Thursday, June 26, 2008

the fascination of self *

Fred Jordan Mikhail T. Carnice
The Weekly Sillimanian
June 25, 2008
Last May, as if the Fates had been playing with my literary ambition of getting out of my post- emotional impasse, I became a fellow in the 47th Dumaguete Writers’ Workshop and 15th Iligan National Writing Workshop, for fiction and poetry respectively. Admissions to these gatherings, consisting of 15 carefully chosen aspirants from across the nation, are not determining indicators that one is excellent at the craft. I have always believed that everyone is a practicing writer, therefore, when it comes to workshops for budding writers, pride and ego are the least needed things.
Writing is just too guarded. In a publication, there are editors. In classrooms, there are professors. And supposedly, in the home, there are parents. A comma has to appear at the right place and a period has to feel like something has come to an end. Writing seems to be so sacred that with the influx of internet, when online writing or blogs started booming, every aspiring writer applauded. In this now-favored outlet, no one directs, no one hinders. For in cyberspace, there are no editors, no professors, and no parents. As blogs (which are usually known for narcissistic writings) prevail and become more popular, a lot of the discreetly self-proclaimed thinkers rise up and contradict their content due to its popularity.
There is no need to further elaborate what narcissistic writing is. Writing, in itself, is downright masturbatory, a lonely line of work wherein one has to enjoy it firsthand before everyone starts to love and appreciate the results. It’s kind of stupid to separate “self” from “writing.” Everything starts from the self. Blogs are diary or journal alternatives.
There’s too much pa-concern kuno in this time and age which makes for the pa-scholars to project television-quality concerns on high-brow issues of the world. Due to the dreariness of political, spiritual, and even metaphysical brouhaha, some (such as me) succumb to express write-ups in depressing tones, or perhaps an emotional pitch (which is then condensed into “emo,” as classified by the hypocrites). At least there are people who really feel, unlike those who have an emotional capacity of a paper clip. Thus the discussion about the smallest of things, may it be the dirt on a sleeve or a new music video, may provide the essential buffer to make life bearable.
Those who try to create a glossy impression still fail, even though they sugar-coat their statements with supposedly academic and mind-stimulating thoughts, because they’re just the ones who are trying to be someone else. This bunch of societal A-list wannabees is just overly-decorated with jaded eyeglasses, armed with a battery-powered mouth, clouded in an air of cerebral superiority that they’d just rant off direct quotations from the book of Immanuel Kant or Karl Marx for loss of things to discuss about someone’s personal opinion concerning Boy Abunda’s latest get-up.
If these people define what’s being sensible by conversing about the mysterious smile of McDonalds, the evolution of criticism, or the economic instability of our nation, well they’re better off at Fort Santiago’s dungeons with Beethoven’s deathly sonatas playing endlessly in the cold air. On the other hand, though their sixth degree synonym of an adjective—transforming “particular” to “circumstantial”—really impresses me for knowledge that exceeds a chimpanzee’s, I retain my composure and don’t mind. Clutter in cyberspace, eh? Besides, I think what’s only important in blogs is Google AdSense anyway.
If these writings are truly revolting and pathetic, how much more is that egotistical response of describing such kind of personal writing in the first place? Don’t people have the right to talk about a drinking session like an ode, or play with words about the afternoon rain like a poem, or transform the idea of hatred into a compact vignette? Well, those who do, go on! I have been doing this in my very own public blog and if someone comments that I’m like a high school drop-out who reads nothing that goes beyond the thickness of an Archie Double Digest, I’d slap in their faces the tome of The Great Critics or Science Explained. The alleged ludicrous writing, I hypothesize, grants online balance: light and heavy, funny and serious, important and the not-so-important-but-relatively-worth-knowing.
We have our own words to say. On the web, there’s no intellectual copyright but only intellectual arrogance. Since my intellectual faculties have already been mashed into pulp by the likes of Rowena Tiempo-Torrevillas, Cesar Ruiz Aquino, Butch Dalisay, Leoncio Deriada, etcetera (know your literature kid), attacks toward my being too self-centered especially in blog writing are somewhat ineffective by now. As what I have said earlier, pride and ego are the least things needed.
* this is a revision of an old post

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