When I was little, I sat next to my Tita Migen’s portable Olivetti typewriter and lovingly trailed my fingertips on the keys. I wasn’t allowed to use it. I was told that it wasn’t a toy. My aunt was a writer and she wrote short stories and articles for various women’s magazines in the Philippines. One of her poems (it could be more than just the one, I can’t remember properly) was published in an anthology of poems written by the great and the good of Philippine literature.
At 9, I wrote an updated version of The Little Match Girl for our school Christmas party. I remember that I called the main character Marina. I don’t even know why I called her that. But my “writing” the script for the “play” necessitated making several copies of the script. So my aunt relented and allowed me to use her typewriter. I loved it. I loved the clickety-clack sound the typewriter made as I copy-typed my handwritten script (I was a two-finger typer, of course!). I loved the smell of paper and onion skin (this was of course the mid-80s) and the way you had to be careful because you needed to make sure the carbon paper wouldn’t smudge the onion skin and your fingers. I loved it. I loved putting my words down in typeset. It was the most exhilarating thing I’d ever done (not too hard to top as I was, after all, only in third grade).
Whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said I wanted to be a doctor. But writing always niggled at me. I always asked myself “what if I could write for a living instead?”
One summer, I think I was thirteen or fourteen, having read all the summer reading books (Nancy Drew, Sweet Dreams teen romances, the classics, of course) I had access to (I daren’t attempt to read any of my mum’s Mills & Boon books because I was told those were for older readers), I took one of my composition notebooks and started writing a story. It kept me out of trouble that summer! After reading what I wrote, I covered the notebook in wrapping paper and plastic cover and promptly forgot about the story. Years later, my sister told me she read my “novel” and she said it was good. My sister is the writer in our family, so I took that as a compliment! I also fancied myself a poet (yes, I didn’t know whether I wanted to write poetry, prose or opinions!) and wrote stream-of-consciousness poems in a brown wire-bound Hello Kitty notebook which I bought from a bookstore called Alemar’s (don’t ask me why I remember those details, I just do!). I’d love to read those poems again. I’m sure they’ll be cringe-worthy but it’ll probably be a good laugh!
I am thankful that blogging has become a platform available to everyman. Because it has helped me indulge in my creative efforts. Not that I have actually written another story, short or otherwise, since my last foray into novel-writing. I’m just thankful I can write and send my thoughts out there. I may not earn my living from my thoughts but there is a certain satisfaction in being able to write down what you’re thinking and sending it out into the cosmos.
I would love to earn my living just talking about what I think about things. I would love to be able to express my opinions and make a living out of that. Ha! Does anyone want someone with verbal diarrhea? I know we all have to be very PC these days, and admittedly, I can be extremely un-PC, but I would love to just be able to talk about anything and everything under the sun! Or write about it! And, of course, get paid for it.