#31

I’ll be writing this post as an epiphany to what I have witnessed in a certain FanFiction website.

I shall start by saying I’ve never liked idea of reading. Once the act crosses my mind, it gets filled with pictures of people reading a thick book in their hands while sitting down by the window with the patience to read every word that’s published in all of the pages and at the same time, generate an image of what the author was trying to depict. I loved reading fairy tales–they were pretty much straight to the point and had pictures to help me imagine the kind of life they had, as told by the writer. There came a time when I was trying to convince myself to like reading, so I dwelt on classics, thinking that it may spark something within me, the same manner in which my other friends had experienced. I didn’t focus on the number of pages nor did I understand everything that Louisa May Alcott had written in “Little Women”. I loved writing and I wanted to express my ideas, but I never liked reading because most of the pieces I’ve encountered back then seemed so florid that it discourages me to read. Or perhaps, the paragraphs were long and perplexing, and my vocabulary is very limited.

I started FanFiction at an early age without any hunch on what it takes to write a good piece. Books never taught me anything, and I relied by merely describing the actions of the characters involved in the story. My choice of words were common and bland that it wasn’t enticing for readers. Back then, my philosophy was that if you get a lot of comments on your story, you are an excellent writer, for you have moved this great number of people. Those whose works I’ve encountered, scanned and reviewed, they were indeed great in their own styles and stories.

But now that I’ve returned to that website in order to improve my way of writing and my vocabulary, those authors weren’t warmly received as well as before. They were replaced with mainstream plots and mediocre writing that it made me sick to my stomach. Guilt rushed through my chest when I came across this story wherein the author mentioned that the archive was flourishing (and take note, her writing style and use of adjectives, how she defined the scenes in her head impeccably and without ambiguity swept me off my feet) but when I looked at it, it wasn’t, and this has haunted me for a while now.

My point is that these writers wrote not for the sake of receiving praises coming from people all across the globe, but they’re the ones who find pleasure in writing. They seem to have mastered the craft without following a certain plot formula yet most readers don’t appreciate them because they find it boring and a waste of their time. After reading their stories, I thought that I didn’t deserve the reviews I received from my readers because compared to their works, mine was like it had been in the gutter for several days, feasted by flies and not by rational beings.

Because of them, I’ve resolved to improving my vocabulary and my writing style, hoping that if they may ever come across my story in the archive, they’d find a smile on their faces and be filled with hope–hope that an amateur writer may strive to become better in this field and move the hearts of every reader who finishes the story.

This is a dream of mine amongst the rest, but I am determined to accomplish this for myself, for these great writers and for the world.

#30

Last semester, my literature professor discussed to us the four components that make up mainstream Filipino films in an essay written by Nicanor Tiongson, and to sum them all up, they were as follows:

– White is beautiful. If you’re anything other than white, then you’re doomed to become the sidekick or even the antagonist.
– Shows follow a certain formula that aims to only please people and not disturb their souls from their comfortable state. There’s nothing more to these films than just comic entertainment.
– If you’re in a pitiful state, you need not worry, for you will be redeemed one day. Believe that it’ll happen, wait for it, and do absolutely nothing about your sorry state.
– Everything will be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, then it’s not the end.

Although they weren’t the exact words from the essay (and perhaps if Tiongson encounters this post, he might as well say that I’ve defiled his words, but that’s how I understood them), the point is that because of stories or films that are founded on these principles, it would actually hinder the progress in you, the people around you and the nation as a whole. (If you’re curious as to how these things are linked, google “Four Values of Filipino Drama and Film” and read the piece for yourself).

If I haven’t made this clear, I’m going to say it again: that if things aren’t what they are right now, I would be taking up Humanities. I am an amateur writer, yes. I post my works at a certain FanFiction website and I find it disappointing how most of the stories posted there are centered on romance and nothing else. Not even a person’s search for his own self and getting through the obstacles/ghosts from his past–NO.

Basically, the typical FanFiction that you’d ever read there are as follows:

– This kind and beautiful girl who meets this cold-hearted guy whose world is going to change upon meeting her, and the girl will be threatened by potential/past lovers of the guy until eventually they get married and live happily ever after.

– This reclusive man meets a beautiful girl (who doesn’t think that she’s pretty at all–give me a break) and is willing to cross oceans for her in spite of their social status, how big-ass great the guy is, whether he’d be the head of a gang or CEO of a company, their flaws and differences that would result to constant fighting and yet they’d be all lovey-dovey in the end and have babies and all.

– Girl keeps getting bullied. Guy who happens to be rich and heartless chooses to rescue her because he experienced sparks upon seeing her. PRACTICALLY EVERY VERSION OF THE FAIRY TALE, CINDERELLA KNOWN TO MAN.

– Stories that make no sense. What matters is that the girl and the guy argues until they fall in love. LIKE HOW THE FUCK DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN? You’re already enemies! And how can you say that such events occur? Have you ever had an enemy you loathed to death and you find yourself falling in love with that person?? For crying out loud!

I must admit that during my early years in writing (I was like, 11-13 years old!) I used to write these sorts of materials, but mainly because they were the only stories that I’ve ever been exposed to: rom-coms and melodrama. I never bothered to look for something more than that because, fuck yeah who cares? I’d like to read people’s comments on how great my story is and screw anyone who flames my stories and all. BUT MOVING ON… I am guilty of still writing stories like this, however they’re more of a side story that I managed to place in the summary so as to attract readers’ attentions because they wouldn’t bother to read a story unless there’s romance involved. I have to mask coming of age stories and reality with an event in my story that’s significantly small (or not as important as the themes presented) just so that I could get people to read and hopefully, be pleased with how there’s something more to it than just… romance.

I find it hard to say that I’m going against what I’m saying here but heed me, please. There are two reasons why a writer writes: to express and to be heard. What’s the point of expressing yourself when there’s no one there to listen? Listening has its other subelements such as “for persuasion, entertainment, insert other reasons why you listen to what other people say…” but anyhow, you have to be somewhat appealing as well, but not to a point wherein you’d completely ignore that voice within you and follow what the crowd has to say. What I hate about stories like the ones I’ve mentioned above are that they’re extremely predictable, the girl is always a poor lass and the guy is like a god or something with an attitude problem, GUY WOULD ALWAYS SAVE THE GIRL even though she stresses countless times that she doesn’t need saving (though she’s just an ignorant prick who’s unaware of her surroundings and couldn’t protect herself unless of course, you’re in a totally helpless situation like being attacked by gangmen because you’re pretty and all), girl was oppressed before and now that she’s returned, being stronger, the guy realizes how much of a douchebag he was and tells her that he’s been attracted to her all this time, good girl bad boy love story shit… there are a lot more; I’d probably have to edit this part right here but basically, those are the shit.

So if I write a coming of age story about teenagers in the 70’s dealing with drugs and alcohol and other events before being able to watch a Led Zeppelin concert, would people read it? No. But if I write a coming of age story about teenagers in the 70’s dealing with drugs and alcohol and other events that would lead to the romantic tandem of this couple before being able to watch their favorite band, Led Zeppelin, live onstage? Questions like “Ooh, I wonder how they’re going to meet; I can’t wait to read the mishaps and arguments between those two; what’s Led Zeppelin?” will pop in their minds, their curiosity rises and alas, they’re bound to read that story.

Sad, isn’t it?

That not everyone knows Zeppelin.

Oh the irony that every writer battles within himself.

Oh, and another thing that bothers me–BANDFICS.

Like, wtf are these people thinking?

If the protagonist is a girl, she HAS to be the singer. OF COURSE. She can’t be a guitarist or pianist or drummer or bassist because that’s a guy’s job. To top it all off, a girl actually wrote this story!! And they have the guts to talk about feminism when they’ve already limited their female characters to specific roles??

Also, if it’s a rock band, the name has to have a trace of darkness to it. BLACK KNIVES. DARK HOLLOWS. BLOODY ROSES. MACHINE GUN METAL DEATH HARDCORE SCREAMO JET BLACK SOULS WHO SOLD THEIR SOULS TO THE DEVIL. Like, what the fuck?

And what’s ironic is that in spite of their hardcore band names, they sing songs by Avril Lavigne, pop rock mainstream that is very irritating to the ears when their names are like, for what? A heavy metal band? That doesn’t make any sense!

So yeah, all that steam has been released. I look forward to the day I write a story that would definitely move others in a way that THROAM has served as a wake up call for me to write more stories that delve into reality and influence others to see life in a different perspective, so that we may not manipulated by the likes of those who aim for fame, money and attention, but for us to create a stand and pass that perturbed thought to others so that they may be shaken, stirred and trigger the release of their soul in order to make a better world.

For without art, the world would be just “eh”.

#29

Starting today, I will not be writing my journals here. I shall record them at Tumblr (warning: my Tumblr contains a lot of Led Zeppelin and photos of Jimmy Page).

I’ve decided to express my love for literature here by means of writing poems, sonnets, writing prompts, short stories, and others that fall under that category. I’ve come up with this decision after my numerous attempts in writing this particular chapter for a FanFic somehow end up as failures–they weren’t appealing.

I know that writing is not an easy process. I’ve never had a degree in Creative Writing to say that, but as a person who has been writing stories and publishing them on the internet since 11, I would know that it’s hard to generate the right words so that readers would see the story in the same manner as you are, and fix the structure of the chapter so as not to bore readers. To add to it, I never liked reading, so my vocabulary is extremely limited.

In spite of that, I love writing. If one would ask why I do, it’s because I’m able to express myself and the ideas inside my mind, and having to read your own product is rewarding along with writing itself. It’s just that I’m on summer vacation and I can’t seem to get my creativity working. Everything that I write end up sucking on its own (including this, but I’m not writing this in order for it to be appreciated or to be considered as art, no!).

So yes, I shall write shit here. And I shall read more books. Definitely read more books.

S