Mobile Life | Writers and Technology: Enhancing the Craft

m | ph Magazine, June 2004 issue




Few who are versed in local pop culture do not know of Arnold
Arre and his work. His beautiful pieces of art decorate numerous graphic novels, such as After Eden and Trip to Tagaytay. The unique thing about Arnold Arre is that he is much a writer as he is a graphic artist. His writings are both visual and lyrical, and one can't help but wonder how tech factored into it.


Arnold had agreed to meet me for afternoon coffee at the Shangri-La Mall in Mandaluyong and over cups of coffee, he intimated to me his secret to being technologically-literate: his wife.


"She's really the techie one among the two of us. so she got me into it," he says of the lovely Cynthia Arre, formerly Cynthia Bauzon. "I'm basically your old-fashioned guy who's happy enough with a working phone and a DVD player. Even a VHS player would be okay by me. I didn't really know how any of the latest gadgets would be of use to me until I saw the advantages of being 'in the know' somewhat. I used to think of gadgets as stuff I would only see in movies and comic books.


But now, technology has become an active tool of the trade, without necessarily replacing the craft itself. "Take conceptualizing for a new story," says Arnold, "it still involves a lot of brainwork and the computer is only a tool to enhance creativity. Technology should help, and not be a crutch."

"The little things do help in big ways. No more dirty erasures, wasted paper, and uncorrectable mistakes," he adds about some of the perks of modern writing.

Technology can also serve as an inspiration. His book "Trip to Tagaytay" is set in a future Philippines. "I let technology inspire and help me figure out what gadgets would most likely evolve into the future."

One of the biggest advantages of mobile technology comes in the recording of ideas. After all, inspiration can happen anytime, anywhere. This is where his Zire72 comes in handy. "My PDA fortunately comes with a voice recorder so there's no need to stop and jot down ideas on pieces of Post Its."

"Everything can now be done at twice the speed," Arnold notes. "I get to do my research right from the convenience of home because of the wonderful invention called the internet. Right now I'm also into experimenting with digital art. Technology also helps in a big way in that O get to market my artworks overseas."

Now that's progress, and it probably is in the line with what his futuristic novels convey. After all, this self-proclaimed old-fashioned guy happens to enjoy sci-fi movies. "The first time I saw 2001: A Space odyssey, it made me wonder what the future would be like with all that gadgetry. Since then I've been interested in depicting the future in my stories."
- Joel Baclit