Don’t rush-A A +A
Saturday, November 2, 2013
IN A gathering of children wanting to learn to write, I told them to write as they are and never pretend they are more intelligent than me, because their readers will know they’re bluffing.
“Write as a child, don’t pretend to be an adult because what you think is awesome and new will most likely be as old as yesterday’s fried rice,” I joked.
But of course, there is this certain cockiness attached to being young writers. If you think adolescents are cocky, try an adolescent writer and you will see cockiness in all its manifestation. I should know, I was among the cockiest during my time. How can you not be? I always tell the young. In a school with seven grades and four sections each, each section will have its own set of honor students. But the whole school will only have one set of campus journalists manning the campus paper, usually 20 at the maxi. *Strut! Strut! Strut!*
Thus, the cocky young writer believing he’s better than the rest will level up and believe he’s better or at par with adults. No one is brave enough to say otherwise, as we pander to each child’s beliefs thinking that affirmation makes for greater self-confidence. Don’t expect that from me.
Having had to chisel out cockiness into my system, chip by chip, and discover the real me way into adulthood, I’d prefer to demolish this illusion from whoever crosses my path early on in his or her life.
“Think, you are only a child until you are 18 and then you will be an adult for the rest of your life until you die!”
That scared them, I think, and got them interested as well. For suddenly writing is about how they perceive the world to be and no longer the pontifical way they have been so used to write, where they Google the most difficult ideas and words and clump them all together into one pretentious mass.
In another training, it’s the teacher, talking to me in English with each letter enunciated for emphasis. “Why is it that in the stories that I read in the newspapers these days, the inverted triangle is no longer used?” she asked as if I was at fault for all these newspapers.
“It’s because the form is not as important as the story,” I replied, “but for a child to learn the ropes, he has to learn where the ropes are first.”
In all undertakings, it pays to make sure we know the rules. The big but is… to follow them according to each provision and stipulation will lead to a very boring life. Also, to live a life of broken rules will be to live a life of crime and infamy. That may not be a boring one, but definitely one that will most likely constrain your movements – either as a prisoner or as a fugitive hunted down by the law.
The fun lies in knowing the parameters set and where you can titter at the edge to grasp a view of what’s beyond and yet not be criminally liable for anything. That spells trouble, of course, but rare are the times I actually landed in one; after all, I do know the rules and I’m just bending, flexing, and trying to stretch them to their very limits; inverted triangles included. firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on November 03, 2013.