I met up with an old classmate of mine today, Vanni de Sequera, who in my humble opinion, is one of the best writers we have around today. Even back in school I always thought highly of his work including that of another batchmate, Junie Agcaoili (who currently works with Chikka if I am not mistaken). I'll be doing work for Vanni (who used to be the editor for Manual and Maxim) for a couple of mags that sound exciting. Both are a welcome change of pace from the sports stuff most people know me for.
So here is my writing odyssey in a nutshell...
While still in college, I began writing for News Today, a Filipino expat newspaper that was sold mostly abroad. There I did sports covering the PABL (as the PBL was known back then) and became friends with quite a few personalities. I think this was the time I suffered permanent brain damage. You see during those years, as a new-hoops junkie, I would watch the UAAP game day in its entirety. All eight teams played on every game day for a total of four matches. Even through the sucky NU games I persevered. As part of my job, there were also like three or four PABL matches every game day as well. And in my spare time, I would go watch the PBA games at the ULTRA. So all that basketball must have hurt my head and my test papers began to strangely resemble basketballs.
So I moved on to the Philippine Daily Inquirer where I contributed lifestyle stories that gave me a lot of flexibility. I did a lengthy piece on Rizal Underground (their song "Sabado Nights" was all the rage at the time) where I followed them around for a week from one practice to another to a gig in Quezon Ave. I wrote it in such as way that wasn't fit for the Lifestyle page. "Pang-SPIN magazine," was the comment I got so they had me do a rewrite. I did more music stuff, articles about comic books, and profiled some Filipinos who were doing well in their own industries.
I switched to an advertising job after that and it made writing kinda difficult. But I was able to do a few more pieces - mostly about bargain compact discs (for PDI) and a few album reviews (on Prefab Sprout, X, the Cure, and a few other bands)
It was while I was in the United States that people egged me on to write professionally. I was writing letters to home about my misadventures and travails and I guess I must have made quite a few people laugh and cry. I even stalked Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada at the Big Apple Convention, Midtown Comics, and outside Park Avenue in hopes of showing him a script for a "realistic" story about the X-Men, Captain America (hey, this was post 9-11), and Quasar - yes him of the Quantum bands. Well, I'm still holding out for that and maybe I can follow my friend, Gerry Alanguilan of Wasted fame into comic books and maybe get one of them on the big screen. On a note where I digress, I got Alex Ross to autograph Mythology and the over-sized JLA graphic novel Justice. Have a vid of him and me and pics with that other-worldly genius Mark Millar.
But I do have a series of short stories that Mai and I are developing. A couple are children's stories and there's one that's a modern-day Elvis Presley homage story. Hopefully we'll get them published and on the web soon.
It was while chipping in for www.atenista.net that finally got the creative juices going (thanks in no small part to a special somebody). And from that I moved to www.ateneo.edu, www.teamateneo.com, Business Mirror, Men's Health, Tower Sports NBA, Transit, Blueblood, and now... well that's for another time.
ANYONE WANT TO VOLUNTEER TO HELP OUT WITH SOME OF THESE ENDEAVORS, DROP ME A LINE AT firstname.lastname@example.org and let's talk about it.
I've always wondered if all those local magazines on the stands actually sell. Well, do they?
Not all of them do. Most don't.
But you have to admit that our locally produced mags are getting better in terms of production and content.
Here are some of my fave mags -- including a couple that have ceased publication:
1. Gear - This mag was way ahead of its time. Too bad it isn't around anymore. But it was definitely racy and edgy.
2. Spin - "Dare to be different" sounds so cliche-ish but this mag forced the next-on-my-list-mag to change and launch it's "perception vs. reality" advertising campaign.
3. Rolling Stone - Perhaps the most consistently enjoyable pop magazine read in the last quarter of a century.
4. Sports Illustrated - The Swimsuit issue initially fed my adolescent fantasies but that soon gave way to paying attention to great sportswriting.
5. Four Four Two - For the football fan in me.
6. Sunday Inquirer Magazine - I always thought that the best written newspaper back then was Today and the Manila Chronicle. The Inquirer began to get better in its style and the magazine was always a fantastic read.
7. Time - They've become hip in their style and layouts but the writing and reporting has always been relevant and top-notch.
8. Playboy - Yes, I do read it also for the articles.
9. SLAM - Ground-breaking magazine that brought a street feel to writing and layouts. But sometimes it comes across as a collection of feel-good tributes.
10. X-Ray - Indie culture lives!
11. The Village Voice -- The New York version not the crappy local edition. Best mag to go to if there are things you want to know about but have never heard of. Totally left of center and bohemian views.
12. ESPN the Magazine - If you love sportscenter then you'll love this.
Will post some old pieces from time to time. But watch out for PROTONS.
And hey, check out this mag. I love it.