Writing is an Expression of Oneself
By Apolinario Villalobos
Friends who thought that I am adept in writing has the wrong perception. It is just that I can “play” with words. I told them to take note of the words that I use which are simple and common. It is my determination to express myself through writing that I developed my own “style”. It is not found in any reference book for literary writing. Grammatically, I know that it is wrong to start a sentence with “and”, “or”, “if”, “then”. I also use three dots (…), hyphen or dash to serve as a “dramatic bridge” in a sentence. For poems I deliberately do not put comma or semi-colon after each line to give the reader liberty in choosing in which line he wants to put emphasis. I only use either of the two marks after several lines to indicate an end of a certain thought.
My poems are “narrative” far different from what is prevailing now. Some of my poems have rhymes, literally, but the rhyme in some is very subtle, depending on the reader. They also do not have meter or cadence because, I write the lines spontaneously, just letting go of what are in my mind. If I have to be conscious about those “limitations” I will not be able to come up with an honest expression because some words just do not fit what I have in my mind. A poem writer deserves respect. One may not like the style of a writer but he should be respected for his effort. For some people whose expression of overwhelming joy is jumping, others shout at the top of their voice,others cry, but the rest just faint.
Except for a serious essay, I write in the “first person” way, so I use the “I”, but there are some portions of the material which necessitates the use of “you”, “some”, or “one”. My “conversational” style is apparent in my essays. That is how I develop my materials – it is if I am talking with someone, so from using the “I”, I would deviate to the use of “you”. It is just like saying, “ I have done it and it gave me good results, so why don’t you try it?”. In that instance, to be more personal, I did not cut the statement after the word “results”, but instead, included the imaginary guy in the situation by asking him to “try it”. I do not want to be distant from my readers, I want them to be part of my effort in expressing myself.
When I was in first high school, my English teacher persistently called my attention about my style, especially, on the way I began some sentences. The defiant in me told me just to go ahead, so I persistently got low ratings for my themes. Later on, I found out that she transferred to the Notre Dame of Caloocan. She learned from one of my classmates that I was with Philippine Airlines and that part of my job was to edit a few-paged “magazine”, TOPIC, that promoted touristic destinations and activities in the Philippines. She also came across my contributed essays and poems in dailies and magazines. After successfully getting in touch with me, she asked if I would have time to be one of the judges during a forthcoming literary writing contest in Caloocan City, to which I gladly said yes. A few years later, she went to the USA where she got a job as a librarian until she retired. I appreciated her respect and recognition of my style though late in coming.
So, for my friends who are afraid to write because others may not appreciate their style, I would say, just go ahead, you are just being honest with yourself, and most specially, you are just being what you are, not a copycat who plagiarize!