Author Q & A with Tamara Nasution
June 22, 2022
This week’s Author Q&A is with Tamara Nasution. Tamara was born and raised in a small town in Indonesia. She has been writing since her preteen years and has several pieces of her works selected for publication, including for a poem contest organized by the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations). Her writings are mostly derived from her personal experiences; she often writes about what it is like to be queer in a heteronormative society. Her poem, “Your Name,” appears in our latest issue.
We asked Tamara to tell us some unique or surprising detail about the origin, drafting, and/or final version of her piece.
Her response: “The words to my piece “Your Name” came very naturally to me. It didn’t take much editing but I did cut some lines I thought were irrelevant or too sentimental. While it is obvious that this poem is directed at a particular person with a particular name (a given first name that I adore), I wanted this piece to resonate with other people so in love they find their partner’s name rhyming, rhyming, rhyming with everything, as Carol Ann Duffy beautifully put.
When then asked what she learned about herself or craft or life in general through writing and revising this piece?
Her response: “From this piece, and others I have written, I learned that my style of writing is confessional and it’s easier for me to articulate my feelings for the people I love instead of writing about my personal experiences detached or devoid of other people’s presence. I also learned that I love religious references and analogies, as seen by the line “harmonious reading of the Psalm”.”
We asked Tamara to share her biggest fear as a writer?
Her response: “While it is the goal of most writers to have their works published, I find that I am not too fussy about the recognition and instead I want my readers to find some kind of comfort and solace in my writing. Therefore, it is my fear that I might produce superficial pieces that my readers do not relate with. I also have baseless fear that someday I will run out of things to write about, which I know is illogical because hopefully, my writing will only get more refined as time moves forward.”
We asked what fuels her desire to write.
Her response: “Writing poems for me is a channel to speak about what I cannot convey coherently, both verbally or through structured written pieces like essays. Poems allow me to daydream of words that go together with the meaning only implied but are always open for interpretation, even for me as the author.”
We asked Tamara what she would tell her younger writing self.
Her response: “I would tell her to keep writing and to trust the process and that it doesn’t have to be immediately good or publication-ready. Write for yourself and enjoy the contentment and comfort that it provides you.”
And finally we asked her our favorite question… what she thinks of when she hears the phrase “The Good Life.”
Her response: “When I think of the phrase “The Good Life”, I think about my childhood, the time when I would spend my days picking gooseberries from my backyard and chasing dragonflies on a sunny day.”
When she’s not writing, Tamara works full-time in a nonprofit focusing on children. She is passionate about humanitarian aid and climate change adaptation. You can catch more of her on her social media: Instagram @kappaca and Twitter @sacredswamp
Thanks, Tamara, for being a part of our 7th issue and for participating in this Q & A!
~The Good Life Review Team