For the past few days now, I can’t help but remember my teacher. Perhaps because I am finally done with the comprehensive exams (and hopefully done for good, meaning hopefully, I’ll pass), and the only thing left to do now is start the bloody work on the thirty poems.
Back in his classes he told us that we, as writers, must always keep journals. Journals are tools, he said, and are more than records of our lives. A writer, a poet, who religiously writes a journal will find it easier to work. The journal can work as a draft, a pre-poem. In a journal we can test how keen our senses are, how detailed our observations can be.
That was the class for creative non-fiction. As part of his requirements, we were made to write a journal which we had to submit to him at the end of the term, apart from the 6 or 7 memoirs that were also required. Questions were raised as to how ‘formal’ the journals should be, or how intimate, afterall, he would be reading them and we would be graded.
He just told us to write it the way we’d write a diary. It needn’t be formal, if it’s not our style to be formal in our journals. As for privacy or intimacy, he told us not to write anything we feel uncomfortable to share.
I resolved not to cuss in those journals. That’s the only restriction I imposed on myself, knowing how our teacher is put off by cuss words in our works. I once wrote “horny” in one memoir – it’s not even a cuss word, but he asked me to replace it. It was alright. I get his point. According to our teacher, cussing is the easy way out, especially in poetry, and if we are to be really good writers, poets, we have to find ways of saying how damned a thing is without saying f*ck.
Blogging was not even mentioned in class then. That was 2004? 2005? I guess it never occurred to anyone. Besides, I had no blog at that time.
At that time when our teacher required the journal, it was my first time to write a journal again after so many years. I quit writing journals as a kid because I caught my mother reading them. Funny how I could so resent my mother then for reading my journals while I keep a blog now that is open for the whole wide world to see.
I would not mind my nanay reading this now. I have invited her to read on since I started. And I have nothing here that did not come from my heart. I can stand for everything that pours out of it. From the occasionally graceful, to the spontaneously awkward.
Especially since this blog is more than a journal. Much as I have tried making it an equal mix of the professional and the personal, it can’t help being an address most of the time, in one way or another. An address to loved ones, to friends.
Dedicatories. Even most of my poems are.
I remember my teacher giving us specific instructions back in poetry workshop class for us not to submit to him poems with dedications. I think he wanted to encourage us to write with a faceless audience in mind, to prevent our work from being obscure, understandable only to one specific person, the one for whom the dedication is made.
I guess I will just have to find a way to make the dedicatories significant not only to the persons I make them for but also for others who might read them. That’s an even greater challenge.
I love my teacher but I guess I’m not that obedient. I guess I can take the harder route.
Expect more dedicatories/dedications.