Tuesday, July 20, 2010

There's a story in 15 minutes

I came across a section on the website of a leading Philippine newspaper one day. It was a section where stories of filipinos living abroad were shared. Since I was once an immigrant, I thought I could contribute an interesting story. And since I wanted to indulge myself with a new project, I entertained this idea with excitement. Evenmore encouraging was the contributor's fee, and all stories would be included for a grand prize at the end of each year. Lovely!

Sadly, I don't have any worth writing for at the time I learn of this section. So I put that thought aside and hoping that a brilliant idea will pop up soon.

In one of my morning commute to work, I met a filipino on the skytrain. I chatted with him the whole time on the train for about 15 minutes. And at the end of the ride, I was moved by his story.

As soon as arrived at work, I opened my note pad and started writing. First, I wanted to share his story in my Facebook account under "Notes". Then later my fickle mind urged me to post it on my blogsite.

While I was halfway through it (juggling from my day's work to my writing), I realized that this was the perfect story to share on the section of the newspaper I learned couple of months ago. So I re-visited the website, followed the instructions and moved on to my writing. Though not confident with my composition, I still dared myself to see how far my writing would go. Feeling uncertain if it would even pass the section's standard criteria and editor's impeccable judgement.

I finished my story in a day inspite disruption at work. But it took me a few days before deciding to forward it to the editor, because I thought my piece was raw and amateurish. I thought that if I kept it for a few more days, it might probably end up in my blog. And if this story was good enough, then it would miss all that chances of getting to the paper. So I decided to gamble on it.

After a few days, I didn't hear from the newspaper editors. Few more weeks had passed, still no reply. I then got tired of waiting and gave up on my chances. Thought maybe it wasn't really worth publishing, and besides, I wasn't even confident that my write-up was as good as the other contributors, or even better. All I know was that I had a story worth telling.

After four weeks of keeping my story limbo in my computer and not sure of what to do with it now, I was surprised to get an email from the editor saying that my story was chosen for publishing. Really? I was stunned.

Right on, I scampered to the website and read my published story. There it was with a little editing but still contained the same essence I was trying to depict. I was a bit proud of myself for making another remarkable piece of work. It was also apparent how my writing grew through these years since my last work in 1999 on another leading newspaper.

If there's anybody I want to give credit to for this story is absolutely not me, but the man I met on the train one thurday morning. I was just the instrument - the keyboard and computer screen. The passionate writer who was inspired to write and believed the significance of the man's story.

Every facets of the day is a story awaiting to be told. The challenge is how to capture a piece that will stir the reader's enthusiasm and imagination.

In that 15 minutes ride on the train, I was a lucky recipient of a narrative meant to be written.