A Writer’s Identity
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About a week ago, I was in an office room sat around a conference table with a bunch of writers and writers-to-be, or so I assumed. It was an orientation for a web content writing stint I got through JobStreet. At that time, I wasn’t so sure yet about pursuing it or if it’s worth my sweat, so I was just actually checking it out to know if it’s doable or if it’s rewarding. So while we were waiting for the person who’s supposed to present to us the process, all of us were in that awkward, noiseless situation wherein everyone’s in mutual scrutiny. Everyone’s scrutinizing everyone. It was like in our heads, we were thinking, “Who’s the best writer among us?” or “Where do you guys come from?”.
I hate these kinds of situations because I tend to overdo it. I’m a keen observer, and when I’m in that certain mood of just going blank, looking deadpan while things are going on deep inside, I couldn’t detach and divert so easily.
“Af-tirrr thu arrr-ti-kul wuz up-loa-did, you wid then be crrre-di-tidd for yorrr pay-mint. Ev-rrri-thing iz in thu porrrtal olrrreddi. You dunt haf tu wu-rrri anything.”
The Indian lady presenter, who happens to be our supervisor now, was already finished with her PowerPoint when I found myself still making cautious glances at my peers, looking at whoever’s speaking, trying to measure his/her level of intelligence based on the questions he/she raised. There’s this big-boned old man with graying pony-tailed hair in extremely loose pants and blue faded shirt. Across me was a bald middle-aged lady with black lips and nails, sporting a purple Bohemian dress matched with what I believe is a black pair of Gothic boots. I mean, who would forget that kind of fashion? But well, I remembered her too ’cause she scared the hell out my stereotyping self when she suddenly entered the office unit and sat beside me at the reception area earlier that day. Another colleague (assuming!) that stood out for me was my seatmate. He’s a short, chubby guy seated on my left, wearing blinding round eyeglasses. He smelled like bakes (pot), and he had messy facial hair like mine. In my ten o’clock is this sophisticated lady with pointed spectacles and talks pretty fluently. She’s tall and skinny, and had that well-bred mien written all over her manners and gestures. The last person from the group that I can still remember now is the pregnant young lady, probably around my age, who was very silent the whole time, but asked the group a lot of questions when the orientation ended. I already had my analysis on each one of them even during that silent awkward moment while we were waiting. I had guesses as to what kind of writers they are, what they write, how they write, I already had that glimmer of each of their “writing identities”, and when I got to talk with them after the orientation proper, learning about their backgrounds and whatnot, my reckoning was proven to be quite accurate.
And then I put myself in others’ shoes, trying to figure out how to describe me, how to describe my identity as a writer. Or do I even particularly have one in the first place? I was trying to find a definition for me, trying to describe the writer that I am. Or that if there’s still something to describe. I’ve lost the drive. I’ve even lost the passion to do it even as an avocation. Can I be described based on how I look? Can I be defined based on what I wear? And then I realized those interpretations I had of those people, they’re not actually correct. I wasn’t able to define them. I wasn’t able to name what his and her identity is as a writer. ..because I haven’t read any of their works nor have I immersed myself in their thought processes.
That leads me to say, I haven’t really had any clear portfolio of my style, of my identity as a writer. I still don’t know myself and the depths and scope of my thoughts thus my writings. If I’m BenCab, I still haven’t discovered that my hands are for Ifugao art and heritage. I still haven’t found what my writing is and what it’s for. I realized that writers are defined by how they think and articulate, by how they weave the words to incarnate their minds, and thus by how truth and reality are formed with bits and fragments of moments that mark.
And even though “writing is a socially acceptable form of getting naked in public” as per Lolo Paulo Coelho’s words, I’m activating this domain to record the few things that matter in life. A lot of things are going on now, well, they have always been, but staying behind the curtains cannot help either. I’d rather be naked and proud like Oblation, than clothed in fear, shame or sheer delusion. I am a work in progress, and through this blog, I hope to build myself again piece by piece, minute by minute, moment by moment and soon to perhaps mold a writer’s identity.
You, what do you think defines you as writer? Defines as you as a person?