Shortbreader Inspiration: Why I Write
/by Melford Maderazo/
My interest in writing fiction began when I graduated high school in 2002. I was fifteen years old. A book foundation visited our remote town and my uncle, who had only ever read Webster’s dictionary and Roget’s thesaurus, picked up a few books. The books, I reckoned, had been held by many hands as the covers had been ripped away and the pages were folded, crumpled, or lost. The books had come from the US and were given to the foundation without a fee. Two of them introduced me to writing. I will never forget; The Playboy Book of Horror, a collection of stories published in the 60’s which catered the works of my most favourite author, Ray Bradbury; and, Asimov’s Magazine, 1984 issue.
It was quite a while later when I started writing fiction – December 2009. I was studying at college when I passed by a bookstore. I purchased two books – solely because each cost half a US dollar. One was a sci-fi novel (Mockingbird by Water Tevis) and the other was a sci-fi magazine (Fantasy and Sci-fi Magazine, 1994 issue). The story in the magazine The Seven Views Of Olduvai Gorge by Mike Resnick inspired me to write my first sci-fi short story, which I then submitted to Shortbread in May 2011.
I now buy second hand-books, short stories collections, and magazines, all to help improve my own writing ability. I particularly enjoy reading stories from Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Robert Heinlein. I love Science-fiction but also make time to read the classics such as Hemingway, Tolstoy, and Faulkner.
When we read stories, we are transported to other worlds. For me, I feel as if I am the confidant of the narrator or a god observing his own people. Just like all writers, I want people to see what I see, hear what I hear, and feel what I feel. I want them to delve into my imagination and learn from the world I’ve created.
When an idea hits me, it never stops tormenting my mind. I ‘need’ to put it into words. I don’t write to earn. (Not that anyone is offering to pay me for my work – at least not right now!) I spend my spare time writing to get feedback from my friends and a few masters in the field, (especially at Shortbread). And for now I consider that greater than earning money. It helps to develop my skills. Thank God for Shortbread Stories and its author-members like Adam, Diane, and Jay who spend time providing inspiration to beginners like me. The Shortbread team with Fiona and my BF3 (I baptised Adam, Diane, and Jay as my Big Fan 3) have all helped me progress in the field of writing. Their considerations and criticisms are also one of the reasons for why I write.
Perhaps I would never have written many stories if I’d not been a member of Shortbread. You see, I’ve reached more than a year writing regularly. And that is my greatest achievement in writing fiction to date. It’s even inspired me to publish my stories in the future. But before I can make this all come true, I have to face my greatest challenge: Writing in the English language.
I’m no English speaker. English is not my native language. And so why do I write in English?
I write mostly sci-fi. Firstly, I could not write a story in this genre if I employed my native language. There are lots of words like spaceship and alien, that don’t have translation in Filipino,. On the other hand, many English words as well don’t have translation in Filipino. My earlier stories on here have translational errors or unusual words. That’s often because I have to compromise to find the correct word when translating from my native language.
Secondly, there are large numbers of Filipinos who read and understand English. The language was imparted to my country during World War II when many American soldiers stayed in the country for almost half a century. It has become a subject in all schools, from primary to tertiary levels of education. Finally, as English is the International Language there are many English speakers around the world. And obviously, I write to reach as wide an audience as possible.
My attempt to write in English has succeeded because of Shortbread, which enables me to let other people in diverse cultures read my work. And in the end this is the reason we all write, to show the rest of the world our very own corners of the universe.
Melford Maderazo is an aspiring writer from the Phillipines.