Sunday, November 23, 2008

Thadie Shrugged

The Editor-in-Chief reminds me of some regional competition looming ahead. The writing is mostly “formal”- editorials, opinion, mostly that kind of thing. I guess the problem is that the last time I read a newspaper was—well, I don’t even remember. I only use newspapers as emergency umbrellas or something I’d use to scoop dog poo with. I don’t watch television either. Suffice to say, I’m clueless with regards to what bill is being passed in the senate, or what Obama’s plans are on US foreign policy- or for that matter how much Palin had spent on clothes.

I care more about human interest stories- that’s what I usually write about. And by “human interest” I actually mean the three “K’s”: kalandian, kalokohan, and kabayotan (from the Visayan word “bayot”= gay). So I contemplated for a while on whether I’ll turn “serious” about writing.

One afternoon, during an Operating Room Techniques lecture, someone interrupted my “reading”.

“My boardmate, wants to meet with you!” She whispered.

“Guy or girl?”


I was beginning to lose interest.

“She was reading your book that she borrowed from a friend of hers. I told her you’re my classmate.”


That was not the first time it happened. I get e-mails and comments out of the blue- usually from students, saying that they’ve read my book, they liked it, blah blah blah. At the mention of my book, I usually get mixed emotions- 60% happy, 40% embarrassed. Or maybe it’s the other way around when it’s a Lit professor or God forbid a real writer who reads my work.

While scholars won’t go around knocking down doors to forage for the last few copies of City Girl, the book did surprisingly well and got a good reception from the “young ones” (a term I call anyone under 25). The last copies, I found out later, were being rented out by a local bookclub (I gave them samples when the book first came out) - and was always off the shelves, circulating among students of local schools.

I could guess why: my friend told me the girl was in stitches, reading about how I used to slather Extraderm on my ass, or asking the lady at registration about my “one times one ID picture” (how I read “1x1 ID picture” when I was in high school), or my antics with guys. I was the gold standard of bloopers, especially during my heyday- and I’m actually glad she did enjoy those anecdotes (at the expense of my ass-skin though).

All the same, I tried reading Albert Camus and Ayn Rand (and basically other writers whose books are usually yellowed with age, tucked at the far end of the book case) – as recommended by a gentleman who said that a promising writer should read works of existentialist writers, objectivism, blah blah blah. I almost fell asleep after reading the fifth page.

Really, I tried. If there’s anything I learned from that experience, those are:
1. People tend to have preferences to a specific style of writing, and forcing them to explore other styles won’t always work.
2. As accused, “generation me” might be as lazy as perceived, when it comes to reading existentialist literature, at least (in my case).
3. If you have insomnia, try reading those books. You’d be out cold by the tenth page tops. (Ok I’m kidding)

And most importantly- writing is also about finding a target audience. It is a business, after all, and those sheets of paper aren’t free- so you need people who like your writing to buy it. I’m worried I can’t move beyond the “easy read” type of writing style (or for now at least), but I think I just found my niche.


Kiks said...

i would like to get a copy of your book. :-D

too bad i didnt know about it when i was in manila.


Phoenix said...

@ Kiks: Hey Kiks, actually besides my personal copy as in wala nang available. Ganun sya ka-exclusive bwahahahah hinde joke lang inutang na po kasi nung iba kong kakilala na hanggang ngayon di pa binabayaran. I do have a second book na nasa editing stage na = ) hehe

I linked you up. Thanks for being nice

dabo said...

teka bakit di mo kami nga pala binigyan ng copy ng book noon ha.. :(

Phoenix said...

@ dabo: during that tie ubos na po yung copies = ) yung second book na lang dave, bili ka ha hehe

dabo said...

OPO! Hmmp.. hahaha.. sure, i'll buy a copy and tutulungan pa kita magbenta.


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