Though his day job lets him play with semiconductors, my hubby, Julius, is a indie songwriter / musician for the band Tampipi.
The band used to be based in Japan and the original band members consisted of some engineers, a couple of English teachers, a marine biologist, and a member of the diplomatic corps. Unfortunately, they stopped public performances because some of the members had to leave Tokyo to explore new horizons. But with the help of technology, the band lives on and continues to produce music by collaborating with Filipino musicians around the world. Tampipi has guitarists from Tokyo, Dubai, and Manila, percussionists from Amsterdam and California, arrangers from Osaka, Quezon City, and Pampanga, and vocalists from Sydney, Brisbane, Canada, Manila, Baguio, and Tokyo. They've also collaborated with other Filipino indie songwriters and singers through the Facebook community, Songwriters Philippines.
Anyway, the other night, we were discussing parallels in writing fiction and writing songs. This article was supposed to be published in an online magazine, but it didn't push through, so Julius decided to post it on Tampipi's Facebook page. And since I felt some ideas resonate with writing fiction, I got permission to repost here.
Hope you enjoy it! :-)
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Tina and the Tubero
(Disclaimer: This is not erotica)
by Julius Joseph Santillan / Tampipi
“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
- Louis L'Amour
I’m a believer of these copy-pasted words. But as with most beginner writers like me, starting a song---or in this case, an article---is one of the most difficult things to do. Still, drawing strength from some helpful (and not so helpful) song-writing habits, allow me to roam before getting to my point . . . starting with these borrowed words about writing and water.
Water is an interesting concept for describing the flow of ideas from one’s brain. Water is vibrant. Water is the essence of wetness (according to Zoolander). But water is also messy.
Writing songs is a messy emotional exercise because the first few attempts at stanzas usually come out in random, disconnected words and phrases. This is especially so if one does not have a topic or theme in mind (take this article for example). In such instances, a piece of paper becomes a warzone of conflicting concepts / ideas, wrong grammar, and misspelled words. But we have to start somewhere--- so we go back to the topic of Water.
Before finding Mr. L’Amour’s words, I read something about writing and water faucets a few years back (my pasensyas to the writer whose name I couldn’t remember). The piece discussed ideas, water, and tina (dirt and rust in Filipino). If a faucet has not been in use for some time, the presence of tina is unavoidable. If that happens, we need to flush all the tina out before we can enjoy potable water.
This idea also holds true in the case of writing. In this case, writing is our faucet and tina refers to the repository of “wonderful” yet useless clichés that radio, television, print media, and the internet has deposited in our brains all these years. So how do we cleanse ourselves of these?
Start pounding on those keys or scrawl on pieces of paper to flush out the tina. What the heck, make whole songs---no---make a whole album with these tina. And in the process, abuse the Ctrl+Z or delete buttons (or Ctrl+Y if you changed your mind). Or better yet, do the old school eraser-scrubbing or paper-crumple-and-throw (ala-three powents!) technique for effect. The main purpose of this exercise to to take the tina out of your system, put it in physical form, and destroy it.
Why do we need to do this? Because I believe that deep inside all of us, there is a certain pureness that we need to draw out. But before that happens, we need to get rid of all the unnecessary things that prevent us from putting into form the exact thought that we want to express. These exact thoughts are defined by our experiences and learnings. These exact thoughts define what we are. And as with most writers, being able to convey these exact thoughts to our targeted audience (which can also be just ourselves), with clarity, provides gratification . . . and great satisfaction.
Satisfaction, I believe, is what writing thing is all about. Self-expression without any distractions is very satisfying. Writing provides this. Writing is a one-way conversation that allows clear self-expression. The only interruptions you will hear will be from yourself (or your “selves” for those of us blessed with multiple personalities). Tina clogs us up. Tina prevents us from getting to the nirvana of clear and untainted satisfaction.
So open these faucets and let the water flow. Be your own tubero. Start writing and reach for that goal of self-clarity. If you can, forget about other people first and write for yourself. Hone your skills. Clean your faucet.
It will be easier to convince people* to drink when you know your water is clean.
* People will have different preferences for the taste of water they like of course, but that’s a different story.
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Interested in listening to the music of Tampipi?
Check out their albums and collaborations! Have a listen HERE
Tampipi is open to collaborations from all over :-)
Have a story to tell? Message them on Facebook. Who knows, yours might be the next hit song :-) Hihihi
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Also, was browsing through Tampipi songs and found the perfect theme song for my #SparkNA novella :-)