This Is Why Nobody Wants to Be a Wordsmith in Indonesia

Living as an author or novelist or short story writer or journalist is TOUGH, regardless of countries. Though people are inclined to see only the glory of renowned authors like JK Rowling, Danielle Steele, Elizabeth Gilbert or Dan Brown, many ignore the story behind their glamorous lives. One may find these authors’ past period as depressing. There’re millions of authors even in Western countries who are just as impoverished as we are in developing countries. These wordsmiths (people earn a living by means of arranging words) are living pathetic way of life and not many know it or even they know, give it a single damn.

Suharso (38) is one of the poor Indonesian novelists out there who struggle to make money. The man whose pen name is Aveus Har mostly makes money on daily basis by setting up a food stall selling chicken noodles. Yes, the level of the challenges in the Indonesian publishing industry may seem so overwhelming he can’t make money by writing alone. An author may be published but it doesn’t mean they’re getting more prosperous after their books are marketed. They still have so many tasks to complete:i.e. marketing their works. And this is not a part-time undertaking. S/he needs to plunge into it days and nights. Relentless, as we know it.

Suharso who lives in Pekalongan, Central Java, mentioned about not hoping his works (6 books all together and other writings fro printed publications) are making much money. That’s something I’m strongly opposed to! For God’s sake, you need to make money to live better. You’re entitled to it. If you can live better and deserve it, why shouldn’t you? I don’t know about others but this ‘humility’ should stop or wordsmiths never deserve the rewards they ought to enjoy.

Surprisingly, the novelist writes on an LG touch screen phone which screen looks ridiculously small and narrow. That’s exactly how he writes when he has spare time. I wonder why he doesn’t buy a BlackBerry instead. BlackBerry or any phones with a QWERTY keyboard would make sense, but a touch screen phone? I don’t know.

He has hopes though in spite of the authorly humility he has shown us. “I’m learning how to write a filmic novel, so if anyone wants to buy the book to make a film based on it, it’ll be much easier.

Suharso added,”I read a lot so I can write more and more. That’s how it all works.” But then I’m thinking, what if the food stall gets flooded by diners after he’s now seen on television? Could there be a food stall with a writing studio inside it?

That said, I wish him luck with the new endeavor. Now that everyone knows he’s about to write a filmic novel, I guess some potential movie directors in the country are interested in the book. Still, he’s such a phenomenon.

But hey I also have a writer friend who worked at Alfamart and now being a marketer for a telco company. Probably I must tell television journalists to cover his story.


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