In middle school, I found out that I really enjoyed writing. My Indonesian grammar teacher thought I was good at it (he enjoyed reading my stuff in writing/composition class). My mom, of course, did too. So I thought, that’s it. I’ve got it figured out. When I grow up, I’m going to be a writer! A writer of fiction! I’m going to be a bestselling author of bestselling books! Or so I thought.
I spent my whole teenage years trying to come up with one single short story that I thought would be good enough to get published in some teen magazine. I never really did come up with one. I was too embarrassed to have my mom read anything I came up with, let alone a teacher, because it was really just typical teenager crap. I only had myself to rely on for feedback, and I’ve always been my worst critic. Since it was all up to me, everything ended up in the garbage can. I eventually gave up and just let the dream die.
In university, some mates were given the responsibility to come up with content for the bulletin board in our building. It was basically like a sad version of trashy magazine with the kind of articles you’d see in Cosmopolitan. Nobody really cared about the bulletin board but one of the mates really wanted to make something out of it and wanted us to contribute. I thought, what the hell, I’d contribute a short story. No one’s really going to read it anyway so who cares if it’s bad.
So I wrote and contributed a fictional story about an uneventful bus ride to the university. If you knew how bad the public transportation is in Jakarta, you would know there is no such thing as an uneventful bus ride. That issue of the bulletin, including my stupid story, stayed tacked to the board for far longer than I’d anticipated. No one wanted to take over after that because, really, nobody cared. I did get one comment about my story from my English professor. She said she loved it. She thought it was hilarious. She made my day.
I still daydream about becoming a bestselling author of bestselling books every now and then, but I know it’ll remain just a dream. I still do enjoy writing, but I’m doing it mostly as a therapy these days. Writing tires my brain out, and when my brain is tired, it can’t afford to come up with the worst case scenario for everything. Hence this blog you’re reading.
(Thanks for reading, by the way. It’s always good to know somebody’s reading.)32