All Nighter

I just submitted two write-ups for a part-time job and I still have a technical report for another job that I need to finish tonight. It seems like I will be handing my boss a 20-page shitfest tomorrow, but, to be honest, I don’t really care about it anymore. I am ready to take a big L on this one, and I will just go ahead and move forward with a lesson or two. Que sera sera, Jolens. Life goes on.

All these technical write-ups that I’ve been pulling out my ass have made me realize how badly I enjoy casual essay writing. Casual, which basically refers to the kind of writing most bloggers do. Casual, like it’s just me speaking to all of you.

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Writing Exercise #2: Translation

Translation, they say, is a good way to improve one’s language skills. Translating poetry, specifically, forces the writer to focus on the words — on diction, essentially — because all other elements like poetic structure and literary content are already taken care of.

For this exercise I chose three poems by three different writers. I picked a César Vallejo poem because I initially wanted to see if I could translate directly from Spanish to Filipino (I couldn’t). I was also curious about how nuances get lost in multi-level translations (i.e. Spanish to English to Filipino), but obviously I would never find an answer.

Next I went with Charles Bukowski, an author known for his polarizing stream-of-consciousness verses. I have read criticisms against his prosaic style — the same disapproving remark flung against so-called Instagram poets — so I wanted to explore how I could render this cadence in Filipino. Lastly I went with Lang Leav, partly for the same reason, but mostly because I wanted to know if her poems, which I admittedly do not enjoy, would look better (or worse) in another language.

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Excerpts

A couple years back I wrote a draft for a post called “If Fonts Were People.” I wanted to personify the fonts that I use, but the task turned out to be a little too ambitious for my skills. Here’s a snippet:

It’s the font. My productivity relies heavily on pretty fonts.

Cochin has been my go-to recently. Cochin is pretty and petite, like a quiet chinita with perfect posture and who clips her bangs to the side. She dresses sharply like she’s always en route to a corporate meeting. And if you say the right things, you will see the stern sweetness in her smile. That’s what I long for when I write: I want the words to smile.

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