From the twentysomething and below

Ella knows my frustrations as a writer very well. I always find myself lost for words during the last hours of my shift, and she'd subtly (or otherwise) goad me to pursue some topic or some avenue at stardom. One time, we ended up discussing my plans of submitting something to Youngblood, that thing in the Inquirer which features opinions from the "twentysomething and below."

I ended up admitting that I haven't really thought of something to write about, or in this case, how to write it. After all, I didn't want whatever I submit to end up reading like one of these blog entries, as if there's still a need to make myself feel good. She merely said, "go!"

I have been thinking of how to write things lately. I've been frequenting bookstores lately, for one reason or another, and incoherent phrases have popped up in my head. Incoherent, yes, but at least I have phrases. I'm not rushing anyway.

Today I woke up earlier than usual - it's a Saturday, after all - and went to the newspaper. I was lucky to get my hands on the news section first, and after randomly flipping through the pages - I do that before I actually read the stories - something caught my attention on the opinion pages. The day's contributor seems to strike a chord. No, wait, the name is familiar. No, too familiar.

I went with my first instinct.

"Lau!" I texted. "You're in the newspaper."

Now, Lau isn't exactly the writer in the block. Not that I'm elevating myself to dizzying heights - I earned that reputation cleanly. She does well in school, but she's not the person you'd expect to have something published. She's not part of any school publication. (That distinction went to Jackie and Marcia, at least during the first year.) She doesn't even have a blog; her Multiply account's barely updated with photos. She's not exactly a goofball, but she doesn't have to write anything to prove anything.

But indeed, it was her on the newspaper. I didn't need to take a second look. It says so right there. Lauren Anna M. Montino. While other people can afford pseudonyms, she manages to spell everything out. Her column was about prayer, and how she works around with it. (In Ariane's words later in the morning, "Lau has always been one of my idols in terms of faith in the Lord.") It reads well, although all too familiar, and yet I was overcome with a weird sense of excitement and surprise.

"Weh," she finally replied. "San?"

"Nag-submit ka sa Youngblood?" I answered. "Eto na. Inunahan mo ako!"

She herself was surprised that her essay was published. Turns out it was a requirement for news writing class, that one last elective she took before graduating two weeks ago. I wonder how many were in that class - twentysomething? - and, among all those write-ups, it was hers that made it to the printers, and consequentially, around the world.

And, in a twist of irony, she's the one goading me to submit an essay. "Sige gawa ka lang!" she went. "Di talaga inaasahan, no? Siyempre ginawa mo para sa requirement..."

I think she herself was surprised. Then again, I wasn't rushed myself. I'm still looking for the right way to talk about something, making sure that it makes an entire column but not longer, without having to mention stuff as mundane as everything else I've been saying. Maybe I do need to be at the bookstore more often.

"Sabihin mo [kapag] na-publish ka na, ha?" she said.

"I hope," I answered. "Ang burger ko?"

"Eto," she jested. "Kunin mo na!"

"Di kita ma-reach, 'nay," I said. It was a call back to college goofing.

"Di bale, 'nak," she replied. "Next time na lang!"

By then I've finished reading the column, no longer surprised, but perhaps still feeling a bit surreal about it. Not that it can't happen, but it's very unexpected. However, if something's on paper, it must be true, and the blurb at the end of the column confirmed everything. Lauren Anna M. Montino, 20, is a [fourth] year AB Communication Arts student at De La Salle University-Manila.

One, she's already a graduate. Two, she's unwittingly revealed her age.

And your responses...

Nothing is impossible ;-) just have faith...you'll get there..

Anonymous Anonymous10/12/2008     

you can do it! :) i wish i could write as well as you...and be published too! :)

Anonymous Anonymous10/12/2008     

you write too well not to be recognize!

Blogger N.10/13/2008     

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