“1sts” (9. Publication)
(Newsclip of my 2nd published winning piece in a writing competition – The Philippine STAR, October2, 2004).
It was a busy day and I was drained of all my energies after a long sales conference I attended that day. I was working in the pharmaceutical industry then. I was driving back to the hotel I’m staying when I decided to drop by a newspaper stand to get a copy of the broadsheet I failed to read that day. It was raining, I even used the paper to cover my head back to the car. I scanned the pages before starting the engine.
The world around me suddenly rolled to a halt. The pedestrian seemed to have stopped moving, the noise in the streets was silenced. The rain ceased. It felt like only me and the newspaper I was holding exists and matters at that moment. I felt a gush of cold air in my head down my spine, but my cheeks remained hot and flushed. I can’t believe I was actually seeing my face printed on the newspaper I was reading. My entry to the Swatch Watch Celebrate Life idea writing contest was published and I was one of the six winners from the thousand of entries in the writing competition I first joined – must be a beginners luck – and won. I pinched my arm to confirm I wasn’t dreaming. Then the noise returned, it was still raining, the world around me continue its movements as it was, and like a feather caught by the wind I alight on my seat back to earth.
Life, I’ve realized, is a seed.
Neglect life and it shall perish.
Celebrate life and the seed will grow
Family and friends are extension
Of God’s love to nurture the seed.
Joys and sorrows are moments
That mold us . . .
The fruit is a sturdy,
Seasoned tree ~
(Winner, Celebrate Life Idea Contest – 2bU, Lifestyle section of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, December 18, 1998)
I went back to the newspaper stand and bought 2 of the copies left. I drove around the city to buy all the copies I could get from all the stalls I know that evening; I got 12. I instantly called my friends telling them to get a copy of the newspaper and find out what caused my excitement. But everybody called back telling me there are no copies left – I forgot it was me who emptied the stalls. So I invited them over and we had an impromptu celebration.
I didn’t really got a big prize. Seeing my work published was enough for a reward. I treasure until now the Swatch sparkling life limited edition watch I got from the contest and is in my memorabilia box at home. But I don’t know what happened, of the 12 copies of the newspaper I bought that day that I was not able to keep one for myself which I regret. The publication kept me elated everytime I think of that moment for years but wasn’t enough to keep me writing and to convince myself I could write. It was a one shot luck.
It took me another 7 years before I was able to gather enough courage to write my thoughts and submit an entry to another writing contest again which I won(must be a beginners luck part 2).
It was that same feeling the first time I saw my picture and my entry published in the news paper – everything came back to me and I could never forget that moment. The essay posted “About Me” is the excerpt from my winning entry, “The ‘One Hundred Love Poems’ That Reconciled Me With Poetry,” to the National Book Store and Philippine STAR’s Essay Writing Contest which was published October 2, 2004. Please click here to view:
My second win made the difference. It served to give me signal to go on and write, which I obeyed. I was published twice before I was convinced I can write. I feel a certain elation whenever I finish writing something. But looking back to those moments when I saw my works published on a national newspaper, the elation was different. Its not really the prize that mattered, it’s that different kind of “high” I felt when I saw my works printed.
It’s every writers’ dream to be published, and I understand why.
click link below to view my other “1sts” (moments).