I AM a writer. And writers write based on their personal experiences and those that they encounter. Novelists and film writers, for example, most often write composites of people to "accentuate" message or they break down a specific reference subject's persona to several characters to augment conflict or structure.
On Facebook, we straddle that imaginary line between "personal drama" and objective "opinionating," literary outburst and harmless quip, straight news or info sharing and stupid trolling. Hence, social media becomes a crisscrossing interplay of a literary device, subjective/private rumination and random banter. I get in and out of such door, as you do. Like, I may write a strongly-worded rant about failed relationships but it could be my own failed valentine. I could write a beautiful love poem but maybe I write it for a beloved cat or someone else's need or bliss that I read on my Homepage. Many times I write about my views and takes on parenting and family, but it could be a pooled observation of 15 families plus mine.
So if anyone sees themselves in what I write and feel good about it, I feel good as well. Thank you. That is one of the major pleasures or objectives of a writer. Pursuit of mutual fulfillment (in writing/reading), albeit a moment's sweet shudder. Many times though, some people see themselves in those words or prose and feel somehow offended. I apologize--although my past mentors (as a writing student many years ago) always reminded me never to justify or rationalize my work. I am sorry, anyhow. My work isn't meant to hit at any individual person unless I mention a specific name. Or my rants and ramblings aren't meant to glorify a person unless I mention Mother Teresa etc. All the love poems that I wrote could be written for someone I love/d or someone that was loved by someone else, or those words were inspired/motivated by something that I read or saw--and I said above, it could be about a pet animal. But a writer is not writing for just one person or 15 or 500. He is writing for 5,000 Facebook friends and 5 or 50 million out there in internet universe, or anyone of the 7 million walking on the street and may enter a bookstore and see my book and buy it. I don't believe a writer targets one specific individual as his/her audience, although it may seem that way in some instances.
Meantime, a writer writes to breathe life in and out--in the form of love and joy. It may not sound like that for some, but I believe writers write to heal their wounds as well as humanity's pain, infect an optimistic vibe to the universe, or just simply try to contribute to a day's pursuit of happiness.
I REMEMBER the days. During my most virulent political activism. Me and my bandmates didn't even talk about politics that much unless it is a funny conjecture. Except me perhaps, my band friends were basically apolitical or Born Again. In between practice, we talked and shared corny jokes. Lots of laughter. I wrote all the words in all our songs and most hint political undertones--some even ideological. Yet we never argued about those songs--they all came out good, I am sure. I never had a problem with people or friends who got different or even clashing political and religious (or non-religious) beliefs.
But I have a huge problem with people who dismiss those who disagree with them as dumb or idiots. Political discussion is good--I grew up listening to them and I spent my college years bantering political theory and politics of the day. I learned a lot in group soirees and weekly workshops. What changed through the years? It isn't the subject/s of discussion. It's all the same--new characters. What changed is how people discuss these days. It lacks respect and understanding of the other opinion. We don't have to accept a thinking other than ours. We just have to realize that truth isn't an absolute shape based on our own personal design. It is molded as per individual reality and choice. A very basic human right.
COME TOGETHER. As editor of Filipino/Asian-American newspapers in New York City and San Francisco, I was asked in a TV show in Los Angeles why is it the Filipino community seems fragmented or divided. Tough one. I only had a few minutes to respond to an obviously huge subject that requires a panel discussion so I simply cited a fact that exists as traditional truth among my people in America.
First, the Philippines is an archipelago of 7,641 islands—inhabited by a people with multi-ethnic backgrounds (apart from Chinese, Spanish and American lineage) with dozens of languages and dialects. In the US or in other countries where we move and work, Filipinos gather as per provincial/regional roots. Ilocanos and others from the north, Visayans from the south etc etcetera. So it is logical that they form get-togethers like Ilocano Association of New Jersey or Cebuano Association of New Orleans. Sadly though when some disagreements surface in those groupings, they create splinter groups like La Union Ilocano Association of or Cebuano Protestants Association of. Do the math. So instead of coming out as one to, for example, support Congress lobbying in regards a law that benefits the community as a collective whole, nothing is actually resolved beyond committee hearings. Bloat that equation to national (American society) level. Humanity hasn't been fragmented and divided as today's schism or polarity is. It is not just a traditional political party philosophy that unites a certain sector of American society—although all of us confront the same socioeconomic ills or realities out there. The current election accentuates such a blurring of lines. Donald Trump apparently shakes the Republican hierarchy and the primary battle between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders screamed out the fact that the Democratic Party supporters are two intensely warring groups.
But let me leave politics for a bit—and zoom in on society at large, beyond politics. Obviously we are not just divided by our party allegiances or religious/non-religious leanings--but even on daily-life preferences. Food choices. Sexual orientation. Man/woman politics. Political correctness. The correctness of language. Fashion sense. Religious and “new-religious.” There are also old hippies and neo hippies and new ager hippies. Yuppies and yippies. Freegans and Vegans. Etc etcetera. There are so many ways to say no than to say yes—to hang out and discuss stuff and things. More reasons to dislike people than reasons to like them. Meantime, Social Media easily and conveniently exhibit our pieces of mind in here and in here, we are sweepingly judged as this and that—so a few hours of meeting a person is simply a device to validate or confim what we suspect about a certain individual. We got us all figured out via Facebook. When long time ago people take time to know people. We don't create and build and sustain friendships in one day of chats or one-week of dancing in a drum circle or prayer rally.
The question is—where do we go from here? No, we are not going anywhere. We just have to hope that we will overcome the cracks and then come together again. Like, when I say—I can cook Paella for anyone? That'd mean, seafood or meat/seashells or organic vegetables or gluten free or whatever you want. I can compromise and we can negotiate. And when I say, I'd like to meet you in person after I wrote you a poem—but that don't mean I'd like to have a girlfriend tomorrow. I just want to share some corny jokes and hey I can perhaps help you write your memoir.