My writing began in my hometown, a little suburban city called Depok, south of Jakarta. Altough my young mind did not realize it, i was born within a neighborhood of writers.
A couple of blocks away was the house of famed poet W.S. Rendra, before he moved to Bengkel Teater in Citayam. Closer than Rendra's was the house of short story writer Hamsad Rangkuti --said to sometime spend his time fishing at the pond just across my home. Further away was the home of famed poet Sapardi Djoko Damono
Since i've no verbal contact with any of these fine gentleme, my childhood was left utterly uninspired. It wasn't until Junior HIghs School, having met my close friend M.Hatta, that my passion for writing sparks!
Depok, as it is, will always be a fine home for me. The suburban setting, the constantly busy commute to Jakarta and the problem of marginalization of the locals, is still an endless field of inspiration, ready to be harvested any time.
But my favorite city for writing has to be Bogor, in which i spent a couple of years studying at the Agricultural University. Bogor lived up to it's nickname as The Rainy City, it rains almost daily, every month, all thorugh the year.
Bogor gave me a habit of bringing an umbrella, folded and flimsy, in my backpack. As the rain can suddenly splash you anytime.
Bogor, with it's luscious greeneries, the botanical garden, the forestry walks at Gunung Batu, the mountain Salak became my muse for a more 'nature oriented works'. And as the city brought me a lover --now a wife-- it will always hold a dear place in my heart.
My third writing city is Bandung.Often referred to as The Paris of Java, this city creates an atmosphere of art and creativity like no other. But that was during my stay there, before the parasitic 'factory outlets' and mall start to take over the place. Old beautiful houses are often converted into a shrine of consumerism and capitalis, streets are now littered with traffic jams, the communal feeling starts to fade into the simplistic buyer-seller relationship.
But Bandung is not completely ruin. Some parts of it and a lot of it's youth are still creating, keeping the spirit of indie alive. These people may always create arworks that becomes an inspiration for an aspiring writer like me.
I'm lucky enough to have lived in Bandung --albeit shortly-- to enjoy the city during it's rich indie period. Bandung will also have a place in my heart, though my desire to stay there is almost gone now.