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Writing 101: lessons from Spider-Man and Harry Potter
February 25th, 2008 posted by JB under Alumni Stories, Opinion

[Emailed and written by Dennis Torrecampo (Adamson Chronicle editor-in-chief, 1991)]

Spider-Man’s dad Uncle Ben (as reminded by Deity) couldn’t have said it better: With great power comes great responsibility. The same can be said about writing, regardless on which medium it is communicated. There is a huge responsibility attached to each message that is magnified several times for the audience that reaches it. That message defines the writer and his choice—stand, ideology, viewpoint, and character.

Left in the wrong hands, the message loses its value, relevance and at times beauty. Used correctly, words liberate minds (the speech “I Have a Dream” by Martin Luther King and Jose Rizal’s novel Noli Me Tangere easily come to mind), guide lost souls (picture Chicken Soup for the Soul, “Desiderata” and the likes) and salve the pains of a broken heart (think Pablo Neruda and his mastery of love poetry), to name just a few.

Such is the enormity of its power that those who wield it carry with them the privilege of captive audiences or a readership that internalizes the messages and breathes life into each written or spoken word. A writer’s vision is now expressed and realized—a timeless inspiration that lights the flames of revolutions, defines nations, builds relationships, and promises hope.

Manipulated to serve concealed motives, on the other hand, words can also deceive, enslave and confuse. These are sins of omissions (half-truths) and commissions (blatant lies) meant to prop up an image of wellness despite a crawling cancer, of false hopes and paper-tiger strength in the midst of crises after crises. Tolerated for long, it conditions the public mind to believe the mirage before them and to accept wickedness as normal occurrences.

No one wins in this set-up except those who choose to steal, kill and lie about the truth for a living or survival. A writer’s silence, or worse, complicity at these times is a disservice to the responsibility of reporting the truth. Once discovered as an accomplice, the writer loses his or her credibility forever.

It is at these trying moments when one’s worth as a writer is challenged the most. Genuine writers question the drama being played before them and then dig deep for facts that are otherwise hidden or propped up by the razzle-dazzle meant to cloud the real issues. Their innate skill at finding the truth, of separating bluff from beef, is just the beginning. The real action is their choice upon the discovery—will the truth silence them into cowardice or connivance? Or will it embolden them to write and publish the unvarnished reality?

Professor Dumbledore said it best when he told Harry Potter that “it is not our abilities that define who we truly are. It is our choices.”

Last 20 posts by JB

Tags: Adamson Chronicle, Adamsonian, Adamson University

About the author:

JB has blogged 101 posts

Read the Comments

[ # 1830 ] Comment from Rastafariana [February 25, 2008, 6:44 pm]

Nice article, a pleasure to read.I hope to read more from him!

[ # 1832 ] Comment from deity [February 26, 2008, 3:20 am]

It was indeed an awesome piece of reminder on how writing can change the world. I just had to correct that one. Kelangan ba quote mo pa koh?

[ # 1833 ] Comment from JB [February 26, 2008, 4:12 am]

well, mentioning who said what is a way of saying “thank you.”

[ # 1834 ] Comment from deity [February 26, 2008, 4:14 am]

oh, you’re sooo welcome.
so, where’s the liver spread?
am waiting…

[ # 1835 ] Comment from JB [February 26, 2008, 4:21 am]

it’s on its way.

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