Five Cities of Dreams

I wish I had money to visit these awesome places. Or may be a very generous person would want to take me to them. Lol.

1. Salinas, California

Please don’t get bored if you read so many Steinbeck in this blog. Yes. Salinas is his birthplace. I look forward to visit the site because there lies the National Steinbeck Center as a museum that contain all of his memorabilias, books, pictures, post cards, and everything. It serves also as art and literature center that welcomes people from all over the world to enjoy, learn, or volunteer in all events.

2. Torino, Italy

thanks to iaie.org for the pic

I am a Juventini, a lover for Italy’s old football club Juventus. It has always been my dream to watch the club in Delle Alpi stadium since I was in the senior high school. Though I rarely watch the club live in television, I always long for meeting all of the players, especially the sexiest veteran Alessandro Del Piero. I really wish I can meet him before he retires. Best hope is that he will stay or even coach the club that brings him a fame.

3. Mecca

This is the the must-be destination for all Moslems who can afford the hajj fee. I am going to be part of them one day. Apart from religious rituals, I would love to visit historical sites while tracing back Islam civilization during the reign of Prophet Mohammad.

4. London

Among so many amazing cities in Europe, I fall for London. I dont quite certain why I choose this city actually. Perhaps it used to be a place where I can study for Master Degree. But not anymore since I switch my focus to cities in the U.S. So, I love the city because it has many old buildings with the Thames river runs across the heart of the place. Because I learn English literature and love it so much, it seems incomplete if I don’t come to the capital of the country which marks the birth of such a rich literature. Does the reason make sense?

5. Washington D.C

Surely, I dont pick the city because of the White House. Strangely speaking, I just think that I can live in the place in a quite long term. How so? I don’t know.

Five Inspirational Writers

Since most of my readings are about fiction, below is the list of five awesome people of letters that inspire me not to stop writing. If I had my own book, it would be greatly influenced by these wonderful authors. I look forward to extend the list because nowadays I read and seek for new writers to add my favorites.

1. John Steinbeck

He has three amazing distinctive qualities that wow me. First, he is able to portray perfect characters with all of their imperfections. Widely-claimed as his finest book, The Grapes of Wrath depicts detailed his social and historical expertises on what was happening during the Great Depression. I love him for creating stories about his homeland, Salinas, California. He does not travel far away to get ideas. The way he chooses the place, makes a fantasy of his own community, give critics to its people, are real evidence that somehow he loves his home.

2. TS Eliot

He is a famous American-born poet and playwright. The reason I put him as my idol is because of his hard-to-digest poems and writings. He is so brilliant. I always find it difficult to get what he wants to say once I read his poems. All rich knowledge and critics seem to be buried under grounds that I need to listen carefully on what my lecturer says before getting into the meanings. Wanna some proofs? Just read The Love Song of Albert J. Prufock or Portrait of A Lady.

3.    Tennessee Williams

The playwright and writer is one of the finest in the beginning of 20th century. Bold sentences serve as sharp weapons to give critics on corrupted social values in most of all drama that he composes. I choose Cat on A Hot Tin Roof, one of his popular drama which is turned into highly-acclaimed movie, as the object of my graduating paper. His most succesful drama, A Streetcar Named Desire, is so strong in characterization. Other thing that makes me love the man is that his works mirror much of his personal life. The Cat implicitly tells an awkward gay relationship. Williams is, as a matter of fact, a gay. The drama and another work called The Glass Menagerie reflects his not-so-good family relationship with his father. He is close only to his sole sister.

4.    Goenawan Muhammad

Now, I turn my attention for local writers. Despite negative critics from my fellow journalists about Muhammad’s behaviour or journalistic view or the like, I love his short articles in Catatan Pinggir. I still remember I always open the last page of Tempo magazine just to read his amazing piece of writings when I am in the college. I wonder on how he can create such good stories out from ordinary themes. For instance, he takes Mbok Berek local chicken fried restaurants as a symbol of fight against mushrooming foreign franchise. I also like the way he presents stories on global issues or historical facts. Certainly, this man reads a lot.

5.    Radhar Panca Dahana

My first love toward journalism happens when I read his short stories collection in Inikah Kita? (Is This Us?). I search for the book but to no avail so far. Its a wonderful book. Its so journalistic, in a way that he give critics on so many things on the changed social phenomenon with the simplest one is the booming of text messages via cellphones. Very sharp and deep critics for all of us. His only book that I have is Cerita-cerita dari Negeri Asap (Tales from Country of Smokes) which is a collection of his short stories. They are witty and full of criticism. Themes like corruption, social behaviour, or commercialization, are the bottom line of the book. Thank you Mr. Dahana. You inspire me so much to be a good reporter.

Top 5 Favorite Books

At first, I dislike novels, poems, short stories, all that kind of art pieces because they are non sense and unrealistic. They are a mere collection of beautiful words without carrying knowledge and wisdom. In short, poets, novelists, or writers help nothing to take people out from poverty through their flowery phrases.

But there is always blessing in disguise beyond favorite mistake. Yes, I call it a bit mistake when I enroll English department because I have to read those materials during the college days. What used to be hatred now becomes a great love. Thanks to my interest toward history, I gradually open myself to the truest pleasure of enjoying literature.

This, eventually, lead me to get to know how serious artists put their thoughts into works. Each writing or stanza contains so much knowledge, which reflects what happen at the time they compose their works. Now I call literature as one of the greatest humans inventions. And I take the subject seriously.

Literature knows no boundaries. Whether it comes from US or UK or Indonesia, here are the lists of books that put me at random feelings : happy, sad, hopeless, hate, everything…I don’t want these books to end.

1.    Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

A very rare tale about friendship. Two unlikely fellows take same paths to pursue their American dream by working as laborers. Lennie is a giant, strong person who is unfortunately too stupid to know his physical ability. He trusts and listens from no one except his closest friend George. The latter is described to have small body but smart. Thanks to George, Lennie can escape from troubles until one day he can not control his emotion and his sole buddy can not help him. The ending of the book is very tragic and shocking. Although I initially find it hard to digest the finale, later I come to nod the two major characters discover what they really need: freedom of souls.

2.    The Catcher In The Rye by J.D Salinger

This novel serves as the saddest fall of idealists. From the beginning until the half part of the latest page, Holden is so brave and stubborn and idealistic with all of his dreams. He wants to leave his family and starts up a business somewhere all alone. He hates school thus leaves it. He dislikes his fellows and teachers. He is not graduated not because he is stupid but because he is so fed up with the school system and all of bad values in it. He is shadowed with the death of his brother, whom he claims as a smart boy. Through a short wander, the book depicts a boy with a problem about his identity. Up to the half part of the latest page I still believe Holden will continue what he believes in. But J.D Salinger chooses to change the fate through the innocence of his beloved sister. 

3.    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Age of Depression becomes the social background of the most successful book from Steinbeck. But social knowledge is just a little slice of pie I eat. The Grapes of Wrath tells a story of an ordinary extended family, who take journeys in search for better lives, just like many families in the U.S during the hard times. With very limited resources, the Joad family leaves their homes and head South where they can find work at plantations. Having jobs is only a small problem they have to face. All along their journeys, what matters more are about anger management, loneliness, and mental survival. Personally, I give two thumbs up for the author who puts Ma, one of the woman characters, to become the strongest to cope with the difficult circumstances.


4.    Larung
by Ayu Utami

A very dark novel on mystical culture, politic, and feminism. The distinctive Indonesian author focuses the novel on Larung Lanang, who is so curious about his grandmother role in the death of his mother. The book depicts sadistic scenes when he kills his grandmother. Larung is less famous than Saman, Utami’s first widely accomplished book. Why do I put Larung in the list instead of Saman? The answer is Larung has an unbelievable ending.


5.   
The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

I’ve read some dramas from Wilde but this novel is so much powerful than what he conveys in his plays. Dorian Gray, a young and narcissistic man, has an ambition to stay young forever. He meets with Basil Hallward, an artist who, paints him then falls for Gray. There is a character namely Lord Henry Wotton, a new young friend, who puts Gray to realize so many things about hedonism and art. As Gray’s appearance unchanged, his picture grows older and uglier once he does bad deeds.  He causes Sybil, a theater actress to commit suicide after he rejects her only because she wants to stop acting. For Gray, stop from acting means staying away from art, the only matter that he loves.

I put the only classic in the list because it reflects human greed and uncontrolled ambition. Debatable topics like gay relationship and hedonism are interesting, too. And of course, a depressive finale.

***********************************************************************

Insomnia

He touches his forehead when walking
He shrugs when in lost for explanation
In an era of tissue paper, he brings handkerchief wherever he goes
His poor handwriting does not keep him from possesing pens

Not to forget, a black pencil case inside his bag
He has no specific food taste
For such a slim person, he eats a lot
He is a calm figure except on the road
Romantic songs fall under his selection despite his firm look
No smoke, no drink
He sleeps a lot
Chair, floor..any places will do
He alienates himself when it comes to work
He has such a crunchy sense of humor
I laugh, not because of his jokes, but on his way of laughing
When I am with him, everything is all right
No hurry, no worry, no fear
Aren’t they all enough reasons for me to love him?

 

Random Thoughts

Human relationships can never be perfect because humans are imperfect. Lately, I learn a lot not to cling many hopes to my friends, even the best and closest ones. They may disappoint me for unknown reasons or perhaps because I do something they dislike. Or simply they go away because that’s how that should be. Or probably I’m over sensitive about this; such a poor friend who looks forward for similar attentions I give to them already. All in all, through this painful rejections I know for sure that the truest, best love belongs only to God. God is the one that will never abandon me. And the second spot belongs to my family.   From now on, I vow to give all of my time and attention for my family then to others….

*valuable lessons learned*

“Reading makes me happy.. while writing always puts me at ease.. These passions are the most awesome gifts I can’t ever endlessly say thank you to God.”

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