Tuesday, January 1, 2008

WRITING FOR THE SAKE OF WRITING (AND MY EARNEST CONVERSION TO IT)

I AM NOT a writer. I was not trained to be one. I am not schooled in the ways and techniques in writing a story, an essay or a poem. I was schooled in the art of close-quarter combat and strategy and the enforcement of laws. I have never had need of a teacher to guide me on why, how, where, when and what should I write?

Still, I persevered, and I discovered that writing gives me a kind of therapy and energy. It gives me utter joy as it released all my pent-up emotions and urges that have been bottled inside of me for years. Or, were they not called memories?

The quest to write something is my preoccupation for the last nine months or so. The personal computer is a good tool and a perfect aid in achieving that. Where, before, there was the typewriter. The hassles of editing and re-editing an article by that mechanical contraption totally discouraged me into writing during my early years, though I did gave it a try and persevered for a while.

Ditto with pen and paper. God knows of how many pieces of paper I have thrown into the wastebasket! Or have recycled when recycling was not yet in vogue.

A desktop with Windows to commence my writing is alright with me. I have started with that operating system since it was called MS-DOS back then. But I love Linux better. I don’t encounter the hang-ups and the system crashes that the former has. But it would be nicer if I could own a Power PC ran by a Mac OS X? It would be a dream come true for me.

Putting your ideas into writing and into an opaque screen is quite a breeze, especially if you have a good word processor to accomplish that task. I don’t stick to just one word processing tool. I try them all. I love to experiment.

I have MS Word, OpenOffice Writer, AbiWord and RoughDraft and they are placed as shortcuts on my desktop screen for good measure. I installed other word utilities like yWriter2, Notepad, Scribus, MS Publisher, FreeMind and LaTeX; hidden and accessible on the “Unused Desktop Icons” folder.

Internet connection is a most welcome addition, without which I would have no possible outlet to publish my works. Blogging, that’s what they call it.

Blogging. Yeah. I reckoned there are quite a lot of free web-hosting outfits out there and you only have to choose which one’s better and have features that is or are acceptable to your tastes and standards. I have tried many of those and dropped an almost same number from my retinue. Then I got stuck with Blogger, Multiply, MyOpera and, to a lesser degree, Tabulas.

With MS Word, a bad writer becomes a good one and an average writer becomes better. It has an automatic spellcheck function and has a built-in grammar-correction feature. With a click of the mouse you could access the dictionary and thesaurus and all your needs are attended to.

But I discourage myself from using Word, no offense meant for Mr. Bill Gates there. It does not teach me to improve on my writing by relying on the comfort and ease that these add-ons provided therein. I am a non-conformist. I belong to an old-school line of thought and I give justice to my being one by using “less-comfortable” software. “To thread on trails were few have gone to”. Now, that settles all my preferred writing media.

What writing experience I had are confined to personal letters, a handful of poems, office correspondence and creating lots and lots of criminal affidavits. Modesty aside, the affidavits I have written were masterpieces of a craft in a department wanting of dynamic and creative investigators.

It is neither bland nor full of legalistic innuendos and is done in a language much easily understood by the common masses yet in a much refined manner. Simple yet superior. It elicited awe then from my peers and my superiors, a blessing for the plaintiffs and a curse for the accused and their counsels.

I am now in my 40s and it is obvious that I am late in arriving to make a shift in my thoughts and habitual disposition. It’s alright. Writing happens to run in my veins and capillaries.

My late grandfather, Atty. Gervasio Lavilles, is an accomplished historian, poet and essayist. He authored a book entitled Cebu: A History of its Four Cities and Forty-Nine Municipalities, published by Mely Press in 1965 and I saw his works printed on English-, Cebuano- and Spanish-speaking periodicals and newspapers a long time ago.

His daughters, Evangeline and Marietta, my aunt and my mother, respectively; are creative technical writers, essayist and poets themselves. Both are Theresians and they are able to juggle between their craft, their careers and mothering with such ease.

They might have influenced me to write but never the writing style. What style I might have developed, probably are mere reflections and mirrors from hundreds of thousands, nay, millions; of words, sentences, paragraphs and quotes that I have digested through the years reading and re-reading novels, books, magazines, newspapers, documents, even chocolate and candy wrappers.

I must admit that reading a blog is quite different from reading on a piece of paper. The glare from a screen are just too much for my ageing eyes, then, you tend to read in haste instead of enjoying what you read.

But that disadvantage, as illustrated above, does not hinder me to keep on writing (or blogging). I write for the pleasure of writing. For the sake of writing. For the love of it. It is there for the taking. It is free!

It is one of the crafts I learned on my own power. Like Miyamoto Musashi, the great “Sword Saint” and samurai strategist, I, too, embarked on my own “warrior pilgrimage” and have come to a point to learn the Ways of different crafts apart from the ones where we were born and made into.

Document done in RoughDraft 3.0, Trebuchet MS font, size 12.

3 comments:

Po said...

about the 2nd and the last paragraphs: i am really happy for you, jing, my favorite blogger.

PinoyApache said...

about the 2nd paragraph: i am fed up with all those garbage.

and the last paragraph: i took a wrong turn...i think?

thank you sam for your kind comment. it will spur more my writing habits.

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