Saturday, August 18, 2007

Just do 8

I've been tagged by Solang (

Here are the rules for “8 facts”:

• In the “8 facts,” you share 8 things that your readers don’t know about you. At the end, you tag 8 other bloggers to keep the fun going. Each blogger must post these rules first.
• Each blogger starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
• At the end of the post, a blogger needs to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
• Don’t forget to leave them a comment they’re tagged, and to ask them to read your blog.

WRITE eight facts that your readers don’t know about you.

This was my task after fellow newsroom denizen Solang tagged me and seven other bloggers. In the “8 Facts,” a blogger “tags” eight people by sending this post of “eight random facts/habits about themselves” to their friends’ blogs and asking them to tag eight others.

After Solang’s tag, I visited her blog and the seven others, read their “8 facts,” and thoroughly enjoyed discovering new bloggers, as well as some facets I never knew about close friends and long-time colleagues.

But I still hadn’t written my own list. In a few hours, it will be exactly a week since I received Solang’s post. I feel spooked by my attempts to create what should be a very short list. It feels somehow like I’m writing before a mirror (realizing later that this is one thing I could include in the list and—deep sigh—worry then about just seven more facts.)

So, after several false starts and a severe writing hangover, I’ve decided to “just do 8” and beg the reader’s forgiveness for inflicting these on her:

I like to write facing a wall. I need to forget where I am to start and finish anything. I can shut out the world if the deadline has really been severely trespassed, putting my life (or my editor’s sanity) in extreme jeopardy. But I still prefer not to write facing a door, a window, or a mirror. I’ve been told that someday someone might just stab me in the back. I’ll take the chance, rather than have someone walk in and catch me talking to myself (or dozing when I’m supposed to be at work).

I like to finish writing a piece before taking a break. I take a sandwich for lunch, as well as bring my water bottle so I don’t have to line up at the carenderia and go back to find an unfinished draft has curdled, fizzled or, worse, refused to take up again with me until we come to a neat end. Since doctors though have told me that I will someday own a kidney stone as large as a mountain from holding in my bladder too frequently, I have modified this rule: with the cooperation of my bodily fluids, I will not leave a paragraph midstream.

I watch my back when prepositions and idioms are around. I never trust these two-timing shapeshifters. Fortunately, there is Google.

I always overwrite. I believe there is a newsroom malady akin to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): bombarded by deadlines, writer defers writing until the 13th hour, then panics, then gets too much data or data for somebody else’s assignment, and writes a piece that needs to be lynched and mauled before it will fit the available news space. Guess what? I don’t have PTSD. (I know my special reports editor is reading this.)

I write best when not writing: smelling books, just doing nothing, or reading some poor sod write about writing. Sometimes story angles and opening sentences occur when the mind is unguarded and left open. I know this from experience. (I’m not saying this only for the benefit of my editors.)

I plan the first line. Where closing lines come from though is one of life’s mysteries. The “clincher” is best not analyzed but, like silences and orgasms, just fervently appreciated.

I don’t like editing at all. I only edit because my newsroom pays slightly more to its editors.

I like writing.

Here’s my tagged 8:

Elisabeth P. Baumgart (
Fr. Stephen Cuyos (
Carlos Q. Tabada (
Jeneen R. Garcia (
Joy Sosoban (
Jianna Karla K. Olayvar (
mustAveabag (
Omar Dumdum ( 09173226131

* Published in Sun.Star Cebu’s Aug. 12, 2007 issue


isolde said...

Dear Mayette,

Salamat kaayo! As much as one wants to be rational and orderly about it, there's just something a little mad about writing, no? I have two short papers and two long ones due in the next two weeks, and as I was reading something completely unrelated to these assignments last night (my lectio divina, otherwise I'd go batty), a short story that I've been tweaking for the past month suddenly presented its possible resolution! And I can't say no to a short story, so it's sleep that will have to yield. :)

Salamat sab kaayo sa column.


Joyce Sosoban said...

I love the eight facts you came up with, Yette. I knew it! I'm a regular mad person—weird and beautiful. :)

Omar said...

Hi Madam!

I really didn't expect a tag from you. I tried my best to answer it. It's already in my blog.

I love your eight facts Madam. It encourages me to work harder to polish the craft.

I don't know what happened why I took the alternative path to public service. After my three years in DSWD Cebu and one year in DSWD Central, I'm now with the Presidential Management Staff. Public service gihapon. Ambot nganong naa ko sa gobyerno nga ganahan man gyud unta ko mag-suwat-suwat sa newspaper. Maybe this is my fate. ;)

Salamat Madam for being an inspiration.