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.
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.
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.
And while most of my favorite bloggers would rather keep to themselves these annoying and now-repetitive admissions of failure, here I am nurturing the frustration and feeding it fat for everyone to read.
I was searching for blogger tags the other day when I stumbled upon this post from pensitivity101. It isn’t a tag, technically, but it does pose questions that I find worth pondering over.
So, what do you think makes a good post on your blog?
Hmm, that’s a tough question (char). My blog is a personal blog with no measurable clout, so I don’t really have the numbers to prove which posts are good or not. Maybe this question is better answered by bloggers with a bigger audience or with billable influence, so to speak. Otherwise I just write what I write and if the shitpiece is still up on this blog, then it’s good enough for me.
Here’s a cringe-worthy disclosure: I wrote a short story collection way back in high school. It was part of my senior year thesis, a requirement for graduation. Our school had its own publishing arm that printed anthologies and literary titles. To my knowledge, mine was the only one they never released.
The admin at that time held a strictly conservative view on art. They questioned many aspects of my collection. Why write in colloquial Filipino? Why center the theme on something so bleak like poverty and political unrest? My biggest influences then were the prose of Jun Cruz Reyes and Lualhati Bautista, and the poetry of Emman Lacaba.
The school decided that my language was too vulgar and the theme was too mature for my age. They had a point. But I was a typical teenager with a penchant for romanticizing identity and selfhood. Ultimately I felt defeated and, ah, misunderstood.
The following poems are all serious attempts at poetry. Unlike “I Missed Supper”, “You Alone”, and the shitbits that I post on Twitter, these drafts were written to hopefully create something that would resemble even just a skeleton of a semi-decent piece.