People, Writing

Writing Relative

(Yes, I know I should be studying for my test on Saturday, but gallemit! I want to write!)

Earlier this evening my aunt handed me a sheet of paper with an article printed on it. I’ve completely forgotten the title now and didn’t even get to read it properly because she handed it to me while I was watching Friends, but I did remember the reason why she showed it to me in the first place–the byline had my cousin’s name on it.

“It’s her first published article,” she said. My cousin works for a magazine in Hong Kong, and has been based there for the past year or two. I’ve always known this, but for some reason (sheer stupidity, perhaps), I was surprised to hear that she’d published something she’d written. It was sort of a rediscovery for me, when I realized that my cousin is a writer. Isn’t she the first person I personally know (and am even related to) whose name I saw as a byline in something published? I even remember the event–my sister and I were sitting in her room, holding a copy of The Blue Flame (those of you who studied in St. Scholastica’s College in Manila know what this is), and my sister pointed my cousin’s name out to me. She’d written a poem (in Filipino, too!), and it was right in the middle of the newspaper’s centerfold. Sure, it was a high school newspaper, and it was a very short poem, but to a high school student, and her grade school cousins, that’s actually a pretty big thing.

I don’t know where my sister got the idea to start writing. It wasn’t because my cousin liked to write. Even before that incident with the newspaper, my sister was already writing all sorts of stories in her notebook. But I’ll admit, that I started writing because of them–my sister, and my cousin, I mean. I remember thinking how cool would it be, to have my name on a byline of the school newspaper as well. I think when I got to Grade 4 the next year, I tried out for our school’s newsletter right away (I didn’t get in until I was in Grade 5 though, and didn’t get anything published until I was in Grade 6). At first it was just because I couldn’t talk to my sister whenever she was writing, and having nothing better to do, I imitated her and started writing as well. Eventually I think, I liked it on my own, and have been writing ever since. Although anyone who’s read what my sister’s written would tell you that we have very different styles. But I’m starting to veer away from the topic.

I lost the knowledge that my cousin liked to write, some time around high school. She was in college then and taking up Fashion–more of an artists’ course than a writers’ (but I’m not generalizing, I know anyone can take up any course they want, I’m just saying that majority of the people I know who are into fashion are more artists than writers), and I figured that her writing days in high school were probably just a phase. She after all, liked to go out and party all night. She enjoyed house music, and the recent reading materials in her room consisted only of Vogue and other fashion magazines (I don’t even know their title -_-). Nothing wrong with that, I think she really enjoyed her course, and eventually her job as a copy editor at a fashion magazine. It was probably because she was focused more on fashion (and that includes buying clothes instead of books), that I forgot that she was interested in writing as well.

No, I don’t think this post has too relevant a point. I’m just proud of my cousin for having been able to combine her two loves (fashion and writing), and succeeding at making a career out of it. I think I forgot too that being a writer can actually be genetic, and that’s why I’m surprised when I hear that some relatives of mine have their written works published.

A few years back, another one of my cousins (although she’s a second cousin) got published in Youngblood, and while I’m aware that mostly anyone with a dramatic story can just send in their articles for this section and that you don’t necessarily need to be a writer to have your story published under this section, I am also aware that her article was still pretty well-written. The structure was good, the tone consistent, and she was able to get her point across. And that’s something not anyone with a dramatic story can do.

I’m wondering now why we don’t ever talk about writing whenever we have family reunions. Shouldn’t that be an advantage for us, since we have so many family gatherings in a year anyway, it should be fun to have a lot of people help us improve our craft. But I don’t know, I’m not really that close to either cousin I mentioned. And I’m already used to talking about writing with just my sister.

I guess I’m just happy to know that my family has a lot of interesting people in it. Well, all families have interesting people, I know, but I’m happy that some of those interesting people in mine are interesting, because they like to write. And although that kind of makes me the underachiever out of all of us since they’ve all already published something–my cousin, an article in a foreign magazine; my other cousin, an essay in the local newspaper; and my sister, an actual book, I believe that there’s still some time for me to catch up and come up with my own thing. Don’t our traits all come from the same gene pool, after all?


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