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 flute.
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.