Rahne Putri is a poet and a published writer with her book Sadgenic. She also contributes her stories for Cerita Sahabat, The Journeys 2, and Jika. Her words can be found through her poetic blog entries or her Twitter account–with more than 77K followers. You can read more interviews with Indonesian writers here.
Where do your words come from? What made you attracted to words and poems at the first place?
Rahne: Where do my words come from? Honestly, I don’t know. Sometimes I am also surprised how poetic words come out at certain times. This question made me think. Probably it was gradually shaped from my childhood ambience. I do not remember it specifically (because actually, I’m forgetful), but apparently I recorded a lot of things from my family’s habit, and those things were kept in my subconscious.
In the old days, Eyang Putri (grandmother) loved to tell stories and write letters for me when she missed me (obviously, with a very formal Indonesian like how it was back then). I also recalled a piece of love letter from Romo (father) for my mom, glued into the back of her cupboard’s door–which I love to secretly read. Or a poem about “Dad” on the bedroom wall of Eyang Romo (grandfather). I grew up in a loving and romantic family.
Moreover, I also love to dissect dialogues from theaters, movies (from cartoon to romance), to melancholic lyrics from love songs. It seems like these things shaped me to end up loving words and poems.
How does it feel to be inside of you during moments when words or story ideas pop up in your head?
Rahne: Usually when these things pop up, I want to enjoy solitude. Because there are many disputes over what’s on my head and what’s on my heart, so I try to focus and identify the things I want to feel and convey. I try to make myself truly exist, expressed, and present to accompany me when the inspiration comes. Actually, it feels like loneliness. There are only me, time, and thoughts.
Some writers said that they are more productive during sadness or heartbreaks. Does sadness fuel you?
Rahne: Ha! Yes! I feel it! When I am sad or anxious, I tend to question a lot of things and it triggers me to keep daydreaming or think about all the possible answers. Question marks urgently reverberate from my heart, then crawl to my head and my fingers to be expressed through writings.
When I’m happy, my heart does not question much. I even have the tendency for not wanting to write.
Does sadness fuel me? Yes, it does. I love my sadness, to be exact. It doesn’t mean that I want to be sad all the time, but I always capture the beauty in sadness (thus, Sadgenic). Sadness allows me to be honest with what I feel and directs me to know better about what is it that I really want.
Sadness is an opportunity to appreciate losses and longings. Sadness is the energy for me to keep moving… away from it.
What’s your favorite place to write? What can we see or feel when we sit there?
Rahne: I don’t have a special desk or place to write, because inspirations come to me in various places. Every time I prepare the time for it, it doesn’t come! (laugh).
However, in my writing space, you’ll feel nothing but stillness. Usually, I play instrumental music and have a clock nearby so I can hear it ticks. Both are the rhythms that guard me as I write. Oh, and you may hear the sound of trickling water.
There’s always a corner in my writing space (in my imagination) that needs to be wet–either from rain or tears.
Another habit, I oftentimes close my eyes when I am about to write, because there lies a huge window, and I have to go past it to start the journey to my imagination.
How do you approach bookstores? And if you can build one, how would it look like?
Rahne: I’ll share a little about my imagination as I enter a bookstore or a library. Usually, I’d rather visit the hidden corners–which others rarely see or pass. I always imagine that there are books waiting to be flipped open and to be read.
I have the habit to ‘give lives’ to objects around me since I was little, so those books, in my mind, are actually storytellers–waiting for someone to listen to their stories.
When walking through the shelves, it feels like all of them say: “read me, read me” or “pick me” with various tones of voice. For instance, it would be an old guy’s voice when it’s a vintage book, or a child’s voice because it’s a children’s book, or a female’s voice, impatient to tell the love stories inside.
Imaginations aside, the kind of books I look for are mostly poetry books and children’s books that are full of pictures. I am also attracted to books with lovely covers, and books with sweet, nice, and curiosity-arousing opening notes.
My childhood dream is to have a bookstore with huge windows, for the sunlight to enter, and people can read with sufficient natural light. Then there are couches, so they can read the book they find. And in one of the corners, I’ll prepare hot tea and cakes.
How do places affect your writings?
Rahne: Essentially, I like places with the concept of ‘waiting’. A seaside or a hill where someone sits–waiting for the sun to rise or set, or a coffee shop where someone is waiting for a friend.
I love to watch people in places with such a concept, guessing what they are going through, what they are feeling. Often times, in airports or train stations, my emotional examinations are richer, because everyone is in the position of waiting, then they move away, or move towards something. Those places are full of goodbyes and hellos. So, some anxieties or hopes I capture there are being carried on through my writings.
I am also thankful to have a bit of (overly) active imagination because there are loads of future places I dreamed of that I have visited. Maybe they are not real, but it feels so fun to mash them up with something I want to write, feel, and tell.