This, above all:

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

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Return of the Fellowship

Months after we bonded at the UP National Writers Workshop in 2003, a bunch of the fellows met up at our house. I am their Mudra, designated mother goddess, which only means, really, that I am responsible for stocking enough food and drink on my table and cleaning up after their mess. (And, yeah, I am way older than they are.)

Jay Fernando, one of two beautiful writers who facilitated the workshop, had predicted that our post-workshop camaraderie would last only so long; we had been tight, true, but he said the fellowship would wane.

He was right, in a way. Some of us formed deeper attachments and some stalwarts could be counted on to attend get-togethers, but through the years it became harder to gather warm bodies. Our yahoogroups conversations have dwindled to a trickle.

I miss my kids. I read about them a lot, in their blogs and in others', where they and their work are praised. I am proud of them and their achievements and accolades, as if theirs were my own.

I'm thinking of mustering the brood again, just to catch up. I'm hoping this post on that Octoberfest at our house will help rekindle the fellowship.

That night we played Taboo 'til kingdom come—you know, that game where you're supposed to describe the word to your teammates but there are some terms that are taboo, words you cannot use. No gestures or actions allowed.

Here are snippets of our game:

(trying to describe the word PLATINUM): This is better than gold!

(shouting): Sex!

* * *

U: This is what I'll never find!

: LOVE!!! [True enough, the word was LOVE!]

* * *

(describing SADDLE to his teammates): Assholder!! Assholder!!

His teammates
(confused, of course): Chair?

(getting more incensed and raising his palms to cup the air): Assholder!! Assholder!!

* * *

U (describing FINGER): F**k you! F**k you!

: Whaaat?

: This is what you use when you F**k you! F**k you!

* * *

Me (describing POEM): This is what G writes!

E: Poetry?

Someone (I forgot who): Trash?

* * *

U (nagmamarunong, after G found it difficult to describe SALMON): Dapat sinabi mo, G, "Blank Rushdie."

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Most of the time I work at S.O.H.O.—Small Office, Home Office.

I don't receive 13th month pay or health insurance or a sack of rice. I have no Kris Kringle during Christmas. I miss the jump-up-and-down joy over non-working holidays that suddenly sprout during the week. I buy my own stapler, envelopes and toner. I pick up stray paper clips because, hey, when you're paying for your office supplies those clips can dent the budget. I suffer the commute and long lines to file my income tax, get a cedula, claim registered mail, photocopy documents, pay my IBP dues. I'm my own janitor when the cup of coffee crashes to the floor.

Before I junked law for writing, I had my own secretary to spurn cold calls, make restaurant reservations, assign a messenger to pay my credit card bills, tally my expenses, or find a spare safety pin while I frantically hold on a skirt that unraveled. I had the entire office machinery and budget behind me, so smoothly run and accommodating that even golf lessons (over which I chose diving instead) or Japanese language lessons (Bengoshi desu!) came for free.

I should've had a harder time adjusting to going solo.

I didn't.

I love working from home.

I avoid office politics, run-ins with colleagues, and the obligatory participation in some ghastly Christmas party program. I am allowed to deduct certain expenses from my gross income and lower my taxes. I can drop anything I'm doing when The Coach needs me. And when I'm gnashing my teeth editing a particularly horrendous article, I take a break without guilt: TV, a story, a household chore, a trip to the grocery or the Starbucks hidden inside Cybergate.

I don't have to wake up too early (read: before noon). The most of traffic I encounter is when the sounds of altercating drivers below intrude into my reading or when the turtle pace of cars lining the Guadalupe Bridge catches my eye.

Tackling emails in my nightshirt, without having to brush my hair or teeth, is also pretty neat.

When I crave company, I log onto Twitter to check what my friends are doing. It's my version of the chatter around the water cooler: consultants decrying their clients, new music discovered, reading junkies finishing a book, a touchscreen eee PC being sold.

Every now and then, friends come over to the house and work—fellow freelancers who share a procrastination gene. The mood is relaxed, even with the doom of deadlines, and we put up our feet. It is like working with officemates you are fond of. (There is no such word in American English, but, yeah, I’m not about to edit that.)