Crossing the Rubicon
January 8, 2009 1:28pm CST
Very much like many of you guys here, I grew up speaking in my native tongue. English then as we all imagined, was reserved to be learned in formal school. Both my parents were well educated - my father was a trial lawyer while my mom was a science high school teacher - so all of us in the family spoke different languages throughout our adolescent lives, but not much of English. It was used sparingly used, though we had fun mimicking people on television. Fortunately, my early formal education was conducted in a third native tongue that was easy to master plus in the ubiquitous English language which was naturally popular as it was the lingua franca in media. I may have been a bookworm but this liberal arrangement did not force me to study English early. In high school, I wrote fiction in English. My diction could not have been perfect but i wrote stories that were close to my heart. I knew that I wrote with passion. My teachers must have noticed the compulsive nature in my writing as I penned narratives that they said would not normally come from an young adolescent like me. I was totally impervious of my circumstances, so much so that they had to invite me to write for the school newspaper. They even had to waive the normal requirement of me having to pass a writing examination, and that of having to be an upper classman. One of my English teachers who was then completing her doctoral degree in English Literature asked for my permission for her to use one of my stories as the subject of her Comparative Literature class that she was teaching in college. She invited me to join that class where I participated in the discussions with gusto. I was elated, to say the very least. In college, I went headstrong into a course in Journalism, against the objections of my father who warned me of the hardships of writing for a newspaper. I had known that he was involved in this endeavor during his younger years, but I felt ready to test the winds. I became a hot-shot student who started working part-time in a big national newspaper, but in a very short while, I discovered that my father was very right. The press did not always published the truth. I had always known that the world was the domain of the high and the mighty where they ruled over the weak and downtrodden, but I never imagined that the press could not really write at will about this. Rather than compromise my values, "NOT NOW..", I told myself and retreated into my cocoon, immersing myself into writing fiction. There was this Japanese guy on television who was interviewed but he kept speaking in his language interspersed with broken English so I did not really pay much attention to what they were discussing. I believe he was the CEO of Sony Corporation who had a masters degree of sorts and had written several books, but I was amazed when he said something like this, "When one speaks in his native tongue, he frees his mind and liberates his soul. When he pursues expressing himself to the limit, he may eventually find himself". I simply retorted, "ok.." After graduating in college with a degree in economics, I bagged a job in a travel company that paid relatively well, giving me the luxury of chasing my dreams in ceative writing. After myriads of literary pieces, I felt badly drained. A good number of my stories were published in some periodicals, but I was totally unhappy. Even after winning some awards, I still felt empty. I simply faded away by writing technical researches in economics. Much later in my life, a long-lost high school classmate appeared and I instantly got myself a new buddy. We had been playing tennis for a few days when we had the chance to have long talks about the good old times. He then asked me if I had tried writing in my native language. I was stopped dead on my tracks. He was so amused at the smile that I must have had on my face that he repeatedly kept asking me why I had that expression. I knew then that I had to agree with this Japanese businessman that this was time to act. I had no other option left but to cross the Rubicon. I have now been writing in my native language for several years. Nothing else has given me the fulfillment that I had long been longing for. Would you someday consider this option that this Japanese guy had offered? Should you decide to do so, may the GOOD LORD GOD keep the winds behind your sails.