Okay, I’ve always loved books. I devour them, I absorb them. And if people would stop commenting on my state of mind and insisting I wear a straightjacket, I would’ve married a nice young book to give me little book children.
Books shaped my life. Through reading, I learned how to write. And by learning to write, I took up Journalism in college and graduated with that degree.
I was thirteen when I borrowed this fun book from my classmate. It was R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps. I’m pretty sure you’re familiar with that one. Don’t Go To Sleep was so exciting I decided to write a story too, in the style of Mr. Stine.
Of course, my writing clock back then ticked just between ‘amateur hour’ and ‘derpy mediocre’, but I was so excited and proud of my first creation that I forced my friends into reading it. I wasn’t imaginative enough to create my own characters so the story featured me and my friends.
I wrote it in my intermediate pad and started something like this: “Give me back my pen, you stupid dork,” I shouted at Mark as I chased him around the classroom. When he didn’t stop, I picked up a textbook and threw it at him, hitting him in the face. That scene was inspired by something that actually happened around that time in class. I was so annoyed with my classmate, Mark that I did throw something at him. It was a lampaso (dried coconut husk used for scrubbing waxed floors into awesome shininess).
Anyway, the story ended with: The last thing I remembered was the bloody foot walking to Adrian. Since then, I’ve written a lot of shorts. Almost always, I didn’t get to finish them. I remember one involving a camping trip (inspired by our class’ actual educational tour to Legazpi City) where the kids have to lock themselves in the school bus to fend off a horrible monster.
Sophomore year and it was the V.C. Andrews phase. I couldn’t get enough since I’ve read Dark Angel. I wanted something older in my palette and Ms. Andrews was it. So I abandoned the kid-stuff scary stories like a sailor trapped in a ship full of Twilight groupies and exchanged it for gothic tales of incest and young love. Needless to say, I wrote some short fiction in the spirit of dear Ms. Andrews and her ghostwriter. They were about heroines caught in tough family drama and hormones. I used to encode it in our PC, have it printed and smack it against my friends’ faces so they could read it. I’d follow them home if they wouldn’t.
Here are some of them stories: Catherine – she’s a girl with a pleasant personality (what you might call fugly or in Filipino terms, ‘saksakan ng pangit’) who was so unloved by her family that she had to fake her own death by burning down their house (with her family still in it).
Iris – who has always lived in the shadow of her perfect sister, even after her death.
Jade – an Oriental girl who was sexually abused by her adoptive father. When she discovered who her real father was (a Triad boss), she had dear adoptive daddy stabbed to death.
Forgot-Her-Name girl—she fell in love with a famous violinist who was a guest in their home. But when she discovered him sleeping with her mother one night, she pushed him off the terrace.
You’re sensing a pattern, right? Someone’s always getting killed in my creations. That’s because I was having that transition from V.C. Andrews to Ed McBain. 😀 By high school senior year, I’ve run through various works of fiction; from fantasy to detective novels; from romance novels to cat mysteries (I know, crime-solving cats, what the hell?).
I loved the variety though; the mix of influences that reading has given me. So when it was time for me to choose my college course, I immediately picked something where I could write all time.
I never regretted it. 😀