I did agree with the celebrated Filipino screenwriter Ricky Lee, who once said, “Grade five is almost always the turning point for writers.”
I can vividly reckon the moment when I got a good rave from my Filipino teacher that I have a potential in writing, this was after hearing me reading aloud my piece, a short story I wrote titled, ‘Agimat’ (Amulet).
Actually, I forgot the details, but all I knew, it is all about a magical ring that provides certain power to the one who inherited that ring.
It’s actually a very passé plot, but I guess what made my teacher realize at the time—was that I can write aside from the fact that I was excelling in drawing since my Kindergarten days.
From there, I wanted to pursue it. When I reached my sixth grade, my interest in drawing waned. I was no longer that enthusiastic of competing with other fellow artists in school. I am more drawn in writing, but it got diffused when a friend of my told me that writing was not for me—it was for the bright ones, the ones who belonged to the honor roll. I was not actually part of it, I was a late bloomer. I only excelled when I reached my high school.
Even before I tried, I already quit. I abandoned the idea that it was not my route to take on.
But when I transferred school for my secondary studies, I’ve seen how I get raves from my teachers, particularly with my English teacher that I have the knack for such skill. I still didn’t go after that dream until I reached here in Manila and went on to undergo scriptwriting training with Ricky Lee. I was the youngest, the boldest to join that group back then.
When I joined my school paper here in my high school, I must say I was at an advantage over my peers. It gave me more confidence to marry writing someday.
But over the years, there is one thing I’ve realized, I was not for scriptwriting (although I can write a full-length script—I’ve written one full-length screenplay and two full-length teleplays) but just didn’t pursue that genre. I was for something else. I am to write on a different genre and that is chronicling success and inspiring stories.
Then it dawned on me one day when my writer-friend Lizza told me to discover what my name stands for. Of course I knew the meanings of my two first names, Raul Jude, but it was actually my last name that intrigued me. So I tried to look at it in the dictionary. In Spanish ‘Carta’ means ‘letter’ or even ‘love letter’ and ‘Laba’ in Filipino means ‘to wash’.
After giving it a thought, I’ve realized that my last name speaks of who I am really. I write. I write to wash or cleanse the human soul.