This is the official blog of Winna Efendi, author of several bestselling Indonesian novels.

Jumat, 27 Maret 2009

with you

someday we'll do this together regularly, on the back terrace of our own house.
no talking, no laughter, just sitting back there with one cigarette and a sip of hot chocolate.

Someday, you promised me once, over dinner, when you asked me something important. Your fingers wrapped in mine, enclosing the finger with the glistening diamond, and I felt the warmth, the genuineness of your words. Indeed I did, because I said yes. Maybe I was overwhelmed, but I liked to launch into self denial and simply said, I was in love.

We never talked about forever, but I had to admit I envisioned one. One long journey of togetherness. I kept talking and convincing myself, long enough to finally realize that you had never spoken about it at all.


Sometimes I found you there, crouching with a light cigarette resting between your fingers, blackened by ash. You were staring into space, as if wishing you would vanish with it. But honey, space was always present, just like the lingering breath of air, just like the unspoken words between us. We could never disappear, just like entities did not just disappear into nothing.

You held a cup of hot chocolate, cradling the handle gently. Most of the time, the drink turned bitter and cold, almost tasting like stale coffee. I knew because I once took a sip, just to feel the coolness of the touch of your lips there, just to feel your loneliness.

You never spoke about what it was that haunted you. Was it just me, incapable of being someone you could love and love you back. Or was it someone else entirely, someone I never knew, but felt like having known forever. Or was she such a big part of you, that I could feel her being, closer and closer.

Was I not enough, or was I not because she was not here?


We had our first fight last night. I pretended not knowing you pretended not hearing me cry. I pretended not noticing you had retreated into your personal nook there, in the back of the terrace, watching fireworks blow off in the first full minute of the new year.

What we were arguing about, I was not sure. Neither were you, I was certain, because you kept looking at me with blank stares, and the words you spoke meant nothing. I recalled calling you selfish, and you admitted it. I did not want you to admit it. I did not need you to tell me something I already knew.

I asked quietly, later when I found my composure back. It was never me you wanted, wasn’t it?

It hurt when I said it. It hurt more when you didn’t answer. It hurt most when I heard you say, wanting is not the same as needing.

And then you lighted up another cigarette.


It was dawn when I was jolted awake by a sound. It was not unlike the noise a child made. I rubbed sleep from my eyes, stood up and found you there.

I took your feverish body in my arms. I felt your shiver, I heard your sobs, I touched your tears. You looked up at me, and I cried with you. I uttered a promise of my own, I will be with you.

someday we'll do this together regularly, on the back terrace of our own house.
no talk, no laugh, just sit back there with one cigarette and a sip of hot chocolate. And I will be with you.

time 21:59, song Snow on Sahara, inspired by Saskia's blog entry. Thanks, dear

Selasa, 17 Maret 2009

Book Shopping March 2009

Gara-gara SIMcard XL saya eror sejak hari Minggu, saya terpaksa gigit jari tanpa bunyi SMS yang menyebalkan itu, dan menghabiskan beberapa hari tanpa menelepon. Akhirnya pergilah saya ke Plaza Indonesia sekalian belanja buku, yang sudah diidamkan berminggu-minggu lamanya.

Coraline: Neil Gaiman
Who's that Girl: Alexandra Potter (saya mengoleksi semua bukunya sejak Calling Romeo)
Love the one you're with: Emily Giffin (Something Blue dan Something Borrowed-nya seru)
The Reader: Bernard Schlink (pengen baca sejak nonton filmnya)
Kira Kira: Cynthia Kadohata (menang Newberry award euy. Pengen banget baca)
The Book Thief: Markus Zusak (selalu suka buku bertema perang dunia)
Rumours: Luxe Novel (sayang belum dapat buku pertamanya)

Ahh. Bukannya riset untuk tulisan baru, malah borong buku.

BTW, ada yang mau beli the Book Thief dan the Reader? Masih segel, baru. Kebetulan baru saja dibelikan Papa di Hong Kong, padahal udah keburu beli di PI.

Senin, 16 Maret 2009

Poetic Experience

gURL.comI took the "If You Were a Poet..." quiz on gURL.com
I am...
Emily Dickinson

Do you have a 19th century sensibility? Or are you an intellectual? Do you write a lot? Because it seems like you have a lot in common with classic American poet, Emily Dickinson. Read more...

Which poet are you?

My handwriting analysis

gURL.comI took the "handwriting personality" quiz on gURL.com
my handwriting personality is...
sensitive scripter

Your handwriting reveals you as a thoughtful, intellectual type who avoids fake people and places where there's lots of noise and crowds. You're probably the one people go to when they're feeling super sad. Read more...

What does your handwriting reveal about you?

Minggu, 15 Maret 2009


Her face haunts me even in my sleep. Her expression is one androgyny mask of emotions – loneliness, fear, sadness. But in the photograph of the wall; the only picture of her in the house, she is actually smiling. A happy, serene smile that reaches her eyes, wrinkling the corners of her lips. She wore a kimono of purple silk, a color contrasting her fair complexion, her two fingers holding an uncut stem of a white rose.

Her name is Sumire. Takagawa told me that. On the first day I arrived at the house, I bent slightly in my wheelchair and stared at her, taking in her graceful features; her dark hair falling loosely on thin shoulders, delicate lashes framing her eyes, the slight dimples of her cheeks, and the nook of her neck, connecting with her collarbones. She is beautiful, but she makes me feel unsettled, just a little. Takagawa likes to have her photograph hung on the wall, even though I prefer paintings of sceneries. Sea, rain, mountains, anything else but her.

It is not that I am afraid of her. I just feel an aching tug in my chest every time I look at her. It is like she can see through me, the lies and the pain I try to cast away. It feels like knowing that one person is less miserable than I am, and that causes me terrible anger. Tagakawa says she must have looked familiar to me, because I always sit across her photograph, doing nothing but look at her all day. It is not that, too, exactly. The words I speak to myself when I look at her seem truer than a lie that someone will tell you when you ask.

Who is she? I once asked Takagawa. He was rinsing plates in the kitchen. I heard him stop, then spoke without looking at me.

The woman I love.

Takagawa has a hint of a smile every time he talks about her, how well she cooks, the songs she always hums to him, the color of her eyes. He becomes animated when he speaks her name; invisible tiny sparks surge like fairy dusts when he remembers her. I sit unmoved, listening to his monologue. Sometimes he asks me why I am so bitter. I say it is because I do not feel anything anymore, and it hurts me more to admit so out loud.

Tell me about you, he often prompts. But my memory has failed me, I am frail and old and unhappy. I tell him everything that I remember, fuzzy images of a children’s playground, swinging in old swingchairs with a man whose face I can’t remember. I am sorry, I can’t remember, is what I always say, after awkward silence that lasts a second too long. Takagawa looks sad afterwards, then changes the subject.

It is true. There are times when my mind blurs with unknown memories – those that probably belong to someone else’s. I do not know who I am anymore, yet I am acutely aware that I am present, watching my own move like a puppet on strings. When that happens, I vaguely remember someone’s voice. Look in the mirror and you see who you are. But there are no mirrors in this house. I have always thought that maybe Takagawa is afraid of his own reflection, so he stacks away everything that will cast a reading into his own face.

There is something else about the man I am living with. Takagawa never brings anyone to his home, I notice that. It seems his world consists of only Sumire, a woman he married almost fifteen years ago. Whether she leaves or dies, I am not certain. Neither am I certain that he appreciates my presence, because I always feel I burden him. He draws a sharp breath every time he looks at me, as if he were uneasy, and perhaps slightly surprised. So I tiptoe around like a cat, which is hard to do considering I am stuck in a wheelchair. For as far as I can remember, I try to appear invisible.

There is only one time that Takagawa lost his temper. It happened a month ago. We had a few cups of sake for New Year’s Eve, and while cooking for dinner, he cut his thumb. He cursed loudly, slightly panicky at the sight of blood. I watched him wordlessly, and he moved towards me, apparently forgetting his bloody finger, bent down and peered into my face.

Sumire. He said. His face was pale, his lips quivering. I could smell the alcohol on his breath.


With that answer, he exploded. He grabbed both my shoulders and shook me, shouting slurred words I could not understand. And then he took one look at my face and his whole body sagged, crouching on the floor beside me, sobbing silently.

We both pretended it never happened.

To say the least, life with him is good. We never cross each other’s path and silence dominates our conversations, just the way I like it. He becomes my sole caretaker, and I grow more comfortable around him each day. But I never forget, never miss the shadow of Sumire in his eyes.

I want to look at myself, I tell him for the third time this week. He casts me a pained look. He does not understand. My skin has turned dry. Sometimes I feel as if each layer is peeling off to reveal someone I no longer recognize.


Takagawa sighs. I grow impatient with him. I am not a child, why am I treated like one? I circle around the house, getting angrier with each step. At last, he relents, opening the door to a room I have never entered before. I barge in before he lets me in. This must be Sumire’s room. This must be a room that used to fill with sunshine, but all I can smell is dust and powdery loneliness. He hesitates, takes the corner of a white cloth and pulls, revealing a large mirror. And then, he steps back.

I look up and stiffen. My fingers automatically reach up for my face, touching the scarred tissue of skin. The traces of where a straight nose and the folding of the lips used to be. I look at myself hard, look at myself closely for the very first time. The unrecognizable monster that stares back at me gapes in horror in response.

At first there is a scream. And then it turns to a wail. It breaks my heart.

Do you remember? Takagawa asks in a whisper. Yes, I remember tires screeching. I remember fire. I remember waking up in a place I do not recognize. I remember the songs Sumire used to hum. I remember, I remember.

Sumire. He calls.

This time I understand. That is my name. Sumire.


-udah lama nggak menulis cerpen. tepatnya, udah lama nggak menulis apa-apa. ini karya pertama di tahun 2009. a birthday present for someone, happy birthday, hun, 12 March 2009-


The red light of the sun,
Slowly descending.
The sky is all I see,
It's never ending.

We could fly,
You and I.
On a cloud,
Kissing, kissing.

The wind plays with the leaves,
The weather turns colder.
But as long as we believe,
Love doesn't get older.

We could fly,
You and I.
On a cloud,
Kissing, kissing.

On a journey of the heart,
There's so much to see.
And when the sky is dark,
You'll be right here,
Right here with me.

Right here with me.

(Kissing, kissing)
(A journey of the heart)

song by Bliss

If I Fell

Sejak denger versinya Jason Castro di American Idol tahun lalu, saya jatuh cinta dengan lagu ini. Saya bukan fans the Beatles, tapi saya suka beberapa lagu jadulnya. Saya lebih suka dengan remake lagu-lagu mereka di soundtrack Across the Universe :) dan juga yang dinyanyikan ulang oleh kontestan American Idol.

If I fell in love with you
Would you promise to be true
And help me understand
'cause I've been in love before
And I found that love was more
Than just holding hands

If I give my heart to you
I must be sure
From the very start
That you would love me more than her

If I trust in you, oh please
Don't run and hide
If I love you too, oh please
Don't hurt my pride like her
'cause I couldn't stand the pain
And I would be sad if our new love was in vain

So I hope you see that I
Would love to love you
And that she will cry
When she learns we are two
cause I couldn't stand the pain
and I would be sad if our new love was in vain

so I hope you see that I
would love to love you
and that she will cry when she learns we are two.

If I fell in love with you

Sleepless in Seattle and Lovely Duets

Ngobrak-abrik koleksi lama dan habis membeli DVD Sleepless in Seattle juga. Waktu yang harusnya dibuat untuk riset, menulis dan mengembangkan karakter dikorbankan demi 2 jam nonton film jadul ini, melihat Tom Hanks dan Meg Ryan, dua aktor favorit saya, yang chemistry-nya undeniable walau dalam screen mereka nggak banyak ketemu.

I can't tell you how much I heart this movie.

Lalu setelahnya, jadi kepingin dengerin lagu When I Fall in Love. Jadi, saya memutar CD lama Lovely Duets. It feels wonderful :) I'm feeling the romance.

Am I Passionate?

You define passion for yourself

Key Traits: self-effacing, no-nonsense, outgoing, active, private, selective You're big on "chemistry." You either share it with someone or you don't, and there's no in between. Others can really tell you have a zest for life. As a result of this, you tend to be outgoing and friendly in social settings and many would consider you the life of the party. Deep down inside though, you're actually very reserved when it comes to your true feelings. With the right person or situation, the real romantic in you starts to emerge. You don't appreciate huge public displays of affection. When you're really into someone, you prefer your feelings to be kept just between you two, as it is more special that way. It's that significant person in your life who truly knows just how passionate you can be. As for every one else, well, what they don't know can't hurt them.

Embracing Change

A blog post from March 4, 2009

Recently there are major changes in our office, from new and resigning staffs, rearranging of departments, new heads, new rules. Even my own little department is undergoing subtle change, finally, after major blowups here and there that left me devastated, and partially hurt.

The thing is, people don't like change. People love their puddles of comfort zone, seeing the same people everyday, eating lunch at the exact same time, going home through the same routine. I, too, am the same. In fact, I went through so much change from the 1998's, moving homes, changing countries, schools, languages, friends. It was a major construction of life. And then in 2000 I had to do it over again, and once more in 2004. It was exhausting, and a part of me kept having to pick up the pieces the rest of me left.

The only constant is change. Perhaps, we should make peace with it. I am trying to do that, a little at a time. Slowly, I welcome change without drastic measures (even if it is drastic, what choice do I have but to cope with it?). After all, good change is good for you, right?

Night Music

A blog post from March 3, 2009

: is the title of my third, and latest novella
: tells the story of three high school teenagers; Nata, Niki and Annalise
: is about dream, the present, the past and the future, love and true friendships

: was first written nearly a year ago
: edited and finished around two months ago
: is going to be published soon *fingers crossed, as always* - got a call this morning!!! yay.

: makes me happy
: is probably the one novel that makes me really fall in love with the characters

: it makes me wonder.. what should I write next? I've been idle for nearly eight weeks, yet I'm still enjoying my grace period. I always allow a long break after the completion of every book.
: sigh. I will definitely start writing my fourth soon.
: I already know what it's called :)


A blog post from February 22, 2009

Tiba-tiba jadi ingin menulis
tapi entah apa
tiba-tiba ingin tertidur dalam dekapan selimut hangat
sedangkan langit riuh-rendah, hujan tumpah ruah
tiba-tiba ingin menghidu aroma dia
menyimpannya mungkin selamanya
tiba-tiba ingin
hanya ingin

*apa karena habis ikutan membahas buku puisi dua penyair hebat ya, jadi begini? hmmmm*


A blog post from February 19, 2009 - taken from my Multiply page when the blog import function ceases working :(

The next time you want to laugh or make cruel jokes about someone... remember.

You might not be better than them. Remember how it feels to be ridiculed at. Place yourself in their shoes.

- a reminder after one of my colleagues made a horrible and unfunny jokes about our phone operator. no, it's not funny at all -

pictures from here

Love and Obsession

What is the difference between love and obsession? Didn't both make you stay up all night, wandering the streets, a victim of your own imagination, your own heartbeat? Didn't you fall into both, headfirst into quicksand? Wasn't every man in love a fool and every woman a slave?

Love was like rain: it turned to ice, or it disappeared. Now you saw it, now you couldn't find it no matter how hard you might search. Love evaporated; obsession was realer; it hurt, like a pin in your bottom, a stone in your shoe. It didn't go away in the blink of an eye. A morning phone call filled with regret. A letter that said, Dear you, goodbye from me. Obsession tasted like something familiar. Something you'd known your whole life. It settled and lurked; it stayed with you.

-taken from Alice Hoffman's the Ice Queen, my latest possession-

Reading Alice Hoffman's prose always makes me feel sentimental, and wants desperately to write. Yet my fingers are numb with invisible pain, each stroke tired and lifeless. Each word means nothing, like evaporating air. A shadow that is not visible, the scent and sound of rain pelting in the background.

Isn't love correlated to obsession? Either you fall into obsession first, and then it grows to something more like love. Or you fall in love first, and then you become obsessed with the individual, or the charm of love itself. Hoffman is right, you fall right into both, at different times, perhaps, but both. It is inevitable, that streak of possessiveness, that pain of love, that need to own, the urge to have.

But isn't it okay, though? Because with a little of both, love should be balanced. Isn't it boring to have love be so selfless all the time?

picture taken from here