Wenceslao: Writing

Bong O. Wenceslao

I didn’t usually drink coffee, neither did I go to coffee shops. I didn’t think coffee was good for somebody who had nerve problems after getting arrested twice and having been subjected to intense interrogation processes, seemingly forever during those periods.

But times have changed. I have retired from my full time job in the newsroom and needed a prod to continue writing my columns. The writing effort has been uneven so far. But drinking coffee and visiting coffee shops seem to help to make the effort even.

Still, if you, my readers, don’t like seeing fillers litter this space every time I fail to submit an article, be patient.

Consider this uneven effort of mine part of a long period of adjustment. Which reminds me of a conversation I had with a friend days after I retired. “Ikaw na gyuy magbuot unsa’y imong buhaton. Wa na’y amo,” she said. But the setup—like the trap President Duterte laid down for Vice President Leni Robredo in the fight against illegal drugs—can be interpreted a number of ways.

I used to joke about the years I spent beating deadlines as a journalist, that I have become a deadline-beater. Or that I work frenzied only when the deadline for the submission of an article is near. Or that I get too leisurely when there is no deadline or when the deadline is still far. That’s why retirement has not been good for my column-writing ways. It allows me to get leisurely (“kay wa na ma’y amo”) and lazy, thus the submission of my articles has gotten irregular.

Okay, I may have to correct myself when I said coffee and coffeeshops help me with my writing. They actually don’t. What helps me write is the solitude being in a coffee shop offers. I am a writer who thrives in being alone and undistracted. It’s why I feel I would write better at midnight when everybody else is asleep. The only problem with that belief is that sleep interferes with it.

But back to the original intention of this article, which is to illustrate the importance of prods. Too much freedom is not good because it would lead to anarchy.

Not having deadlines make you leisurely, and you do not accomplish anything. When I was in the newsroom, there was always this fuss about deadlines. I even had a hilarious run-in with my former editor-in-chief Cheking Seares about it. I once ranted against deadlines not knowing Attorney Seares was standing behind me. Thankfully, he, by nature, was soft-spoken so his reprimand after that was also softly delivered.

So, yes, I am now my own boss, but that does not mean I no longer have other circumstances to bow down to. No one person now may be telling me to submit my article because the deadline is near, but there is still a prod and it is abstract: being accountable to your readers, for example. Love of writing is another. That last part I also direct to budding writers, including those who have attended my lectures on the matter. As for the first part, I am still trying to make amends.