Saturday, July 08, 2006

Refrigerator magnet material

As an English teacher, I derived great pleasure and pride from reading well-written essays of my students. Some of my kids were capable of writing the most amazing stuff despite the time constraints imposed by their stodgy old teacher (that would be me). Checking papers was a chore I detested, but the written gems I came across made the task not only bearable but even enjoyable at times. I honestly believe there were quite a few of my students whose writing skills were far superior to mine, or could potentially exceed my own limited talents. But then there were those who showed occasional-- and unexpected-- flashes of brilliance: the underachievers, the kids who flew below the radar, but surfaced from time to time to blow me away with their untapped genius.

Karen (Dorothy) Ramos was one of those diamonds-in-the-rough. She's now in her first year of university at my (and now her) beloved alma mater, the Ateneo (can't forget the "the", right Jen? :p). Recently she had an assignment for her English class, and she was stressing over her essay. I told her to just relax and let her natural writing "voice" come out. Presumably happy with the result, she emailed me a copy of what she had written. As I read it, laughter bubbled up in me, but pride swelled in my heart as well. I never wrote anything as refreshingly honest, as sharply funny in my freshman year-- heck, in all my years-- in college. I am posting the piece here as evidence of the student outdoing the master. :)

* * *

I Kissed Writing Goodbye
by Karen Dorothy (*snicker*) Ramos

The day I broke my pen was the day I kissed writing goodbye. Way back in fifth grade, I knew I was guilty, and writing was my crime.

You see, I didn’t write for myself. I did it because teachers thought I was bloody brilliant. I wrote to impress.

I wrote for all the wrong reasons. I wrote so I could legally cut class to represent my batch in some inter-school poetry writing competition. I wrote so my name could be published in some magazine, too. Never mind the fact that I detested poetry. Writing them got me attention… and that was all it was to me: Just words bunched up to form meaningless stanzas to get meaningless praises from meaningless people who think that faking appreciation will make them seem profound. It’s just like using the word melancholy to describe anything that resembles sadness. Oh, Melancholy! God, I hate that word…and I’m beginning to hate this essay.

I realized my writing was a lie. It was never my passion. I was good for my age, but it was not a form of expression. So I stopped writing. But I also stopped believing.

Now, I write pretty much the same as I did back then. I still write like a fifth grader. I write with a bit of humor, a bit of me… no longer to impress. I don’t use words I would not normally use in conversation. My writing has no pretenses, it is flawed and I like it.

Although, I can’t help but wonder what could have been had I not bid ‘writing’ adieu. I swear I could have conquered the world one discombobulating word at a time. I could have my minions. They could feed my ego as I write my crappy poetry for others to try to decipher. They won’t be able to, but they’ll spend their lives trying to put meaning in something that really isn’t worth anything. I’d make their lives a living hell. I’d…


The day I kissed writing goodbye was the day I saved humanity. After all, the pen is a powerful thing. It can be used to create new worlds, to manipulate minds or to vandalize school property. I’d bring mine out again once I know the time is right. College might be good training ground. You’re probably wondering if I’m ass-kissing.

The answer’s yes.

This paper deserves an F.


At Wednesday, July 12, 2006, Anonymous karen said...

I'm telling you...

This is your best entry yet. XD

"We operate on conceit."

At Wednesday, July 12, 2006, Anonymous karen said...

(pansin mo damang dama ko? pa english english pa ako. namaaan.)

At Thursday, July 13, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi ms. lim and karen! i know you don't know me, i am karen's friend. i am currently a 4th year student of miss Pe over at his little school named ICA!

i just wanted to thank you for posting this! i love karen's writing as much as you do! hope you post more of her work! she'd never show me so i am relying on you!

thanks! and more power to this wonderful blogspot!


At Monday, July 17, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Karen: You learn fast, my young Padawan. :p Now go memorize all the Ateneo cheers in preparation for next year's UAAP season (really, who cares about this season when there will be no Ateneo-LaSalle game? hohum).

Fair: Pleased to make your acquaintance, and thanks for your comment. I hope to meet you in person one day soon. :)

At Monday, August 14, 2006, Anonymous Ida Cua said...

I enjoyed this entry! Really made me laugh. :P Galing! Haha!

At Tuesday, August 15, 2006, Blogger Ailee Through the Looking Glass said...

Naks, Karen, you have a new fan. :p


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