Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pseudonyms, pen names, and real names

Writing in pen names or pseudonyms had been going for centuries. For the sake of time, I'll not dig into the history and the people who are into pseudonyms both past and present. Let's cut into the chase. I'm not a fan of pseudonyms, although I admire some works created by writers who happens to use pseudonyms. In fact, one of my influences in comic strip drawing is a man who uses the pseudonym Lyndon Gregorio.

When I started writing, I use my real name. One magazine call this attitude a rock star/metal attitude in a sense that opinions were made and they know EXACTLY who mentioned those opinions. It's not arrogance; it's being responsible and accountable. It is also a good control measure because people know your real name. If they know your real name, you'll be careful enough by being responsible in your opinion. You'll practice the "think before you click" attitude, and not the "blurt out before you block" attitude.

Please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that people who write with pen names and pseudonyms are automatically irresponsible writers. Please consider the words as a brotherly reminder.

This day and age made way to the new breed of writers. Indeed, the Internet created new writers, regardless of profile. I don't know if how long they've been writing, but definitely Internet have been their springboard.

There are Christian writers who made use of the Internet in order to express themselves. In fact, some have used pen names and pseudonyms. Despite my dislike for pseudonyms, as brother in Christ, let us be reminded to use it to good use. Use it to give good reminders. However, let us also remember that if ever we hit on matters like sin, let's do the "hate the sin, not the sinner" attitude. Let us remember that there is a thin line between righteous indignation and self-righteous hate. Despite being writers, we are not audience to the ills of society, both inside and outside real Christianity. We are in it. We may not be of this world, but we are living IN this world. Some Christian writers are condescending. Some are humorous. Some are point blank logical. Some are tactful and brotherly. Some don't want to be categorized in all of he aforementioned approaches. Despite of the different approaches, let's not point out that we are not perfect, yet we hit and act like one, especially if we are hitting on our spiritual brethren. Let's not act like Big Brother, lurking like an authoritative audience. After all, as long as we're human, we are involved.

As Christian writers, with or without pen names, let us be examples of God's grace by loving our own and not by hitting the, like lightning to the metal rod. Let us learn from Pastors. They hit behind the pulpit, yet they demonstrate love and care after the sermon was preached. Real brotherly love is expressed by having a broken heart every time owe hit the sin of the fellow sinners only saved by grace. Doing otherwise is pure hate, and worse than that, sadism. A true intellectual will not use his or her own gender or the hormones underlying it when writing. He or she writes because it is point blank honest, yet sincere. He or she doesn't under the guise of honesty just to display pure hate and practical fault finding.

Despite our differences, fellow Christian writers, be it pseudonyms or real names, my respect is on you....and so does my concern.

Keep on writing!

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Long Article on Adult High School Stuff

School Year 2011-2012 is coming to an end in a few weeks. Recently, my students under Public Speaking are finished with their culminating activity that was held in the auditorium. It served as their final examination. They’re all so good. I acted more of a facilitator for them during that activity rather than a teacher. Most of these high school students will graduate this year. Some will stay partially because they needed to finish a specific number of “manuals” (it’s a Christian school thing).

Speaking of high school, years have passed since my high school days. It’s been 15 years. Still, some memories are fresh as if it just occurred a few weeks back. I can still remember how I find it hard listening to lectures, yet I can work so well when things were given to me in writing. Hence, in a Christian school setting, I work so well in manuals (but not as good as my Top 3 classmates). As a high school student, I’m not that charismatic. I’m not the popular one (I’m not pitying. It’s true). I’m not athletic. Although I am basically a fit student, I’m not athletic enough. Back then, how I wish I could play hoops or sprint like the players back then. However, it’s not destined in me, despite the zeal within me. It was just now that geeks or the likes are popular (thanks to Big Bang Theory, CSI, Criminal Minds, and movie incarnations of Marvel Characters like Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Ghost Rider etc.), but back then, if you like cartoons, you are “childish” and “kengkoy”. It is just now that trivia-giving is cool (thanks to the late Ernie Baron and thanks to Kuya Kim Atienza), but back then, you’ll be branded as weird, boring, and uncool. The difficult part of my high school life? Interacting “normally” (or to put it appropriately, acting the way most people act). Not to mention some bullies.

Speaking of high school experiences, I know I’m not alone on this, but one way or another, we are hurt by the experiences we had back in high school. The sources vary. It can be from a teacher who had treated you wrong. It can be from senior, junior students, or even your own classmates. Because of the popularity of the word “bitter”, we can’t admit that to avoid being called “bitter”, coupled with the sarcastic “move on”.

It shakes my head when an alumnus of a church-school system, one way or another, call their teachers, senior members, and in totality, the members negative names, when, looking back in their high school days, they were given chances after another. To add to the injury, they have pleasure in making of fun of the now well dressed, well educated person by making fun of his high school blunders. Yes, it’s funny, but doing that thing on a long term basis is an indication of baggage.

As a volunteer teacher of my Alma Mater, I have seen how teachers have grown old and wiser. After all, they will not be the teachers that they are admired and respected if they have not experienced blunders. The leaders committed mistakes one way or another, especially how they approached us back then. This is the very reason why they became better leaders. Leaders become better leaders because they commit blunders and just moved on. You wanted a better leader and a better teacher? Show me one, and I bet those people will tell you their mistakes and blunders that eventually led them to be better individuals.

Let us remember these things: members come and go. Any high school baggage that you throw to the members of today will hit the wrong target. Nowadays, looking around, in my personal observation, this is a brand new generation. Chances are the people that hurt you during your high school days are no longer there. The people that offended you? They have learned their lesson one way or another. If they’re not yet learning, God and life will make them learn until they learn. The teachers and leaders back then didn’t mean harm when we were approached negatively during our student years. After all, teachers who are really being mean didn’t last that long in a church-school setting. Their approach is different, but their intentions and willingness are golden.

High school life is a very wonderful life, despite the experiences. When the idea of bitterness sinks in, just count the positive things that occurred to you. The day you were selected in the high school basketball or volleyball team. The day that you were chosen to be a delegate. The day that you become champions. The day that God gave you the charisma to the point that you are approached first before you approach them. Refresh those positive memories. I believe all of us have them – positive members. There are students who never got the chance to be one, yet they went on with their lives and eventually became good on what they really have.

To the current graduating high school students, forgive your teachers if you feel they have wronged you. If you are in church-school setting, forgive the members that offended you. It’s part of the spiritual growth and journey towards maturity. We ourselves have our own journey. We ourselves have offended people one way or another. High school life is a life worth remembering, especially if it is remembered positively and treated with a teachable heart.

Congratulations in advance, batch 2012.