This, above all:

This, above all: To be God's best for The Coach and for Anna

Monday, April 30, 2007

Dead Lines

3:10 AM

My friend, Alvin, calls me a little before midnight, pep-talking me into submitting a story, an essay, anything, to the Palancas. Today, of course, is the deadline.

There will be little sleep today for those who, like me, ride on the adrenaline rush to write after, say, needing to watch CSI, Criminal Minds and Medium. The story I wish I’d submit requires more than a few hours’ work, so this time I’ll dip into my hay naku, puede na folder and tweak a story. To add more complication, let's make it, hey, a children's story, knowing that I have no sensibility for such. As a final nouement, let's choose Quentin, whose story does not conform to the Palancas' requirement that the entry be "directed principally to promote appreciation of Filipino literature or culture."

I figure this foolhardiness fulfills two objectives: one, it lets me keep a new year’s resolution, and two, it serves me right for not coming up with something new.

From where I write I can see the moon, bigger than yesterday’s. Its beauty is of no help, for I keep staring at it, and my thoughts fly elsewhere, far.

I prefer to blog.

Serves me right.

5:10 AM

Day comes earlier in summer, and so does the deadline. I'm having the impossible time excoriating multi-syllable words from the story and catching into my language the rhythm of children laughing.

Serves me right.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


It is 2 in the morning as I write this. Before me, this scene.

A gibbous moon, hanging low, gorged and almost full. Lights from a construction site from across the street that curves to my right. A few cars on the road. A gas station half-asleep. Most of the city in dreams. Silence.

I take a long time to write. It is hard to sort out the many thoughts roiling in my head. Even harder to find the words.

I can always make a convenient excuse: I’ve recently undergone anesthesia, as well as had a drug injected into my forearm to make me forget the indignities the medical staff did to prep me for surgery—a date-rape drug, the anesthesiologist told me. His name is Christian Doctor. Really. He is Doctor Doctor, my doctor. I met him right when they wheeled me into the O.R. Laid out flat on the gurney I felt an urge to create a limerick. When you’re about to face uncertainty and still feel like reaching for a pen and paper, that makes you, in my book, a writer.

In my first year in creative writing school, Butch Dalisay had told us, his timorous class, “Have the gumption to call yourself a writer.” Of course I didn’t believe him. Two years later, I did. I was watching an Ateneo-La Salle game from the referee’s table next to the Ateneo bench when a scuffle among the on-court players erupted into a free-for-all. Alums from both schools charged into the court. From the audience behind us, Rico Villanueva and someone else—maybe Rainier Sison?—vaulted over the railing, swinging. It was blue and green mayhem. I scrambled under the table, took out my Palm and tap-tapped about the chaos around me. That’s when I knew, for sure, that I was a writer, when the only way for me to make sense of things was to reduce them to words, when the words were almost, almost as meaningful as the event unfolding.

I regret abandoning this blog for such a long time. My life has, since October, been suspended by a court case, an operation last February, and yet another surgery this May. It is hard to make plans. But I can write about it, perhaps to help me find a way, some way, to navigate through my why’s.