“A TRIBUTE TO JAKARTA’S COUCHSURFING WRITERS’ CLUB”

I’ve wanted to write something special for you guys as a small tribute, so here it goes:

I am thankful that I’ve found this amazingly creative club called The Couchsurfing Writers’ Club in Jakarta last year. It started when I went to a rock concert with my colleague Lies and she introduced me to her friend Michele. Michele later invited me to attend this club gathering once she’d learned that I loved writing.

However, it had taken me a while before I finally turned up to see them all at my first gathering.

How was it? It was like a love at first sight. The club has brought me back to my one and always true passion in life: WRITING. We’ve been through gatherings and other activities. I consider this an alternative source of urban entertainment to hanging out at the malls, watching movies at the cinemas, or just…fine dining. (Well, it’s not that I don’t enjoy them as well.) I mean, imagine this: you gather with a group of friends – people from different backgrounds. Each week, there’s a new writing challenge based on different topics. You only have 30 minutes to write on the spot. What can you write? Anything, as long as it’s still relevant to the chosen topic. Well, sometimes you can also write about something else. It’s actually all fun and games.

What if you worry that you haven’t enough time to write? No problem. You can still bring your writing from home. Is it a poem, a flash-fiction, a short-story, a non-fiction piece taken out of your blog, or a novel excerpt? Share with the club. You can write either in English or Indonesian, since this is where we are.

What if you don’t feel like writing – or that you think you can’t do it at all?

That’s okay, you’re still welcomed. Some just come for a sit-in. They simply like listening to people take turns reciting their poems or telling their stories. It’s all good, just like the usual storytelling sessions you may have experienced. You can listen to all kinds of poems and / or stories from different points of view and genres too in one night. You won’t hear anyone complain harshly about whether your story being too sappy / scary / tacky / whatever. This club is about mutual respect and appreciation to creativity.

What else can you do with this writers’ club? I’ve had interesting moments with them. There were nights when some of us would go for a karaoke session after the gathering. It was also fun. It’s basically almost the same as the gathering: you get to take turns singing the songs that you choose to sing. The best part? No one’s going to complain about your choices being too mellow or sappy. (If yes, then so what?) Once again, it’s all about the mutual respect and appreciation for different expressions. After all, diversity is what makes life more colourful and interesting.

In other words, it’s the club where I can really be myself. No one’s judging me or calling me a ‘cry-baby’ for showing my true feelings through the stories I read and the songs I sing.

Jakarta’s Couchsurfing Writers’ Club has supported me throughout this year. I’ve gone through the death of my father and another heartbreak with them. I’ve even finished my very first novel. For all of that, I can never thank you enough. Thank you for all the fun, friendship, and learning process. May we stick together for a longer time.

Love,

R.

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