Tag Archive | writing

Crayons and Pens

When I was a kid, I loved to draw. You know those eight-year-old artistic prodigies, whose creative genius defies the limitations of their youth and blows society’s expectations right out of the water? Yeah, I wasn’t one of those. In fact, I was objectively terrible. Some of the other kids managed to color lightly and evenly, but I gripped those crayons tight and pushed them eagerly onto the paper as if the extra energy could make the colors brighter and prettier somehow. Mostly it just made things messier, but I didn’t mind. I was a child, and the wonderful thing about being a child is the ability to enjoy an activity whether or not you’re good at it. So I enjoyed the heck out of those crayons, filling notebook after notebook with drawings and scribbles. I had this hobby of keeping lists of favorite words, and some of the ones I liked the most I tried to illustrate, taking delight in capturing the nuances of “exquisite” with a lopsided yellow, pink, and green butterfly. I’d carry my notebook and crayons around with me, my favorite toys instead of the dolls and kitchen play sets that my little sister liked. Those clumsy drawings of beautiful words were my idea of fun, even though I never showed them to anyone.

Then I grew up, and the uncomplicated pleasure of drawing was forgotten when I learned how important it was to be excellent in whatever you choose to do. In high school, I had several classmates who were incredibly artistic, and I was content with admiring their talent while focusing on my own skills. I wrote more, realizing that it was something that came naturally to me, and drove myself to be better. The more I learned, the more I became aware of how very far I still have to go.

Most of the time, that awareness is a really good thing, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, since I realized that writing is something I’d like to do seriously, not just as a hobby, I’ve been racked with insecurity. Freelancing and ghostwriting jobs are fine, as they don’t really require personal vulnerability, but creative writing? The kind of writing I long to do won’t let me play it safe when it comes to emotional commitment. And I worry that even if I find the courage, my skill might not be up to the task of creating something worth publishing. Suddenly it’s not just about self-expression and storytelling, but about gaining the public’s approval. And it paralyzes me.

It’s wrong; I know it’s wrong. The best books I’ve ever read were those written honestly, bravely, with no thought to critics, awards, or sales. As a reader I know when courage and truth are on the page, and when gimmicks and crowd-pandering are used as substitutes. No matter how excellent the technique, the first fires me up while the second leaves me cold. I know which kind of writing I want to do.

I need inspiration. I need to remind myself of the simple pleasure of doing something and not thinking about how others might respond. Excellence is important, yes, and I will pursue it all my life. But it’s no substitute for heart. It’s no substitute for finding joy in creativity in itself without worrying that I’m not as talented as others are. No matter what I do, there will always be someone who can do it better. It doesn’t mean I should stop doing  what I love. I need to remember this.

So I think I should buy myself some crayons. I’ll get the biggest box with seven shades of every color, the nostalgic smell of wax, and memories of uncomplicated joy. I haven’t done this in years and I’m sure I’ll be as bad at drawing as ever, but who cares? I’ll go draw myself some words.

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I’m in PostAWeek

I decided that I’m going to post once a week for the rest of the year. In the six years this site has existed, I’ve only posted less than 200 times, which should tell you how much dust and cobwebs it’s been gathering. Last year, though, I tried writing every day for 30 days, and that went better than expected. I want to keep up that consistency.

If you’re doing it, too, let me know. And for those who are doing PostADay, hats off to you. 🙂

Cheers to blogging fun!

 

P.S.

On a completely unrelated note, you should check out my friend’s puppet show project.

Happy 6th anniversary!

It’s been six years since I put up that first post, on Friendster (yes, I know). I’ve been keeping a journal my whole life, and blogging was just another way of doing it. In 2008, I imported the whole thing to wordpress, comments and all, and kept on rambling, most of the time by myself. At first, I didn’t want to tell people I actually knew about my blog; it seemed safer if only strangers were privy to my innermost thoughts. I’m a little braver now, and everyone who has left a comment on this blog has made it a richer experience. It’s been an amazing six years, and some of the highlights are below:

1. First post

1:30 pm in the Botanical Garden

There was this little seaside garden in my old university, and I’d sneak off to just sit there between classes, and write.

2. Most read

My Red Dress Moment

A record breaking 1,547 people read this post, according to site statistics, most of whom found it after Jenny the Bloggess, rockstar of blogging, tweeted the link.

3. Most commented

You know you’re addicted to the Lord of the Rings when…

This is an old post, but my fellow LOTR fanatics seem to have a sixth sense when it comes to finding anything and everything that has to do with Middle Earth on the internet.

4. Most fun to write

Writing prompts

I discovered  writing prompts last year, a sort of exercise where other bloggers would post a theme (a word, phrase, or image) to write about. Not only did it help improve my own writing, I also met many talented bloggers who were taking part.

5. Most enriching experience

30 letters in 30 days

In an effort to step out of my comfort zone, I decided to do this meme where I had to write 30 letters to a pre-selected list of significant people in 30 days. Some of the letters were pretty difficult to write, but it turned out to be incredibly therapeutic.

6. Most common words

According to Wordle, ladies and gentlemen, here are the words I’ve been using the most for the past six years:

 

The Thief’s Story

It came to him unbidden, his father’s memory. Here, in his slow execution, it wasn’t his crimes that haunted Ishmael but Abba’s unwavering faith during his severed life. Stoned to death on false accusations, Abba had been innocent, a pawn in games of power.

As was the man dying excruciatingly beside him. Ishmael knew it as surely as he knew of his own guilt — the teacher was blameless. He could also be something more, someone Abba would have recognized. His corrupted heart, humbled at last, could not reject it. Offering what faith he had, he pleaded, “Remember me in Paradise.”

(This is a response to the 100 words challenge in Velvet Verbosity. The word for the week was “unbidden”. I chose this subject because I’ve always wondered about that thief who acknowledged Jesus as he was crucified. What sort of man was he, that he recognized the Messiah in that horrible moment of death when others, even his fellow condemned criminal, did not? This story is just my way of making up an answer to that question. I thought it would be as good a reason to write as any. :-))

 

The 30 Days, 30 Letters blog challenge revisited

When I decided to do this project, where I have to write 30 letters to 30 people on a pre-selected list, I knew that it wouldn’t be easy. That’s exactly why I wanted to do it — to step out of my comfort zone and see  what’s beyond it. I also wanted to get into the habit of blogging regularly, since I’m a very sporadic blogger. Now, a month after I posted that first letter, I have gained so much more than I expected. Through those letters, relationships have been healed and strengthened, and I was able to reach out to people I have lost touch with. Aside from that, I gained a deeper understanding of my own self. So to celebrate, here’s a recap of some of the letters:

Most difficult to write:

Easiest:

Most fun because of the memories:

Most cathartic:

Most fulfilling:

Taught me the most:

I’d like to thank everyone who took this journey with me. And for those bloggers who are still doing this or thinking about it, may you find the same satisfaction that I did. I think you’ll discover that the views are better outside of the comfort zone. 😉

Ummm, fame?

This is it!!!*

People are plagiarizing my stories off peyups.com. This, so far, is the closest I’ve come to being a celebrity in the literary field.

So. Let’s celebrate!

*Ehem* (Tearful sigh plus a whispered “This is so unexpected.”)

I would like to thank those bloggers who clicked copy-and-paste and posted my stuff in their Multiply, Xanga, Blogspot, etc. sites. Even if most of you didn’t include the byline. Even if some of you are 15-year-olds who seem to harbor disturbing suicidal tendencies. Even if one of you did post a Cueshe song in the same category. Thank you, thank you. You guys make me feel like a star.

Now. Autograph signings will be on Tuesdays and Fridays only. To join my fan’s club, contact my mom. Requirements for membership application will be posted outside our house, beside Coffee the cat’s favorite windowsill.

Champagne, anyone?

* ala – Kuya Jei

______________________________________________________

Caz,
Hahahahahaha. 😉


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Aargh.

Writing is still worlds apart from writing well”, said caravaggio, and I’m inclined to agree. Looking through my work, I know I’m far, far away from being half as good as I want to be. I want to write with the searing intensity of tukneneng, the light humor of Gmajor7, and the irrepressible wit of linchpin. Hmmph. I won’t even mention the novelists and poets I love. Thank goodness I’m in psychology and not creative writing. I think I’d probably starve before I ever get published.

If my mom ever reads this, she’d undoubtedly launch on a motherly declaration of faith in my abilities. So would my dad. Sigh. Thank God for unconditional love.

I’m just ranting here. You see, I just scanned the forum thread on tips for submitting articles in peyups.com, and it made me wonder how on earth did six of my write-ups even get published. So don’t mind me. I’m also frustrated because there are still 2102 articles waiting for approval on that site, which means it’s still a long, long wait before the moderators allow submission of new stories. Grrr. God, grant me patience, and I want it RIGHT NOW.

Okay. I can wait some more. In the meantime, don’t be surprised if this blog suddenly overflows with fiction and other sentimental mush, since I can’t bother those poor peyups editors yet. I actually feel sorry for them, what with 2000+ articles vying for their attention. I can just imagine the private messages they’re getting from other writers.

Freud, Jung, and my professor call it displacement, this penchant I have for words. Or maybe it’s sublimation, because writing is supposed to result in higher cultural achievement. Whatever.

Hurry up, peyups.

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