Even by writing the title above, I still feel overwhelmed by the fact that I did write a story and published it online on Amazon. I feel like I am in a dream, I still find myself in disbelief sometimes. I have never dreamt in my whole life that I will be a writer or that I can be a writer.
It was all started by me writing a romance novel that is inspired by real events in my MBA alma mater which I made an essay to expose the whole fraud and injustice. This was done with a lot of bravery and convictions as the consequences of what I had done with exposing my alma mater are perilous. No safe place for a renegade who left her own wolf pack as people fear the immense power and influence my alma mater has in the world of business, politics, social, etc. They might say I’m dead career-wise (at least in France because I’m uncertain of their power outside of France), but to be honest, it’s dead already with the systemic racism and sexism because the system is already rigged by the unfair and unjustified grades by some racist and sexist professors from the start to getting a good job and climbing the career ladder in France or French companies. The elites in power need to rig the system so they can maintain the White Supremacy, French Exceptionalism, and Imperialism.
The aforementioned novel is still undergoing, I might need time to write it as I want to dig deeper into each of the characters of the main protagonists and antagonists in this triangle love story. This time it will be a real novel, not just a short novel like the “Second Chance” story I published on Amazon – thus I like to take this one seriously. I also need to improve my English language skill so I can write and express fluently since English is not my mother tongue. The short novel “Second Chance” was actually an accidental by-product of the main novel I was working on. Suddenly I got an idea and I treated it as a practice before writing a very long novel. Even though it is shorter, the story is not less interesting and I think it could be made an interesting storyline for a romance film.
My main drive to write a novel is actually to fight for inclusion and diversity in the English-written stories and the publishing industry (either traditional or digital publishing). Rarely you will find colored people’s stories in English-written novels and most of the novels are also written by white people. I take it on me as a woman of color to write about colored people, the minority, the less heard people to give them voices and represent them in the global novel industry. I just find it that it is my moral responsibility as a writer to fight against racism and discrimination by representing more colored people and minorities in stories to fight those prevailing stereotypes against non-white and women.
My experiences living in France for 13 years exposed me further to racism, sexism, and discrimination — more than I had been as I am also a minority in my motherland. I am tired of Asian women’s stereotypes of being weak, docile, servile, and sex objects. If they consider you as a beautiful and/or sexy Asian woman, they think that you can’t be intelligent as well. As if beauty and intelligence have to be mutually exclusive. In this very macho country, their expectation is for women to sit still, be pretty, and don’t talk at all especially about politics, social issues, and other interesting brain-stimulating subjects. Women are second class in France whose values lie mainly on their anatomy, their physical appearances, and nothing more. Women are not supposed to be smart, especially women of color.
My short novel “Second Chance” addresses some taboo subjects, at least considered that way in my home country as it brings up the subject of sex, premarital sex, and infidelity. So before it receives any backlash and condemnation from the very conservative extremist Indonesians, allow me the opportunity to defend my work of fiction, as I am going to list here:
1) It is a work of fiction. There should be freedom in art, freedom of expression especially for the artist to express himself/herself, and freedom to create in the name of art.
2) The short novel is written in English, not in my mother tongue and the intended target market is international, thus I am inclined to be guided by international standards and values in writing this short romance novel.
3) It is about a biracial love relationship. As a writer, I feel compelled to write the truth as close to reality and the problems that might arise from differences in races, cultures, values, and upbringing in a biracial love relationship. I also need to bridge these extreme differences between the East and the West, thus I can’t take side by writing based only on one side’s social and cultural norms.
4) As for the sex scenes, as a writer I find it crucial to depict the struggle of the Indonesian leading female protagonist in this romance story as she struggled to keep her virginity as expected of her by her culture, social norms, and upbringing till the day she is married. To the extent that she gave up her true love and happiness to comply with this society’s norms and standards and lived by them. As a writer I am not providing any answer to any issue, I am just bringing up the topic to raise questions and to be contemplated and pondered about. The decision is solely the right of each individual.
5) This short romance novel also brings up the topic (premarital sex) that some if not many Indonesian young women who are interested in a multicultural relationship if not already in, would like to know or question and wonder about this subject. Since nobody I know has brought up this sensitive subject, I took the liberty to divulge and discuss it in the form of story-telling. I hope this can help give perspectives to anyone who might need it and help those in a similar situation be represented in the global romance industry and be able to relate to this story.
6) As for the infidelity that the two protagonists engaged in, as a romance novelist I can’t be judgemental and I hope that people can broaden their horizons and be less judgemental in issues that relate to matters of the heart. I think for love and matters of the heart, we need to leave it to the individual involves deciding what he/she want to do with his/her life and respect this individual for his/her decision. This doesn’t mean that I support infidelity or even promiscuity but I respect each individual’s privacy and freedom. Often life is not always black and white, there are lots of grey areas, and sometimes true love happens, although true love is rare and this kind of situation is only one in a million.
7) As an artist at heart, in writing fictional love stories such as in this “Second Chance” I have to side on true love above morals, religion, belief, culture, and social norms. Love wins, always. At least in fiction, as real life is already hard.
I hope that this short romance novel is well received by everyone and help fight stereotypes of Asian women by introducing different culture and a different set of social norms. To understand where they are coming from, why they are who they are. In Indonesia we have a proverb “Tak kenal maka tak sayang”, which means that we don’t know someone therefore we can’t care about or love that someone.
After I finished writing this short romance novel, I think I’m less judgemental of a love affair, because I realized that I don’t really know one’s personal life and it is really none of my business. This is going to be a challenge when I wear my other hat as a citizen journalist where I write subjects about politics, social issues, finance, etc where I need to exercise some kind of moral judgment and have a certain bar of ethics and moral standards. I hope I can distinguish clearly between personal and public matters.
It may as well be that this new journey to become a writer that I embark on could actually end up in me finding myself, my true self, who I really am. Sometimes one needs to understand the past so one can make peace with it and move on. To understand the past so one could know and understand one’s true self. The more I write, the more each layer of me is exposed, the more I understand who I am and that I am just a vulnerable mortal human being.
In this adventure of writing my first romance story, I was in the quest for the meaning of love as I mentioned before in my previous blog that I don’t know what love is. At the end of writing “Second Chance” story, for me, true love is unconditional love, love that stands the test of time, love that forgives as we humans are not perfect, love that is undying and goes beyond attraction as physical beauty is ephemeral, love that is not selfish and love that doesn’t own which means that we’ll be happy to see the person we love to live happily even though we are not in partnership with him/her. This definition of love will be the main essence in all my romance novels I think, that will become the inspiration that drives the romance story.
Writing my first romance story has instilled in me to write more and to write better, as I have so many stories that want to be told. If I may dream, I would like to be the first Indonesian non-native English author and to be known as the Indonesian Contemporary Jane Austen. I know I’m not exactly Jane Austen and the topics that I want to write probably deeper and broader in scope. In addition, I am writing about modern issues that our society currently faces. But you get the point, I want to be the pioneer in English romance literature as an Indonesian female writer just like Jane Austen was in the Victorian era. I want to give hope to our little girls anywhere, someone they can aspire to, that nothing is impossible, no matter where you come from, life’s struggles you face, etc. Dream high and work hard for it. Be strong, be smart, and fight for that equality between men and women for the sake of justice and humanity.
Last but not least, please help support me in this endeavor as I venture out to become a novelist in the fight for justice and humanity in the form of the art of story-telling. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.