When I arrived home from Vermont, I saw a small stack of hot pink books in Indonesian sitting on the counter. Turns out Daripada Bete, Nulis Aja! is out — my book Write Where You Are — in yet another Indonesian edition despite my American publisher having dropped the book years ago. So the other night, Ken and I started plugging Indonesian reviews of the book into google translator, and this is what I discovered:
- “Cinderella can itch if not sweeping”
- “Initially looked like ordinary writing guidebooks, with typical crisp style dialogue among adolescents. But the start of chapter 6, precisely the section 3, I feel ‘slapped’ in particular about the revision. Sentences are always ringing: people like you not because of your writing, and vice versa.”
- “Investment securities, because the purchase price of ten thousand just in the stock discounts and can banyaaak science.”
- “Books that my sister recommended it, made me rethink that writing was not only futile activity which is not endless, is a great mistake!”
- “Who knows, you could be like a Goddess “Dee” Lestari increasingly shines with his Supernova.”
It’s one thing to hold a book you wrote when you can understand the words. It’s entirely enchanting when you can’t. Yet whatever it now says, the Indonesian publisher knows how to run circles around my American publisher of it when it comes to marketing, focusing on how teens can use writing as an emotional and artistic practice, which has always been my intention.
The last time a new edition came out, letters and emails wove their way to me, often beginning with “Dear Sir” from Indonesian teens who love writing, have great stories to tell, and just need the chance to be heard. Some might think Cinderella is sweeping off her itch, but most get how writing can keep them connected to their voice.