Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Searching for Meaning (A Blogger's Manifesto)

I started writing in high school with a group of amateur writers that met once a week. It wasn't that I thought I had a gift for writing; it was more like I was forced into it, at least initially. In my old school, everyone was required to join one club, and none of the other clubs that were still open interested me. I really wanted to join the theater group, but they were already full.

We were a bunch of freaks really; a small circle of outsiders who never belonged to any clique. We had the nerds, the dorks, the geeks and one fabulously handsome gay guy (guess who that was). We also barely had anything in common. What bound us was a collective weirdness and a sense of pride in the fact that we were so misunderstood. In our heads, we weren't losers, we were deep, so deep we were beyond our time. It made getting through each day that much easier.

Kalen wrote poetry. I was struck by the maturity of his point of view. There was one poem about Dorothy and Toto that blew me away, and the initial emotion I had after the lyrical roller coaster he put me through was envy. I wanted his talent. I wanted his ability to create something that had meaning for someone else.

I first tried writing poetry. Even then I knew how mediocre they sounded. You can only use "abyss", "darkness" and "emptiness" so many times before they start to irritate.

(A friend once showed me a poem and asked for my thoughts. I read it and immediately zeroed in on the words "abyss" and "darkness". I don't know what it is about adolescence, maybe it was our limited vocabulary, but it seemed the only metaphor we can find for sadness was a lack of light.)

I hated the clumsy way I handled words. I decided to write fiction, and realized I had marginally more talent in that medium. I figured I could work on that.

As I grew up, my approach to writing evolved (or devolved, depending on your point of view). I started to look at writing as a way to become successful, reading young (at the time) authors like Jessica Zafra and Luis Katigbak. I especially loved Katigbak's book "Happy Endings" and the short story of the same name. It inspired a ton of literature on my end that tiptoed the line between inspiration and plagiarism.

Perhaps it was my approach, or maybe because of a primordial need for approval, the idea of writing as a means to become successful possessed me. To create wasn't the end, but only the means for other things I wanted in my life: fame, acceptance, love. It made me miserable. I wrote always with the view that this must be accepted by my target market. I was looking for a niche I could exploit. At some point, I stopped being an artist and became an advertiser.

For every poem or short story I wrote that got published, there were a dozen others that got criticized to pieces in creative writing workshops. Writing isn't for the faint of heart, and if you use it as a means to seek success or approval, be ready for a lot of disappointment.

I stopped writing, at least the type of writing in its most creative sense. I worked in a magazine and wrote reviews of cellphones and laptops. It wasn't fulfilling work, but it was fun, and the office hours were great.

I came upon Livejournal the year before I started law school. I've heard of blogging before but never really understood that particular internet subculture. As I read through random blog after random blog, I saw that everyone is a little bit of an adolescent inside: each post is a scream, or a nudge, or a poke for acceptance.

Everything clicked into place. I realized that I truly am misunderstood, but so is everyone else. At the end of the day, everyone just wants to make a connection.

And so this is how it begins, and why I am writing again. I blog for meaning and (some) acceptance. I blog because I want to be able to create something that is significant for someone else. I blog because I want someone to understand me.

Photo taken here.


  1. We blog because of a need for validation, proof that our opinions are not unheard. And that what we believe in have meaning. We seek the chance to immortalize ourselves, by documenting our own struggles. So that, after we have been swallowed into oblivion, our writing lives on. Preserved and resonant in other people's thoughts.

  2. I blog because it relieves me. I believe you read my mind when you posted this. :)

  3. Writing isn't for the faint of heart, and if you use it as a means to seek success or approval, be ready for a lot of disappointment. This is true.

  4. I'm a performer, thus The McVie Show. I'm an attention-whore.

    (Wait, is your blog entry going to be the bloggers' equivalent of AA? LOL)

  5. @Red, Novie, Carrie: thank you for agreeing.

    @joelmcvie: hahaha! baka kailangan na natin mag group therapy.

  6. I do it for the therapy. Damn straight.

    Cheers Fickle Cattle!

  7. You read Luis Katigbak too? I love the guy. I have a copy of Happy Endings too (as well as The King of Nothing To Do).

    It took me two years to finally find Happy Endings--can't believe I forgot to look in Powerbooks Greenbelt first. :))

  8. @rz: yup. i lost my copy of his book though. hahaha.

  9. Well stated. I blog because its one of the easiest ways for me to release what's on my mine. The trouble with my blogs are that I spend so much time with a paper and pen that my blog gets neglected. There's just something about paper and pen that gets my mind rolling. I write without intention, without a real purpose, other than simple release.
    I like your style of writing.

  10. Wow. How old are you? Blogs like yours make me feel small. And your writing is very good. Very very good (I've read 12 entries now)...hehehe

  11. I like the atmosphere of this post.

  12. Thank you so much for your comment on my blog! I really appreciate that you took the time to stop by. I loved what you wrote in this post as I started blogging to remember *myself*, to celebrate and share those tiny moments that others may not see the magic in, to always remind myself to live a creative life. My blog has now become an old friend, one that I share a cup of coffee with every morning, one that listens to my truths when I'm not willing to put them out anywhere else. :)
    Thanks again for your comment! Made my day to stumble upon your blog! :)

  13. I write because there is an undeniable force inside me that propels me to do so. If I deny myself the opportunity to write whether for pleasure or profit, I become undone and anxious. I write because it is a life force that is as nature to me as breathing...

  14. thank you for comment on my blog.
    I'm interested to read yours. I'll read it all after I finished my office hour.
    can't wait anylonger..


  15. I also read Jessica Zafra's books and blog :)

  16. http://crater-trekker.blogspot.com/2009/03/we-dont-blog-just-to-be-famous.html

    i wrote this a couple of years ago when a friend asked me this question in a joking manner... lols...

  17. I blog because no one has time to listen to me in "real" life.

  18. I blog to spread the idea of living a simple and enjoyable life without clutter.

  19. i feel the same way too. when i started blogging, i had a goal of wanting people to praise my writing despite the fact that i knew i still had to work on a lot of things as far as writing is concerned but my passion dominated. however, when i continued to blog i wasn't happy about it because of my wanting to impress people. but now i have pictured blogging in a different way.

    it is now my outlet for expression. my outlet for my ideas and my pathway to meet people with different views in life. therefore, i blog because it simply makes me happy.



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