Post #91: A Statement on Writing

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Writing is a growing and ongoing process. I've been committed to writing for almost 3 years, cultivating the craft through papers and Webpages whenever time permits. I have grown better and learned further as I write. Yet, there is still more to know and learn. There's more room for improvement, as in more more rooms. It's a realization for me: I have a lot to learn.

Though I'm flattered whenever I'm complimented, I still know in myself that I have more to learn. I see errors in my posts here when I just started blogging, which I care not to erase to preserve originality, and maybe see to it that so far I have grown.

Thus, I have to practice more often. How will the craft be honed if there's no output to work on? No wonder I'm writing this piece.

I have to learn a lot not only in grammar and structure, but I also have to learn a lot outside the writing thing itself. I have to improve on my productivity and beat procrastination. I have to practice getting my muscles moving to move the pen on paper, scribbling my thoughts. I also have to cultivate my mind, keeping the flame of creativity burning, and in turn bringing out the creative juices. And with that, I have to learn to deal with different things that go around writing: writer's block, failure, being different—those kinds of things.

Which brings me to this point: as much as writing is a process, it is a struggle. I found it hard to write in the past days. Writer's block—that's the word. Let's also include the hazy weather and the not-so-spacious rooms. It's now a longing: that someday I will have a very spacious, air-conditioned room where I can concentrate and write, maybe while classical music is on the background.

It's not easy, I now realize; but I have to go on. The failures, the weariness, the struggles—they are all a part of the process. Yet, these are opportunities to grow. They can open doors where good things await inside.

I still have a lot to learn. I have to practice more. I have to do better. I am sure of those 3 preceding sentences.

This is the goal of this process: growth. The best imagery I can envision about this is a flower, or a plant, struggling against the ground, then finally blooming under the sun.

While the process continues and the learning expands, I seek for that growth : a flourishing mind, a well-fed brain, an active body, and a passionate heart—all of these to work in harmony for my growth and productivity as a writer.

Book Review: My Darling, My Hamburger

Many of us still read teen-oriented novels, from the foreign bestsellers of John Green and Veronica Roth to the local stories of HaveYouSeenThisGirl. There's more to that, however. We miss a lot from old young adult (YA) novels, those of which—unfortunately—can only be found (or better say unearth) luckily in secondhand bookstores.

There are many YA novels that I now consider classics (not only Tom Sawyer or Little Girls!), but for this review let's take an American author who was for 10 years a chemistry teacher—Paul Zindel. He writes so much about the realities of adolescence, starting with Confessions of A Teenage Baboon. He reveals more of those in My Darling, My Hamburger, a novel that is now around 44 years old.

The story centers around Maggie and her best friend Elizabeth (or Liz). Dennis and Sean, best friends as well, joins along with the two in a roller-coaster course each of them will ride on. They are all in the senior year, thus they are about to graduate; but they will find out that senior year won't just be the "end of high school" for them, but also a beginning, an unfolding of the real world.

As the story goes on, Sean dates Liz, and Dennis dates Maggie (thanks to the earlier couple). They begin to make choices for their own, as well as deal with the impulses and emotions they encounter, then see how much these choices will affect the future ahead.

My Darling looks at issues that the youth usually stumble upon, has to ponder and consider, and be knowledgeable of, such as courtship, meaning of life, and human sexuality.

The novel also poses the fears and tendencies that might be realized in the colorful and abstract painting of adolescence. It shows the complexities of teenage life, especially around a deep relationship at a stage as early as teenagehood. You, like I do, may not be that type of teenager, being engaged into a sort of "dating" or "boyfriend-girlfriend" thing; but we can learn a lot from this.

I admit, as I read this story, that it shows a lot of that romantic stuff—kiss here, kiss there, hang out here, hang out there—which I feel is too early for adolescence. But in continuing the story, the pictures become clearer and realer.

You may go into fantasy reading the romantic conquests of girls and boys in Wattpad fiction, but in "gems" like this you may capture some fantasy, but the reality will actually show up.

Until its wonderful end, it's worth reading and thinking about. The most notable I've learned from the book is this: you have a choice, and you have to be responsible for that, so make smart ones.

I just hope novels like this get republished. My Darling, My Hamburger is an example of the types of fiction present YA readers need to read, and maybe may find valuable.

Adrian The Silent


I know it in myself. I cannot deny it. Many people, especially very close friends in high school, see me as a talkative (at the least) and engaging guy. By timing and exposure, I get to speak and talk and converse among people. Yet, many still have an impression of me as the opposite, and I don't deny that.

At many circumstances, I'm silent. Quiet. Static. Loner. But, silent is the best term I'll accept.

Perhaps this is one of my marks of being a writer; a mark making my desire for writing really fit to me; perhaps the reason why I'm inclined to make my voice heard through written words rather than spoken ones.

But, believe me, I want to break that silence.

I've already did that before, but I want to do it again. I seek to break the barriers that are still there, and have more connections while still being myself.

I've recently heard and learned that it is said that there are 4 personalities in general: sanguine, phlegmatic, choleric, and melancholic. I am sure that out of those four I'm the melancholic type, though I'm not always depressed.

The fact that I'm under the melancholic type of personality is a part of the revelation of who I uniquely am. The way I am wired is different from very enthusiastic and ready-to-mingle people. That doesn't hinder me, however, from opening ways to get connected to people and create friendship. As of this writing, I'm more convinced about that.

With that melancholic personality, it is supplementary that I'm often timid. Therefore, I have to brave myself when getting into different crowds wherein I'm expected to socialize.

I observed as well that what holds me back from getting connected is fear: fear of being rejected, of being misunderstood, of being ignored, of being cast away, even of getting too far in many ways (e.g.: bad behavior). But now as I write this, I'm more assured that these fears shall not be permitted. I'm now surer that I need courage to break the silence.

There are times when I prefer to be alone, and most of the time I'm fine at solitude(which is, most of the time, a must on writing). I cannot stay like that always, though. Humans need other humans. People need other people. And usually, the need is met by breaking the silence.

I sometimes think of myself as a radio. Stations are already operating whether the set is on or off. But for you to hear the voices or the sounds, you have to turn it on.

In this matter, I find it gross to use the term "turn on". Nevertheless, my line is always open, and you can drop by. Either you or I start the talk, creating an atmosphere of connection and camaraderie, and hopefully a friendship will be built.

What I'm trying to expound throughout all this is that, first, I accept that I'm melancholic—a silent man by nature and maturity; but I also acknowledge the need to be with others and the joy of doing so, especially in standing in the Lord's presence.

It's all just a matter of closeness and confidence.

I have already broken barriers, often in high school; but still more connections around me are ready to be built. I am domed with barricades, so I must shatter them. I have to break walls, or better, climb over them. There shall be no hindrances.

While the Lord works in me to make friendships possible, I have to have courage to start those connections and make use of the tools to break those walls; but caution must not be ignored.

Only then will I not be mistaken as all-time silent.

What do you think? Are you also shy or silent often? Have your say at the comments, or @adrianconoza on Twitter, or through e-mail at Share the blog if you may! 

The Radio Broadcasting I Know and Love

Last year, I won 3rd place in field reporting in the radio broadcasting competition of the District School Press Conference, and the school our whole team were representing won 3rd place in the competition proper. I did the script of a 5-minute (at the least) newscast, and played a role on one of the 4 field reporters.

I was urged by my English teacher and some fellow seniors to join the team for the competition. I decided to go since it sounded interesting. At first, it was sort of uncomfortable for me to do, but as I went on knowing the basics and practicing and preparing for the contest, I began learning a lot and enjoying the experience with my teammates.

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Ever since as a child I gained interest in media, from television to print; yet what seems to be not much appreciated by teenagers is still my unfading interest. As an elementary student, I would turn that circular part of the radio around, especially when the radio is on the AM band, and find out what station I am hearing. Furthermore, my parents are constant listeners—from RJ 100 to DZSR 918 to 702 DZAS. When Internet became accessible to us at home, I learned further the stations and each of their histories.

As an adolescent, I grew a constant listening ear for Crossover, Magic 89.9 (for Friday Madness), BBC Radio channels in United Kingdom (via the Internet); then Jam 88.3, 98.7 DZFE, Retro 105.9, and even DWBR 104.3. These are my choices everytime I turn the radio on.

During the recent school years, I usually tuned in to Jam, and DZFE later on, especially when I worked overnight and refused to sleep as a sacrifice. Whenever the radio's on Jam, I began not only to like current music more, but also radio work on FM. As I heard the DJs mixing the music and talking to their listeners, I heard something nice to do in the future. I heard a possible career.

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Before that, there was still an interest to be in the field of news, whether on radio or TV, maybe print; but aside from my springing interest in writing, my pursuit shifted from journalism to communication. I may mimic Gus Abelgas or Ben Tulfo (don't think of asking me to do so!), but I now desire more to be like the voices I'm hearing on sensible radio: Mike (not Enriquez), Lambert, Russ Davis, Rudolph Rivera, Jimmy Jam, The Triggerman, Bon Vibar, and a lot more.

I want to be a DJ on Jam; or present the concertos and sonatas and compositions on DZFE; or maybe go Retro with old school music; or report the top-of-the-hour news on DWBR and maybe have a show like Mitch Albom's there; or hopefully manage or direct a radio station, even a government-operated one.

Moreover, I want to talk about things on air. I want some discourse on air, be someone for listeners to hang out with while they discover new music, drive, work, or relax. I might talk on a news/talk radio; that can be on DZRJ 810 AM. But, I want to combine talk and music, maybe like Jessica Zafra before.

I now see radio broadcasting as Jam, or other non-mass-market music stations do it. Befriending your listeners, playing them alternative or various music, responding to song requests, and even raising topics and speaking out your opinions or stories.

It's not anymore the usual reporting and news delivery I've done at the radio broadcasting competition. It's being a disc jockey for a maximum of 3 or 4 hours and being a friend on the airwaves (but I still find it good to say the news in the manner 104.3 does it). That's what I like to do in the future, aside from writing prose and poetry and, hopefully, making music.

Those are the ways I like and hope to be as a broadcaster.

Philippine Mastermind

One pounding beat. Then another. And another. And one last more.

A brass fanfare follows, alongside a snare, slowly going crescendo, then blasting before it pauses. Alongside this sound is a capture of a long, black, swivel chair that seems to be a kind executives sit on.

The atmosphere around the studio is black and serious. Spotlights show up, shining at the chair, then to four people sitting on one side.

This is how every Mastermind episode begins. This is what the game show is known for—its seriousness, shown in the dark studio and in the theme music entitled "Approaching Menace".

This is a game show where intellect counts a lot. This is not aired in the Philippines, but it is very popular in United Kingdom, where it aired since 1972, and stopped at around 1997, then came back at 2003.


There are 2 rounds in Mastermind. In the first round, the four people are going to be asked, one by one, by the game master about a specialist subject each of these contestants have chosen for themselves, which the player—I suppose—knows the best. That subject can range from human parasites to the life and works of an author.

Each will sit on that black executive chair, and the game master is in front of him/her. Each is given 2 minutes to answer correctly as many questions as they can. If they don't know the answer, they may pass. The stop of the time is signaled by a silent buzzer beeping 4 times.

When all the players are already done, the second round takes place, when each will be asked again by the game master on general knowledge—current events, facts, pop culture, etc. The time is extended to 2 minutes and 30 seconds. The order of contestants in this round is changed, the one with the least score in the previous round being the first to answer in that black seat, and the one with the largest score (or least passes in case of a tie) being the last to sit and answer.

The scores from the 2 rounds are summed up, and the one with the most number of correct answers (or most correct answers with less passes, in case of another tie) wins, and goes on to the semi-finals.

Whoever wins the semis will move forward to finals, where whoever wins will receive the title of "Mastermind" of that particular year (thus, Mastermind's an annual—let's say—tournament). The price is a well-crafted glass bowl, which I can say is a token/symbol of honor. I suppose there are no cash prizes, but I believe that the real prize is honor, like receiving an honorable mention in graduation, or being salutatorian or valedictorian of the class.

Not like any other game show

Mastermind may look boring for some of us, but this game's uniqueness and simplicity amazes me. It's very interesting to me that if there is just a broadcast of it on cable, or a local version of it here, I would watch it a lot.

The uniqueness and seriousness of this game is due to the game's creator, Bill Wright, who was inspired by his experiences in World War II, where he was interrogated by the Gestapo, Nazi Germany's secret police (source: Wiki, of course).

This is a game show of intellect and nothing else. It's close to a quiz bee, but I find it better than Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? (which I also find great). We can learn a lot in this show, especially that there are questions in specific topics. Like other game shows, you may play the game, try to answer the questions, especially in the general knowledge part, and determine perhaps how much you know about things at the present.

What's also interesting about the game, when it was aired in the 70's to 90's, is that it was filmed at some highly regarded institutions, including Brittania Royal Naval Academy.

"Mastermind: Philippine Edition" 

So, if there would be a Philippine edition of Mastermind, perhaps it will be held occasionally on the grounds of universities like UP, UST, Ateneo and La Salle; or on the halls of DOST and National Museum.

How about the game master? He should be a very intellectual person fit for the game's seriousness. Perhaps Edu Manzano (at the least) or Lourd de Veyra, or Freddie Abando, the serious-sounding journalist on People's Television (PTV), or Martin Andanar.

The language, in my opinion, could either be English (for formality and originality) or Filipino (for wider reach of audiences and local originality).

The station? I figure out PTV is a good place. They want useful programs, or "edutainment"? Then why not Mastermind? They air ASEAN Quiz Bee, so why not Mastermind? The game's broadcaster in UK, for your information, is a public station—BBC (specifically BBC 2).

TV5 can be a good spot as well, since they have WWTBAM. Probably next to Let's Ask Pilipinas, or before the current affairs program, though that can be difficult because they air PBA.

ABS-CBN is also a good broadcaster of game shows from time to time. GMA can have a good help with Mastermind, now that I miss game shows there, which I regularly catch before the primetime news. However, it seems unfit for a program like Mastermind. I also think of Light Network. Why not?

The big question, however, is will Filipino audience watch Mastermind? We're all fond of and used to a game show that is in a way contrast to Mastermind. Colorful sets, joyful atmosphere, and cash. Mastermind is a nice show, and it can appeal to many professionals around the country, from teachers to lawyers to politicians to scholars, from the honed brains of elders to the brilliant minds of the youth; but will it gain much audience to satisfy not only the viewers, but also the network?

Well, if PTV will air it, that won't matter, and I suggest that it be aired at late nights. Nonetheless, will they gain audience, especially that PTV is somehow passed by and not stuck on. Yet, a game show on public TV can bring positive response from viewers.

In addition to Mastermind's possibility on Philippine tubes, Mastermind can be used as a game in schools (on Foundation Day and quiz bees) and universities (in org events). This kind of games appeals to every intellect out there, either they are salutatorians and valedictorians or simply those who are humbly smart.

Mastermind is a very unique and intellectual game that honors the value of knowledge and wit. It can be a good show on Philippine TV, like Wheel of Fortune and Deal or No Deal, but it's doubtful if it will be appreciated by the majority of the Philippine audience.

It's enough for me, nonetheless, if I catch it on cable and make it a habit to watch. And if so a Philippine version takes place, I hope to join or be the game master.

How about you, what do you think? Is a Philippine Mastermind possible? Who can be the host, where is it best to air, and would you like to join? If you would, what's your specialist subject? Please have your say at the comments section, or on Twitter @adrianconoza, or on Google+, or e-mail me at