My life, writing in pandemic times

As one famous author said: “The ability to spin cocoons of language out of nothing.” It redefines news, the way it is reported, published and read.

I MEASURE my life through sentences pressed out, line by line, according to what poured from it — cascading, elastic, susceptible — into an inexact heart.

My heart hopes, that out of this wet ink line of words, a visionary fog would rise. This mist, be it of sorrows, quagmire, waywardness or secrets, would reveal what ignites and sweeps us away and makes us capable to write stories.

Is it the interplay of life and art? The pursuit of excellence and perfection brings rupture.

We already know that writers of plain prose ridicule complex sentences  — endlessly burgeoning and flowering.

I’ve fascinated by intimate stories of people. I scribble stories in heaps of dog-eared notebooks or old receipts, as I strive for profusion, abundance and fabrication.
There is nothing else I know how to do or take much interest in. I miter every pair of abutting sentences scrupulously like it is my shell, compact and self-sufficient.
I have known the greats of my generation, those who could be read, read about, mulled over and discussed.

While the likes of Max Soliven, Louie Beltran and Amado Doronila embodied the field of reporting, I was a suffering onlooker. My words, which puff and gasp and occasionally strangle themselves, were often scorned, disparaged and set outside the pale of welcome.

When it comes to newspapers, I am congenitally unemployable.

I live only to read and write. I have no other goals, motivations or interests.
Then came the onset of literary journalism. As one famous author said: “The ability to spin cocoons of language out of nothing.” It redefines news, the way it is reported, published and read.

The editors told me: “Today, the newshen has to make sense of chaotic and confounding issues at the center of her life, with an awesome range of events and concerns, and virtually everything that matters.”

During my college days, I was not interested in spending time learning to report and write the news. With a slick of sarcasm, I was dubbed the poet writing in prose.
I wanted to write stories because all good stories are honest. Whether they are moods, illumination, or desires, they possess their own embodiment and consummation — an absolute and permanent congruence of the writer and what is on the page.

About 50 years ago, newshens wrote about home and family concerns and were relegated to the women’s pages. Now, women write about politics, government and health, in addition to family affairs and personal concerns.

In revolutionary times, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Paine and James Madison used the column as a tool to mold and define the politics and culture of the country. They provided a forum for political commentary or an outlet for writing humor.

In the 1800s, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain and Ambrose Bierce used their newspaper columns to reach out to mass audiences, today, anything goes.

What distinguishes a valuable columnist, according to George Will, “is the distinctive way of seeing the social landscape. It is the ability to see what everybody sees, but not quite in the way that everybody sees it.”


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