Influences (or Why I Write the Way I Do)

Natalie Goldberg (free-flowing writing)
Clarissa Pinkola Estes (wild woman writing)
Jane Hutchison (direct-to-the-point writing)
Ernest Hemingway (simple words writing)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Father's Things

i finished part 1 (history) of the Kaantabay chapter today at 430am. what i thought would take 5 days, actually took 15 days to finish. one thing that delayed the writing was the scouring for factual data on naga city's public finances and economy. this took about 5 days.  at one point, i got desperate because local government data is not only outdated but also not periodic.  you could get average family income for 1990 but that ends there. none for 1995, 2000 or for the last 10 years.  mahirap maging researcher sa naga talaga.

in my desperation, i took to rummaging over my dad's files just to chance upon any data --- any data --- that will tell something about naga's or the bicol region's situation in 1987 or earlier.  his files still occupy one 4-row filing cabinet and 2 rows of another.  i got to see my father's writing one more time. those neat compressed strokes that could not quite hide his controlling nature. his expertise in training, project proposal writing and project management. his experience in the academe, in government and about five years before he died in 1994, in NGO work. he formed his own NGO that was based in daet, camarines norte. sometime before i was about to graduate from college, my dad asked which company i want to work in.  to his surprise (and also mine), i blurted without reservation, 'kahit saan, wag lang sayo' (any where but yours).  i felt the need to explain immediately so i said, 'kasi ganito. kung umaangat ako, sasabihin nila, ah, kasi anak ng boss yan.  pag hindi naman, sasabihin nila, bakit ganyan? anak pa naman ng boss'. (it's like this. in case i get promoted, they will say, of course she's the boss' daughter. if not, they'll say, how come when she's the boss's daughter?')  either way i lose. i will not prosper professionally under his wing.  indeed, nothing grows under big trees.

but seeing his things, it's amazing how our work is very much alike. in reading his proposals, it's like reading my own writing given the precise yet authoritative tone of the sentences. i suddenly missed him, so much. in my hands, he is alive. i did find an unexpected population fact sheet of all things (he attended a family planning seminar once --- why o why?), the master plan for the bicol river basin (grrrrrrrr, this would have been rich material during my proposal writing days in schema and bceom!), and several econ, physical and social stats for naga from 1986-1992 (pwede na kahit 1986) when cory aquino was still making 'paganda' (versus papogi). but what i did find as a whole, about my father, about his legacy to the world in his writing, his patience, and his professionalism, i found much much more. i miss you so much Daddy...

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