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Menulis Kambing dan Hujan: Sebuah Pengalaman (Bag. III Habis)

Foto: Cover novel Ulid Tak Ingin ke Malaysia

Foto: Cover novel Ulid Tak Ingin ke Malaysia

Foto: Cover novel Ulid Tak Ingin ke Malaysia

Oleh: Mahfud Ikhwan

V. Dari Kisah Remaja ke Kisah Bapak-bapak Paroh Baya

Walau mulai putus asa dan mulai menulis ide cerita lainnya, saya masih terus berusaha memelihara harapan bahwa kisah cinta aneh NU-Muhammadiyah berbumbukan tragedi ‘65 itu bisa berujung bahagia–paling tidak untuk saya sendiri. Ketika seorang teman, editor sebuah penerbitan, bilang bahwa penerbitnya sedang membangun inprint buku islami dan tengah membutuhkan naskah ringan dengan muatan-muatan agama yang cocok untuk pasar, saya jadi bersemangat kembali. Itu terdengar seperti jenis buku yang dulu, tahun 2004, saya ingin tulis. Meski saya sadar bahwa apa yang telah ratusan halaman saya tulis agak sulit masuk dalam kualifikasi tersebut, saya sodorkan saja naskah belum jadi tersebut kepadanya. Kali ini dengan judul yang saya sebut kemedol, “Mif dan Fauzia”. Saya bilang dalam pengajuan naskah, bahwa kisah yang saya tulis adalah “Romeo-Juliet berseting rural Jawa, berlatar konflik agama, dan akan berakhir bahagia.”

Tak menunggu lama, saya mendapat kata tolakan yang mudah diduga. Naskah saya dibilang terlalu berat untuk kriteria yang dikehendaki. Ditambahkannya pula, “Mas Mahfud hanya memperalat para remaja itu. Ini sebenarnya kisah bapak-bapak paroh baya.” Saya tertawa. Kecut.

Saya membenarkan penilaian itu. Dan secara bersamaan, entah kenapa, entah darimana, saya kemudian memiliki visi baru bagi cerita itu. Kisah itu sebaiknya memang tak harus dipaksakan jadi kisah cinta, sebagaimana pada awalnya diinginkan. Ia sebaiknya dibiarkan tumbuh dengan kemauannya, saya mesti menghormatinya, dan tak harus memperkosanya agar menurut kepada saya, apalagi kepada pembaca yang belum jelas itu. Unsur Islam dan watak islami yang ada padanya sejak awal tak harus jadi tujuan, tapi biarlah jadi bagian tak terpisahkan dan tak terelakkan dari sebuah kisah berlatar belakang desa Jawa. Dan, persetan dengan si Romeo dan Juliet yang mokong itu! Sebaiknya saya ucapkan wassalam saja pada ukhti-ukhti yang dulu jadi target pembaca saya. (Toh Majalah Ummi sudah tak terdengar lagi kabarnya.) Proyek itu kemudian saya ubah nama foldernya jadi “Is dan Mat”. Saya tak lagi memperdulikan makhluk jenis apa yang kelak akan membacanya.

Pada sebuah bulan puasa yang saya jalani sepenuhnya di rumah, naskah itu saya sentuh kembali dengan nawaitu yang baru. Dan kali itu banyak kemajuan yang saya capai, paling tidak dalam jumlah halaman. Saya bahkan merasa bahwa cerita telah selesai di kepala, tinggal menuliskannya saja. Saya sudah tahu bagaimana ujung kisah cinta remaja-remaja saya, yang kata teman tadi saya peralat itu. Saya sudah bisa bayangkan apa liku-liku cinta yang akan mereka alami. Saya juga sudah tahu bahwa para bapak paroh baya itu tak akan bisa dibendung dominasinya dalam cerita, dan saya tak merasa perlu menghalanginya.

Meski demikian, masalah baru muncul. Pertama, soal teknik sudut pandang yang saya pakai. Jika keempat tokoh utama saya, sepasang muda-muda dan sepasang orangtua paruh baya itu, bicara dengan sudut pandangnya sendiri-sendiri, maka siapakah yang jadi pencerita apabila dua di antaranya atau keempat-empatnya bertemu, entah karena saat konflik cerita memuncak atau ketika cerita sudah lerai? Saya bisa saja menceritakan satu peristiwa dalam empat sudut pandang, sebagaimana saat Akutagawa menulis Rashomon. Tapi, kalau itu dilakukan terus menerus, maka saya bukannya sedang menulis satu novel, tapi empat. Dan, risiko membosankan jelas sangat besar. Akhirnya, untuk kesekian kali, tokoh muda-mudi saya kalahkan kembali. Si pencerita “aku” hanya tinggal bapak-bapaknya, sementara para pencinta itu biar diurus oleh si pencerita serba tahu saja. Dan, si pencerita serba tahu inilah yang nanti, pada saat yang tepat, akan merampas cerita dari dua bapak itu. Oke, masalah selesai?

Belum. Sebab ada persoalan kedua. Dan inilah yang selalu bikin saya rungsing sejak awal penulisan. Asal-mula kenapa saya harus menghadirkan pencerita dengan sudut pandang berbeda adalah keinginan untuk “berlaku adil” terhadap objek kembar yang sedang saya garap, NU-Muhammadiyah. Pada awalnya, bagian dari “berlaku adil” ini adalah dengan menghadirkan cerita dari sudut pandang berbeda dalam porsi yang sama atau nyaris sama, termasuk dalam kuantitas (jumlah halaman atau bab). Namun sekuat saya mencoba “adil”, dari konsekuensi alur dan perkembangan watak tokoh, saya tahu bahwa itu tampaknya mustahil. Lagi pula, bagaimanapun saya menjaga diri, jelas saya juga tak bisa begitu saja melepas bias diri saya sebagai penulis, yang ditakdirkan berafiliasi (paling tidak secara turunan) pada salah satu ormas. Dalam hal ini, ketika menggarap sudut pandang dua tokoh yang berbeda itu, saya merasakan bahwa pada salah satu sudut pandang saya menulisnya sebagai pengalaman sementara sudut pandang lain saya tulis sebagai pengetahuan. Akhirnya saya putuskan untuk menghentikan obsesi “berlaku adil” tersebut, terutama secara fisikal. Yang harus saya usahakan adalah menulis dengan jujur. Hm… Mulia sekali saya.

Dengan “kompromi-kompromi” itu, saya melihat cerita saya jadi lebih lempang. Konflik-konflik pokok semakin jelas. Peristiwa-peristiwa kunci terasa tinggal tulis saja. Tapi, sampai puasa setahun kemudian, belum ada novel baru. Yang ada adalah draf lama yang tak kunjung selesai.
VI. Tiga Bulan untuk Sembilan Tahun

Sekitar September 2013, penerbit yang editornya menolak “Mif dan Fauzia” dan menyebut saya memperalat tokoh-tokoh remajanya, menghubungi saya dan menanyakan apakah naskah yang pernah saya ajukan sudah selesai ditulis atau belum. Kali ini, editornya sudah berbeda. Kata editor baru, jika saya bisa menyelesaikan naskah tersebut sebelum tahun baru, naskah saya akan diterbitkan. Saya langsung menyanggupi. Ditambahkannya satu syarat lagi: saya tidak boleh menulis lebih dari 300 halaman. Saya dengan enteng juga mengangguki.

Seorang teman, yang tahu bahwa novel yang diminta oleh penerbit untuk diselesaikan itu telah mangkrak selama sembilan tahun, cemas dengan kesanggupan saya itu. Ia juga ngeri membayangkan bahwa saya yang sebelumnya menulis novel 400 halaman harus dipenjara oleh pembatasan halaman. Itu masalahnya, bukan masalah saya.

Haha… tentu saja itu masalah saya juga. Pertanyaan “bagaimana menyelesaikan naskah yang tidak jadi-jadi dalam rentang waktu sepertiga umur saya bisa saya selesaikan dalam tiba bulan” menghantui tidur saya pada hari-hari berikutnya. Tapi saya meringkus hantu itu, menjadikannya lawan untuk ditundukkan. Saya pernah menulis sebuah buku pelajaran untuk anak SD dalam tiga hari. Saya juga pernah menulis novel pesanan dalam dua bulan, dan selesai. Jadi, kenapa saya tidak bisa melanjutkan novel yang tinggal sedikit dalam tiga bulan? “Intinya, pengendalian diri,” begitu kata Ustad Zainuddin MZ.

Tanpa perlu disebutkan, tuntutan penerbit itu sebenarnya lebih banyak lagi. Saya harus kembali ke kisah cinta saya, kisah cinta yang islami itu–yang dulu saya inginkan. Itulah yang saya janjikan di pengajuan naskah. Dan tentu karena itulah saya dihubungi. Jadi, ya, ini saatnya kembali ke khittah. Judul novel itu kemudian saya kembalikan ke “Mif dan Fauzia”. Dan jika NU masa kepemimpinan Gus Dur kembali ke khittah ‘26, saya memilih khittah 30-an. Memungut khazanah novel Balai Pustaka, pada judul saya tambahkan anak judul “sebuah roman percintaan”; untuk mencari nafas Islam-nya, saya memilih roman-roman Hamka sebagai acuan.

Anak judul itu kelihatannya tidak laku di depan industri buku abad ke-21, jadi mungkin Anda tak akan pernah menemukannya pada buku yang nanti terbit–bahkan judul yang ke-Romeo-Juliet-Juliet-an itu juga kemudian berganti, setelah naskah itu saya ikutkan sebuah sayembara novel. Pada saat bersamaan, roman Hamka ternyata tidak cocok dengan selera Kuntowijoyo saya. Meski demikian, ulama modernis-romantis itu memberi saya hal lain yang sangat penting: interteks. Saya colong Tenggelamnya Kapal van der Wijk dan Di Bawah Lindungan Ka’bah ke dalam cerita, muncul pada obrolan-obrolan manja antara seorang anak gadis dengan ayahnya yang NU namun diam-diam pengagum Hamka. Hal ini saya pakai untuk “mengimbangi” adegan perdebatan emosional sepulang dari asrokhalan seorang tokoh Muhammadiyah dengan anaknya yang tengah memperjuangkan cintanya.

Dibantu oleh serangkain lagu India ‘90-an yang biasanya duet, mendayu, dan penuh dengan kata-kata yang artinya cinta, 9 tahun itu akhirnya bisa saya tebus dalam 3 bulan. Novel itu pun kelar, dengan penanda tanggal 31 Desember 2013 di akhirnya. Ia hampir melewati 300 halaman, tapi dengan enteng saya memotongnya 30-an halaman.

Saya tidak tahu benar apakah saya sudah menyelesaikan kisah cinta 10 tahun saya. Saya juga tak berani mengklaim telah “berlaku adil” kepada karakter-karakter NU-Muhammadiyah saya, lebih-lebih berlaku adil terhadap NU-Muhammadiyah. Saya juga kepikiran, apakah saya sudah cukup bijak memperlakukan PKI dan korban ‘65 di sini. (Anda bisa membantu menilai itu jika nanti membacanya.) Tapi, yang jelas, saya telah menyelesaikan novel kedua saya. Dan itu sangat penting bagi saya. Paling tidak, itulah yang membuat saya bisa menuliskan proses menulisnya, sebuah proses yang dalam banyak hal jauh dari kreatif.

Noyokerten, 7 Mei 2015

*Ditulis untuk Seminar Nasional “Sastra Indonesia dan Isu Kontemporer” di Fakultas Bahasa dan Sastra Universitas Negeri Surabaya, 13 Mei 2015.

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