Quick reviews on Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories that frighten, disgust and awe me

Reading Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories is never easy. It doesn’t matter that his short story that I read is only several pages long or more than 10 pages, his works present before me new challenges. From understanding his investigative method to reading the minds of his characters, Poe’s works are very worthy of further personal researching.

In Tales of Mystery and Imagination that I bought a few weeks ago, I skipped his famous detective fictions; Murders in the Rue Morgue and The Mystery of Marie Roget. I was trying hard to get his ideas but his style was too complicated for me. I didn’t understand what he was conveying. Probably I will get back to them later on when I feel my brain is smart enough.

In the meantime, here are some titles that I read (some are with hard efforts):

  1. The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar (1845)

This was my first experience of knowing that Poe is indeed a very creepy author. M. Ernest Valdemar, as the main character in the short story foreshadows, suffered from severe illness that he was dying. On approaching his death, he asked for the narrator to try saving him by conducting mesmerism. Mesmerism was the name given by German doctor Franz Mesmer in the 18th century to what he believed to be an invisible natural force (Lebensmagnetismus) possessed by all living things, including humans, animals and vegetables. The doctor believed that the force could have physical effects, including healing and he tried but to no avail for achieving scientific recognition of his ideas.

The narrator put the sick man in a suspended hypnotic state. Seven months passed yet M. Valdemar didn’t get better. Each time the narrator visited him, he neither really awoke nor slept. He replied the narrator’s questions by saying “I have been sleeping – and now- now- I am dead”, among the things. Until the very last visit, M. Valdemar instead asked for the narrator to end the practice, saying, “For God’s sake! – quick!- quick! Put me to sleep -or quick! Waken me- quick! I say to you that I am dead!”

What disturbs me is when the narrator halted the practice and the sick man eventually dead. This is because M. Valdemar’s body was changed, decayed into loathsome putrescence. Two things that attract me are the term mesmerism and the disgusting description of M. Valdemar on his way to death.

  1. MS. Found in a Bottle (1833)

The plot of the short story is very simple. An unnamed narrator sailed from Batavia (now Jakarta) but then faced horrible circumstances that made him and other passengers sinking into the sea in a series of disasters. MS means manuscript, which in this short story means the manuscript that the narrator wrote to have described his experiences before the ship he was in was sinking while reaching Antartica.

Poe fascinates me with his narration style here. He vividly describes scenes, facial changes of the narrator and other passengers he came across. The way Poe depicts when the ship sinks, the narrator’s fear and his struggle to get back on waters bring me strong pictures on tremendous, horrific situations that the narrator faces at that time. There isn’t any better technique of inviting readers to closely feel what characters in fictions experience than the one like in MS. Found in a Bottle.

  1. A Descent into the Maelstrom (1841)

The core of this short story is quite similar to the second I mentioned here. Poe presents a man who recalled his life-and-death experience with his brother when a whirlpool and shipwreck suddenly struck them. Unlike the unnamed narrator in the second story, the man in the third story survived so that he was able to have described the deadly and frightening moment in his life.

I really like how Poe, again, describes the man’s experience here. Much like the second story, Poe details every single process when the disasters occur. He is so skilled at building tension that the climax reaches my nerve. Poe successfully makes me feeling the tense and the suspense of the shipwreck and the whirlpool. I can’t imagine if I were experiencing them.

  1. The Purloined Letter (1844)

I honestly didn’t follow details of the story because of the intricate story full of clues, suspicions, guesses and political relations. This is the third part of the three detective stories other than The Murder of the Rue Morgue and The Mystery of Marie Roget with fictional C. Auguste Dupin as the detective.

As the title suggests, the short story revolves around a letter that went missing from the boudoir of an unnamed woman done by Minister D. Dupin and the narrator of the story were joined by one of their friends called as G from Perfect police unit. He told them on the missing letter that was believed to contain important information. But the Perfect couldn’t find the letter even after they searched the apartment of the minister. Dupin applied his tactic that eventually earned him the letter and the reward the G gave to him.

I am awed by Poe’s complicated story-telling style and (after I read Wikipedia) doubly mind reading applied by the minister and Dupin. Despite Dupin is said as amateur, his strategy of getting the letter is brilliant.

  1. The Fall of the House of Usher (1839)

I had known the title long, long time ago and last night I finally read it. I was enjoying the story very much despite the fact I am a coward. I couldn’t help being hypnotized by Poe’s smooth, beautiful way of describing the atmosphere, the scenery, the night mode and many small elements that were leading to the climax of the story. Add to that was Poe’s depiction of Roderick Usher as dying man. And of course Usher’s only sister, Madeline, who was severely ill then dead. Better not to provide details of the story. You have to read it by yourself then feel horrific, hysterical mode in it. A sense of supranatural, metaphysical is well-combined into major theme on loneliness, isolation and madness.

I intentionally didn’t complete reading the story last night then resumed it this morning because of very powerful scary mode that I felt when the story hadn’t reached the peak. I was afraid I couldn’t sleep imagining how the finale scene would be. That’s how influential Poe’s writing style left me with.

 

 

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Three bookworms’ films/series anthem. Which one is your favorite?

Let us take a break from high literature discussion. I would like to share some of memorable films and series from the past that have occupied special places in my heart because they portray bookworms and bookstores. I loved watching them years ago. Back then, I wasn’t that very much into reading fictions. I was a student who spent much of my time studying and reading books for attaining good grades at school.

Little did I know about their impacts on my life as a book lover at that time. But now as I have been growing up liking fictions even more, I watched again some of their special, funny and epic moments. Without further ado, here is the list:

  1. “Matilda” (1996)

Picture is from giphy.com

“Matilda” entertained me so much with her magic. As I stated above, I hadn’t been a book lover when I was a junior high school kid so her trait that amused me was her magical power. Matilda Wormwood (Mara Wilson) was very cute little girl, smart and openly-spoken kid. She wasn’t shy to express her ideas.

She had very annoying father, Harry (Danny DeVito) and Zinnia who were mistreating her. Matilda was genius but even so, her parents were initially forbidding her going to school. She spent time reading classic books, like Moby-Dick, which amazes me considering she was very little.

But then, her parents allowed her going to school after a series of arguments that saw her showing her superpower. LOL. While I loved watching her bravery, magic power and such thing when I was an amateur reader, now I recalled again bookish scenes as I have been an avid reader for some years. Replaying them refreshes my reading spirit and saluting her or any kids out there who have developed reading habits since very young.

  1. “Gilmore Girls” (2000-2007)

Photo by giphy.com

Again, I didn’t call myself as a bookworm when the TV series were playing. I was at senior high school level at that time. I loved reading but limited to school materials. I didn’t count that as the type of book that supported me as a bookworm. Anyway, I love the series because it is so funny, spontaneous and yes, fast-talking. I haven’t known any mother-daughter relationship closer than Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory (Alexis Bledel). Another remarkable thing about the show is how intimate and friendly the neighborhood where they were living. Mutual respect amongst them all.

And now after I can declare myself as a self-proclaimed bookworm, what astonishes me is of course the profile of Rory as a book addict. She is super smart who takes books everywhere. Then, coffee because now I really love drinking cappuccino. Both Lorelai and Rory like coffee so much. Ah, the series is really a joy to watch and watch.

  1. “You’ve Got Mail” (1998)

Photo by wifflegif.com

Different with the two titles, although I wasn’t reading very much, I quickly loved the title because of the bookstore Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) was managing. And she was in dispute with Frank Navasky (Tom Hanks) who was about to open a modern mega bookstore that would threaten the existence of the small independent store Kathleen was running.

I won’t retell here the essence of the film. The romantic comedy film is so popular until today for the hate-and-love relationship and the moral message of the film on possible love interest nearby us all. For me, yes, it is the bookstore and the coffee Kathleen was taking on her route to her office alias the bookstore.

Those are all my beloved titles. Which one if your favorite? Or maybe you want to add more films below?

 

 

 

 

 

Delving thick layer of secrets within “The Woman in White”

Wilkie Collins executes heap of secrets very well to deliver his messages on gender equality, marital issue and moral decay in “The Woman in White”. With the secrets, he successfully drove me to complete the 619 pages long within eight days despite fairly difficult language, political background in Italy and legal affairs at the Victorian Era in the 19th century.

Mind you, I didn’t Google what was happening in the Pizza Country back then. I also didn’t stop reading “The Woman in White” for further seeking information on inheritance division amongst heirs in elite class in the UK in the century. Doing so would probably cast me away from thoroughly enjoying the book. What a justification to say that I was too lazy for doing those things, LOL!

Anne Catherick alias the woman in white triggered the whole grand secret in the book which was Sir Percival Glyde as an illegal son of his parents, Sir Felix Glyde and Cecilia Jane Ester because the two had never been married. All the wealth that Sir Percival Glyde possessed was taken out from one of his distant relatives who never returned to the UK. He took over his relative’s resources by issuing his birth certificate (which was an easy task) and forging the marriage date of his parents. The second method required him to approach and shower Anne Catherick’s mother with gold and jewelries.

Sir Percival Glyde was secretly contacting Mrs. Catherick for his interest because her husband was a clergyman. Lured by the gifts, Mrs. Catherick took a key to a vestry where which her husband worked, at Old Welmingham. There, he did the crime then put Mrs. Catherick to blame by the locals because they believed she was unfaithful wife for having an affair with Sir Percival Glyde.

To this consequence, Sir Percival Glyde ordered Mrs. Catherick to keep the secret. In exchange, he was giving her money, putting her under observation so that she wouldn’t tell the secret. Old Welmingham was chosen to “imprison her” because as Walter Hartright later said, the district was showing what moral decay of human beings looked like. The residents didn’t care with what wrong deeds Mrs. Catherick did in the past as long as she donated her money. So, it wasn’t without any reasons that she was staying in the district because she believed her neighbors would only care on her money.

All through years, the secret was safe until Anne Catherick heard one of their conversations. Anne, who was born with mental illness, threatened that she would tell the truth. This later caused Sir Percival Glyde to have placed her in a private asylum.

One midnight, she managed to have escaped from the asylum then met with Walter Hartright on his way back to his rented room in London. Coincidentally, Walter Hartright would teach Marian Halcombe and Laura Fairlie the day after that hence the weird meeting was driving his curiosity by the time he encountered with Marian Halcombe.

His questions about this woman in white got bigger when Marian told him one of his mother’s letter mentioning Anne. The late Mrs. Fairlie said she was fond of Anne despite her mental illness. Then, she gave her white cloths that Anne was wearing throughout her life, gaining her as “the woman in white”. Reading Mrs. Fairlie’s statements that Anne was resembling Laura Fairlie got me suspicious on her true identity. Later, it was true that Anne was actually Laura Fairlie’s half-sister! She was the illegal daughter of Mr. Phillips Fairlie and Mrs. Catherick back then. Another issue on illegitimate children!

Walter Hartright and Marian Halcombe are two “scissors” to peel the layers out. While Marian Halcombe was sacrificing her life for Laure Fairlie, Walter Hartright was risking his life for truth. I am personally captivated by the two thanks to the author’s ideas of making them super brave, resourceful and patient.

I myself salute Marian’s love for Laura that although they were not connected by blood, Marian was doing her utmost to have saved Laura’s life from her wicked husband, Sir Percival Glyde. Some memorable scenes were when she banged the door of Mr. Frederick Fairlie’s room after she told him that Laura agreed to marry Sir Percival Glyde because she was afraid of tainting her family’s good image. Mr. Frederick Fairlie was Laura’s uncle who was insensitive, arrogant and annoying. He was underestimating women’ rights when he didn’t wish to deliberate Laura’s inheritance division with the family lawyer, Mr. Gilmore. This issue later created future problem between Laura or Lady Glyde with her husband. Of course, the most notable scene I would always remember was when heavy rainfall was pouring down her body as she was listening to all secrets between Sir Percival Glyde and Count Fosco. She was carefully placing herself in the spot where which she was able to find out what motivated them torturing her half-sister. As a result, she was sick so bad.

Sir Percival Glyde and Count Fosco was badly needing money, one of the reasons was because Sir Percival Glyde was in huge debt. He then required Lady Glyde’s signature to get access to 21,000 pounds she was possessing then divide it with his best friend. But Lady Glyde didn’t wish to do this unless her husband tells him the purpose of the request. This stirred his anger, opened his real motive of marrying her that was because of her wealth.

The two arranged strategies to obtain the money, which they did eventually. They lied to Anne Catherick, to Lady Glyde while Marian was in her sickness. Anne’s heart disease cost her death, which was falsified into Laura Fairlie’s given their physical resemblance. As Anne was buried, Laura was instead put in the asylum. When things looking bright, their unanticipated enemy returned from Honduras, Walter Hartright.

Walter Hartright was coming back to the UK braver than ever. It was his courage that brought him to have chased after the woman in white. It was also his bravery that led him to unravel cruelties did by Sir Percival Glyde and Count Fosco. I really admire Wilkie Collins’s showing readers, well me at least, how sincere motive and bravery can encourage us to do so many good deeds later on. Add to that is intelligence. Then our contribution can go wildly.

Walter Hartright utilized his sincerity, intelligence and politeness to meet, inquire and even ask for helps from people whom he only knew by hearsay. It wasn’t an easy thing to do when he needed to meet Mrs. Clements for knowing who was Mrs. Catherick. It was even more difficult when he must speak to Mrs. Catherick herself. With spies hired by Sir Percival Glyde and Count Fosco following him, Walter Hartright was a heroic character I will never forget.

I almost sunk into disappointment when Wilkie Collins opted to end the life of Sir Percival Glyde through fire. I wished Walter Hartright would kill him or drag him into a prison. I also expected the same thing for Count Fosco. But then I told to myself the expectations would create another problem. Walter Hartright might be put into a prison if he killed one of them or both of all. In addition, Walter Hartright didn’t have sufficient to bring him before a court. What he sufficiently had was evidence to clear up Laura’s reputation as a living human being.

It was later understandable that Wilkie Collins instead selected the two villains were dead because of their own deeds. A fire burned the vestry where which Sir Percival Glyde was trying to destroy the falsified marriage certificate and Count Fosco was killed by unknown party from his past. The ending reveals the same message: cruel people will get their deeds repaid in much more improper ways.

 

 

 

 

 

Wilkie Collins, the intricate plot genius

Thank you for the picture provider: commons.wikimedia.org

“The Woman in White” is divided into three epochs. Several narrators tell the thick fiction as you can find in “The Moonstone”. This method encourages readers, at least I, to switch my perspective each time the narration is told by different character. Failing to do this may have put me in unfair stance.

I almost failed to differentiate when Count Fosco took the pen from Marian Halcombe when she was falling ill. After many pages she was controlling my thought, it was shocking that Mr. Collins instead to have chosen the Count who was in charge of the story. Here, my job as an objective reader was best tested. As much as I sympathized with Marian Halcombe’s courage and good deeds for her half-sister, Laura Fairlie, I needed to have understood on my roles as good reader. This means I needed to absorb each and every character here so that I would get overall messages and felt all atmospheres. In this regard, I needed to read the minds of the protagonists, the Count was one of them.

The second aspect that require high focus in reading the book is that Mr. Collins chooses back-and-forth pattern. If readers don’t get themselves engaged in the fiction, they will get lost on plentiful detailed clues Mr. Collins offers about the woman in white or following mysteries after her appearance. Failing to do all of that will make readers won’t feel stingy sensation the novel has that earns it the first sensation novel.

Mr. Collins really fascinates me with his way of foreshadowing. He puts small things that don’t only invite readers hard to put it down but also key to grand secret in the book. Who would have thought that the blank page of the marriage registry at Old Welmingham’s vestry was the disclosed point of Sir Percival Glyde’s forgery? Who would have guessed that the date of Laura Fairlie’s leaving the Blackwater Park would disclose her status as a living human being, not Anne Catherick?

To add the already complicated plot, Mr. Collins places spies here and there. Since the coming of Anne Catherick in the Limmeredge House and the surrounding, I felt like the lives of each of the character were being watched. Anne Catherick was watching over the life of Laura Fairlie for good reasons, fortunately. Walter Hartright was being watched by people from Sir Percival Glyde and the Count. Mariam Halcombe was under radar of the Count and Madame Fosco in the Blackwater Park. Almost each character was playing as a spy for another character. Suspicious gestures, unusual habits were enough clues to have stirred for spying.

With those methods in his mind, Mr. Collins utilizes them all to have weaved his messages in such smooth, wonderful and unexpected ways I could have never imagined. Moral decay, scandal, wounds from the past, feminism, inter-class romance are some that he conveys in the fiction. You won’t find them new, of course. But the way Mr. Collins presenting them all will make you viewing the themes in refreshed, unique lights.

“The Woman in White”: How does it feel to have read 90 pages every day

I had intended to write my second part of “The Woman in White” reading process in this blog after I did the first one. But before I had typed this second part, I completed reading the novel two days ago. As many as 619 pages were done in seven days. I read about 90 pages per day. Call me a mad reader because I believed so. The book was driving me crazy.. in many good ways I had never thought it would be capable of.

I don’t want to boast on the number of the pages I read in this blog post. I strongly believe there are a lot of, a lot of bookworms out there who are crazier than I am when it comes to speed reading. I will only speed up when I have a good novel in my hands. When a book isn’t that challenging, I will drag myself to even finish it. So, needless to say here that “The Woman in White” is indeed good, very, super incredible one that you need to try reading it, especially if you love sensational stories or mysterious fictions.

“The Woman in White” isn’t an easy book. I thought it would be around the riddle of who the woman in white was. In this regard, I had thought the key of the story would be who was Anne Catherick by the end of the very lengthy book. I was deceived. The name and the background of the woman was revealed much earlier that I had expected. Her appearance stimulated overall secret within the lives of the major characters in the book. Like a snowball, the first riddle led to grander mysteries than I could have never imagined.

With the whereabouts of the woman in white became the entry matter that triggered my curiosity, I read the book page per page. I was enjoying the superb writing talent of Wilkie Collins, the author of the novel. As a Victorian writer, he didn’t forget to describe people, scene, scenery, movement of time and character in beautiful, wonderful language that captivated me as a hard fan of imaginative stories.

I made use of my available time to have resumed reading the book. As the mystery had strongly stirred my curiosity with the amazing writing style, I didn’t want to miss a day not reading the book. I kept working as usual. Thankfully, I finished a book writing project on-time. In between the writing job, I spent reading the book. I still managed to have gone to bed before 12 a.m and woke up feeling fresh and healthy to yes, reading the novel again.

The key of completing the book so quickly while deeply connected with every single sensation of the story is that I was attempting to have put my mind at its best concentration even after I closed the book for that day. In some nights before I went to sleep, I talked to myself on possible ending of the story and the answer for the puzzles. As crazy as that sounds, the method assisted me to have engaged with the plot and made me so excited for the next day’s reading. To this, I owe so much to Mr. Collins. Enjoying this brain exercise brought me a qualified pleasure. Given my ability to have controlled the fondness of the book, I was enjoying it proportionately despite the fact of the 90 pages per day.

In addition to have been curious on the first mystery, my brain worked at the hardest to have guessed what this and that clue scattered in the whole story. Later on, the guidance led to something bigger, terrible that made up the big themes here. For instance, the anonymous letter by Anne to Laura Fairlie that warned the latter on her future husband Sir Percival Glyde at the start of the book.

What makes this exercise even more complicated is that I needed to have guessed what were laying beneath the expressions of some characters. Mr. Collins gave hidden clues through facial and verbal expressions that if we didn’t pay attention enough, we wouldn’t catch sensational, thrilling tones of the book let alone understood what did they contribute to the whole ideas.

I would like to take Count Fosco as best example for this regard. I remember very much when Marian Halcombe said in her diary how she liked him the very first time she met before she loathed him very much later on. Marian said that Count Fosco was very clever in amusing strangers, talkative and very friendly. This is later proven by Walter Hartright as the story draws to a close. Walter said the Count greeted store keepers in his route to an opera for buying a ticket. The Count was humming to himself, knowing to entertain himself thus he looked like a 40-year old man instead of his actual 60 years old. I would later discuss on the Count in another blog post.

Facial expressions were playing big roles in the book because this aspect, as a matter of fact, had been deceitful. This time around, I take Sir Percival Glyde as an example. Marian Halcombe thought she had best reasons to let Walter ended his teaching term earlier as he was known to have loved Laura while she was engaged to Sir Percival Glyde. For Marian, Laura’s fiancee was a respected, honorable man. And I felt that too when reading his response and his behavior, particularly when Laura told him he didn’t want to marry him. Sir Percival Glyde didn’t get angry, curse or whatsoever. He took the ill news wisely. Here, as a reader, I thought Laura would learn to love him because I thought Sir Percival Glyde was a good person who was worthy of loving back. But I was deceived as his true attitude was revealed during the six-month honeymoon in Italy.

I would like to write more but I am afraid the post would be very long to read. I end it here and I hope you still want to read other posts about the book.

An Ode to Long, Very Long Reading

In social media era that easily reduces our concentration span, dedicating myself reading long, even very long material is an accomplishment nowadays. As shorter my focus is, my patience runs thinner that makes me realizing uninterrupted long reading experience is now a test of perseverance.

I feel it a bit thankful for myself after completing The Gold Bug, the first short story in short story collection by Edgar Allan Poe this morning. Though the fiction is quite difficult for me to digest, completing reading it is such a relief for me.

I should have finished reading it days ago but I instead spent useless minutes checking Instagram or Facebook. I have managed not to post my daily activity or status as frequently as I do in the past but still, I feel like my fingers are addicted to click the social media outlets.

Even so, I get used to reading non-sense articles with low journalism ethic (believe me, I am a journalist) via LINE or Twitter. What makes me sadder is the tendency how people lately love reading sensational news for the sake of huge number of clicks. For instance, gossip news or those that sell good-looking people get more and more attention.

As much as I love reading high literature works, like from Charles Dickens or Thomas Hardy, current popular reading captures my attention, sooner or later. I know it’s unfair to entirely blame on smartphone but I can’t deny accessibility and affordability play some roles. It’s like why most Jakartans prefer spending weekends in shopping malls or cafés to going to beaches.

Therefore, each time I finish reading fiction and find myself deeply engaged to the book completely gladdens me. I now regard being capable of doing that means I pass patience test. Putting my whole self in adventure with certain authors in the books also mean I still retain the pleasure of being purely entertained with something intellectual. As I grow older, maintaining my focus and remembrance start challenging me. And reading high quality books is one of the effective ways of keeping my brain functions at its best. Add to that enduring patience while enjoying what the authors have in store for me. That is as I called as the ultimate pleasure that doesn’t only entertain my brain but also shakes my heart as a human being.

I have written this type of theme in the blog before to remind myself on the joy of long reading. I think I will write another post on the theme to let myself know that I can still taste it with a little bit challenge.

Alqur’an Menyelamatkanku dari Ketagihan Membaca Artikel Motivasi & “Self-Help”

Aku mulai kembali mengakrabi tulisan tentang motivasi dan self-help beberapa tahun yang lalu karena sebelumnya aku pernah suka membaca buku seperti ini saat zaman kuliah.

Ceritanya, saat itu aku mengintip salah satu akun artis di Twitter lalu melihat si selebriti ini membagikan tautan thoughtcatalog.com. Aku kemudian langsung mengelik tautan tersebut dan jatuh cinta sekali baca. Topik yang begitu nyata buatku dan mungkin buat pembaca secara umum dengan gaya kepenulisan yang sederhana tetapi mengandung pesan yang kuat sangat cocok dengan seleraku.

Bahkan aku mempunyai beberapa penulis favorit, salah satunya Brianna Wiest. Aku paling suka dengan Brianna sebab sudut pandang dia yang agak filosofis dan reflektif. Pada awalnya hanya membaca sebentar tetapi kemudian aku mulai kecanduan.

Beberapa topik yang paling menjadi favorit adalah tentang cara mencintai diri sendiri, bersyukur, bagaimana agar bisa produktif dan sukses tak hanya dalam hal pekerjaan tetapi juga sebagai manusia seutuhnya.

Membaca tulisan seperti ini sangat menyejukkan, pada awalnya. Kalimat-kalimat mutiara yang terasa dekat dengan pengalaman pribadi yang aku yakin juga dialami oleh sang penulis menjadikan tulisan semacam ini “pelarian” dari kepenatan. Biasanya ketika aku mulai kehilangan rasa percaya diri atau mulai mengeluh, tulisan-tulisan ini akan aku baca lagi. Bahkan ada beberapa judul yang aku baca berulang-ulang saking judul tersebut begitu menggambarkan pengalaman atau “menyuarakan’ masalahku saat itu.

Belum puas sampai di situ. Aku bahkan sempat membeli buku Brianna Wiest via online, mengecek terus situs pribadinya dan berlangganan blog Benjamin Hardy, salah satu penulis psikologi positif yang pernah menjadi penulis tamu di Thought Catalog.

Singkat kata, Thought Catalog membawaku ke banyak penulis, psikolog dan terapis Barat yang memang menjual jasa sebagai psikiater, psikolog dan teman untuk curhat lalu memberikan solusi. Di AS, profesi semacam ini sudah populer dan memang umum dipakai. Nggak mengherankan waktu itu pernah menonton film komedi romantis tentang seorang mak comblang profesional di AS yang jatuh cinta dengan salah seorang kliennya. Di sana bahkan mak comblang saja sudah menjadi pekerjaan resmi.

Ada hal yang menyenangkan dan “dekat” tiap kali membaca artikel motivasi atau self-help. Kalimat yang ditulis seperti dibuat khusus buatku atau buatmu, seperti lagu. Hanya saja, terlalu sering tidak baik.

Waktuku lama-kelamaan jadi habis untuk membaca artikel seperti ini. Padahal dipikir-pikir isinya sama saja, hanya bed acara penulisan karena memang beda penulis. Parahnya, waktuku untuk membaca fiksi atau novel jadi berkurang. Dan yang terburuk adalah aku nggak bergerak atau ambil tindakan atas masalahku, waktuku habis membaca artikel semacam ini.

Dari situlah aku mulai berpikir. Ada yang salah dengan kebiasaanku ini. Aku sudah mulai kecanduan tapi aku nggak tahu bagaimana menghentikan ini semua.

Aku bisa sembuh dari ketagihan ini tanpa rencanaku tetapi aku yakin semua sudah diatur oleh Alloh swt. Setelah masalah pribadi yang cukup berat tahun lalu, teman baikku bernama Vindi Kaldina mengenalkanku pada Nouman Ali Khan, yang sampai sekarang menjadi ustad favoritku.

Dari beliau inilah aku mulai mengenal kembali Alqur’an. Semacam mengakrabi Alloh swt dengan cara yang benar-benar baru melalui kata-kataNya dalam buku ini. Dari kecil aku melihat Alquran sebagai buku perintah dan larangan-Nya semata. Aku tidak mengenal dan memandang Alqur’an sebagai caraNya menuangkan seluruh nasehat selayaknya sahabat bijak penuh cinta dan kasih.

Sering mendengarkan dakwah Nouman tentang Alqur’an lalu mempraktekkan melihat Alqur’an dengan kacamata yang lebih segar dan dekat dengan Alloh swt membuat jiwaku seperti tersaring.

Nggak tahu kapan dan bagaimana ketagihanku membaca artikel motivasi berkurang, bahkan aku sudah nggak lagi mengelik Thought Catalog dan situs sejenis lebih dari setahun. Aku juga sudah berhenti berlangganan blog Benjamin Hardy dan yang lainnya.

Semakin aku memilih membaca Alqur’an dan mendengarkan dakwah Nouman, semakin ketertarikanku membaca artikel psikolog positif meredup dengan sendirinya. Memang Alloh swt adalah sebaik-baiknya teman dan paling mengerti segalanya. Dia tahu aku mulai kecanduan dan tanpa aku meminta langsung, Dia menutup segala keingintahuanku tentang isi artikel motivasi dan lainnya. Subhanalloh..

Sejak mulai mempraktekkan berlari ke Alqur’an tiap kali ada masalah, aku juga semakin tersadarkan harus bisa menyaring bahan bacaan, memilih dan memilah mana yang penting sebab waktuku di dunia terbatas. Fokus membaca pun harus dibatasi pada hal yang dibutuhkan, bukan terlena oleh kilauan kata-kata yang sebenarnya sama. Dari sinilah, akhirnya aku mulai memprioritaskan bacaan hanya pada hal yang memang aku butuhkan saja. Yang pasti fiksi masih aku geluti sampai sekarang.

Paling jenis artikel gaya hidup minimalisme yang masih aku sempat baca, itu pun tidak sesering dulu. Membaca tulisan dengan topik seperti ini bermanfaat untuk menerapkan gaya hidup sederhana dan terfokus di zaman penuh pengalihan seperti saat ini.

Selebihnya, aku hanya fokus membaca pada Alqur’an, fiksi klasik dan bacaan terkait pekerjaan. Selebihnya, aku memilih kembali ke Nouman Ali Khan, yang artinya kembali belajar Alqur’an. Alhamdulillah…