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Friday, May 13, 2016

Butterflies and Hurricanes

Today, I took back my manuscript from the publisher. And there had been speculations about why I did it. Some insinuated that I 'merajuk'. Some said that I got an offer from someplace else. Some even think that it has anything to do with royalty and publishing politics.

Sigh. People and speculations. 

So here's why.

I sent my manuscript on 11 April 2015. It was inspired by my (then still alive) cats, Mugabe, A'a, and Kimon (that's all I can say). In January 2016, I asked my editor about it, and he said that they have slotted in for April (as in for editing, not for release). April came and gone. By 11 May 2016, I asked him again, and then he told me.

There were some changes. Big changes. Not sure my manuscript will get to be released this year. So I asked him if I can take it back. He referred me to another editor. 

The second editor asked me why, and if I didn't want to write with Buku Prima again. I said that wasn't the case at all. It wasn't about money, about who gets what slot, merajuk and all that. Okay, so partly it is about the money, since I am 33. Let's be real. I am not writing for the fun of it. I write so I can eat and pay my bills. If I die today, I have nothing except for some cash in the bank, THAT's how dirt poor I am. So, it would be hypocritical for me to say that I am writing for the love of it. That shit ain't real. Girl gotta live.

Glad that's over with (I just get sick and tired with people trying to beautify the reality of life as a writer with words such as 'dream', 'passion', 'money don't matter' bladibla.... yeah, if you're 20. Try being a single woman at 33 working freelance. You got no time for that fable anymore).

Anyway. If you read my blog dated February, you would have already knew that I am burnt out as a writer. (Read the rest of the post because I am done talking about it and explaining it). It felt like I am doing the same thing over and over again. And I am Nurul Syahida. I don't do the same things over and over again. I used to quit my job with no plan at all. I invest in a business that goes nowhere, and then got entangled in a long court battle. That's how I roll (or Roul, if you catch my drift). I took a leap of faith, and more often than not, I failed. But failure, as much as success, is intoxicating. It even gets me closer to the Maker. 

But right now, I am at a point of my life that I am neither successful nor failed. I am at a static place, a place of comfort, where dreams die and passion goes to hell. I used to think at 30 I will migrate to Australia, selling karipap or kites at the beach. Living life. But where I am right now? At home, doing God knows what.

Don't get me wrong, I don't have what people called 'the writer's dream'. I don't dream of having my book on the bestseller's list for the rest of eternity. I don't dream of seeing it on the big screen (or the small screen for that matter). I don't dream about socialising with celebrities, becoming popular, becoming stinking rich that I can own my own island. My dream is simple. My dream is to become better. Better doesn't come with wealth and fame (having enough money to die and not worry about the family is enough). Better comes with growth.

When my editor told me about the big change in the company, I took it as a sign. The industry is at its balanced best/worst situation, people are getting skeptical about books, I keep on defending writers and books from naysayers than actually writing. I am already burned out from writing the same old thing. And here's my editor, telling me in a nutshell that the sales of my previous books are not putting me in the VIP section. I am a pariah, waiting for some accident in the schedules for my book to squeeze into. 

These are all signs. These are all reasons for me to try that leap of faith again. To do the things I always wanted to do but too afraid to do it for fear of losing what I already have. Now that I am losing what I already have, I have become scared. But it's a good scared. It's crazy "Shai is doing things with no Plan B" scared.

In short, I just want 60 year-old me (if I was still alive, that is. God knows who is holding the red button to the nuclear bombs right now, or if I am even alive next month) to know that I've tried. I want her to know that I took that leap, and that at the age of 60 (or 70 or whatever), I knew that the younger me didn't waste her time living in a comfort zone. That she tried. Succeeding or failing are not the measure here, but the mere fact that she wanted something and she tried getting it.

I owe that much to myself. 

So, what 'leap of faith' am I talking about? Pfft, like I'm gonna tell you that.

And for that manuscript, I don't know. I am still thinking about it. I may do some editing to suit the dates (it was written with the idea that everything ended in 2015 because it was the date I sent it, but now I have to change everything. And I mean everything!). I may publish it into a book, or I may just publish the content into my blog. I can't be selfish. I have readers, even if there isn't a lot of them.

But right now, I am high on that leaping energy. I am gonna go berserk for the rest of the year (questioning why am I doing this stupid crazy thing when I have something good going on, hitting my head on the table going "This is shit! This is shit!", and lie on the floor thinking about the purpose of life... oh yes, I am expecting all those things), but right now, that's all I want.
The randomness.

I am Frogger, the scaredy-cat amphibian who jumps across the busy street. 


farah said...

there are only 3 malay novelists than can make me feel over-excited whenever i hear any updates from them. and u are one of them. (i am zafli, maybe less creepy)

i can relate to ur situation, just not in the same boat. but yes, truly agree. have faith. because thats what i've been living with today. and just for you to know (and to make you feel good if that helps), i have always admired you and your work.

thank you, and best of luck in the future.

hana said...

daijobun (dont worry)
'popular' books may stay on tv or cinema, but that just in short period. but good books and good author stay in people heart. well unless he/she has an accident that cause memory lost, it will stay there until they die. it will inspired them in their daily life because you are one writer that speaks the truth.

growing up with your novel do make huge impact in my life sincerely.
keep cool and stay strong.
insyaallah all is well =p

NOR ASIKIN Ramli said...
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NOR ASIKIN Ramli said...
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Miss Anne said...

I dont have any favorite writer before this. but sinve I read soalnya hati,u got a place a my most favorite writer. keep writing. I will wait for the next book.

Eryany said...

one of the many reason i like your writing is that you are different from the rest. its not easy when you goes against the norm. always wish and pray for you, wishing all the success to you.

Shai Kamarudin said...

Farah - heheh thank you :D. Zafli adalah scary, you are not :P
Hana - I am happy to be part of your growing up process. :D :D
Miss Anne - New book is out!!! :D :D :D
Eryani - Thank you for your wishes and thanks for buying mi new book (^o^)