- Ketika marak film Islami bertema cinta, saya belum tergerak menulis novel yang membahas cinta laki-laki & perempuan #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- Hanya 101 dating rasanya. Pesantren Impian atau Istana Kedua atau Cinta di Ujung Sajadah tidak menitikberatkan ke soal cinta. #AB
- Biasanya cerpen saya lebih bernuansa sosial dan potret kehidupan. Nonfiksi banyak menyuarakan luka dan motivasi bagi perempuan
- Cinta di Ujung Sajadah maupun novel Ummi pun lebih ke keluarga dan cinta anak kepada orang tua, khususnya ibu. #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- Lalu kenapa mendadak saya menulis Novel romantis yang menitik berat hubungan laki2 & perempuan seperti #AssalamualaikumBeijing?
- Dan seperti kmrn, aku memandangnya dengan keraguan yang terus menggelepar. Jika benar laki-laki itu takdirku, kenapa potretnya tak membekas dalam ingatan? #AB
- Tetapi mendapatkan banyaknya curhat para muslimah yang tidak percaya bahkan trauma pada laki-laki #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- melihat maraknya persoalan rumah tangga, saya menerima banyak curhat sesama istri ttg luka hati mereka #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- Dan tingkat perceraian yang terus bertambah (ada buku bagus sekali tentang ini judulnya Jangan Bercerai Bunda), #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- Ketidakpercayaan akan cinta juga kasus2 perceraian yang merebak, membuat saya merasa HARUS menulis kisah cinta #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- Sebab walau seakan samar, insya Allah masih ada mereka yang menikah bahagia. Menjaga satu cinta selamanya #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- Tetapi inspirasi karakter/tokoh dan ide cerita tidak datang bersamaan dalam novel terbaru saya #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- Saya berkenalan via email dgn seorg muslimah penderita APS, anti phospolipid syndrome. Sindrom pembekuan darah. #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- Kami ngobrol lama, hidupnya bagai dongeng yang tdk mungkin tapi terjadi. Sosoknya menginspirasi salah 1 tokoh di #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- wkt itu blm tahu akan menulis buku apa. Tp saya terbiasa mencatat tokoh, ide dll yg mungkin bs menjadi sesuatu #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- Satu hal lagi, sebelumnya nggak pernah terpikir akan memberi nama "Asma" pd tokoh dlm novel yg saya tulis #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- Pernah ketemu penyair dari Rumania, pas saya bilang nama saya Asma, dia ketawa terbahak2,ingat penyakit. Sopan!:p #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- Sejak itu saya memilih dipanggil Nadia terutama saat dlm acara kepenulisan di LN
- Tp di Beijing, dlm bus dr bandara menuju hotel di samping saya duduk lelaki China. Adegannya saya kutip di opening #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- Ktk tahu nama saya Asma, dia tertegun. Nggak meledek. Malah senyum, katanya: it reminds me of Ashima #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- Respon, kalimat+adegan pertemuan itu saya pakai di salah 1bab #AssalamualaikumBeijing. Jd kalau baca novelnya bisa ngeh dr nyata ke fiksi:)
- Ashima nama seorang putri cantik legenda dari Yunnan, dan kemudian ikut menjadi latar dalam novel #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- Terus kepikiran adegan perkenalan dgn lelaki China itu, kami lalu bertukar kartu nama. Lanjut chatting #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- Jadi riset buat saya tak hanya saat menulis novel, tapi sering jauh bahkan sblm saya tahu apa yang akan ditulis. #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- Selama chatting saya menggali ttg Ashima, jg menanyakan kalimat dlm bhs China yg mungkin saya perlukan, msh 2008 #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- Berarti sy menabung (riset) 7 tahun. Obrolan via email dgn gadis yg menderita APS kemudian saya padukan #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- Pd penderita APS jika pembekuan darah di mata, bisa buta, jantung bisa kena serangan jantung, ke otak bisa stroke #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- saya nggak mau bikin cerita kasih tak sampai dgn alasan klise, ketabrak atau lumpuh tanpa sebab jelas:) #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- Saya suka mengambil karakter utama dari tokoh nyata, kalimat, tindakan, cara berpikir, sehingga padu dan sungguhan #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- sbg penulis saya sering terpukau dgn kenyataan bnyknya hal2 yang awalnya tidak nyambung tp lalu teramu jd 1 cerita #AssalamualaikumBeijing
- #AssalamualaikumBeijing bercerita tentang kisah cinta yg tdk klise insya allah. Juga bgmn seorg mualaf berproses, smg mbantu
- Bagi single ladies:) muslim muslimah di mana yang belum menikah, semoga #AssalamualaikumBeijing menuntun memahami cinta lbh baik
- Yang terluka, dikhianati & selama ini mencari cara bgmn melupakan dan move on, semoga novel #AssalamualaikumBeijing menguatkan
- yang sakit, ditempa ujian luar biasa dan tertatih mencari pintu2 keajaiban, smg termotivasi menguatkan doa. #AssalamualaikumBeijing
Terbaru dari blog
Saya jarang banget nulis novel romantis. Hm, pengin berbagi proses kreatif Novel #AssalamualaikumBeijing, ada yang mau merapat? :)
by Asma Nadia, 2013
The Land of a Ship
(Resonancy, 21 January 2012)
Last night I dreamed that I was on the grandest cruise ship that has ever existed. It was made of select metals that were not only strong, but also worth more than their weight in gold.
I quickly saw respected, upper-class passengers, as well as the ship’s staff and personal servants, who became waiters on the ship.
The grand ship did not always have a smooth journey. There were big storms along the way, but none was strong enough to keep it from splitting waters of the ocean.
No one knew who started it, but some people began to pick at the walls, which were made from expensive materials. They picked at them bit by bit. More and more passengers joined in, eager to increase their wealth.
The ship security officers and some passengers knew about these hidden crimes. But it was not easy to find evidence, because they did it in the privacy of their own cabins.
Some small restless groups did not have any power to do anything about it. Even more dangerous was the activity of passengers who lived near the hull. Day and night they never stopped picking at the ship because the precious metals there were the thickest. They did not seem to care about the risk of the hull leaking if it was thin enough and therefore sinking the ship.
This went on for days and days, until the ship started to face a serious threat. But the entertainment provided on the ship, sometimes magic shows, often made all passengers forget about the state of emergency, even to the point of getting used to it. Whenever concerns arose they just hoped that the ship would reach the shores soon.
Was there really no law enforcement on the ship? Apparently there was.
I saw them arrest an old woman and put her in jail for stealing a leftover chocolate bar that belonged to rich folks who weren’t even interested in eating it all. At another time they detained a teenager on the charge of stealing a pair of worn sandals. They detained a waiter for allegedly stealing his master’s plates. A father was even thrown into a room that doubled as a prison cell, just for charging his cell phone in the hallway without permission, and is considered stealing electricity.
All officers on the grand ship seemed to be very busy dealing justice to small people, so that they did not have any time or energy left to take care of large matters. As people continued to undermine the ship, the walls were getting thinner and thinner, and the ship was getting more and more unstable.
The unusual dream journey led me to a conversation, in which a passenger asked an officer about why no one was taking action when these activities threatened the lives of all the ship passengers.
With a mechanical attitude and smile, the officer explained that it is important to enforce the law on the principles of presumption of innocence, or in their simple interpretation, they could not investigate a crime if there was no report.
I sighed, my chest constricted as I imagined the fate of this great ship and its passengers. It was not easy to report the rich people who had tactics in place to protect their greed. Those who reported them could be accused of defamation, according to the law passed down to us from colonialists. But despite my anxiety, these last few days I heard the sound of helicopters more and more frequently, carrying away passengers and crates of their booty.
As the situation became more dire, I looked to the captain’s cabin. I was almost crying in panic and could not imagine the tragic end that loomed over this beautiful ship.
The only hope lay on the captain’s shoulders. In the middle of this vast ocean, he was the only person who had the authority to take emergency measures to save the ship.
Meanwhile, water slowly but surely began to break through the holes in the walls, and the water level rose higher and higher. Panic broke out. The air was filled with shrieks and cries of the people who ran for their lives.
I waited. I kept waiting for the captain to act. But before I could see what the captain would do, I woke up.
It was only a dream, but the tears in my eyes remained. (as published in Republika News Paper, the epaper link is :http://republika.pressmart.com/PUBLICATIONS/RP/RP/2012/01/21/ArticleHtmls/resonansi-Negeri-Sebuah-Kapal-21012012012026.shtml?Mode=1)
Golden gate, Asma Nadia, 2013
Meeting A Stranger
How do you feel about meeting a stranger?
How likely are you to agree to meet someone, say a person you only know online, a stranger from the social media?
How many of those meetings turn out disastrous and how many blossom into better friendships or take relationships to the next stage? We all hear about this. Things that usually make every parent worry.
I have few friends that I know online. One is a guy named Scott, a Japanese-American I met through the Internet in 2000. We became good online friends. He read my short stories, gave his comments, and also helped edit some parts. He also edited the applications I wrote for two residency programs and I passed.
He contributed an article and pictures for the first edition of Jilbab Traveler in 2009. I asked him to because I believed his experience in traveling would help female travelers. He donated his share of royalties from the book to help 68 libraries by www.rumahbacaasmanadia.com (I have a dream of 1000 libraries). He also wrote a post and published pictures about the libraries on his website. Furthermore, he's an awesome photographer. Check out his work on www.stokedasoul.com.
A Favor & A Surprise
In 2006, after the writers-in-residence program in South Korea when I fell in love with photography (long story), I asked Scott for a favor, that if we ever met, first I'd like to learn photography from him, and second, I wanted to have my picture taken by him. He agreed.
Of course it was just small talk because at the time the US seemed so far away and, as a mother, though later on I would travel to many countries, I would never go abroad just for sightseeing without any writing residency or seminar or invitation to give a workshop.
But then came a surprise. On August 24 I finally set my foot in the US for the International Writing Program in Iowa. At the beginning of the residency, the 34 writers from 32 countries were informed about the trip we could have, either to New Orleans or to San Francisco.
I chose the latter. I know New Orleans is famous for pubs, food and drink, as well as jazz. Faulkner lived there and called New Orleans "the city where imagination takes precedence over fact." It wasn't an easy decision. I wish I didn't have to choose.
But San Francisco is well-known as the mecca of creativity. It has been home to many famous writers, from Rudyard Kipling to Mark Twain, and many more. And my mom loves San Francisco. She dreams of going there for its romantic atmosphere as seen in many movies. I felt like it was the place she wanted to be.
Another reason was Scott. He doesn't actually live there, but he was in the same state. There was a slight possibility that we could meet. A very small possibility, but it would be nice to finally meet someone who had helped me and chatted with me for such a long time. And who knows how the meeting would help in my writing? Experience matters in any type of creative work.
Fortunately my husband, who was also familiar with 'online' Scott, understood. But yes, he asked me to bring a foldable knife or an umbrella to protect myself in an emergency. Just in case. The same advice he gives me every time I travel alone.
When I told Scott that I was going to San Francisco, he said he couldn't promise anything but let's see. That was it. It was no surprise because I noticed that Scott was a serious person, smart, very good at computer programming. He helped me once when my computer was infected with a virus. He's the kind a guy who doesn't talk too much but always means what he said. As we chatted, both of us were usually doing something else, so we weren't there just for chatting.
Finally, San Fransisco
What I hadn't known that going to San Francisco would mean clearing three days out of his busy schedule, a seven-hour drive from Los Angeles and two nights in a hotel, so that we could have long hours of picture taking. I really appreciated all his efforts. I mean, meeting someone whom you had no idea what to expect, and whom you would have to spend so many hours with? It could be a disaster!
As I am a woman, I understood why my friends—my roommates Corinne, IWP staff Kelly, and especially Maria, who was responsible for the writers' trip to San Francisco—were worried. There are so many bad news about online crimes, etc. Maria asked me a few times, "Do you trust him? Do you?" She continued, "I don't trust strangers!"
But traveling had taught me a few things. One is knowing whether we could trust a person or not, and how far we could trust them. Yes, it's a tricky thing, and could end up fatal. If I had had even the slightest doubt, I wouldn't do it. But this online friend, for me, he seemed real.
Anyway, to make Maria feel less worried, I asked Scott if it would be ok to give the IWP staff his phone number. Scott said it was ok. I also gave Maria his complete name on Facebook and his website. Maria was there in the lobby when I met Scott. She gave him her business card and talked to him with a kind but serious look, saying that she would call me through his mobile because mine was dead.
From Strangers to Photo-partners
So yes, finally, Scott and I met up. He was very polite, a little quiet in the beginning. He also doesn't drink nor smoke, which came as a relief, since I can't stand to be around a smoker for many hours.
At first it was awkward, walking with someone I just met in person. To be honest, when we left the lobby and got into the car, I was still sleepy and wished I had brought my sunglasses, thinking I could use some time to close my eyes without him knowing. He seemed busy with the street.
I tried to start some conversation, trying to be friendlier but also so that I wouldn't feel sleepy. But conversation was not a good idea since Scott was trying to find the right direction and answering me took away his focus from the map. It made me feel guilty because I felt that the more I talked, the further we got from a place we wanted to go.
But those awkward moments started to disappear when he finally parked the car close to the beach, and we started taking out our cameras and took pictures, while he explained things and asked me to try a few things.
As time passed, I realized how tolerant and caring he was. He asked me when I would like to have lunch and where. He even changed the restaurant he was thinking about just to get to the one that I wanted.
At around noon I was talking to the people in restaurant, ordering something for lunch, when Maria called. Scott was about to ask Maria to call again later, but thought it would sound suspicious for her, and I agreed. Maria didn't say much on the phone and just checked, "Are you ok, Nadia?" I said yes. "Say it again, are you OK?" Later on she also sent him a text and asked me to call her the minute I got back to hotel.
After lunch, Scott, who noticed that I was a fan of chili sauce and brought many sachets of it from Indonesia, took me to an Asian supermarket so I could have an extra. There were some available but I wasn't sure about the taste. We ended up buying cakes and beverages just in case we would have a late dinner.
It was fun. The rest of the day just kept getting better and better. We laughed a lot as we shared traveling experiences. At the same time I felt enriched. I realized that I often looked but I didn't see. Which, not just as a photographer but as a writer, I should have been paying more attention, I know! Of course, he helped me taking better pictures as I learned new tricks and got to know my camera better.
I couldn't believe how many hours we spent walking and taking pictures since that morning. Then we waited and prepared our cameras on tripods for the sunset, as the sky color changed beautifully. Some tourists passed by, trying to capture the best Golden Gate view with their mobile and some with big cameras. I heard many of them complained about the government shutting down some places, including the Alcatraz, the Yosemite Park, and the place where we were, the hillsides of Marin, a part for the national park.
When the sunset came, the two of us were quiet. I smiled when afterwards Scott told me how silent we were. The darker sky, the colder the weather was. Knowing that I left my jacket in the car, Scott asked if I wanted to take it, and said we could walk back again for night pictures because it would take hours until it got really dark, but I declined. I didn't want to leave this amazing spot, as city lights began.
I noticed Scott played with his flash flight. As he kept running out and in the camera. I had no idea what he was doing until two days later he showed me a picture with a note: "And it looks like you left your mark on the hillsides of Marin..."
pictures by Scott Sugawara
It took patience to stay out there, adjusting the cameras, pointing them to other views. I followed his footsteps in taking pictures of the road and the starry sky. It was a kind of an addiction, but people who love photography will understand the excitement. It's not all about what lens or what camera you use, but the will to stay out there no matter how cold the weather, Scott said and I couldn't agree more.
I remembered my experience in Cobenhavn and Stockholm in winter 2012, walking alone and climbing many steps to find the highest point, or when I was in Moscow, facing minus 27 celsius and trying to get night pictures of a bridge until my fingers were sore, and it wasn't even a famous bridge. But I always have this feeling that before I have a beautiful night picture, my traveling won't be complete.
A Happy Ending
The next day, when I uploaded one pic I took with Scott, Maria said the picture was pretty and all the worries were paid off. It was worth it. I mentioned this to Scott via Facebook, and he said, "Very nice... tell her that it's nice to know that someone is looking after my friend Nadia!"
Now, the serious part for girls. Good guys won"t mind sharing his phone number with your parents, family, friends, when it is necessary. And if you have a family member or a friend who is going to meet someone they only know online through Facebook, twitter or other social media, or any stranger at all, please do what Maria did. I know I will do the same. If it were my daughter, perhaps I would even consider 'stalking'. Kidding :)
Anyway, in my case, meeting this "stranger" wasn't a bad experience at all. From strangers, we became great photo-partners, which is a luxury for a solo traveler like me. Or maybe it's not just for solo travelers. In reality it's not easy at all to find a great photo-partner, someone who's on the same frequency as you, who's not just willing to stay, but also cherish and enjoy every second as much as you are.And having a real photographer like Scott, who was not just there to take pictures but also to teach me, answer my questions and fix my problems as I took pictures, it was really truly a luxury.
pictures by Scott Sugawara