MANILA: At 73, let me share my discovery of The Fountain of Age as opposed to the Fountain of Youth.
I stumbled upon pro-femnine-mystique-turned-transcendent Betty Friedan’s book The Fountain of Age on 22 May 2006; looking back, that year, when I was already 66, began the greatest flow of my creativity; today, I’m still that creative, and I thank God. (I thank, therefore I am!) Before that, the two books that made me creative were How to Write, Think & Speak More Effectively by Rudolf Flesch (circa 1965), and The Mechanism of Mind by Edward de Bono (circa 1968). The Flesch was a gift from my friend Manny Alkuino; the De Bono was a gift from another dear friend, Orli Ochosa. The Fountain of Age was/is incomparable inspiration.
From 2007, I have published six books abroad on popular science, the latest coming out last month, April. (I’m now working on Book 7.) These are composed of essays appreciative and interpretive of science in the pursuit of inclusive market-oriented development by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and its public, private, philanthropic, people and peasant partners in Africa and Asia. ICRISAT has peasants as partners? Yes, the farmers must be helped to help themselves.
Right now I have three books unpublished, and I’m reworking for print on demand my book on Charice, the Filipino international singing sensation. I am going to submit it to amazon.com. It’s unauthorized biography.
Also right now, I’m working on the commemorative yearbook of the Golden Jubilarians of the University of the Philippines Los Baños; I’m also Class ’63. Ever creative, I have had the insight to make the volume an unforgettable keepsake, a unique collection of true stories of what UP Los Baños alumni have done for their country. This will be also in celebration of the 95th Alumni Homecoming & Loyalty Day Celebration of UPLB; after all, the theme of the occasion is “UPLB-Alumni and Sustainable Community Transformation.” As of today, I already have 40 pages of brief items of Alumni in their various efforts to serve their villages without expecting any monetary reward. Service beyond self.
I am also embarking on coming out on my own with two different types of publications. One is a technical journal; the other is a popular magazine.
The technical is an effort to show universities in the Philippines that publishing a world-class technical journal is doable. I’ve done it myself. I was already 63 when I became Editor in Chief of the Philippine Journal of Crop Science (PJCS); unbelievably, I did the desktop publishing work myself with my desktop PC. In doing so, I made two Philippine records in four years. One, I made the PJCS up-to-date from being late three years. Two, I made that journal ISI, deserving to belong to the world’s elite Information Science Institute list (now called Web of Knowledge). Our universities consistently rank low worldwide; one big reason is their dismal performance in publishing scholarly papers.
Even my alma mater UP is down here, not UP there.
About the popular magazine, I already have 45 pages, maiden issue, each page written by me. I’m the most creative writer in the world, you better believe it (if not, visit my blog The Creattitudes Encyclopedia, blogspot.com). With the magazine, I’m selling the “It takes a village” approach to local development.
You see, I have my original, productive work cut out for me. Which is all my way of saying this is going to be my final column for the Manila Times, for the moment. I’ll be around, in case you ask.
Or maybe not. As an FBI, full-blooded Ilocano, I have just accepted a one-year consultancy job to train Ilocano agrarian reform beneficiaries in several towns of Pangasinan (my home province) and La Union to make those farmers modern entrepreneurs, a species they probably never heard of. How do you turn a poor farmer into a businessman? It is problematic, but you have to. How do you teach old dogs new tricks? I’m a teacher and I love for you to say it’s impossible so that I will go ahead and do it! After all, I taught myself Microsoft Windows (now Windows 8), word processing and desktop publishing with Microsoft Office (now Office 2010) – any of which Junior and Senior Citizens will find good excuses not to try. I thank God that I am at the Age of the PC. I have learned to write, edit and publish using software, all contributing to my creativity that flows on and on. My fountain pen is something that will not dry up.
Gladly, I’m taking roads not taken. I have discovered, with Betty Friedan, the fountain of age, that age when you are free to reinvent yourself, to discover new wisdom and share it with the world, free. A transcendent feeling.
Till we meet again. Dios ti agngina kadakayo amin, Apo!
[The Publisher-Editor regrets F. A. Hilario’s decision. His following in cyberworld, Times readers specially those in the international and Philippine pro-life community and UP Los Baños will surely miss When Words Collide.]