struggles and woes of writing

For argument’s sake, I had to write something down to save this account. I mean, there’s a reason why I up and decided to create accounts for several social media sites (especially if that site is focused on blogging).

So maybe I’ll just start this off with one of my favorite photos taken from my childhood:

youngme

Looking at this very photo tugs at my heart, especially because it’s one of the earliest memories I associate to my love for writing.

I can never pinpoint the exact moment in my life where I said that writing is all I can do, I just did. With the many years I face a blank piece of paper, jotting down whatever came to mind. That’s all it was.

But the more I got into it, the more I fell in love with how words can easily inspire people. How easy it is to just come up with a story enough to bring a man to tears, a woman to blush, and a child to laugh. And how much more if it came in the form of a book? Forever immortalizing stories for generations to have and to learn.

Books, I found, were the very embodiment of the writer’s achievement. Delving into these stories is a heck of a ride of the writer’s imagination, interpretation and experiences. Probably the best part of having a book is the moment you lose yourself into it – pausing a moment to revel in the character’s struggles, sighing in frustration at the turn of events, or just want to burst because of how good it left you.

But being a writer is not just about making people feel good; it’s the power and burden of delivering the truth. As they all say, “the pen is mightier than the sword”.

Like I said earlier, writers have the ability to inspire. So doesn’t the truth inspire people?

It takes a great deal to write the truth – hard-hitting, cold hard facts that make or break, but the truth nonetheless. Nobody likes to hear it, but how else is it going to change people?

They say that writers have the easiest job in the world, to simply write stuff. But what they don’t realize is the struggles that writers have to go through. We take hours to actually come up with an amazing piece, contemplate over the words, and worry nonstop whether what we wrote was actually worth reading or full of shit. Many writers (such as myself) are an envious bunch, very insecure of the greater ones, and – although open – sensitive to criticism.

I will admit that I don’t think I’m a great writer, despite what my family and friends tell me. I still have a long way to go to prove myself.

But seeing little me write my heart out (despite it being nonsense), it makes me happy knowing that I wanted to be a part of the greater cause of literary warriors in this age, that I still believed in the power of words. And though I beat myself down over the fact that I’m  not really writing (though I write fanfiction and blog when I can) and I let my pessimism get the best to me, I’d like to believe that there is hope for me. I just have to look at this photo and remember what it is that I love to do and how I’m going to get there.

 

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  1. Noodles

He sneezed, head hitting the wall behind him. Outside, the rain poured heavily. He glared, as if he could change the weather.

Oh how he hated the rain, how he hated getting caught under the rain. He sneezed again, feeling as though his brain was coming out.

Tightening the blanket around him, he glared at the television where it was a commercial of children playing under the rain. It was as though they were mocking him, a grown man who got caught under the rain and ended up sick.

Damn it all.

Just then, something hot was placed in front of him – a bowl of hot noodles. He looked up, finding his sister, who smiled warmly at him. And then she left when at the sound of her children calling her name.

Turning back to the noodles, he eyed its yellow colored soup; with white substance he was sure is egg. Just the way they used to eat it. Leaning forward, he inhaled, mouthwatering at the aroma. He swore his sinuses cleared.

Although it was instant noodles, just the gesture brought a smile to his face. His sister was always looking out for him.

Taking the bowl in his hands, he slowly ate, body warming up in an instant.

Suddenly, there were cries of joy and a force crashing over him. Thankfully, he had finished his noodles. His niece and nephew swarmed over him, ignoring the fact that he was wet.

Laughing, he tackled the children, noting his sister’s happy gaze.

Okay, so he’ll take it back – rainy season wasn’t all that bad.

  1. Dear Anna

‘Dear Anna,

I’ve always wondered why you let your hair down like that, how you’d leave one half tied up, and the other down past your skinny shoulders. To me, I find that uncomfortable (well, I’m a guy). I’ve always wondered why you’d buy a tub of vanilla ice cream, just so you can top it with brownies, cake or granola. Yes, ala mode is delicious, but you’ve got cravings worse than a pregnant woman. I’ve always wondered why you have a strange fascination for anime. I will never understand how you can watch large-eyed characters with unimaginable hair move and about (although, I’ll give it to you, they do have better plot). I’ve always wondered what goes through your head every time somebody’d say something about your beliefs, how you always stood up for what you believe in regardless of what people say. I’ve always liked that about you. I’ve always wondered how life would’ve been if I hadn’t been a jerk to you.

I know it may come as a shock to you, but I’ve always liked you. But I was a boy – a stupid, little, immature boy. And you know the thing about us little boys, we hide our emotions by picking on someone.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, sorry. I’m sorry for hurting you, of all those years picking on you. I’m sorry for making fun of your little quirks; actually, I find them really cute. I’m also sorry I pushed you in the mud in front of your crush, my big brother, Jason. I was really jealous of the fact that you liked him, even though he’s years older than us (and he turned out to be gay). I’m sorry I called you a ‘harbinger of bad luck’ after your grandmother died, that was really insensitive of me. And most of all, I’m so sorry to know that your diagnosed with anemia.

Did you know that when I heard of your condition I ditched work for a whole day, got drunk, and got into a fight? Yeah, that happened. Ask my brother. And the reason? You. It’s been years since, we last saw each other. With every tick of the clock reminds me of the many times I’ve made you cry, ruining that sweet face of yours, of the sweet little girl I ruined. Ever since, I’ve been thinking about you, of how you’ve been, if you’re still the same Anna, if you’ve reached your dreams, if you’re happy, also, as much as it pains me, if you’ve met a special someone.

By the way, I heard you were top of your class, and that your short story got a Palanca award and is currently being turned into an indie-film by your favorite director. Congratulations! I always knew you could do it. Actually, me and your favorite director are distant relatives, but we’re close. I was the one who recommended you when I heard you won. Somehow, I thought of it as a way of compensating for all my sins.

But no, it wasn’t enough. And so is this letter I’m writing. You may have noticed that it’s (badly) handwritten. Well, you’re a writer, so I thought handwritten letters would make you swoon, even despite the chemo.

Anna, please fight it. You have to live. Because having written everything I’ve been keeping for 15 years? That’s hard, and just fucking cowardly of me. I’d rather be saying all these to your face, regardless of the fact that I’d probably stutter and have a hard time looking at you in the eye. Maybe it’s because I want to get rid of the guilt, but having written this and you read it, means more than that.

The nights have been terrible since I knew, I’ve been praying like crazy, begging Him not to take you away. You can’t go yet. Not now, not ever. Because I have something to say to you, but only if you live.

So please, fight. Keep fighting Anna, so that I’ll be able to buy you a truckload of vanilla ice cream for you, I’ll watch anime with you, we’ll talk over coffee over life, and so that I’ll say the one thing I’ve always wanted to tell you. Please fight, because I can’t bear the thought of you gone.

Joseph’


A few weeks later, Marianna ‘Anna’ Rosales died in her sleep.

But hours before her death, a man came to her room and stayed for almost 3 hours. He left in tears, happy tears. And when Anna died, she was smiling, clutching the letter to her heart.

July Prompt

  1. Red plaid shirt

“Are you mad at me?” she asked as he whisked them away.

Unable to answer, he only walked faster, until they reached the cabin. Letting go of her hand, he mentally counted to ten – to calm himself, readying the speech he was about to give her – before turning to her, only to realize how his words died in his throat.

She looked at him curiously, tilting her head to the side.

Damn it.

Without a word, he took off his red plaid shirt and wrapped it around her. Although taken by surprise, she said nothing and let him be.

And then he left, rather abruptly.

He must be hungry, she thought, fiddling with the hem of her borrowed shirt.

Turning to the mirror, she found how his red plaid shirt seemed too big for her petite frame, falling just by her knees.

Fingering through the material, she found was rather soft. Putting the sleeves through her cheeks, she relished in the softness of his shirt. There was a hint of laundry soap and him, making her giggle even more.

Unbeknownst to her, a figure watched her.

She looked so small in his shirt, he thought. She looked his. And he liked it.

(Characters may or may not be from my HP fanfic ‘fortunate happenstance‘)

The story of how I started writing

Written on June 28, 2016

To start off this blog, which I’ve started because tumblr was becoming too mainstream (and I needed a venue and place to start), I’m going to tell you all (you, who even dared to venture into this site) the story of how I started writing (and it’s not a pretty tale, I tell you) and the people, who inspired me to write, or pushed me to write.

So it started with bingo.

My grandmother was crazy about bingo, always playing every Saturday, putting all her money just to win. When I asked her why she wanted to win so bad, she replied that ‘I’ll go look for your grandfather outside’. By that, she meant my deceased grandfather. I’m not sure if those were her exact words, but if it was, it’s quite sad. Maybe she didn’t want us to pity her. she was a strong woman like that, always putting her brave front, wearing her smile, but always had her guards up.

One day, I was in her room going through her things when I saw her leftover bingo ballots. I played around with them, fascinating myself with the odd object and numbers on it. And then, I was given a pen. Mommy Dako told me to write. I was four; I had no idea what she was talking about. But I went to her fancy glass table set and scribbled away, unaware of someone snapping a shot of it.

youngme.png

And that’s how I discovered writing.

Well, I didn’t really write then on. Nor did I ever think that writing would impact me, but it’s a memory I’ve held on since forever. It was my earliest memory, and one of my favorites. And let’s just leave it at that. The rest of the story falls on weabo/anime crazy/angst/emo days in my pre-adolescent years.

People who inspired me to write about just about anything or blog about life, regardless if it’s relevant or not:

Stephen Pedroza

I’ve met Stephen when I volunteered on summer 2014 for VEST, or Valuing Ecosystem System Together. I don’t know much about him, just that he’s my senior, a DevComm graduate, he works for Rappler and is with VEST. We didn’t really talk much that summer, just sort of bonded whenever we were in the same room. At the time, I was known for two things – Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (I had just finished the book, but I just couldn’t get over it) and my cousin, Frankie. I’d gush, squeal and practically spazz right then and there whenever they brought it up. It was kind of funny really. A few months later, I was tasked to hand him an article about our visit. And then, we just became friends. The one thing I admire about Steph is that he’s a writer, and when he speaks, it feels like he’s taking me with him to the 1950’s. At times, it feels like you’re talking to a philosopher or a warlock. (He likes vintage literature) The fact that we’re friends remains but a mystery to me, but he’s a friend I’d rely on about writing.

So one day, he was so intrigued about why I liked Red Queen so much that he then asked me to lend him my book. I did. But it took him forever to give it back. I pardoned him for the fact that he’s busy, but I kept joking him to read it and return it to me. Over on Facebook, he then said that to compensate for due return, he’d treat me to coffee at Starbucks, and we’d catch up. February (I think), it happened. It’s funny because, I just happened to see him and remind him of my book and his promise, then he sort of kidnapped me to keep his promise. Over coffee, we talked about a lot of things, writing most especially. I consoled him on my worries that I’ll never be a good writer. His advice? Keep reading, read books outside your usual genre. His advice stuck, and I found myself purchasing some classics – Pride and Prejudice and the Picture of Dorian Gray, the former, I fell in love with, while the latter, I’m yet to finish. Stephen’s advice gave me a newfound appreciation for Jane Austen, and to rediscover literature classics.

Last summer, Stephen became my supervisor when I interned at Rappler. I will admit, I was pressured by that fact. Forever the pessimist that I am, I was worried that my articles would be horrible and that I’d disappoint him time and time again. But the man has his ways of reassuring me with his cryptic tone, sarcasm, and words of wisdom, and of course, praises each solo-article of mine gets published.

Jericho Montellano

At first glance, you’d think of the guy as a hipster from the way he’s well-dressed, the glasses, his voice, the cup of coffee he’s sure to carry during class, and not to mention his online life. To me, he’s my number one customer when it comes to snacks. To our batch, he’s known as ‘mayor’ (why, I’ll never know) and one of the highly elite students (at least for me). Also, he’s known to be quite the blogger and a big one too! Being that business establishments have approached him to promote them on his blog (and wow to the freebies). And it was by that fame of his that inspired me to blog/venture into the digital world to imprint my existence. Though, I’ll never be as famous as him, the fact that he blogs about life gets me.

Funny, because the same time it happened, we had this Filipino class where the course was about writing a blog. And well, I don’t really know how it happened, but it just did. One day, I just happened on his blog and read. Days later, I found myself itching to write. And soon, I found myself blogging, writing about little things that happened in my life.

Jonaxx/Jonah Pacala

A wattpad writer I just happened upon years ago, and before I knew it, I was an avid fan. The best part? She’s a fellow Kagay-anon.

Back then, I was just looking out on what the app had offered, happened upon stories, until I happened on her one story ‘Mapapansin Kaya’. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really fond of the Filipino literature, lest one online. But here came wattpad.

What I love about her stories are the personalities you get to meet, the perspective of the character (even though majority of her characters are from wealthy families), and her ability to make her readers think outside the romance zone.

On my 18th birthday, my two friends surprised me with a video greet from her. A few months later, I got to meet her in person. She was so pretty. I felt so small next to her. She’s got a great fan base, one, I haven’t been active in a while because of academics and priorities.

Jonaxx tries on certain themes, uses her character to toy with the theme that’ll leave readers thinking about how they would react if they were on her shoes, and in the end, prove that loves conquers all. Honestly, I’m not a romantic. Ironically, I read them. Although I’ve noticed a certain pattern with her writing, and that the leading men will always have the same possessiveness over the heroine, the fact that she still continues to write amazes me.

PenguinBuddy

Funny thing? I just happened on her – like Jonaxx, on fanfiction.net. I was looking for a good read when I happened upon hers. She wrote this amazing Harry Potter-fanfiction. The result of reading it? It opened my imagination and inspired me to write my own, to relive my childhood. Mine will never be as great as hers, though.

I don’t really know her name, just that she’s an archivist and is quite busy (as of writing this) with graduate school. To write fanfiction during her spare time amazes me, also the fact that she’s still writing fanfiction in her twenties. There’s no shame in that, she says. Somedays, I turn to her, asking random things – about her story, her characters, writing advice and graduate school. I love her answers, mostly because they’ve been really helpful on my part and encouraged me to do more. And she left me with this quote when I told her of how much she inspired me to write.

“Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.” 

– Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

To those reading this (and I still don’t know how you managed to read all through that or even thought of wasting precious seconds of your life), thank you. It means a lot. And to you, who I’ve mentioned here, you have my deepest gratitude.

From here on out, I won’t promise much. But I can only guarantee the truth and nothing but the truth spoken through my point of view (read: biased) and motor mouth (that has quite a colorful vocabulary).