1:30am, a couple of hours ago the editor sent me a text message saying he needs all articles in first thing tomorrow morning. He wants to go to press earlier tomorrow. I just had a long week… no, I’m still having, struggling through, it - it’s not over yet. Anyway, back to the slowly filling up page on my computer screen.
This is usually how I come up with my pieces here, at the last minute. I have tried writing my piece much earlier, sometimes I get hit by an idea a full five days before the deadline. But somehow no matter how hard I try to my thoughts down that far away from the deadline, I just can’t – I just always end up writing this weekly article a couple of hours before I really have to submit it (which means I am actually writing this down way too early).
I am stalling, I’m stumped. So I ask myself now, why do I do this? Never mind that my articles here are gratis, for like most of the things I do, I don’t do primarily for money anyway. Just like whenever I go onstage, or fiddle with the piano or guitar, or frame life in a still or moving camera, I just want to tell stories. And express how I feel about those stories.
I tell like it is, the way I see it, the way I feel it. Sometimes, in the process, I step on some toes, some sensitive toes. But then, though I do at times take a moment before clicking “send” to email my article in, and think whether a particular story really needs to be told. If it saw print, then I felt that it did. I do like writing about happy, positive stuff, too. But sometimes to show how bright something is, one has to illustrate what darkness is like.
You probably know how it feels to, say, see a really well-made movie, and you just can’t wait to tell your friends about it. Well, for me it doesn’t have to be something as grand as a Hollywood blockbuster. I am easily amazed by, and I wonder about almost everything around me. I can write about the number one festival in the whole country, or about an obscure talent competition tucked away in a corner at the park. I can write about who I believe is the best candidate for the presidency, or about the best vendor to get your boneless bangus from at the city market.
And, while I do listen to suggestions, advices, I’m sorry but, no, nobody can tell me what to write. Neither would I allow anybody to tell me what not to write. In one article I wrote where I apparently stepped on some conceited toes, those toes’ friend called me to ask me to retract what I said, even reminding me that those toes were connected to a fat ass that I’ll do better kissing. I’m sorry, ma’am, sir, but I do not live my life that way.
As Edmond Rostand said, through Cyrano de Bergerac, “Scratch the back of any swine / That roots up gold for me? / Tickle the horns / Of Mammon with my left hand, while my right / too proud to know his partners business / takes in the fee? No thank you!”
And, since I cannot possibly express it any better than he did, I quote Rostand further, “in a word, I am too proud to be a parasite… And if my nature wants the germ that grows / Towering to heaven like the mountain pine / Or, like the oak, sheltering multitudes - I stand, not high it may be - But, I stand alone!”
So why do I do this? Now, I click “send.”