Between you, Yunisa KD, and her novels

The Starting Point

Yunisa KD • Jul 16, 13 • ScribblesNo Comments

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit. (Albert Schweitzer)

If people ask me, why on earth, a mathematics and MBA graduate like me, writing novels, it is indeed a long story. It started with full of struggles. So, guys, if your parents oppose you because you like writing novels, don’t be upset. Open your own way!

There was this case from a student in my junior high, SMP Stella Duce 1 Yogyakarta during a talk show in 2011. He said that his parents oppose his writing hobby, he is not allowed to use the computer to write the manuscript, bla bla. Well, my advice to him was: handwrite your manuscript on real paper, sheet by sheet, collect all sheets together, set aside your pocket money to pay for typing services. There are still plenty of typing service providers in Yogyakarta. I remember the author-wannabe’s reaction… JAW DROPPED hahaha. He did not expect that his “cool” senior would give him that solution.

I know how hard it is to convince your parents that writing novel is not a useless hobby. Guys, my position is more difficult than you. My family owns their own businesses (I was expected to take over). My income is in dollar (I am a proud child who refuses asking for money to my parents upon graduation). The time I use for writing novels can actually be used for better things, such as catching up my sleep (so that I don’t have panda eyes). At least, that’s what my mom said to me.

Fortunately, when my spirit to get my own novel published was very low, our family doctor, Dr Dede Selamat Sutedja, in Singapore suddenly replied my e-mail (about my dad’s health report) with this magical sentence: “Really think you have a word for prose.” *fainted*

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. (Proverbs 25:11)
As what I have written at the beginning of this entry, that sentence has lifted me up. If a medical doctor who (supposedly) reads only research papers can say that I have a talent to write prose, judging from the health report e-mail I wrote about my father (Sorry, Dad, I always reported you when you refused to go on diet), it means… I do really have a talent for writing fiction, then! 😀

Indeed, my language teachers since Elementary School to university always sing me praises on my composition. Come on, they are language teachers. I always write according to the specification that they taught me. But this time around, the one who praised me is a medical doctor, he has nothing to do with my language scores. Teachers are always pleased when they have a student who is able to execute their instruction: this is the way to write description, persuasion, narration, argumentation… This is the way to write meeting minutes… But what did Dr Dede gain by singing me a praise? Nothing! So I thought, perhaps God sent Dr Dede to lift my spirit up.

I negotiated with my parents. If I managed to sell my manuscript to a publisher – there is no need for me to pay even a single cent – and my book is published by a real publisher (it means they think my manuscript is good), will I get your blessings to write my next novels? That challenge was accepted by my parents. I sent my first manuscript that I have started writing since 1999 to some publishers.

A couple months later, in October 2005, there was one publisher called me (it’s a long distance call): my manuscript will be published. I was ecstatic. My best friend even called me from Singapore after she received my SMS.
Again, I confirmed with my parents: “Do I get your blessing to keep writing novels?”
Mom said: “Don’t forget, writing novel is a side hobby. You have to focus on jobs that make more money.”
Fair enough. I also taught this concept to my juniors in the talk show. Compromize with your parents. If your parents demand you have to get 8 and above, give them that score. They won’t have any excuse forbidding you for writing novels.

I am thankful that God has sent Dr Dede to rekindle my inner spirit. I hope I can pay this forward to all people who want to be a writer, too. Keep your spirit burning.

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