25

Entah mengapa, agaknya akan selalu ada yang istimewa dengan 25 sehingga kadang Ia diasosiasikan dengan kualitas perak, si logam mulia itu, seperti di ulang tahun perkawinan. Dalam panjang nafas seorang, Ia boleh disebut telah hidup “seperempat abad” lamanya.

Padahal mulanya 25, seperti juga 24 sebelum atau 26 sesudahnya, sekedar angka biasa yang bahkan baru ditemukan oleh bangsa India tahun 500 Masehi. Namun ketika bergandeng dengan usia, 25 tidak mampir sebagai angka belaka, tapi juga makna—sebuah maksud atau pengertian yang diberikan— macam “perak” dan “seperempat abad” tadi.

Ia bisa membanggakan, jadi tanda sebuah kematangan, syukur jika kedewasaan. Tapi kadang tentu menakutkan. Banyak yang bilang, seiring waktu, kita makin jarang melihat usia dengan simbol matematika “tambah,” ketimbang dengan “kurang.” Semakin tua, kita lebih sering menghitung waktu yang tersisa, daripada momen yang sudah dilewati sejak permulaan. Jika tahun ini, angka harapan hidup di Indonesia ialah 72 tahun, mencapai 25 berarti hidup hanya tinggal kurang dari dua pertiga. Menginjak 25, dengan kata lain, ialah menjadi tua.

Dan siapa yang tak takut menjadi tua? Continue reading

Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine

image source: post-gazette.com

image source: post-gazette.com

Ada yang mengecewakan ketika membaca buku kedua Eric Weimer, Man Seeks God: My Flirtations with the Divine —yang saya beli ketika obral di toko buku.

Barangkali karena ekspektasi berlebih mengingat buku pertama Eric, The Geography of Bliss, yang mengisahkan perjalanannya sebagai penggerutu yang mencari kebahagiaan, adalah bacaan menawan. Saya sedikit bangga waktu mempromosikan buku itu ke sejumlah kawan, karena mereka ikut terpesona dengannya.

Tapi tidak kali ini. Continue reading

On Running

"at least he never walk"

“at least he never walk”

“Why do we keep on running?”

The question pops up in my mind as I jog around the dazzling route of Yangmingshan National Park—home for the tallest peak in Taipei City, Qixing Mountain.

I am in the middle of my evening jog, starting from Chinese Culture University, with the Yangmingshan Bus Station as the goal. It is the last stop for a bus from the city. From there, people should take a smaller minibus if they want to explore the mountain.

It is around 4.30 PM and Yangmingshan views are great as usual. The weather is perfect. As I run along the curvy road, I can see the greenery valley on my left and the sun setting down in far away sky. The road is calm. Only several cars and buses coming along in my hour or so of jogging. Along the road, there’s also a small river, flowing to somewhere only God know. Continue reading

Don’t Just Write Words

In a 1985 book, Gary Provost created this tour de force to demonstrate what happens when the writer experiments with sentences of different lengths:

“This sentence has five words. Here are five more words. Five-word sentences are fine. But several together become monotonous. Listen to what is happening. The writing is getting boring. The sound of it drones. It’s like a stuck record. The ear demands some variety.”

“Now listen. I vary the sentence length, and I create music. Music. The writing sings. It has a pleasant rhythm, a lilt, a harmony. I use short sentences. And I use sentences of medium length.”

“And sometimes, when I am certain the reader is rested, I will engage him with a sentence of considerable length, a sentence that burns with energy and builds with all the impetus of a crescendo, the roll of the drums, the crash of the cymbals — sounds that say listen to this, it is important.”

So write with a combination of short, medium, and long sentences.

Create a sound that pleases the reader’s ear.

Don’t just write words. Write music.

 

Quoted in 50 Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark

 

 

Ang Lee: A Never-Ending Dream

In 1978, as I applied to study film at the University of Illinois, my father vehemently objected. He quoted me a statistic: ‘Every year, 50,000 performers compete for 200 available roles on Broadway.’ Against his advice, I boarded a flight to the U.S. This strained our relationship. In the two decades following, we exchanged less than a hundred phrases in conversation.

Some years later, when I graduated film school, I came to comprehend my father’s concern. It was nearly unheard of for a Chinese newcomer to make it in the American film industry. Beginning in 1983, I struggled through six years of agonizing, hopeless uncertainty. Much of the time, I was helping film crews with their equipment or working as editor’s assistant, among other miscellaneous duties. My most painful experience involved shopping a screenplay at more than thirty different production companies, and being met with harsh rejection each time.

That year, I turned 30. There’s an old Chinese saying: ‘At 30, one stands firm.’ Yet, I couldn’t even support myself. What could I do? Keep waiting, or give up my movie-making dream? My wife gave me invaluable support. Continue reading

Blog at WordPress.com.
The Esquire Theme.

%d bloggers like this: