Why I Write

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TOPSTORY! -

WRIT­ING is one of the old­est pro­fes­sions and many greater and ex­cel­lent souls have penned in­sight­ful and in­spir­ing ar­ti­cles about why they write.

It is too far for me to rank my­self among the best but be­ing a writer of some sort my­self, to be more spe­cific a colum­nist (a year each) for two lo­cal pa­pers, and later, for the Baguio Sun Star for about two decades now, had me query­ing my­self about why I write each year, like I am do­ing now.

To cut a long story short, this is the first time I am set­ting my thoughts on the sub­ject in an ar­ti­cle like this, and hav­ing it pub­lished in this col­umn.

Ac­tu­ally, I was trained to write jour­nal­is­tic ar­ti­cles dur­ing our stint as cam­pus writ­ers in col­lege. Later, I served as a cor­re­spon­dent for an in­ter­na­tional wire bureau be­fore I joined the gov­ern­ment.

I never stopped writ­ing about events and/ or about pieces of my mind on our ac­tiv­i­ties and any­thing that in­ter­est me as an agri­cul­tural and ru­ral de­vel­op­ment worker.

The ac­quired pas­sion of writ­ing and shar­ing my ar­ti­cles in the main­stream me­dia, and later so­cial me­dia, landed me a job as chief in­for­ma­tion of­fi­cer of our de­part­ment in the Cordillera un­til my pro­mo­tion to a new post, as su­per­vis­ing sci­ence re­search spe­cial­ist, about two years ago.

But the pas­sion has been seeded and rooted ear­lier by my mother who chanted her sto­ries to us be­side the hearth after din­ner and be­fore we went to bed.

One of her chanted sto­ries, for in­stance, painted a war­rior in my mind danc­ing to the tune of gongs and drums played by el­derly but strong men.

Soon the chant be­came mag­i­cal with its words. The sounds of the gongs and drums be­came the wind that car­ried the war­rior as he soared like the ea­gle in flight. He swooped and swayed, dived and soared up higher into the vast­ness of the heav­enly space be­fore him.

When the war­rior swayed this way and there, and then dived be­fore climb­ing up to a lim­it­less space and pos­si­bil­i­ties. the peo­ple watch­ing the war­rior danced, soared, and swayed with him in this great dance.

I like it when words cre­ate im­ages like this that make the world and its in­hab­i­tants dance and imag­ine life in an­other realm, although I have yet to craft and stitch pow­er­ful words of my own cre­ation into a beau­ti­ful land­scape mo­saic, or sway­ing green leaves even those that fall to the ground.

It is of­ten dur­ing the youth­ful days that I went saun­ter­ing in the woods. On those oc­ca­sions, I hear the trees gather and talk in a chant while their branches and leaves swayed and danced with the wind like we some­times do while my mother chanted her sto­ries and played her f l ut e.

It was a mem­ory that has al­ways re­turned even if I of­ten strayed and ne­glected its de­vel­op­ment. To­day, it deep­ens a need for me to be­come an in­tel­lec­tual of sub­stance, which I am not. I re­al­ize that I pos­sess an in­tel­lect that could hardly in­ter­pret the events, im­ages, signs, and for­mats that peo­ple cre­ate in the end­less quest for per­sonal and com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment .

Some folks who are un­in­formed on writ­ing and its many forms are of­fended when they hear that I do not have a Ph.D. in any field of sci­ence. They have ex­pressed their dis­dain di­rectly and in­di­rectly to my face for writ­ing about top­ics that they felt should be tack­led only by ex­perts. For ex­am­ple, “How can I write about a place and its peo­ple when I just vis­ited the place only once?” They then com­pare my writ­ing to the works of Henry Scott, for in­stance, about the Igorots or some for­eign ar­chae­ol­o­gist who spent re­search time and funds in a place.

Hon­estly, I strug­gle with ideas, much more their cre­ation. But like many writ­ers, I have many in­ter­ests. For ex­am­ple, grow­ing up, na­ture and the agri­cul­tural sciences got me en­rolled in a lo­cal agri­cul­tural univer­sity and fin­ish­ing a course there. But in those days, I was also in­ter­ested in phi­los­o­phy and the­ol­ogy. I have done my read­ings on these sub­jects since then. How­ever, I do not flat­ter my­self that you should hear me talk about these sub­jects like I am an ex­pert.

On any writ­ing that I do, I try some de­duc­tive rea­son­ing to make the pieces of an ar­ti­cle fit to­gether. It is also im­por­tant to test the ideas with com­mon ex­pe­ri­ence. Fi­nally, the hard­est and must do part, is to make an idea as sim­ple as pos­si­ble.

I be­lieve all writ­ers, whether jour­nal­ists and all the other pro­fes­sions who must write about their work fol­low through with log­i­cal rea­son­ing and its meth­ods.

Such is writ­ing in­deed. In my case, it of­ten shows me how I fail most times think­ing in the ab­stract. Al­most, al­ways, I veer back into the spe­cific, to the tan­gi­ble, to what was gen­er­ally con­sid­ered, the pe­riph­eral. I would try to con­tem­plate philo­soph­i­cal con­cepts and ap­proaches and would find my­self con­cen­trat­ing in­stead on the green blades of grass be­side the road or the fallen leaves un­der my foot with the minted scent of their ris­ing va­pors fill­ing me up. At night, I would try to read sci­en­tific the­o­ries and tech­ni­cal trea­tises. Be­fore I know it, this dulled mind is asleep and I would find my­self dream­ing in my chair sip­ping cof­fee and mar­veling about the sun­rise be­fore me in­stead.

I keep writ­ing still. Maybe I am just stub­born. It is some jour­ney for me ac­tu­ally.

I am not good with gram­mar even if I com­pleted units learn­ing it in col­lege. But as a boy, my grand­fa­ther, taught me some­thing about stonewalling:. “The im­por­tant thing about it,” he said, “is not where you must po­si­tion the rocks based on size but how you should fit them to­gether to hold each other and pre­vent the soils of the rice ter­races from erod­ing and rush­ing to the sea.”

I have been writ­ing like the way I fol­low my grand­fa­ther’s en­gi­neer­ing prac­tice of stonewalling. I feel the words in my vo­cab­u­lary and try to fit them into my sen­tences and para­graphs. Un­til now, I read a gram­mar book and it just feels like any tech­ni­cal book to me. It sim­ply dulls the mind to sleep.

I do not write ar­ti­cles like this for my col­umn alone. I scrib­ble a lot on my note­book. I write for the mag­a­zines that our agency pub­lishes. You can find me pub­lish­ing my thoughts on so­cial me­dia too.

All along, what I was bring­ing across about writ­ing is that it is like mu­sic, a lib­er­at­ing, no­ble, and very hu­man ac­tiv­ity.

You should be writ­ing too. You can write any­thing you want, and use it as a healthy cop­ing mech­a­nism for all the crazi­ness that you’re deal­ing with in your life.

In writ­ing, you use your imag­i­na­tion to cre­ate a world that you can live alone with your pas­sions.

Many great souls have done that. Some, without their know­ing, have cre­ated a world whose re­al­i­ties soon be­came ev­ery­one’s world and re­al­ity.

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