By Raissa Robles
To those wondering why I haven’t posted anything for over a week – which seems an eternity on the Internet – my apologies.
I suffered from political overload. On top of many assignments from my newspaper. [Just an addendum: Among the stories I had to write were about the soldiers’ beheading along with a suspected terrorist’s torture; as well as about a suspected accomplice of a mass murder. ]
A lot of local journalists and foreign correspondents suffer from this off and on. Covering and writing about the same old problem time and time again just gets to be too much.
It’s like a curse. You have to write about the same problem and try hard to look for a fresh angle and there is none.
A lot of wire correspondents especially have been covering the Philippines for over two decades. They serve as the memory banks of the nation. This was why Oliver Teves of Associated Press was able to put in context yesterday President Benigno Aquino’s historic meeting with Moro Islamic Liberation Front chairman Murad Ebrahim.
It’s the first ever meeting between a rebel chief and the Philippine president after Aquino’s mom met with Moro National Liberation Front chief Nur Misuari.
But let me not go into that. This entry is all about how I cope with political overload.
1. First off, I detoxify. I don’t read the newspaper for several days. Horrors. A reporter not reading the papers. Of course I cheat a little by taking a peek at the news online. Just in case someone big keels over or a bomb explodes.
But yes. I TRY not to read the news. All that bad news gets into one’s system somehow and can induce depression. I have to purge my mind.
I’ll share with you a little secret of my trade called journalism. Journalists usually make “bangko” for the weekend. That is, since we know that very few news stories break out on Saturdays and Sundays, we usually get a piece of news that we can safely write about for submission Saturday or Sunday. This could be an exclusive or a feature type story that analyses what had happened or that tells what had happened from a human angle.
So yes, I usually TRY not to read the news during weekends but postpone this to Monday.
2. I watch a movie. Either a soppy one like Cinema Paradiso or something along the lines of Blade starring Wesley Snipes or a disaster movie like 2012.
3. I play a video game. Yes, I’m not ashamed to say I play video games. I don’t think it’s silly. If it is, it’s just as silly as a bunch of huge men chasing after an orange rubber ball and dunking it into a hoop.
My favorite video game right now is Plants vs. Zombies. I pretend the Zombies are the greedy politicians. It makes zapping them ever so much fun.
4. I listen to music.
5. I read poetry. There is something about poetry that amazes. Especially the ones that use the simplest words to convey the most profound thoughts.
Sometimes, especially after news of yet another suicide, I’m in the mood for Sylvia Plath who wrote:
Dying is an art.
Like everything else,
I do it exceptionally well.
I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I have a call.
Then I shake off the anger and the pain with this poem by e.e. cummings:
may my heart always be open to little
birds who are the secrets of living
whatever they sing is better than to know
and if men should not hear them men are old
may my mind stroll about hungry
and fearless and thirsty and supple
and even if it’s sunday may i be wrong
for whenever men are right they are not young
and may myself do nothing usefully
and love yourself so more than truly
there’s never been quite such a fool who could fail
pulling all the sky over him with one smile
And now, feeling refreshed, I’m ready to cover politics again….