As a full time worker and a mother, writing a novel is a complicated yet precious thing to do. Writing needs special times to contemplate, to collect the ideas that come up and must be pondered over time. They must be cultivated and developed. However, I don’t have much time to do so. I face similar problem to that of women who stop writing once they get married and have children. I am occupied by domestic tasks, office work, social life etc. Routine is tiring but I still need to take care of it though it consumes my creative time.
Fortunately, those time consuming activities turn out to be full of knowledge and cleanse my body and mind. It becomes the spirit of my creative process as a woman: the difficulties of marriage, being pregnant and giving birth, major events only experienced by women.
The Novel Tempurung, is a result of my long contemplation. It’s a reflection of Balinese women’s life: the desire and its love, the conflict and its pain. It is also a response to many social cases and issues which really break my heart as a woman in the time when the world abandons its own children. Tempurung is a novel about women dealing with their body, religion, custom and society. It portrays women living in absurd marriages. Deep down in their heart, they don’t want marriage, instead they need children, love, care, and touch for their body. Women search for love, dreams, but they don’t know what they want and what they wish for and they often are afraid to dream. This is a novel of women’s body which they do not own. They often forget having one. The body that sometimes they don’t understand. The body that is so firmly attached but so unfamiliar. This is the story of women who are confused about being a woman; either it is a gift or a curse. It is like
spinning a top inside a coconut shell: the ‘sin’ they made, the search of the meaning of life, but it only brings despair, misfortune, and dissatisfaction to their lives. The sin is relayed like a baton for the women ahead. They must savor it, face it: sex, pregnancy, giving birth, pain, and naivety, all mixed and implanted in their body.
As a journalist in Bali, I am able to express many problems in the society in Bali in details. The ups and downs of Balinese society are portrayed in my books.
Indonesia’s character is its culture where its people grow and develop. In my novel, poetry, and short stories, I try to record those problems and someday in the future it might become a cultural documentary for future generations of Indonesia.
Denpasar, 16th September 2012.