SOMEONE ELSE’S WINDOWS: To write and writhe

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews / 28 May) – Writing intimidates many people. They see it as an tough cerebral activity that is better left to those who possess the genes to weave words into a coherent, aesthetic body of work.

Yet, while it is true that some individuals appear to have an innate talent for it, writing, like any other endeavor, can be learned and mastered with dedication and practice. In fact, many renowned writers were rebuffed at first by editors and publishers.

Grammar, of course, is important, mastery of which comes from developing a good reading habit starting from an early age. Yet, it means nothing if a story has no soul, that is, if it imparts no message because the writer is detached from the drama, beauty, triumphs and tragedies of humanity’s struggles.

This means that writers must not only master grammar and the rules of good composition. They must also study history, sociology, literature, philosophy, politics, theology, science and other disciplines. They need to understand both the word and the world.

Perhaps this explains why Ernest Hemingway lamented: “Writing is easy. You just sit in front of the typewriter (in our case today, the computer) and weep.” It is, so to speak, a bittersweet experience.

Writing, therefore, is not merely a thinking process but a spiritual undertaking as well. It is a kind of spirituality that requires doubting and questioning “truths” to the point of heresy. It must challenge – even subvert – authority to remain relevant. After all, conformity is nothing more than self-censorship.

If anybody calls that madness, nothing can be more appropriate. For writing is a passion bordering on insanity. And passion is something that cannot be explained. It is something that looks unessential on the surface yet gives meaning to the things we love to do.

Passion ignites the euphoria during soccer matches. It sustains the marathon runner until the finish line. It made Jose Rizal compose the Mi Ultimo Adios while waiting for Death to come at daybreak.

Yes, writers must either bring their craft to the level of passion or not write at all.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached