Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 is not completely bad

I have to admit, it was pretty daunting when Kit asked me to join in Project 366. When he first initiated the project in January, he already extended the invitation to me. Seeing the list of names, however, gave me a chill of fear. Most of the names there I have known from working on their pocket books or several Anthologies that I designed. Who am I to try to sit together with them?

It was not until several months after the beginning of Project 366 that I started to join in. I translated several poems to Indonesian, with the initial skepticism whether people would appreciate the effort or not. The feedback that I received was pretty positive that it became a daily habit for me. If I have to recall those days, a day without a translation posted felt like a day wasted. The post became a mark of my successful working day, it gave me a sense of accomplishment for the day.

The translation process 'forced' me to read deeper on those poems and provided a way for me to learn more about poetry writing. I started to emulate some styles in my own writing - some experiments took place in my own poems. Some poems were changed in favour of these experimentations. Of course, some worked and some didn't.

When I posted my original work for the first time, it felt very scary. A question haunted my mind, "What if this poem is not up to the standard?"To my surprise, everybody was so welcoming. I became more motivated in writing more. I developed a self-imposed shame in those days I could not post a new poem. What was once seem like a chore had become a habit - a part of my day.

What was started as a fearful step grew into something else. The community felt (or feels) very warm and welcoming. Despite never met the other participants in person, I have developed a sense of kinship. Everyday, it was as if we are gathering in a big table for dinner and everybody told how their day was through poems. That's how I got to know everybody.....

All in all, I feel very honoured and glad to be a part of this wonderful project. While 2016 might be one of those bad years, Project 366 made me realised that the whole year was not completely horrible....

1 comment:

  1. I always thought it was very exciting to see a translation appear. I love the new shape a poem takes in a different language. Thank you also for your insights on translation and how translating might impact on a poet's own work. Best wishes and thank you.