Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Learning to Write


Just like every other kid, we all started writing when someone gave us a pencil, and some paper.

Before my brothers and I got to Kindergarten, we had a tutor.

Papa gave us a sturdy green table with matching chairs, and we were tutored by by a lady called Fely, I think.

You know what they say about your lingering memories having to do with scent?

Well, I can remember the scent of freshly-sharpened pencils, and the crisp way it touched the surface of the paper as we all wrote.

Teacher Fely was kind, and I don't believe she rapped our knuckles at that age.

She couldn't rap me anyway.

I so loved sitting down, and doodling.

Boys, being boys, they didn't care for writing.

I was the only nut who did.

I must have loved it so much, that throughout my High School years, I was called upon to be Secretary of the class.

That was fun enough, but I enjoyed mostly being the "mail woman", wherein letters (remember, this was pre-digital days) where dropped in those wooden boxes where we secretaries would pick up the Class Record (a tiny book) from the Principal's office.

Soon as I'd enter the classroom, and start waving the letters, everyone would perk up, anticipating their name to be called.

The lucky ones would elicit such squeals of laughter, teasing, giggling, and delight.

That was my first taste of power, evil child that I was.

Papa, being a busy doctor, also asked I help him with his bookkeeping.

It seems, the trigger was to be told I had nice penmanship, so could I please help him?

I did, and got bored writing numbers from receipts, onto ledgers.

A kid doesn't understand accounting.

I still don't.

Still, Papa would keep us busy -- especially me -- during summer vacation.

Where all my cousins, classmates, and friends would be out enjoying themselves in the sun and all that, I'd be cooped up inside the house, writing.

Papa wanted us to have good penmanship.

So, where teachers would punish you when you're naughty, and make you write the same sentence endlessly on the board ( I tried that once, btw), Papa thought it was a productive way to spend summer.

And we had to show him our repetitive exercise when he'd come home from work.

Did it make my penmanship any better?

Uh, no.

Did it make me want to write?

Not either.

I started writing in High School, because I love reading books, and my lonely childhood made me dream my days away. 

From reading came writing, and I found I particularly loved essays.

I also started enjoying writing because my English teacher believed in me.

No one wanted to de-code Shakespeare, and oftentimes, as everyone avoided her gaze, she'd lock on to me, raise an eyebrow, and ask me to de-code the Bard.

Beats me, but of course, I had to come up with something.

She liked my essays, though, and she played a big role in developing my love for writing.  

Sometimes, all you need is someone to believe in you, and think you're good enough, that you can cut it.

Well, she gave me high grades in my compositions, and English and Social Studies became my favorite subjects.  

There was a rhythm to it all.

Mrs. Hernandez, my beloved English teacher, would give us a "theme", and I'd be off!

When I got older, all I needed was a "word", and I'd write volumes.

When I got even older, all I needed was an image, and boy, that got my writing going like crazy, so much so, that on every blog post, on all my blogs, there had to be a fitting image which my mind found acceptable.

At best, it had to be a "rock star" image.

It had to excite my writing coconut.

Like the ones you see on this blog, for one.

Writing seemed to like me, too, and I think, I'll share a bit of what kind of jobs I got as a writer, even without the blessing of my father, who made me take up Architecture instead.

But you see, you can't take away writing from a writer.

That' like asking me to stop breathing.

And yes, I found that writers have a bit of drama in them.

We have to.

Our words have to leap out of pages.

Or, at least, that's what I think.

Worked for me, I tell ya.