Creative Writing: Bukan Sekadar Tulisan Biasa

Creative writing (CW).

Bagi kalangan tertentu masih merupakan istilah yang baru. Hal ini tidaklah mengherankan sebab di kalangan perguruan tinggi pun silang pendapat mengenai substansi dan ruang lingkupnya pada awal mula menjadi perdebatan hingga akhirnya bersepakat untuk bersepakat.

Pada awal mula, penulis besar seperti Allen Tate[1]  pun masih gamang dengan istilah CW sampai akhirnya mencapai titik temu ihwal materi kuliah yang harus diajarkan di perguruan tinggi itu.  

Creative writing adalah terminologi untuk menyebut ragam tulisan apa saja, fiksi maupun non-fiksi, berbagai ragam tulisan di luar yang lazim digolongkan ke dalam tulisan “profesional”, di luar laporan jurnalistik, karya akademik, dan bentuk-bentuk teknis sastra. Karya-karya yang termasuk dalam kategori ini meliputi sebagian besar novel dan epik,  berbagai cerita pendek, dan puisi.

Ihwal kegamangannya hingga mengusulkan nama lain untuk CW,  Allen Tate menulis hal yang berikut,

“I shall direct my remarks chiefly to the teaching, in the college and the university, of what has become known as Creative Writing. The extend to which this literary activity may be part of the high-school curriculum I do not know. The conditions under which it may be permissible to offer it in college seem to me not to exist in the high school; it is not certain that the college itself meets these conditions. For without a certain maturity in the grammatical disciplines, which I believe the high school abandoned, Creative Writing mat take for moral self-indulgence, even for an ignorant self-esteem, in the adolescent, and writing may later become the verbal equivalent of his kindergarten finger-painting, as a mode of self-expression. When one thinks of a certain child prodigies in the history of literature –Chatterton, Rimbaud, Radiguet—one may forget that most them, like Rimbaud at sixteen was better educated for a literary career than the American college graduate at twenty-two; and he never had a course in Creative Writing.

The scepticism indicated by the foregoing reservations I must now proceed to quality; for the problem of Creative Writing is not simple, or certainly not simple enough to invite total abolition as the solution. Creative Writing is here to stay, at east for a long time.

To find out why the writing of fiction and verse has come to be called “creative” and ascertain when the adjective creative was first so used, would be an enlightening piece of historical research. When I went to Princeton in 1939 to take charge of the writing section of the newly established Creative Arts Program, I asked Dean Christian Gauss if we might change Creative Writing to Imaginative Writing, and he said he feared non –it had been announced as “Creative,” and the change would be confusing. So it would have been; and the name for this activity, as well as the activity itself, is here to stay, however disconcerting it may be for the student to instructor to pretend to be the surrogate of God.

It is my impression, since I have no historical information, that the academic program in creative writing had its modest origin, or had it obscure forerunner, in practical courses in the writing of the Short Story, offered as vocational training by some universities or as a commercial know-how by self-appointed masters who ran adverdisements…..”

Sementara itu, dalam Academic Goals Korean University, dijelaskan yang berikut ini:

“Creative writing is considered to be anywriting, fiction or non-fiction, that goes outside the bounds of normal professional, journalistic, academic, and technical forms of literature. Works which fall into this category include most novels and epics, as well as many short stories and poems.

Creative writing adalah terminologi untuk menyebut ragam tulisan apa saja, fiksi maupun non-fiksi, berbagai ragam tulisan di luar yang lazim digolongkan ke dalam tulisan “profesional”, di luar laporan jurnalistik, karya akademik, dan bentuk-bentuk teknis sastra. Karya-karya yang termasuk dalam kategori ini meliputi sebagian besar novel dan epik,  berbagai cerita pendek, dan puisi.

Kurikulum Creative Writing di perguruan tinggi dirancang agar mahasiswa mengembangkan keterampilan dan keahliannya. Melalui aktivitas dan proses menulis berbagai ragam tulisan, mahasiswa menjadi ahli dalam bidang creative writing, baik sebagai praktisi maupun sebagai konsumen (pembaca), sembari mereka secara terus-menerus meningkatkan teknik-teknik penulisan.

Sebagaimana dikesankan oleh Allen Tate, hakikat kreatif memang mengacu pada “pencipta”. Ini benar sekali!  Karena itu, Christian Gauss profesor  sastra sekaligus kritikus sastra yang waktu itu Dekan College at Princeton University bergeming.

Akan tetapi, serta merta harus diberi catatan. Pencipta dalam konteks menulis, bukan bermaksud untuk menyamai Sang Pencipta sebagaimana konsep dan pemahaman agama-agama. Yang hendak diambil ialah metafora dalam proses penciptaan itu, yakni bahwa tulisan haruslah lahir dari kreativitas, daya cipta yang luar biasa, orisinal, lagi pula sarat dengan manfaat sehingga manakala dimunculkan ke luar penuh daya dan mencerahkan.

Semula, Allen bermaksud mengganti istilah “creative” dengan “imaginative” ketika mengajukan pertanyaan pada Christian Gauss. Sebab, menurut hematnya, imaginative[2] “…disconcerting it may be for the student to instructor to pretend to be the surrogate of God.”

Kendati sejak lama menggunakan dan menggugat terminologi creative writing, bukan Allen Tate atau Christian Gauss yang dicatat sebagai orang yang pertama memperkenalkan istilah creative writing.

Akan tetapi, pencetus creative writing adalah Ralph Waldo Emerson. Gagasan orisinal yang disampaikannya pada orasi Orasi Phi Beta Kappa tahun 1838 di depan para sarjana Amerika Serikat.

Ralph Waldo Emerson
Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Notes:

[1] Nama lengkapnya John Orley Allen Tate (19 November 1899 – 9 Februari 1979) adalah penyair tersohor Amerika Serikat, esais, dan komentator masalah-masalah sosial.

[2] Secara harfiah  imaginative berarti:    imaginatif,  penuh daya khayal. Terjemahan Indonesia ini kurang bagus, sebab Inggris diturunkan dari kata latin, imago yang berarti: gambar, arca, patung, gambaran, potret, citra (Kamus Latin-Indonesia, 1969-402).

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Masri Sareb Putra
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