Magic #19 – Writing for kiddos

I remember, when I was in Grade 2, I used to write stories. One of my friends did the same, and I wanted to compete. Sort of. But my literary pursuit was shortlived.

In high school I ventured into writing kids’ stories again — or at least, I remember writing one story and painted illustrations for it. I submitted a sample to a publisher. After some weeks, the well-known local children’s book publisher replied saying they couldn’t publish my work if I was not of their religion (non-Catholic). After telling her about my rejection, my doting tita in the States was furious and said that that publisher didn’t deserve my — in her unprejudiced opinion — good work.


Now I feel like I want to explore doing children’s literature again. I guess it’s a way of sharing my own experience when I was still a child, for which I’m very grateful: being surrounded with colorful books filled with life. I had a picture book of animals (which introduced me to zebras and giraffes and penguins), a slew of fairy tales free in every can of Nido milk, and several second-hand hardbound collections from, again, my tita in the States. If it weren’t for those books, I wouldn’t have gained a hunger to know more and be amazed by life’s simple details.

I’m sorry it’s taking me three paragraphs to say that, really, I’m excited. Here’s to a future Palanca Award! 😛

The stories will be posted here.


Magic #6 – Classic letter writing

The only time I use snail mail is when I send letters to three bishops I admire and treat as my spiritual fathers (it’s possible). Apparently, snail mail is not dead. Two months ago, I received a reply from the secretariat of one of these bishops (this retired prelate used to be called Cardinal Ratzinger, I don’t know if you know him). The reply came via snail mail.

So my point is: snail mail is alive, and I think it would be good to use it once in a while for the following reasons:

  • The ladies and gentlemen at the post office deserve a break by actually having some customers. The one who took my letter today was very attentive and courteous despite the sweltering 4pm heat. I was amazed by their endurance at having to work in such a dilapidated place; pawnshops are far better!
The humble Ermita Post Office. From

The humble snail mail center. From

  • Writing in longhand makes you value the fact that you are communicating to whoever you’re writing to because you’re actually doing something with concentration and effort!
  • Pen and paper on hand can be a potent trigger of childhood memories (mine include writing to a doting aunt in the US and to “penfriends” in Finland and France, and drafting cheesy poetry). As for whatever bitter memories pen and paper may trigger, though, a non-sentimental filtering process should come in handy.
  • The entire exercise will make you grateful email was invented!