Seated on a chair, cigarette stick tucked in between one ear, gum being chewed, a pen in hand that glides smoothly on a smooth sheet of paper or fingers never endingly tapping on key after key, and most importantly, ideas that follow through without being blocked is how I’ve always pictured a writer. That is, until I realized that in my own unique way, I am one.
My love for writing is something that hasn’t started at an early age, and it just bloomed much later on in my life. As a child, I don’t have any recollections of having the intention of being a writer. As usual, I never pictured what I’ll be in the years that’ll follow and I just went with wherever the wind took me. However, I’ve always been a reader and I believe that that was the first step I stumbled upon in realizing my writing skills.
When I was about six years old or so, I remember that my older sister, Malou, was the one who introduced me to the world of reading — she started buying me copies of Nancy Drew Notebooks, hoping that I’d be a fan just like her. However, I wasn’t successfully drawn to the antics of Nancy and the writing of Ms. Keene. So, it wasn’t a surprise when I stopped reading them mid-way and just abandoned them for good. But all that was changed when I was introduced to the magical world of Harry Potter. It was a decade ago already, back when I was still in fifth grade, when all the excitement about this best-selling book filled the corridors of my grade school. Of course as a student, my teachers required me to read textbooks, but those don’t count because they will always be there, present in our everyday lives whether we read them or not. As for entering the magical world, I’ve only read the first four books of the Harry Potter series, having Prisoner of Azkaban as my most favorite among them all. However, I still owe my love for reading to the Sorcerer’s Stone because that was the first time I learned not to put down a book. I can still remember reading it on a Saturday, sleeping late that night, and on Sunday the next day, I was still reading it inside our car on the way to church. Finally, that same Sunday afternoon, I was done reading it and as they say, the rest is history.
Looking back, I have to say that my love for reading has already evolved in the past ten years. Starting from Young Adult books like the Harry Potter series, I managed to take a brave new step into the world of non-fiction. Nowadays, I alternately read Filipiniana and autobiographical books, as well as online articles and newspaper columns, and I can’t be any happier. I may have lost a little of my interest in reading Young Adult books but my love for other fiction genres will forever be in my system because if it weren’t for them, I never would’ve learned to appreciate the efforts of an author to write a masterpiece that has life-changing capabilities. Reading a book enables me to escape, even for just a while, the problematic world we are living in today. From William Young, Danielle Steel, Dan Brown, Mario Puzo, James Patterson, Andrew Gross, Sophie Kinsella, Rick Riordan, J.K. Rowling, and other authors I’ve managed to become a fan of, I was able to learn that all forms of “magic” also happen in real life, though it doesn’t literally mean that one has to have a wand and some stardust all the time. And yes, who even thought about the possibility of an-ordinary-person-turned-famous-author like Ms. Rowling can make her dreams come true by creating a whole new world through writing and in the end, turn out to be even richer than the Queen? Hence, I continue to read, that I call myself a certified book-and-magworm for I read just about any book, and including magazines, as long as I know that they’ll benefit my knowledge in the long run. And of course, I continue to write, with the hope that I can improve my craft much better and one day experience the kind of success the aforementioned authors have encountered in their creative and passionate lives.
Next to reading, another star that led me to the path of writing was a group of people I shared the same interest with. Back in high school, my barkada and I used to call ourselves The Storykeepers (SKs). Our past-time was writing our so-called “story notebooks” which were basically fan-fictions of our crushes, dreams and aspirations, current trends, and just about anything and everything under the sun that interested us in our early teenage lives, with each of us having our own pen names and specialty genres. I, being a self-proclaimed hopeless romantic, obviously dwelled on the “teen romance” part. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to finish any of the story notebooks I’ve written and I seldom have contact with the rest of the SKs since I entered college. However, I can say that my writing has evolved through the years and I tried venturing out to other forms of writing such as scripts, short stories, essays, and even poems — but for this one, I had to experience “pain” just so I can excrete out my creative juices.
It was in college where I found myself writing several poems and I must give credit to the person who gave me the inspiration to do it all: my college crush. As mushy as it may sound, I’ve had the biggest crush on this particular guy for three years or more, which means my entire college life. The problem was, he was my closest male friend, even best friend, and that made things much, much complicated. My simple crush turned into a serious infatuation, and eventually developed into unrequited love. To make matters worse, he had a girlfriend at that time. But my “love” for him was so strong that I spent my entire college life with my eyes fixed on him ONLY, to the point that whenever I had suitors, I didn’t entertain them anymore. Sadly, time came to pass when we eventually drifted apart and my so-called “unrequited love” for him caused our friendship to end. Besides, if being personally told stories about his life with his girlfriend was not hurtful enough, then I don’t know what is. And that was where my creative side emerged.
Writing became my outlet for expressing my repressed feelings for him. My first poem about him still had a positive tone since I only did that because as much as I want to deny it, the guy can write and I thought that maybe, just maybe, sharing the same hobby can be some sort of a leverage on my part. But when the sweetness of our situation turned sour, most of my compositions became one with me — they all turned out to be “bitter” as well.
However, I don’t regret even one day of that occurrence because it made me realize a lot of things, and one of which is to make me aware of the fact that I have what it takes to make my own masterpieces that all feed from the heartaches I encounter in my young life. I was able to create several stories, poems, and even a song — all taking inspiration from him.
Following that, I believe the one that gave me my biggest break so far, after college, and truly believed in my skill as a writer was Candy magazine when they chose me to be part of the Candy Council of Cool 9 (CoC 9). I’ve been a Candy girl for almost nine years now, since I was 12 years old, so it’s not surprising to know that I’ve always wanted to be involved with the Candy team in any way whatsoever — and being a CoC 9 member was a chance-in-a-lifetime for me. Basically, Candy magazine has been choosing eight girls every year, since 2000, to be contributing writers and reach their teen market in the most approachable way as possible. In my batch, we were called “The Lucky Nine” for it was the first time they chose nine girls — nine girls who qualified that they cannot let go of, I guess. I won’t deny that I felt flattered and proud when I found out that I was chosen, and my stint with Candy was something I can describe as a year full of fun and surprises that opened a lot of doors for me. Aside from writing, I was able to appear on the pages of the magazine itself from time to time, and I was able to attend events and meet celebrities. And of course, we got paid for the assignments we wrote and the blog we maintained for almost a year on the magazine’s website. I think this is a bit cliché but it is true that those things are just what we call “icing on the cake” because the one that truly mattered the most to me was the part where I was able to practice and hone my writing skills.
Having said those, I may love to write but I still don’t consider myself a “writer” — at least not a professional one. That’s why I call it a “happy frustration” because I may not have the proper training nor enough credit from doing it, but why should I care anyway? What’s important is the way I experience happiness whenever I let out my thoughts on paper and hopefully inspire even at least one of my readers. I know that this is something that I’ll continue to hone and make room for improvement for the rest of my life, and it’ll always be a testament to the world that I was lucky enough to be given the skill or at least the interest to do so, whether I’m good or bad at it; whether I get famous or not.