The Years Of Silence

by Ana Abdullah - January 20, 2022

— Summary: Ana finds her way back, giving it her all and choosing a genre for 2022. In other words, a sincere apology to Teman for the considerable hiatus. —

The break from the last blog entry was supposed to last only a few weeks.

It lasted three years.

It is 2022 now. This is my first post after three years of silence. Hello, Teman, brilliant readers of Ditinta. Do you even remember me? Did you even know me in the first place?

There were plenty of false restarts in 2019. So 2020 should be a good year for a fresh new beginning. But, alas, we all know what happened then. Despite being a true introvert, in every sense of the word, the social isolation damaged my mental health. I could not write or read. Nor did I feel alive. I had lost my sense of self. But then, I had already lost it a long time ago.

Still, I am apologetic mostly to you. I had forgotten that in writing, there is someone else on the other side too. I am sorry, Teman, for the years of silence.

Finding My Way Back
Despite my downward spiral to non-existence back in 2020, I had not deleted A minute part of me had been adamant about writing even when I had no sense of direction with it. And even when I had not even dared to read back past stories on Ditinta, that tiny part had stopped me from deleting them. She needed them as reminders. That is, even as I was lost, these short stories were still mine. Without a doubt, I am a writer.

So I can no longer ignore that tiny yet stubborn voice within me. A mere whisper but its persistence has rekindled my passion for Literature. It was a good thing had remained because I found my way back home.

And I truly want to write for you, Teman.

Giving It My All
Back in 2018, I had started Ditinta with the mindset that I would like to do this for life. This is not just a career but rather, a lifestyle. Being a writer is my identity. Ironically, though, I was already at the lowest point of my life. I saw no future for myself. I decided instead to just write and see where it led. However, being at such a low point, I could hardly see much. I sowed my own seeds of doubts, leading to those years of silence.

But something happened. I still cannot understand it myself.

In October 2020, without rhyme or reason, I decided to lose weight. It may seem like it had nothing to do with writing. Indeed, I was already nothing at that point, a walking obese corpse. Yet, like writing, I wanted to see where it led. As I lost the physical weight, I became more aware of the psychological weight. That part had been deeply affecting me as a writer, as a person. It was a heavy weight of past emotional traumas from decades of living someone else’s dreams. It has sadly shaped me into a doubtful, anxious person that I am today.

However, that awareness alone has made me hold on to my writing dream with desperation. It gave me a sense of urgency. I cannot delay anymore or else this tiny sliver of hope will fade away. So from 2022 onwards, I promise to give my all to my writing.

And to myself.

Now as I start believing in myself wholeheartedly, will miracles happen as they do in fiction? Will you trust me to write and never stop again, Teman?

The Mystery Genre As My Direction
Admittedly, I had not thought of that direction until I had a conversation with my brother.

“I like mysteries.” I said when asked what genre I enjoyed most. “Strange phenomena, be it the paranormal or human ingenuity, are always fascinating. But it’s really the deduction part that’s always the best. A good unpredictable one is what makes a good mystery. But, you know, these days I can hardly find any good ones where I’d be mind-blown.”

“So why aren’t you writing it? Why are you writing all these slice-of-life stories when you prefer mystery?” He actually reprimanded me, his sister who is more than a decade older.

I gave plenty of excuses. Oh, I do not have a BA in creative writing. And, hey, just because I can read a mystery, does not mean I can create one. It takes a genius to write a mystery. I am just not —

“There are plenty of online courses and writing books that can teach you! Plenty of mysteries to read and learn from too!” The truth always stabs hard.

I am definitely nothing compared to the famed writers of such a magnificent genre. They are extraordinary plot-masters, especially the women writers. I wonder if I can do it. But just thinking about it means nothing. So here I am now, boldly choosing to write my stories in the Mystery genre. Do you have faith in me, Teman?

Dear Teman, I am still in search of my true inner self. I am still finding my true voice. I am still a work in progress. I know things would not get any easier. After all, it takes a bit of eccentricity to live and identify oneself as a writer. Yet I have returned with the full intention of being the best writer for you. I am sorry again for leaving you in silence all these years. But Ana is back now. Please look forward to my writing journey and the mysteries I will publish for you.
Ana Asks
What say you, Teman? Will you forgive Ana for the years of silence? Share your thoughts below.

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