Saturday, December 15

The instinct

A person would not really know his or her first word because naturally, even when a child’s brain is likened to a sponge, it does not take in a memory long enough for a 20-year-old person to recall it. To watch your three or four-year-old self learn how to combine and recite letters would be a groundbreaking moment, almost like witnessing a divine act. In short, learning a language is a milestone. It is a time when our parents finally get past comprehending our cries according to its pitch, volume, and pace. A time when the language center inside our brains instinctively activates.

Charles Darwin stated that a man’s language ability is an instinctive tendency to acquire an art. Thinking more of it as a “pick your poison” situation, I happened to choose writing as an instrument of expressing my ideas. Even with the convenience of speaking the same language with your readers, articulating ideas into words is the most difficult step that makes writing an art.

My fondness in writing first developed when I started listing down my secrets. I distinctly remember writing that list in my Totally Spies notebook and hid it in my Totally Spies designed envelope bag. It was exhilarating having something no one can know about but it is within their reach. Then, the markers with invisible ink, the ones you can only see under a UV light, were invented which got me into writing daily diary entries. Writing was a secret to me then. It was a private experience, and I am my only reader. Until I reached my last year in high school, I started to see myself get better at it. Eventually, my classmates picked me as a scriptwriter, then my writing went on.

In college, I spent three years of my time writing literary pieces for the Flame. I was criticized and stripped down;
it was how I learned that everything should reveal itself. I learned from my previous mentors, Ate Arvee and Kuya Philip, that writing is nothing like a hasty assignment. A finished piece should “sit for a while” then read over again and again. To show, not tell; to write drunk and edit sober. Tease the readers, do not spoonfeed them. Above all else, they taught me to tell the truth.

Language is so tightly woven into human experience that it is not possible to have a life without it. It is an incredibly powerful tool for manipulation, to alter someone’s thoughts and beliefs. In this time when there is a threat to press freedom, the truth might be written in transparent ink, but not all readers have a UV flashlight to see past the lies and secrets. To have this light is a privilege and a responsibility. Having something close to an instinct, I expect that Artlet graduates acknowledge their privilege and responsibility to share this light for the freedom of our oppressed brothers and sisters and the lost victims of injustice.

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I would like to thank my family for placing my books back on the shelf every time I finished writing a creative piece. And for giving me money to buy books.

To 4ELS1, thank you, guys, for being the way you are, supportive and competitive.

To my Flamily, most especially to the Letters team—Corheinne, Maica, Zymon, Mean, and Adrian—you made my job easier. Do not stop writing! Magsulat para sa bayan! F

For feedback, email andreajacinto.theflame@gmail.com.

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