Sabuk Tanpa Makna
May 9, 2015
Menulis Kambing dan Hujan: Sebuah Pengalaman (Bag. II)
May 13, 2015

Menulis Kambing dan Hujan: Sebuah Pengalaman (Bag. I)

Foto: Novel Kambing dan Hujan

Foto: Cover novel Kambing dan Hujan

Foto: Cover novel Kambing dan Hujan

Oleh: Mahfud Ikhwan

I. Memikirkan Novel

Seingat saya, saya sudah memikirkan novel pertama saya, Ulid, sejak sebelum lulus kuliah, kira-kira tahun 2003-an. Setahun kemudian, ketika baru beberapa halaman memulai menulis novel pertama saya itu, ide menulis novel yang lain pun mendesak-desak. Dan, ide yang menyusul itulah yang kelak menjadi “Kambing dan Hujan”. Tapi, jika ditelisik lebih jauh, saya tahu bahwa ide novel yang mendesak belakangan itu jelas sudah mengisi kepala saya jauh sebelum itu.

Ketika bermaksud lulus dari fakultas sastra di sebuah universitas di Jogja, saya putuskan mengambil kumpulan cerpen Kontowijoyo, Hampir Sebuah Subversi, untuk digarap. Saya tak akan terlalu membanggakan proses mengerjakan skripsi itu, pakai teori apa, seberapa lama menulisnya, dan dapat nilai apa. Yang jelas, setelah dipikir-pikir, selain memberikan saya ijazah, Hampir Sebuah Subversi itu juga–kelak–memberi saya dua novel. Salah satunya adalah “Kambing dan Hujan”.

Untuk sedikit cerita saja, menurut saya, hal paling menarik dari kumpulan cerpen Kuntowijoyo tersebut (juga kumpulan cerpennya yang lain, pun karya-karya fiksinya yang lain, yang kebetulan sangat intens saya geluti sepanjang penulisan tugas akhir), paling tidak, ada dua: 1) latar ruralnya; 2) konflik dan kontestasi sehari-hari masyarakat yang hidup di dalamnya. Hal pertama bisa ditemukan di dua novel yang saya tulis, sementara hal kedua terutama yang menjadi ide dasar “Kambing dan Hujan”.

Khusus untuk “Kambing dan Hujan”, beberapa karya Pak Kunto bahkan memberi kontribusi secara langsung. Misalnya, cerpen “Rumah yang Terbakar” (dalam Hampir Sebuah Subversi) yang menceritaan konflik horizontal dua komunitas santri dan abangan di sebuah desa Jawa. Demikian juga dengan novel Kunto yang paling saya sukai, Pasar, yang bercerita pertentangan halus namun subtil antara nilai-nilai Jawa lama lagipula luhur yang diwakili sosok Pak Mantri Pasar dengan Kasan Ngali yang mewakili nilai-nilai baru yang lebih banal dan materialistis. Namun, yang tak kalah penting adalah kontribusi tidak langsung dari buku-buku Pak Kunto.

Berkutat bersemester-semester dengan karya-karya Pak Kunto, menyeret saya yang mahasiswa sastra membaca studi-studi sejarah sosial. Saya sulit membayangkan akan menulis “Kambing dan Hujan” jika sebelumnyanya tidak membaca Santri, Abangan, Priayi-nya Gertz, Kaum Tuo – Kaum Mudo-nya Jerome Pieters, Para Pengemban Amanah- Mohammad Iskandar, Islam Murni-nya Abdul Munir Mulkhan, dan beberapa yang lain. Mungkin nanti ada penjelasan di bawah yang akan bisa memberi pengertian mengapa studi-studi sejarah sosial tersebut begitu penting bagi terciptanya Kambing dan Hujan, tapi jika pun saya alpa melakukannya (karena mungkin lupa konteksnya) maka pembaca Kambing dan Hujan pasti akan menemukan bahwa buku-buku tersebut bahkan saya sebut-sebut di dalam novel, sebagai bagian dari cerita.

II. Mulai Menulis

Namun, buku-buku Pak Kunto, dengan latar rural dan konflik masyarakat sehari-harinya itu, juga buku-buku sejarah sosial yang tadi saya sebutkan, pasti akan tinggal menjadi endapan pengetahuan atau malah mungkin semata kenangan manis seorang yang pernah menjadi mahasiswa, dan tak akan pernah menjadi novel, jika saja tidak bertemu dengan pengalaman-pengalaman berikut.

Setelah lulus, saya terlibat sebuah pekerjaan teknis di sebuah LSM di Jakarta. Pekerjaan itu hanya memberi saya sedikit uang untuk sekadar bisa bertahan di Jakarta, dan karena itu bukan hanya tidak relevan tapi juga tak terlalu membanggakan untuk diceritakan. Meski demikian, hal itu saya sebut karena pekerjaan itu memberi saya banyak komputer nganggur yang bisa saya pakai untuk menulis–kemewahan yang tidak pernah saya miliki sepanjang kuliah. Dengan komputer-komputer nganggur itulah, terutama kalau malam, saya mulai menulis novel saya.

Tapi novel yang saya maksud di sini adalah novel pertama saya, Ulid. Hingga menjelang seratus halaman pertama novel tersebut, yang saya tulis dengan lancar dan antusias, ide tentang “Kambing dan Hujan” belum terpikirkan. Baru setelah novel pertama itu mulai seret ditulis, saya mulai kepikiran tentang ide novel lain–saya waktu itu sangat mengidealkan metode menulis Seno Gumira Ajidarma dan Putu Wijaya, yang bisa dengan mudah pindah dari satu naskah ke naskah lain, dan karena itu mereka sangat produktif.

Secara bersamaan, tanpa sengaja, saya mendapati bahwa kos-kosan saya berada satu gang dengan kantor Grup Ummi. Beberapa tahun sebelumnya, salah satu produk grup tersebut, yaitu Majalah Annida, pernah memuat beberapa cerpen saya, dan memberi kepercayaan diri (yang sedikit berlebihan) pada saya bahwa saya bisa menulis. “Kenapa tidak nulis yang berbau-bau islami lagi?” begitu pikiran saya. Saya memikirkan sebuah novel islami–lebih tegasnya novel pop yang islami–dengan sasaran pembaca jika bukan ukhti-ukhti kuliahan ya ummi-ummi rumahan. Rubrik cerbung Majalah Ummi menjadi incaran spesifik saya. Berprinsip bahwa novel pertama yang sedang seret ditulis itu adalah sebuah proyek sastra, maka sebuah proyek sampingan yang lebih enteng, lebih mudah ditulis, dan kalau bisa lebih berpotensi laku adalah pilihan bijak.

Kalimat-kalimat awal dengan antusias saya tulis. Namun, itu tak berumur lama. Tak lama, “proyek sampingan yang lebih enteng” ini mulai macet juga–kemacetan yang bertahun-tahun kemudian membuat saya frustasi dan nyaris jadi ide cerita yang tak pernah selesai. Kalau saya ingat-ingat, mungkin itu karena dua hal. Pertama, karena saya memulai dengan buruk, dan belum-belum sudah mengkhianati semangat awal penulisannya. Kedua, karena saya sampai kapan pun tidak pernah becus menulis novel pop.

(Karena hal kedua tak terlalu menarik untuk dibahas, dan kurang inspiratif jika dibaca oleh para penulis yang lebih muda dari saya, maka sebaiknya kita bicarakan saja sebab pertama.)

Ya, saya kira saya memang memulai novel itu dengan cara sangat buruk. Bayangkan, proyek enteng tersebut saya beri judul sangat aneh: “Utara-Selatan Terpisah Jalan”. (Judul aneh itu bertahun-tahun bertahan seperti itu, tanpa tahu harus diubah bagaimana.) Kalau pun itu bukan judul sebuah buku politik, pasti akan bikin kening berkerut jika sampai muncul di majalah ibu-ibu muslimah. Judul aneh itu pasti muncul dari endapan-endapan referensi kajian-kajian sosial saat bikin skripsi yang tiba-tiba membuncah dan entah kenapa kemudian jumbuh dengan sebuah pengalaman yang sebelumnya tidak terpikir untuk mengolahnya menjadi cerita fiksi. Di bawah, nanti akan saya ceritakan.

Saya ingin menulis kisah cinta. Jadi, ada tokoh cowok-ceweknya. Lebih jauh lagi, cowok-cewek itu saling mencintai namun cintanya tidak direstui, seperti Romeo-Juliet atau Sam Pek dan Engtay. Artinya, ada hal yang membuat cinta itu terhalang. Dan halangan itu jelas harus lebih konkret, yang mampu membuat tokoh-tokoh utama menderita. Pembaca harus merasakan penderitaan itu. Pembaca harus merasa dilukai. Itu yang saya inginkan. Tapi sial, bukannya memikirkan tentang kaya-miskin atau ningrat-jelata atau adat kolot-modern, atau sekalian beda agama yang jelas salah dan benarnya, yang akan lebih universal (dan lebih laku) sebagai penghalang cinta, saya malah menjatuhkan pilihan pada NU-Muhammadiyah.

NU-Muhammadiyah dan kisah cinta, itu ide dari setan mana coba?

Ya, jelas, setan-setan itu datang dari halaman-halaman buku Gertz, Mohammad Iskandar, Jerome Pieters, dan sejenisnya. Kalimat-kalimat dan nama-nama yang sebelumnya cuma jadi kenangan masa kuliah, tiba-tiba menyergap dan menyekap saya dan kisah cinta yang hendak saya bangun. Tapi, buku-buku tersebut tak akan setangguh itu kalau saja mereka tak berkomplot dengan setan yang lebih bengal lagi: pengalaman pribadi saya sendiri. Ya, sampai sini kita.

Pengalaman pribadi. Anda tahu? Itulah setan yang menghantui hampir semua penulis, mulai dari Solzenitsyn di tundra Siberia sampai Gerson Poyk di sabana Nusa Tenggara; dari Hamsun di Kristiania hingga Pram di Blora.

Pengalaman itu adalah sebuah desa kecil tempat saya tumbuh. Desa kecil yang riuh, tempat nyaris semua hal haruslah dua: masjid dua, sekolah dua, kakus umum dua, tim sepakbola dua, dan tak jarang hari rayanya juga dua. Terletak di salah satu region Pantura Jawa yang didominasi kaum modernis, desa saya adalah sentranya Nahdliyin. Di desa kecil itu terdapat persaingan yang unik, laten, seru, dan seringkali lucu antara mayoritas Nahdliyin yang menggebu dan minoritas Muhammadiyah yang ngeyel dan angkuh. Di situlah kisah tentang surat kaleng antar-ulama yang diceritakan Moh. Iskandar pernah terjadi di Jawa Barat pada tahun ‘30-an dan perkelahian saat jumatan yang dituturkan oleh Jerome Pieters di Sumatera Selatan tahun ‘20-an menemukan padanannya. Nyaris sama.

Buku-buku dan pengalaman itu bersekongkol dan segera menjadi pasir hidup bagi saya dan kisah cinta yang hendak saya buat. Semakin saya meronta, semakin dalam saya tersedot masuk. Dan saya benar-benar kecemplung ke kedalaman yang entah ketika mendapati bahwa saya dipaksa menghadirkan dua tokoh utama lain, yang melewati masa remajanya pada tahun 1965. Ya, ‘65.

Ya sudah, okelah. Sampai di sini, sebelum didahului, saya bisa simpulkan sendiri: saya memang sama sekali tidak becus menulis novel pop, lebih-lebih yang islami. Walaupun secara bersamaan, “sastra” saya juga belum ke mana-mana.

(Bersambung…)

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