itu di Gramedia tersedia semua. Jadilah saya membeli keenam buku itu dengan tujuan supaya koleksinya lengkap. Masalah membacanya nanti saja kalau sempat, pikir saya. Benar saja, buku itu terpajang rapi di rak buku saya lengkap dengan kemasan plastiknya selama bertahun-tahun tak tersentuh oleh saya, hehehe. Meanwhile, saya kemudian menemukan film-film lepas maupun miniseri adaptasi Jane Austen yang lain, yaitu Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, dan Mansfield Park. Sedangkan adaptasi untuk Northanger Abbey saya temukan belakangan saat saya sudah mulai menulis novel ini, karena memang tampaknya novel ini tak sepopuler novel lainnya. Dari film-film tersebut saya bisa melihat benang merahnya yang menyeragamkan semua buku Jane Austen, yaitu karakter utamanya wanita muda yang lajang, cerdas dan berbudi pekerti luhur, serta ending cerita yang selalu menempatkan mereka pada pernikahan yang baik, bukan yang dipaksa. Saya suka itu! Saya suka kisah-kisah Jane Austen ini!

Sedangkan awal mula saya membaca buku-buku Jane Austen adalah dalam proses penulisan buku ini. Berawal dari kegemaran saya mencari ‘anything Jane Austen’ di dunia maya terutama di Facebook, membuat saya terhubung dengan beberapa penggemar Jane Austen di luar negri. Dari banyak diskusi yang saya lakukan dengan mereka melalui group-group atau fan page di Facebook itu, saya sampai pada kesimpulan bahwa saya tidak akan bisa menangkap karya Jane Austen secara lengkap dan benar hanya dari film adaptasinya. Dikarenakan saat itu saya sudah mulai menulis buku ini, demi mendapatkan esensi dari karya Jane Austen secara lebih mendalam, saya tak punya pilihan lain selain membacanya satu per satu.

 

* INSPIRASI MENULIS NOVEL

Inspirasi menulis novel ini tentu saja dari kecintaan saya pada kisah-kisah Jane Austen. Sedangkan inspirasi pola penulisannya saya dapatkan dari novel Julian Barnes yang berjudul Talking It Over, dimana disitu terdapat tiga tokoh utama, yang mana masing-masing tokoh menceritakan sebuah kejadian dari sudut pandang masing-masing di sepanjang buku. Saya kemudian berpikir, mungkin ini adalah sebuah cara yang ‘unik’ untuk menceritakan sebuah kisah cinta yang ‘sederhana’. Dan ketika saya mulai menulisnya, saya bisa merasakan bahwa pola penulisan seperti ini justru mempermudah saya untuk menggali lebih dalam karakter dan perasaan masing-masing tokoh dalam setiap kejadian yang mereka alami. Mengenai sudut pandang wanita, sebetulnya buku-buku Jane Austen sendiri sudah cukup sebagai bekal saya memahami perasaan wanita dalam konteks mencari cinta dan menemukan jodoh ini. Namun saya tentu saja sangat berterima kasih juga kepada semua kerabat dan sahabat saya yang berjenis kelamin wanita, yang sepanjang hidup saya ini sejak kecil hingga dewasa pernah mempercayai saya dengan curhat-curhatannya, hehehe. It’s part of the “experience and observation” in writing. 🙂

Saya menulis novel ini sejak awal 2008. Saat itu istri saya sedang hamil dan tak lama kemudian lahirlah anak pertama kami. Kehidupan saya kemudian diisi dengan memilah waktu antara pekerjaan di kantor dan perhatian kepada keluarga. Kalaupun ada kesulitan yang saya hadapi saat itu, tak lain adalah kehidupan saya sendiri. Menemukan waktu untuk menulis disela kehidupan saya merupakan usaha yang cukup berat. Namun syukurlah naskah novel ini akhirnya bisa saya selesaikan di akhir tahun 2010. Jadi kira-kira proses penulisannya sendiri memakan waktu 3 tahun. Cukup lama ya! 🙂

 

Saya mengawali proses menulis ini dengan sangat ringan tanpa beban, hanya ingin menuliskan cerita cinta biasa dengan dibumbui kisah-kisah Jane Austen yang saya kenali dari film-film adaptasinya saja. Namun ternyata hal itu tidak memuaskan saya. Menulis buku ternyata membutuhkan banyak kelengkapan, termasuk dalam penulisan buku saya referensi mengenai Jane Austen haruslah cukup mendalam. Alhasil, mulailah saya mengkoleksi semua VCD/DVD terkait dengan Jane Austen, baik cerita adaptasinya maupun kisah biografinya. Beberapa diantaranya bahkan saya peroleh dari kerabat yang tinggal di Australia sehingga saya musti menunggu jadwal mudiknya ke Jakarta. Lalu saya juga mencari artikel-artikel di internet guna memperdalam pemahaman saya tentang cerita di setiap novel Jane Austen.  Dan akhirnya, sebagaimana disarankan oleh sesama penggemar Jane Austen di Facebook, saya harus membaca buku-buku Jane Austen itu satu demi satu. Sempat saya ‘menyerah’ setelah menyelesaikan satu bagian dari naskah novel ini. Namun setelah saya menerima feedback dari beberapa teman bahwa naskah ini lumayan bagus, saya kemudian berusaha sekuat tenaga untuk memulihkan semangat melanjutkan naskah ini sampai tamat. Dan akhirnya, jadi juga. Alhamdulillah. 🙂

 

* PENGALAMAN LUCU

Pengalaman lucunya hanya satu tapi kejadiannya selalu terulang, yaitu ternyata banyak diantara pembaca yang mengira Prima Santika adalah seorang perempuan. Tidak bisa disalahkan juga sih, mengingat nama saya ini sifatnya unisex, hehehe. Yang lebih lucu lagi adalah para pembaca yang sudah membaca buku sayapun terkadang tetap saja mengira saya perempuan. Padahal, di halaman depan buku saya itu tertulis rasa terima kasih saya kepada orang tua dan adik saya, istri saya dan anak saya. Alasannya “oh, saya pikir tulisan itu salah cetak, Mas”.  Hahaha…

Sejauh ini belum ada ibu-ibu yang tergolong senior mengomentari buku saya kecuali ibu saya sendiri, hehehe. Kebanyakan ibu-ibu muda yang menyukai buku saya adalah mereka yang mempunyai anak-anak gadis yang mulai beranjak dewasa. Mereka merasa bisa ‘relate’ dengan karakter sang ibu. Namun saya sangat senang jika ada pembaca yang melaporkan bahwa ibunya turut membaca buku saya itu. Ada perasaan lega karena buku saya ini bisa sampai juga ke salah satu target audience yang saya inginkan, selain tentunya para wanita lajang di usia matang.

 

 

Pengalaman Menulis Buku PERTAMA

* ASAL MUASAL SAYA MENULIS

Menjadi penulis bukanlah impian saya sejak kecil. Saya baru “bermimpi” jadi penulis ya sejak saya mulai menulis novel TW&JA di awal tahun 2008. Namun kegemaran menulisnya sendiri mulai saya sukai sejak SMP, karena saya ingat dulu itu pernah punya buku tipis semacam kumpulan puisi, lalu buku itu sempat ditemukan teman sekelas dan jadi bahan olok-olok dengan cara dibacakan lantang-lantang saat istirahat kelas, hahaha. Saya juga ingat kesenangan saya saat mengerjakan PR membuat dialog di pelajaran Bahasa Inggris. Saya membuatnya sambil membayangkan itu adalah adegan dalam film, dan karena saya adalah penggemar film drama, saya sampai pernah membuat dialog dengan memasukkan adegan berciuman, padahal saya masih SMP, hahahaha. Kalau buku harian saya tidak pernah punya, meski pernah mencobanya di masa SMP dan SMA, tapi tak pernah bertahan lama, paling cuma seminggu. Mungkin saat itu karena saya belum bisa mengungkapkan isi hati dalam bentuk prosa yang bagus, jadi yang saya tulis adalah kegiatan sehari-hari saja yang mana antara hari yang satu dengan yang lain isinya tak jauh beda, jadi lama-lama saya sendiri bosan, hahaha.

Di masa dewasa sejak ada blog dan Facebook, saya memilih untuk menulis beberapa kontemplasi pribadi di Facebook, bukan di blog. Meski saya punya beberapa blog, namun pengalaman membuktikan bahwa saya tidak pernah bisa aktif menulis di blog. Mungkin karena saya tidak tahu bagaimana caranya mempromosikan sebuah blog agar banyak yang mau membacanya, maka saya merasa tulisan saya di blog tidak pernah terapresiasi oleh siapapun, sedangkan di Facebook teman-teman saya adalah audeince-nya. Dan satu lagi bedanya dengan Facebook adalah adanya section Photo Album di Facebook. Saya gemar memfoto dan difoto serta memamerkannya,  sehingga tiap kali saya upload sebuah album, saya selalu ingin melengkapi album tersebut dengan penjelasan aktivitas yang terkait saat itu. Tadinya berbentuk komentar atau liputan, lama-lama saya cenderung membuatnya dalam bentuk puisi. Tujuannya adalah untuk memperpendek penjelasan saya dan sekaligus menuangkan perasaan yang saya alami di dalamnya. Dengan puisi jatunya jadi lebih dramatis, dan saya ternyata menikmatinya. Lama kelamaan saya menulis juga di section Notes di Facebook untuk beberapa kontemplasi pribadi yang tidak disertai acara pamer foto. Mungkin disitulah awalnya saya mulai suka menulis.

 

* PROSES KREATIF PENULISAN HINGGA PENERBITAN

Proses menulis TW&JA saya jalani selama 3 tahun, dari awal 2008 sampai akhir 2010. Kendala utamanya adalah menemukan waktu untuk menulis disela kesibukan bekerja dan berumah tangga bersama istri dan anak pertama saya yang saat itu baru lahir. Kendala selanjutnya adalah minimnya pengalaman saya di sunia tulis-menulis ini, sehingga saya baru menyadari bahwa ternyata riset perlu dilakukan untuk memperdalam topik penulisan. Mengingat topik utama di novel saya adalah Jane Austen sedangkan saya saat itu belum pernah membaca satupun novel-novel Jane Austen, maka mau tak mau saya harus mulai membacanya. Proses riset juga meliputi menonton film dan miniseri adaptasi dari buku Jane Austen, serta mencari berbagai hal di internet tentang segala sesuatu yang berhubungan dengan Jane Austen. Banyak sekali artikel-artikel yang membantu memperdalam pemahaman saya tentang esensi cerita di buku-buku Jane Austen. Selain itu, ternyata tak sulit untuk bertemu dengan para penggemar Jane Austen di seluruh dunia. Ada banyak sekali Facebook Page terkait dengan Jane Austen, dari yang dikelola secara resmi oleh organisasi, sampai Fan Page yang dikelola perorangan. Disana saya bisa berinteraksi dengan mereka dalam berbagai topik seputar Jane Austen, baik karyanya maupun kehidupannya.

Akhirnya pada bulan November 2010 naskah novel saya selesai juga. Saya serahkan naskah tersebut dalam bentuk hardcopy sebanyak +/- 350 halaman ukuran A4 dengan spasi ketikan 1,5 kepada penerbit Gramedia Pustaka Utama. Tiga bulan kemudian di bulan Februari 2011, saya menerima surat dari Gramedia yang menyatakan bahwa mereka akan menerbitkan naskah saya sebagai novel dalam genre Metro-Pop, dan bahwa buku saya harus mengantri untuk proses editing. Saya kemudian diminta menyerahkan softcopy naskah untuk mempermudah proses editing. Namun kemudian, pihak Gramedia menyatakan bahwa daftar antrian untuk editing sangatlah panjang saat itu. Ternyata selain keahlian menulis dan keharusan melakukan riset, satu hal lagi yang perlu dimiliki dalam menerbitkan sebuah buku adalah kesabaran. Proses antrian ternyata memakan waktu sangat lama, kurang lebih sembilan bulan. Pada bulan November 2011, saya mendapat email pertama dari Editor di Gramedia yang mengirimkan draft awal hasil editan atas naskah saya. Saat itu saya sangat gembira tak terkira meski harus menerima tugas membaca ulang naskah saya dari awal sampai akhir sebagai kelanjutan proses editing. Dalam prosesnya saya menemukan bahwa beberapa bagian dari naskah saya itu ternyata dihilangkan. Saya sempat menanyakan hal itu kepada Editor saya, kemudian beliau menjelaskan alasannya, dan sayapun kemudian menyetujuinya. Pada intinya, di fase ini yang terjadi adalah komunikasi antara Pengarang dan Editor denga tujuan memutuskan hasil akhir naskah yang disepakati oleh kedua belah pihak. Dalam kasus saya proses ini berlangsung cukup singkat, sedangkan pada kasus lain bisa jadi prosesnya memakan waktu lama, tergantung kondisi masing-masing naskah. Hasil kesepakatan tersebut kemudian dibuatkan setting lay-out-nya selama kurang lebih dua minggu, yang mana hasilnya disebut sebagai Proof, yaitu file yang akan tercetak sebagai buku nantinya. Proof ini harus dibaca ulang, bisa oleh Editor atau oleh Pengarang, untuk memastikan bahwa file inilah yang benar untuk naik cetak. Bersamaan dengan itu, saya dianjurkan untuk mulai membuat usulan cover buku jika saya berkenan, mengingat sebetulnya keputusan mengenai desain sampul sepenuhnya berada di tangan Gramedia, sedangkan Pengarang hanya boleh memberi usul saja. Hal tersebut tertuang dalam Surat Perjanjian Penerbitan yang ditandatangani oleh saya dan Gramedia.

Surat Perjanjian Penerbitan dari Gramedia, yang isinya berupa kontrak penerbitan untuk ‘satu’ judul buku saya tersebut, saya terima melalui kurir ke alamat rumah saya pada saat proses editing berlangsung. Perlu diperhatikan disini bahwa kontrak tersebut hanya mengikat untuk satu judul buku saja, bukan Pengarangnya. Dengan demikian baik Penerbit maupun Pengarang bebas melanjutkan atau menghentikan kerjasama penerbitan buku untuk karya-karya selanjutnya.

 

* “MENCURI” WAKTU UNTUK MENULIS

Dalam pengalaman saya, karena saya bekerja di kantor, salah satu cara untuk menghindar dari pekerjaan adalah dengan mengambil cuti. Beruntung saya adalah karyawan dengan masa dinas yang sudah cukup lama, sehingga saya mempunyai jatah cuti panjang yang saya ambil sedikit demi sedikit untuk kebutuhan menulis ini. Disamping itu, pekerjaan saya saat itu seringkali mengharuskan saya bepergian dinas ke luar kota. Saya selalu menyempatkan diri diantara waktu luang saya di luar kota untuk menulis, sejak dari waiting lounge di Airport sampai di kamar hotel begadang sampai lewat tengah malam. Tak ada kiat khusus dalam menyikapi masalah ini. Yang pasti usahakan pekerjaan di kantor tidak berantakan, dan prose menulis berjalan lancar.

Setiap kali saya sudah ada ide untuk menulis, saya ambil cuti 5 hari kerja, tapi saya tidak berada di rumah. Saya pergi di pagi hari di jam yang sama karena harus tetap mengantar istri saya ke kantor. Namun sesampainya di kantor istri, saya tidak melanjutkan perjalanan ke kantor saya, melainkan mencari gerai Starbucks Coffee terdekat. Saya selalu berada disana setiap hari selama seminggu sejak pagi sampai sore untuk menulis, kemudian menjemput istri untuk pulang di waktu seperti biasa. Bagi saya, suasana di Starbucks Coffee sangat kondusif dalam proses penulisan saya. Gerai yang ternyaman menurut saya saat itu adalah Starbucks di gedung Oakwood, di kompleks perkantoran Mega Kuningan. Lokasinya tidak sempit, kalaupun pelanggannya sedang banyak tidak terkesan sesak, dan iringan musiknya yang seringkali jazzy menenangkan pikiran saya dan menumbuhkan semangat untuk menulis.

 

* MENJADI SEORANG PENULIS

Dari pengalaman saya di bidang menulis yang sangat minim ini, menurut saya modal yang perlu dimiliki penulis adalah ketrampilan menulis dan kemampuan memperhatikan. Ketrampilan menulis bisa diperoleh dari seringnya menulis. Practice makes better! Silahkan kalau ingin mengambil kursus menulis atau tidak, tapi yang pasti sering-seringlah menulis. Saya sendiri belum pernah kursus menulis, tapi saya tidak menyerah pada sulitnya membuat karya tulis. Di sisi lain, kemampuan memperhatikan tidak ada kursusnya. Disini menurut saya sangat penting bagi penulis untuk mengasah sensitivitas hati dan pikiran. Caranya adalah dengan menangkap “makna” pada setiap kejadian dalam kehidupan. Sebuah karya akan dianggap “dalam” dan tidak “dangkal” adalah pada saat karya itu menyentuh satu sisi di kehidupan. Sebagai latihan, cobalah mencermati lirik lagu yang mendapat penghargaan Grammy, atau mencari sisi kemanusiaan dari sebuah film action atau komedi atau animasi atau drama, yang masuk nominasi Oscar. Kalau sudah bisa menangkap esensinya, mulailah mengaplikasikannya dalam kehidupan sehari-hari, misalnya menjadi pendengar yang baik bagi teman-teman, mencari sisi-sisi kemanusiaan dari berita-berita di tv atau koran, atau mencermati pengalaman hidup kita sendiri atas suatu nilai hidup yang saat ini kita tahu tapi lima tahun yang lalu kita tidak tahu. Mungkin dari situ kita akan menemukan bagaimana diri kita menjadi lebih mengerti atau lebih bijaksana dalam memandang sesuatu. Proses pendewasaan suatu karakter dalam sebuah karya tulis adalah poin penting yang menjauhkannya dari kesan “dangkal”.

Bagi saya, yang saya sukai dari profesi Penulis ini adalah kesempatan untuk berbagi kebaikan dengan para pembaca. Selama proses penulisan bahkan sampai sekarang, saya selalu berdoa kepada Yang Maha Kuasa agar saya diberi kemampuan untuk membuat buku yang “bermanfaat” bagi para pembacanya. Bukan berarti saya harus membuat sebuah buku Motivasi, tapi saya akan sangat senang jika pembaca buku saya bisa mengaplikasikan hal-hal yang saya tulis di buku itu dalam kehidupan keseharian mereka. Oleh karena itu saya membuat buku yang masalahnya sebisa mungkin dekat dengan realita, dan berakhir bahagia. Happy ending ini penting bagi saya, karena saya ingin para pembaca mempunyai “harapan” bahwa masalah kehidupan yang saya sampaikan dalam buku saya bukan tak ada jalan keluarnya. Kalaupun alur kisahnya berbeda dengan kehidupan nyata, setidaknya jika pembaca bisa menemukan koneksinya antara cerita atau karakter di buku dengan kehidupan dia atau orang lain disekitarnya, maka mereka akan percaya bahwa buku saya ini dekat dengan realita.  Dari situ, “manfaat” membaca buku saya akan terserah kepada pembaca itu sendiri, apakah mau mempertimbangkan rekomendasi solusi seperti kisah di buku saya, atau mencari alternatif yang lain, silahkan saja.

Sedangkan yang saya tidak suka dari profesi Penulis adalah berkurangnya waktu dalam jumlah cukup banyak, yang seharusnya bisa saya luangkan untuk bersenang-senang dengan keluarga. Itu saja! 🙂

 

* BAGI PENULIS PEMULA

Saran saya adalah rajin-rajinlah menulis. Itu utama! Teori yang lain bisa bertambah seiring perkembangan pengalaman dan pola pikir manusia dari waktu ke waktu, namun “passion for writing” harus tetap dijaga. Saran selanjutnya adalah menulislah dari hati. Bukan untuk orang lain, tapi buat diri sendiri. Kalau kita yakin bahwa kita sudah menghasilkan karya tulis yang bagus, maka Insya Allah orang lain yang membacanya juga turut yakin akan hasil kita itu. Tapi hati-hati, jangan sampai saking yakinnya, kita justru terjerumus dalam sikap sombong. Penulis yang merasa dirinya sudah paling pandai, tak akan bisa menyisakan ruang bagi dirinya sendiri untuk berkembang. Dan ini fatal akibatnya. Tetaplah rendah hati dan membuka diri atas berbagai kritik dan saran, bahkan mungkin penolakan sekalipun. Tetap semangat menulis dan memperbaiki diri. Karya tulis adalah sebuah produk seni, yang pada akhirnya tergantung apada selera masing-masing orang yang menikmatinya. Jadi jangan heran kalau menemui karya tulis yang sangat bagus, best seller dimana-mana, tapi tetap saja ada yang tidak suka. Penulis tak bisa memaksakan selera.

And last but not least, rajin-rajinlah berdoa kepada Sang Maha Pemberi Ilmu agar selalu diberi pikiran yang terang dan ide yang cemerlang. Bagi saya ini penting, terutama untuk menghindari “writing block”, sebuah kemacetan ide dan pikiran yang paling ditakuti oleh semua penulis. Maka pada akhirnya “ikhlas dan sabar” adalah kunci untuk menjawab semua permasalahan manusia di muka bumi ini, termasuk bagi para penulis.

Selamat menulis, kawan! 🙂

 

 

The Story of My FIRST BOOK and The Beautiful INDONESIA

THREE WEDDINGS AND JANE AUSTEN

An Indonesian Novel by PRIMA SANTIKA –

“Nothing can produce a better feeling for a mother, than to see her daughter

being married to a good man she loves.”

This is the tagline of my book. It is written as the very first sentence in my book. And if you’re a real Jane Austen fan, you should know that I’m trying to have the same legendary, most memorable tagline of all Jane Austen’s work. The very first sentence in Pride and Prejudice says it all.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession

of a good fortune, must be in want of a Wife.”

But of course, in my book the sentence is written in Indonesian language, not in English. Therefore, one can not merely put the original Indonesian sentence into Google Translate the same effect while reading it in English. It must be properly translated. And judging from the tagline, the readers will soon be aware that the book contains a story of mother-daughter relationship and the weddings at the end. Then, so be it!

When I started to write this book in early 2008, in order to relate the most of Jane Austen’s point of view with Indonesian way of life, I had no other option but to put it into a good-family perspective. I could see a close relation in terms of manners and how to regard love and marriage in an ordinary, modern, well-managed, good-moral Indonesian family, with the ones in Jane Austen time. Combining both similar values in one storyline seemed to be a wonderful idea for me to explore at that time. My book is finally done and published in 12 January 2012 by Gramedia, one of the biggest, oldest, most respectable publishers in Indonesia.

THE BOOK

The book is in 464 pages, with the dimension of 13.5×20 cm. It contains one Prolog, two Parts, nine Chapters, and one Epilog. Some of the Chapters contain 2 to 4 Sub-Chapters. The story is told always by first person. There are four main characters: the mother called Ibu Sri [Ibu=Mrs.], and her three daughters named Emma, Meri and Lisa. Each character gets her own Chapter or Sub-Chapter in telling her own stories. In helping the readers to memorize in which character they are currently reading, the book provides header in every page informing the Chapter’s title and the character’s name.

Telling a story in first person while some characters sometimes fall into one same scene, produces some retelling here and there. However, not all scenes need to be retold, it’s only for the important ones where the particular scene takes different impacts on each character. By doing this, we can explore into deeper feelings and thoughts by the characters in every meaningful scene. For me personally, as a starting writer, I find this situation very interesting and challenging at the same time. And the fact that the big publisher got it and then put it into a mass production, gave me an utmost relief and a wishful thinking, that people might enjoy this idea as well.

THE MOTHER

Ibu Sri is a real fan of Jane Austen! She has all the six novels and read it over and over again since high school. Her high school period was in London, and before it’s over she has to move back to Jakarta where she lives ever since. Her husband is a doctor in a particular hospital. This father character doesn’t appear at all in this novel. He still lives with Ibu Sri and their three daughters, but his presence is never told. Both the Prolog and Epilog contains a letter written by Ibu Sri to her husband when she – at last – has a chance of visiting London again with their daughters after they’re all married. In those letters she tells him how much she loves and misses him.

The Prolog tells a brief summary about Jane Austen and her books. In her letter to her husband, she’s reminiscing about how important those books are. She even names her daughters after the characters in Jane Austen books. Emma from Emma Woodhouse in Emma, Meri from Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility, and Lisa from Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Although they’re named after certain characters, their stories are not necessarily similar to the related characters.

Ibu Sri uses Jane Austen books to give advises to her daughters on how to deal with love, since their high school time until present days. It’s like a holy book of romance for her, and she makes sure that her daughters will inherit all the wisdoms Jane Austen ever told in her books.

“My dear Husband, I don’t know whether you felt it or not, but the periods of searching for love and finding a husband were a very fragile phase for our daughters. And I had promised myself never to miss those moments. At that point, I felt like being obligated to understand and to give guidance to our daughters as they’re growing up. Turned out I needed guidance myself. Something to look up to, something modern. Religion was the most important value, and it’s mandatory for us to put it into their education. Tradition, norm and moral in living within the family and as part of society in Indonesia were also implemented in our daily lives. But I needed something more. There were some values – applicable in nature and related to romance –  in a girl’s life as she’s becoming a grown up, that needed a comprehensive guidance to conduct. Fortunately, I found it not very far from my own all-time amusement. The Jane Austen novels.”

 And since the Prolog has revealed the ending of the story, that all the daughters are finally married, the heartbeat of this novel depends mainly in the journeys. And the journeys in this novel are defined as wrong turns, regrets, lessons learned, and letting go. As the writer I just hope that these kinds of journeys will keep the readers turning pages until the very end of the book. And in the last chapter – told by Ibu Sri – there’s a soft surprise on how the three weddings can be made possible.

THE THREE DAUGHTERS

Ibu Sri has three daughters, Emma is 35 years old, Meri is 30, and Lisa is 29. They live in Jakarta, the metropolitan capital city of Indonesia. The three daughters are all not yet to be married anytime soon, and that makes Ibu Sri a little bit worry. At the begining of the story, takes place in Jakarta, each of them meets a man. Emma, the wise and patient one, is single, meets Dian, introduced by Ibu Sri, a doctor from her husband’s hospital. With the same mature age, both of them soon finds comfort in one another. Meri, the lovable one, has a boyfriend named Bimo, and they’ve gone steady for three years now. A bit bored with the good-condition relationship, Meri meets Erik, introduced by Lisa, and both soon find sparkles in their lives from the same interest in Jazz and romance. And last but not least, Lisa, the stiff one, who doesn’t believe in marriage, who’s always single and never been kissed, accidentally meets Deni, her first love in high school who she once let go at that time, only because her best friend named Amel wanted him as well. Amel is now married to other man with kids but on her way to divorce. So Lisa who’s now falling in love again, has to keep her meeting with Deni [who’s previously moved to USA with his family, and now is back to Jakarta] secret from Amel.

The story then moves to Yogyakarta, the city of grand temples, where a relative’s wedding is held. In this distance place from Jakarta, for about half a week, the relationships grew between Meri and Erik, and for Lisa and Deni, as both men pay a visit to Yogyakarta to meet the girls. As for Emma, she is now introduced by her aunt to a widower, ten years older with two daughters, named Krisna, purely for a business purpose of trading Batik, the traditional-designed fabric of Indonesia. From that time on, Krisna periodically meets Emma, goes back and forth between Yogyakarta to Jakarta for his business, and eventually for his heart, because he then finds himself in love with her, and asking her to marry. Emma who has developed a certain feeling to Dian, refuses the marriage proposal, and accordingly it puts down the Batik business as well. But unfortunately, not long after, Dian announces that he is moving to a very far away island to pursue his career, and not inviting her along. Emma is devistated, and convinces herself that maybe marriage is never destined for her. As the story goes in Jakarta, both Meri and Lisa have also to face their broken hearts. Meri’s affair with Erik is caught up by Bimo, so now she’s single again because Bimo can’t forgive her but she doesn’t want to be with Erik. In time of severe broken heart, Ibu Sri offers her to read Persuasion, hoping she can learn a lesson of broken heart and forgiveness from Anne Eliott. Meri reads the book, understands it, and even sends a copy to Bimo in order to seek forgiveness. But it never gets replied. Meanwhile, Lisa has to let go of Deni again because Amel knows that he’s around. But fortunately there’s Geri, both Amel and Lisa’s best friend, who just came back from UK for his study. Geri then introduces Lisa on how to enjoy Pride and Prejudice, a book that Ibu Sri gives to her in order to get Deni’s attention because he once mentioned that he liked the book while studying in USA. At this horrible moment for all of them, a funeral of a relative is being held in Surabaya, another distance city from Jakarta.

In Surabaya, all the girls are sad. Meri and Lisa then decide to go to Bali, a nearby island from Surabaya, in order to refresh their heart and mind. Emma stays in Surabaya with Ibu Sri to comfort her aunt who’s just lost her husband. Krisna who is a close friend of her aunt, also comes to Surabaya to pay his condolences. Ibu Sri, knowing that Emma is now single again, tries to match-making Emma with Krisna. Emma refuses to do so, produces a big conflict with her mother. Although the conflict can easily be overcome, the fact that Emma is now without a man in her life takes a serious concern from Ibu Sri. She then offers Emma to read Sense and Sensibility, just because she sees a resemblance of Emma with Elinor Dashwood. Emma has nothing else to do in Surabaya anyway, so she agrees to the offer. Little does she expect, that reading the book can actually ease her mind from her conflict with Ibu Sri, and open her heart again for any possibility of love and marriage, let it be so little a chance to happen at her age. Knowing that, Ibu Sri is now happy with a high hopes for Emma.

Meanwhile in Bali, in the peaceful state of mind and place, Meri contemplates a lot and determines herself to get married soon, although she doesn’t know with who. She then tries to find new love in Bali by hanging out in Hard Rock Cafe. But instead of meeting new man, she finds herself a marriage proposal from a man she knows best. As for Lisa, while in Bali, Lisa accidentally knows about Deni going out with Amel from Geri over the phone although he tries to hide it, since Lisa has told him about her feelings to Deni. Lisa is upset thinking that Amel and Deni must be officially going steady. She then puts the phone off the next day, hoping she can find peace in her heart and mind while surrounded by the magnificently beautiful scenery of Bali. Accompanied by the book Pride and Prejudice, she finds herself calming down and realizes that love should be acknowledged and happiness in a marriage is only a matter of chance. She’s then no longer hating marriage.

But just when she’s able to appreciate love, Deni comes to Bali to meet her especially. He wants to say goodbye, for he’s leaving the country and will live in USA again, for good this time. And then he adds one thing that he’s kept secret all along since high school and always wanted to be free of. That he’s in love with her, and he needs to know that his feeling is mutual. With a little bit of conflict between them related to Amel, Lisa finally reveals her true feelings. She realizes that she needs this closure just as much as he does in order to live her future life without ever questioning what if. It’s indeed a bitter sweet of love for Lisa. And she’s now officially been kissed.

In the last chapter before Epilog, the wedding is described by Ibu Sri. Having all her three daughters being married in the same time and place, produces an utmost happiness into her feelings. Set in the majestic view of Prambanan temple in Yogyakarta, the wedding needs to be appropriately explained. While the name of the grooms can easily be predicted as the story goes, the reason behind it will reveal a soft yet meaningful surprise. It completes all the learning process in every character in this story.

THE LOCATIONS

The story takes place in several locations in Indonesia, and a bit in London. I deliberately take the whole family going places because that’s what families do in Indonesia, especially when an important event occurs. From Jakarta where they live, the capital city of Indonesia, to Yogyakarta and Surabaya, two of the big cities with their richness in Javanesse culture, historical places, as well as food and scenery. And last but certainly not the least, the romantic island of Bali. In Indonesia we call it “The Island of Gods” for its beauty that’s certainly second to none. In Julia Robert’s movie “Eat Pray Love”, whether you like the movie or not, you will not forget the beautiful beaches and rice fields of Bali exposed along the movie. Accompanied with the book Pride and Prejudice to empower the maturity process of a character, it would be a dreamy story to tell.

THE AUTHOR

Hi, everyone! I’m Prima Santika from Indonesia. I live in Jakarta, the capital – as well as the biggest cosmopolitan – city in Indonesia. I studied Economics, and I’m currently working in a telco company. I was born in 1974, a husband to a beautiful wife, and a father of a handsome 4 years old son. I have just published my first book, entitled THREE WEDDINGS AND JANE AUSTEN. It’s a novel in Indonesian language,

I hope this writing of mine can give you a glimps of what I have done to introduce Jane Austen to Indonesian audience. And for this opportunity, I should thank Maria Grazia, the owner of this blog, who appreciates my book although she haven’t read it. I believe she only reads my guest post in the blog of MVBClub. And unlike other authors presented in this blog, if only this book were translated in English, I would be more than happy to provide giveaway books for this blog’s readers.

Contact points:

Twitter: @primasantika

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/primasantika

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/threeweddingsandjaneausten

My Self-Review [written in English] of the book in Goodreads Blog: http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/1994807-a-self-review-of-my-book-in-english

Reading and Writing [should be] a Man’s Best Friend

JANE AUSTEN AND INDONESIAN FAMILY

Hi, everyone! I’m Prima Santikafrom Indonesia. I live in Jakarta, the capital – as well as the biggest cosmopolitan – city in Indonesia. I studied Economics, and I’m currently working in a telco company. I was born in 1974, a husband to a beautiful wife, and a father of a handsome 4 years old son. I have just published my first book, entitled THREE WEDDINGS AND JANE AUSTEN. It’s a novel in Indonesian language, published by Gramedia, one of the biggest, oldest, most respectable publishers in Indonesia.

Since this blog’s main objective is to encourage men everywhere in the world to read and write more, I’m here to do just that, to share my experience in those areas. But first – and to do this in a right way in order to understand how I relate my book to Jane Austen – let me take you to my book.

The book tells a story about a mother with her three adult daughters. Ibu Sri [Ibu = Mrs.] is the mother of Emma a 35 years old, Meri is 30, and Lisa is 29. They live inJakarta. The three daughters are not giving any sign to be married anytime soon, and that makes Ibu Sri a little bit worry. Ibu Sri is a real fan of Jane Austen. She has all the six novels and read it over and over again since high school. Ibu Sri uses Jane Austen books to give advices to her daughters on how to deal with love, since their high school time until present days. It’s like a holy book of romance for her, and she makes sure that her daughters will inherit all the wisdoms Jane Austen ever told in her books. As the story goes, readers will follow the love story from each girl, their problems, and how Ibu Sri deals with it by giving them advices based on Jane Austen books. But life is always full of surprises, that each character in this book – including Ibu Sri herself – will have to learn lessons from their conflicts to each other, read Jane Austen books, and finally develop themselves into a wiser character. And just like any Jane Austen story, I promise a happy wedding at the end of mine.

When I started to write this book in early 2008, in order to relate the most of Jane Austen’s point of view with Indonesian way of life, I had no other option but to put it into a good-family perspective. I could see a close relation in terms of manners and how to regard love and marriage in an ordinary, modern, well-managed, good-moral Indonesian family, with the ones in Jane Austen time. Combining both similar values in one storyline seemed to be a wonderful idea for me to explore at that time. And now, voila! My book is finally done and published in 12 January 2012, with a genuine hope from me that this book can reflect the perfect combination of the two.

I wrote this book also with the spirit of introducing Jane Austen to Indonesian audience. I first fell in love with Jane Austen when I saw the movie Emma starring Gwyneth Paltrow, and then Sense and Sensibility starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet. It was around 1997 or so. I then sensed the silver lining between the two, that the story was always about girls looking for love, and finding marriage at the end. What a wonderful idea! I then bought all the six books when I got the chance, but never read it until just recently while I write this book. Meanwhile, I always kept myself informed of every adaptation from Jane Austen books. So one by one, I’ve seen all the movies or miniseries related to Jane Austen’s books and life. As I thought I have mastered myself into knowing all the characters from each story, I then challanged myself into writing a book based on Jane Austen as I knew then. But of course, without actually reading her books, you can’t really feel Jane Austen’s beautiful mind.

The other reason to write, was to urge single people into marriage. Now, when I say people here, I do mean it for men and women. But I also realize that 90% of my book is talking about women’s feelings and thoughts, so I guess this book is mostly for women. However, if men would read this book all the way through, I do hope that they could take advantage of knowing what women want, and then lead them on into marriage. Shortly, I want this book to be useful for everybody. And that is just the kind of writer I want to be. To be able to touch people’s lives, to present stories close to ourselves, and as much as I can be of use I will try my best to provide answers to any problems in my books. That’s why – in my humble opinion – a happy ending is important.

So, if any of my experiences could be useful for the audience of this blog, it might be the LOVE of something, and the MISSION we’re trying to achieve. My love of Jane Austen has brought me into reading her books, and my mission for campaigning “the importance of being married” has pushed me into writing my book. And for your consolation, I am NOT at all a heavy reader. I’m just an average man with a little passion to write. And what I’ve learnt from writing, was that you can’t write without reading what you write. That’s why I pushed myself to read Jane Austen books in the middle of writing this book. So, start writing, then you will read!

Self-Review of My Book: THREE WEDDINGS AND JANE AUSTEN

THREE WEDDINGS AND JANE AUSTEN:
An Indonesian Novel
– A Self Review by Prima Santika –
“Nothing can produce a better feeling for a mother, than to see her daughter
being married with a good man she loves.”
This is the tagline of my book. It is written as the very first sentence in my book. And if you’re a real Jane Austen fan, you should know that I’m trying to have the same legendary, most memorable tagline of all Jane Austen’s work. The very first sentence in Pride and Prejudice says it all.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession
of a good fortune, must be in want of a Wife.”

Of course in my book, the sentence is written in Indonesian language, not in English. And therefore, one can not merely put the original Indonesian sentence into Google Translate and hoping to have the same effect while reading it in English. It must be properly translated. And maybe, just maybe, it is the reason why Jane Austen books have never been translated into Indonesian in a complete version. There is one book though – just produced few years ago – that translates the full version of Pride and Prejudice into Indonesian language. I admit I haven’t read it. I knew about it only after I released my book. I just hope it has a good translation to the original version, so that it could be marked as the pioneer in introducing Jane Austen’s books to Indonesian people.

With the same spirit of introducing Jane Austen in Indonesia, I then wrote this book. Of course I’m a big fan of Jane Austen. I’ve read all her six major novels, and seen [almost] all the movies/miniseries about the adaptations of her works, or the stories of her life. This novel I wrote, called THREE WEDDINGS AND JANE AUSTEN, is my first mass-produced novel, published by Gramedia, one of the biggest, oldest, most respectable publishers in Indonesia.

The other reason to write this book for me, is to urge single people into marriage. Now, when I say people here, I do mean it for men and women. But I also realize that 90% of my book is talking about women’s feelings and thoughts, so I guess this book is mostly for women. However, if men would read this book all the way through, I do hope that they could take advantage of knowing what women want, and then lead them on into marriage. Shortly, I want this book to be useful for everybody.

When I started to write this book in early 2008, in order to relate the most of Jane Austen’s point of view with Indonesian way of life, I had no other option but to put it into a good-family perspective. I could see a close relation in terms of manners and how to regard love and marriage in an ordinary, modern, well-managed, good-moral Indonesian family, with the ones in Jane Austen time. Combining both similar values in one storyline seemed to be a wonderful idea for me to explore at that time. And now, voila! My book is finally done and published in 12 January 2012, with a genuine hope from me – the author – that this book can reflect the perfect combination of the two. And the other hope, is to be a best seller book, of course.

ABOUT THE BOOK

The book is in 464 pages, with the dimension of 13.5×20 cm. It contains one Prolog, two Parts, nine Chapters, and one Epilog. Some of the Chapters contain 2 to 4 Sub-Chapters. The story is told always by first person. There are four main characters: the mother called Ibu Sri [Ibu=Mrs.], and her three daughters named Emma, Meri and Lisa. Each character gets her own Chapter or Sub-Chapter in telling her own stories. In helping the readers to memorize in which character they are currently reading, the book provides header in every page informing the Chapter’s title and the character’s name.

Telling a story in first person while some characters sometimes fall into one same scene, produces some retelling here and there. However, not all scenes need to be retold, it’s only for the important ones where the particular scene takes different impacts on each character. By doing this, we can explore into deeper feelings and thoughts by the characters in every meaningful scene. For me personally, as a starting writer, I find this situation very interesting and challenging at the same time. And the fact that the big publisher got it and then put it into a mass production, gave me an utmost relief and a wishful thinking, that people might enjoy this idea as well.

THE STORYLINE

Ibu Sri has three daughters, Emma is 35 years old, Meri is 30, and Lisa is 29. They live in Jakarta, the metropolitan capital city of Indonesia. The three daughters are all not yet to be married anytime soon, and that makes Ibu Sri a little bit worry.

# IBU SRI

Ibu Sri is a real fan of Jane Austen! She has all the six novels and read it over and over again since high school. Her high school period was in London, and before it’s over she has to move back to Jakarta where she lives ever since. Her husband is a doctor in a particular hospital. This father character doesn’t appear at all in this novel. He still lives with Ibu Sri and their three daughters, but his presence is never told. Both the Prolog and Epilog contains a letter written by Ibu Sri to her husband when she – at last – has a chance of visiting London again with their daughters after they’re all married. In those letters she tells him how much she loves and misses him.

The Prolog tells a brief summary about Jane Austen and her books. In her letter to her husband, she’s reminiscing about how important those books are. She even names her daughters after the characters in Jane Austen books. Emma from Emma Woodhouse in Emma, Meri from Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility, and Lisa from Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Although they’re named after certain characters, their stories are not necessarily similar to the related characters.

Ibu Sri uses Jane Austen books to give advises to her daughters on how to deal with love, since their high school time until present days. It’s like a holy book of romance for her, and she makes sure that her daughters will inherit all the wisdoms Jane Austen ever told in her books.

“My dear Husband, I don’t know whether you felt it or not, but the periods of searching for love and finding a husband were a very fragile phase for our daughters. And I had promised myself never to miss those moments. At that point, I felt like being obligated to understand and to give guidance to our daughters as they’re growing up. Turned out I needed guidance myself. Something to look up to, something modern. Religion was the most important value, and it’s mandatory for us to put it into their education. Tradition, norm and moral in living within the family and as part of society in Indonesia were also implemented in our daily lives. But I needed something more. There were some values – applicable in nature and related to romance – in a girl’s life as she’s becoming a grown up, that needed a comprehensive guidance to conduct. Fortunately, I found it not very far from my own all-time amusement. The Jane Austen novels.”

And since the Prolog has revealed the ending of the story, that all the daughters are finally married, the heartbeat of this novel depends mainly in the journeys. And the journeys in this novel are defined as wrong turns, regrets, lessons learned, and letting go. As the writer I just hope that these kind of journeys will keep the readers turning pages until the very end of the book. And in the last chapter –told by Ibu Sri – there’s a soft surprise on how the ending can be made possible.

# EMMA

Emma is the first daughter, she’s 35 years old with a boutique business she owns. She’s the wisest of the three. Patient, controlled, never to enter any conflict, and always put on a happy face. Inside, she’s just another girl with opinions, criticisms, and heartbreaks. In the age 25 she’s nearly married with a boy named Adit, who’s just as simple as she was in regarding love. The wedding was off due to Adit’s obligation to his family’s economic problem. He was to marry his far cousin to help his parents taking care of his little brothers and sisters. As brokenhearted as she was, Emma had no problem with letting go. Her enormous patience let her think that Adit has done the right thing, and she sincerely wished him and his wife a good marriage. However, Emma has never had a serious boyfriend ever since. She has no problem in starting a new relationship with boys, but unfortunately boys never took a second date with her. Emma never complained about love or marriage, and enjoyed herself being alone. But Ibu Sri was – of course – concerned, and doing anything she could to match her with any doctor in her husband’s hospital.

Now Ibu Sri has another doctor for Emma, named Doctor Dian. He’s a good man with a warm sense of humor, only a year older than Emma. They attracted right away to each other and go on weekly regular meetings. Not dates. Emma is an Indonesian girl who’s not allowed to speak her attraction to a man out loud. She can only follow Doctor Dian’s endless meetings without any assurance in getting any progressive affection from him. Emma guards her heart for not falling deeper into this attraction, just in case he’d leave her without a cause.

During the period, there’s one occasion where the whole family of Ibu Sri’s made a one week trip to Yogyakarta – an artistic city in the middle of Java island of Indonesia – attending a family wedding. Here Emma was introduced to Krisna – a widower ten years older than Emma with two little kids – on a business purpose of Batik trading. Batik is a fabric with Javanese motif. Krisna is attracted to Emma for her beauty and her kindness to his little daughters. As the business continues from Jakarta to Yogyakarta back and forth, his feelings for her has developed without Emma ever knowing. And to Emma’s surprise, he suddenly asks her to marry him.

Emma of course rejects the proposal by writing a letter to soften the news. Not because Krisna being a bad character – instead she highly respects him for being a good business partner – but because she recently finds a progress in Doctor Dian’s feeling towards her. Unfortunately, not too long after, Doctor Dian makes a clear statement to end their friendship. He’s moving to a very far city and planning to live there for good without asking Emma to follow him as in a marriage. Emma is of course devastated.

The story then moves to another city called Surabaya, when the whole family once again takes a trip attending a funeral of a close relative. Ibu Sri spots the gloomy air in Emma, and then suggesting her to read Jane Austen novel called Sense and Sensibility. Ibu Sri believes that this novel is contemplative in terms of letting go and acceptance, and that Emma can relate herself to one of the character in this novel named Elinor Dashwood. Emma then reads the novel, finds peace in her heart, and ready to open herself again into any relationship offered to her.

# MERI

Meri is the lovable one. She’s now 30 years old, works at a bank, and has a boyfriend named Bimo for the last 3 years. She’s always been popular since high school and boys wanted to be her boyfriend. But the only serious relationship was with a boy named Edo in collage. They’re going steady until after collage and serious about getting married soon. But Edo spoiled everything by getting another girl pregnant. Meri could never forgive him, closed her heart to any man, and never enter any match-making anyone exposed to her. Letting go was not her cup of tea, until one day after a long while she met the warm-hearted, patient and friendly boy named Bimo. They then – unpredictably by Meri – became lovers.

On the third year of going steady, Meri now starts to feel bored. They don’t have any problem with each other, their families are fine, their jobs go very well, but lately they don’t see each other with intensity. Their similar passion in Jazz can’t amuse Meri anymore, and then she meets another Jazz lover named Erik. He can wonderfully put Jazz on the plate together with romance, sincerity, and love. Meri can’t resist the menu and consume the dish without Bimo knowing. They meet in Jakarta and Yogyakarta behind him. But Erik is Lisa’s friend at work, and she firmly suggests Meri to get out from the affair. There’s a conflict here between the two sisters, but it ends up with Meri’s decision to leave Erik. But just when they meet to say goodbye in a concert where Erik is the organizer and Bimo is the photographer, Bimo catches them hugging. And although it’s a simple misunderstanding, Bimo can not accept Meri’s apology. They split up, leaving Meri with enormous regret.

Meri’s sadness was seen very clearly by Ibu Sri. And although she can’t relate to any Jane Austen’s character – since none of them ever conduct an afair – she offers Meri a Jane Austen book called Persuasion. This book is suitable for Meri because of forgiveness and moving-on content within. Meri feels much at ease after reading the book, and then dare herself to write a letter to Bimo: asking for forgiveness, telling him she loves him, and sending him the Persuasion book. Unfortunately Bimo never replies.

On the family trip to Surabaya, Meri feels the need to move on and looking for a new love life. The island of Bali is not very far from Surabaya, so she takes Lisa along to go there on a weekend getaway. In the peaceful state of mind and place, Meri then determines herself to get married soon. Although, she doesn’t know with who.

# LISA

Lisa is the youngest, but not too far apart from Meri. She’s 29 years old. As a free spirited young girl who’s committed to her job as a journalist, Lisa is surprisingly never been kissed. She always rejects any boy who comes along just because they’re not up to her standards. She always protects herself from being hurt by love, and she even doesn’t believe in the happiness of marriage. However, there was once in her life that she ever felt the sparkling feeling of being in love. It was in high school with a boy named Deni, a handsome rich boy who’s also the head of the student organization. Unfortunately, she’s not very popular in school, but her best friend named Amel was. Knowing her best friend was after the same boy, she then backed up from the game and let Amel win. Deni once asked Lisa on a date, but she refused to go. But to Lisa’s big relieve, Deni had to move to America not long after Amel and him got together. Although he’s not around anymore, she has unconsciously set him as her standard in appraising men ever since.

And now, in one fine day, Lisa meets Deni again in Jakarta. And the same in-love feeling is coming back. Although she refuses to call herself being in love, Ibu Sri knows that it indeed is. In Yogyakarta, Deni shows up and takes Lisa on his business trip around the city. Lisa finds comfort of being with him the whole day long, but can’t do more then just waiting for his call in the days after. She hates to wait and do nothing, but she can’t do otherwise, until Ibu Sri has a great idea on how to get them to meet again smoothly. Lisa finally meets Deni, along with her sisters and Ibu Sri who at the time takes along her Jane Austen novel Pride and Prejudice. The conversation then leads to the fact that Deni has read the book as his home assignment in highschool, and the pretending caused by Ibu Sri that Lisa also has read the book so that they both have something in common. After the meeting ends, Lisa has no other choice than really read the book herself.

On the other hand, Amel is currently processing a divorce. She has two baby children, but her husband’s been caught cheating. To Lisa’s surprise, Amel calls her that Deni just called asking her to meet. Amel never knew about Lisa’s historical feeling to Deni, so she’s asking Lisa for her opinion. And despite Lisa’s advice not to meet Deni, Amel really wants to go and hopes that the meeting leads to a new relationship between them. Lisa was left alone, jealous and unhappy. She can’t confirm about what happens next to both of them without causing herself a heart break. And there’s no more news anyway from both since Amel’s last call. Brokenhearted as Lisa must be, she then decided to still read the book Pride and Prejudice, hoping the reading will distract her sadness.

Lisa and Amel have another best friend, a boy named Geri. He’s been the clever one since high school, and currently just got back from London after finishing his scholarship. He’s single, available, and wanting to be married anytime soon with whoever available. Lisa is happy to find her best friend is in town, and even happier to know that Geri has also read Pride and Prejudice while in London, being one of the most famous classic books ever in England. Lisa finally enjoys the book.

When Lisa is in Bali with Meri, in Jakarta Geri goes out clubbing with Amel and Deni. Lisa accidentally knows about it over the phone although Geri tries to hide it, since Lisa has told him about her feelings to Deni. Lisa is upset thinking that Amel and Deni must be officially going steady. She then puts the phone off the next day, hoping she can find peace in her heart and mind while surrounded by the magnificently beautiful scenery of Bali. Accompanied by the book Pride and Prejudice, she finds herself calming down and realizes that love should be acknowledged and happiness in a marriage is only a matter of chance.

And just when she’s able to appreciate love, Deni comes to Bali to meet her especially. He wants to say goodbye, for he’s leaving the country and will live in America again, for good this time. And then he adds one thing that he’s kept secret all along since high school and always wanted to be free of. That he’s in love with her, and he needs to know that his feeling is mutual. With a little bit of conflict between them related to Amel, Lisa finally reveals her true feelings. She realizes that she needs this closure just as much as he does in order to live her future life without ever questioning what if. It’s indeed a bitter sweet of love for Lisa. And she’s now officially been kissed.

THE ENDING. THE THREE WEDDINGS.

In the last chapter before Epilog, the wedding is described by Ibu Sri. Having all her three daughters being married in the same time and place, produces an utmost happiness into her feelings. Set in the majestic view in Prambanan temple in Yogyakarta, the wedding needs to be appropriately explained. While the name of the grooms can easily be predicted as the story goes, the reason behind it will reveal a soft yet meaningful surprise. It completes all the learning process in every character in this story.