On the first day of graduate school, my professor told me to think about authors who inspire me to write and put up pictures of them in front of my desk so I will look up for them when I write.
It took me a few weeks to decide whose works I’ve been adoring all these times. And I ended up with several of them. (Yes, several of them weren’t technically authors, but I have my own reason for they inspired me to write, I’ll spill it out soon).
Apparently, (besides Disney), I started generating my own creative ideas by reading comics. Detective Conan, to be exact — hah! I even wanted to be a comic artist like Aoyama Gosho. But my drawings suck, haha. Then I thought, let me just write the story. So that was how I began writing my own story. Obviously, as a 9-10-year-old back then, I had no idea what I was doing. I was just fooling myself around.
Then on my teenage years, I started reading novels. Like, actual novels. Just words printed on books (where I thought it was boring before I hit puberty). As my friends persuaded me to read Indonesian teen-lit novels, I gave it a try. My first Indonesian teen-lit novels I read was Titanium by Sitta Karina, which became my all-time favorite author ever, as I love almost all of her works. There I somewhat learned how to write a novel. Or a prose, to be exact. And still, I was fooling myself around.
Then I moved to U.S for college where I majored in Creative Writing. Again, I had no idea what I would be doing with that major but the fact creative writing can be learned educationally in college really really intrigued me. So I declared the major without any hesitation.
There I learned, about writing in all genres. Fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. I also really thankful that Lewis-Clark State College has a very small size of classes that are very beneficial and effective to do workshop. The faculties also very kind and helpful in many ways. They were helpful and care for my works not just a student, but also as a writer, which I truly appreciate.
I stumbled a lot at the beginning in learning, especially with my ESL situation, poetry and British and American literary culture educationally in general where I have very few know about. Like, Walt Whitman, T. S Eliot, Emily Dickinson, John Keats, William Wordsworth, and so on where almost every single professors I worked with who taught their writings expected all students to know their works. Sorry to say, they all sounded the same to me at the beginning. Just like how some people thought Asians mean Chinese. Or Japanese and Koreans and Chinese are the same. Hah! However, I did enjoy learning from those writers. And at the end, I can differentiate between those writers. Some are Americans and some are British, and those are completely different although they are still somewhat similar to me.
Anyways, what I’ve been wanting to say is, I learned and discovered more things in writing through those writers. Thank God for International Literature course as a general education core class, I found my biggest inspiring author, Haruki Murakami. (I read José Saramago’s Blindness as well in that class, by the way, and I freaking loved it no matter how brutal it was). In poetry, where I struggled a lot because I didn’t know how I supposed to write poetry (even until now, actually…) I apparently learned from Chairil Anwar. And I’m glad that I learned from my own roots. Which it also came to my realization where I owed someone from my roots who made me, as a female non-royal-blooded Indonesian can earn an education, in a foreign country, even! — it is R. A Kartini, my all-time hero besides my own mother. Mother Teresa is another additional inspiration to me personally as in how to be kind in general, haha…
And finally, (haha, it’s kinda embarrassing for me to say this, actually). The professor who told me about this and now is teaching me, also inspired me to write, Julianna Baggott. Being in her class gives me the same feeling of playing tennis, for some reason. Because when I play tennis, a part of my brain is working where I’m thinking how hard/soft, high/low, deep/short, top-spin/slice, the shots I should hit. The strategy, mental toughness, the process of practices, Julianna definitely pushes me to work hard to get to the point where I want to be in writing. And I can’t be more glad to be in her class and can’t be more excited to see what’s in store to work with her as my professor in the future.