Cauda raconis

TELL the tale in killer honest and dead earnest in one sitting… after this anyway, your head goes. Chopped off.

Ah, Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Scheherazade Suite” hammers out and away on the desktop’s sound-blasters, urgent in its recall how a sultan’s bride kept her head intact for a thousand and one nights— nearly three years—and how she kept a captive audience captivated each night with her fount of stories.

So you were asking how I hacked away through over 600 entries in various categories to come up with my winners in a nationwide writing competition for journalists…

One word: Scheherazade. Tell your story as if your life depended on it.

Too, we can throw in Aristotle’s counsel—“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”

I guess that’s what writing, writing about life, and gleaning two-bit significance in life is all about.

Ah, that’s awfully useful yardstick… comes handy when an outfit, a foundation or government entity hales me as juror in competitions—art contests that leave my sights strained poring over sense in paintings…writing jousts, it’s quite easy to skim through every entry’s first 3-4 paragraphs… the truly outstanding grabs you by the throat or by the balls.

A news story is a story… might as well tell it in killer honest and dead earnest, grab a reader and squeeze. Hard. A soft approach lets whatever’s grabbed to slip.

The contest sponsor made this year’s work for jurors a lot easier. Why, they had the names of the writers tabbed on to their respective output… a by-line to a feature or news story offers a clue to the quality of the writing… and most of these by-lines have become hallmarks of shoddy, dull reportage… walang kalibog-libog.

See, Aristotle’s counsel fits like penile shaft into gushing nether gash—“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”

And what about doing a Scheherazade? She was the daughter of a grand vizier to a cuckolded sultan who chewed thorough thoughts—natorotot —and turned up the practice of going through nuptials and a honeymoon with a new bride each day… and disposing her head the next day on the executioner’s chopping board… so graphically Freudian in its discourse on emasculation and castration.

Credit Scheherazade for weaving out an intricate tapestry of tales night after night after night… after getting wedded to such a ruthless groom…

The tales were downright engrossing—there’s an unexpurgated version in our library, the sexy, steamy narrative is intact.

Such wondrous story-telling, Scheherazade just kept it going and going… kept her head… sultan kept her kep…Dong delos Reyes


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