Saturday, January 26, 2002

On Writing

Taking a break from my usual stories about myself, let me narrate about something that exists outside of time. It has always been with me in the past, resides with me in the present, and will continue to lurk in the future. What I am talking about is my need to write. It's not something I want to do more than it is something I need to do. Or better yet, it's something I do.

I may write for several reasons. One is that I'm required to do so for my education or occupation. I doubt if there's a college student who graduated without writing some sort of term paper or thesis. Another reason is that it's my way of coping up with life. Writing about myself and my experiences can be therapeutic. Perhaps that's the only thing that's keeping me sane.

Those are just superficial reasons though. The real reason I write is for no other reason than to write. Like the Nike ad says, I just do it. Out of the blue, I feel a need to write and once I turn on the computer, my hand takes on a life of its own and it begins to type. Words appear in my mind which hold little meaning until they flash on screen. I don't stop to think what I'm writing. Even I don't know what will happen next until it's done.

Sometimes, what I write doesn't get printed. It swims in my mind, taking on many forms. I write stuff in my imagination and sometimes postpone putting it on paper so much so that by the time I finally find the time to actually write it, it's found a new home somewhere already. Laziness has always been my primary foe. Perhaps it's a part of me as well.

There are times though when I just find the time to write no matter how lazy I am. These usually happen when I'm half-awake. For some strange reason, I find the strength to write when I should be sleeping. Mysteriously enough, my brain functions at peak capacity that my words make sense and my hand continues to type. Just like right now.

When I'm not as motivated, reading something close to home inspires me to write. For example, I was reading "Articles of Faith" the other week which gave advice on how to write. The examples were clear, concise, and something I imagine myself doing. It was so inspiring that I began writing when I got home. That's what gave me the determination to constantly write in my online journal. So far, I've managed to constantly update it.

Another thing that makes me want to write is by looking at it. The more beautiful it is, the more motivation I have for writing. Perhaps back in the days before there were computers, people were stuck with the monotony of their typewriters. The font remained the same and the format was always constant. Not so with the present day however. As new technologies develop, different looks and appearances become available. I'm tired of Times New Roman. How about Verdana? Or even Arial? When I write, I just don't think of the content. I also visualize how it'll look. Nothing could make me write more than the promise if a good layout.

Of course a person can't write if he doesn't have experiences. I like to share the knowledge that I have. Whether it's as trivial as a television show I just watched or a reflection on the ironies of the world, I like to tell it to people. Of course most of the time, there's no one to listen. That's why it's important to get my ideas on paper. What I write may not be read now or perhaps not even in the next ten years but as long as it's printed, there's a chance that someone else will eventually read it. Who knows who the next Anne Frank may be?

More often than not, I just write to get in touch with people. Writing letters and emails is something I'm fond of. Maybe that's the result of having few friends during my childhood. Or the fact that I'm always lonely. The beauty of writing a letter is that you can take back what you said and put in all the ideas you want to convey. Sometimes, speaking them can be so insubstantial. Writing tells it in a way no other medium can. And there's no better way for a message to remain permanent. Spoken words are eventually forgotten. Written messages are reread.

Whenever I write, I give up a part of myself. A piece of me is with the work I've written. Just as you give pieces of yourself to the people you love and trust, the same goes with what I write. It contains a part of me, no matter how distorted it may be. For example, you might have written a poem when you were a child. That poem represents a part of yourself when you were a kid. Perhaps it shows how simple a child you were, or how naïve your outlook was. Either way, it was a part of who you were... or are, depending on the circumstances.

I always wanted to draw. Writing is no substitute. But it might be just as meaningful. When I think about it, writing is a form of communication. The early humans communicated not with alphabet characters and glyphs but instead with drawings: pictograms and other visual representations that expressed what they wanted to say and feel. Is my need any different? A picture is worth a thousand words. Can a few words not paint a picture as well?

Writing is not something I plan to do. It just happens. Of course there are times when I'm required to write but even then, I write about things that come from within me. Even when it comes to fiction, what I write comes from my imagination. What I know and what I don't know is expressed in my writing. If there's anything that can best express a person, it's what he or she writes.

If there's anything that is synonymous with breathing, it's writing. Each is essential to one's life and it's not necessarily something that's done consciously. I wouldn't be surprised if I wrote something while I'm blindfolded.

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