Darker recently published my story “Do Not Go Gentle into the Night.” I wrote this story while traveling in Indonesia, and the influence should be obvious, from the Dutch colonialism to the Bahasa language. The primary inspiration, however, came from a visit I made to a Bajau village while in the Wakatobi Islands.
The Bajau, who are sometimes called sea gypsies, live a nomadic, maritime lifestyle. Many Bajau never set foot on land, and even those that have given up their nomadic life still do not live on land. The Bajau village I visited was built out over the ocean, with all of the buildings and walkways either on stilts or on piles of coral rubble. The people maintained strong ties to ocean, and spent weeks or months at sea in their small sailing craft. On more than one occasion, we sailed past remote reefs (with no land in sight) and saw Bajau fishing huts on them. These fishing huts were wooden platforms on stilts with a simple thatch roof to keep off the sun and rain. The Bajau would periodically stop at these huts to dry their catch, before returning to sea.
The Bajau fascinate me, and served as inspiration for the semi-aquatic Orang (which is Bahasa for “people”) in my story. Various aspects of Indonesia culture also crept their way into the story, and many of the character names are common Indonesian names. While this story is not intended to be an accurate depiction of Indonesian culture or the Bajau people, I hope the things I have lifted for from this wonderful country and its people are accurate, and I make apologies for anything that is not.
If you haven’t already, please drop by Darker and read “Do Not Go Gentle into the Night.” I hope you enjoy it.