As I posted on Instagram, I do not want to be one of those assholes who always complain about not being able to write any shit, because of certain "requirements" they may need in their writing life. I have acquaintances who are like this: 'yung kailangang maayos ang desk, bago ang wallpaper sa desktop ng laptop, naka-program ang meditative music, may sinding scented candle/incense sa room, sealed shut for silence, walang tao sa paligid, etc. etc. etc. This list goes on, depending on the person. Kanya-kanya na lang tayo ng arte, of course, and I know walang basagan ng trip. Pero iba kasi 'yung laging nagrereklamo at naglalagay ng self-obstacles na ganito (na requirements daw) tapos walang nagagawang pagsusulat ni isang pahina ang ending.
I know this all too well because I was also like this before, but I think I had minimal needs than some of my more demanding colleagues. I recall those times in my earlier independent living life when the only requirement I wanted to have was a desk in front of an open window where I could see the blue of the sky, some greens of tree leaves, and whatever else is there on the land beneath the two. It didn't even have to be elevated, that room, and being on the ground floor was fine for me.
There were times when I only got the desk in a stuffy room without a window, and my nights turned into days since sa gabi ako nakakapagsulat, powered by this new concoction back then known as Starbucks frap. There were times that I got the window, too, but the view was utterly limited, and in between slivers of glass they funnily called jalousies (Like are you jalous with da view? Cheret!). And there was even a woebegone time when I indeed got the desk, the big window with the sky view and the trees of the neighbors were right in front of the wall and all, but on the other side of that wall, in between those trees planted on the house beside mine, there's the maniacal idiot son of my landlady who practices shooting his fucking live pistol with live fucking bullets. So siyempre, isara ang bintana para hindi ka ma-TV Patrol mamayang alas-sais dahil sa namatay ka sa ligaw na bala, no? Tengene that. Those were the fucking days talaga, I swear.
But this, now? No. I'm glad. I'm glad that this "small thing" I "require" of life is already here, always within my reach. And in the 10 years that I have been staring at this space, I indeed feel bad that I have had moments when I felt that this wasn't enough.
|Aren't you fucking glad na walang snow sa Pilipinas???|
I know I am! Hugs to my North American east coast
friends and relatives who could use some sun in their life
these past weeks. Stay warm!
I guess it's true, what they say about people, then, once we get what we want, we tend to be more ambitious and aim for the bigger things. In certain circumstances, this is an admirable action. But in some, maybe we have to be reminded that we should also be grateful enough that we have what we have, at this moment in time. For life will never really reveal to us what's the next scene coming, much more if we're cast in that scene. So better have a go at it, this current scene, embrace it while you still can, and settle for what you've got at the moment, to do what needs to be done.
I've been feeling these things the past few days because I also got affected by the films I've been seeing lately. I've been watching the Academy Awards nominated films and there were some there that featured the lives of writers. What particularly got to me was the author Lee Israel's life, as played by Melissa McCarthy, the comedian who wasn't funny here, because Lee's story is downright gut-wrenching -- at least for a writer like me who can sympathize, empathize, relate and feel with her and her situation.
|That's her original writing nook. It's literally a nook, no?|
No windows or anything like that.
Lamp at typewriter lang, buhay na.
I've always thought that it's a romantic concept to be living in New York with your own apartment and be a writer at the same time. But the New York writer life I've been seeing in some films is downright depressing. Why is that??? It's certainly not New York's fault, is it? Or maybe I'm just being naïve about this, and their individual situations. Of course I am. Kaya nga romantic ang peg, di ba?
Para lang siguro 'yang mga past moments of let's-give-up-Manila-and-move-to-a-more-artistic-place moments that I also felt together with some friends, or they felt it and na-infect ako. Like ever since I became a U.P. Writing Workshop fellow back in 1997 sa Baguio, it has always been Baguio for most of us. Wow sarap dito magsulat, lamig, daming pine trees, nakaka-inspire and all that chereret. Nung naging fellow naman ako ng National Writers Workshop nina Ma'am Edith Tiempo sa Dumaguete, nag-iba rin ang ihip ng chika. Wow ang laidback lang dito cool mehn sarap lang magsulat ng tula at kuwento game hithit pa more blah. Of course, I have to mention that these thoughts were uttered by us when we were in our twenties. Madali pang magkaroon ng ganitong thoughts given that age.
But as I grew older, the temperament also changes, as expected. When I got this condo joint, it was really swell. That was 2008, and life was also taking me to many places -- including California and yes, New York, too. I once thought of abandoning this place to uproot myself, for many reasons other than writing, but as we now know it, that never happened, of course.
I'm still here.
But there were times when I had to hibernate away from this place, too, and that's quite understandable. There was that time I got allergic to sunsets here, of all things ba naman. Imagine that. So siyempre, naghahanap ako paminsan-minsan ng ibang location kung saan puwedeng mag-moment anew.
I don't know why, but being in front of a beach helps me think clearly and helps me finish manuscripts faster, too. I was in my thirties already when I felt this, and actually did this, when I spent some time going to Puerto Galera not to swim or drink and be merry, but to plant my feet on the sand while I write in a makeshift table-desk there somewhere, staring out at the open seas from time to time. That was how I was able to finish my masters thesis, a full-length screenplay, and an academic paper presentation during those times. Magnificent.
I don't really know what my forties are making me feel about such "writerly things" actually, but the window view writing mode remains. I don't really need to be here in my home to do that, too. In fact, I love the concept of "coffice" or "cofficing" where you work in a café with a window view somewhere, and lately, co-working spaces also need to have that requirement if I am to work there in those spaces.
I guess it just really boils down to taming one's temperament, just to get things done. I realized that I have actually turned into one of those asshats indeed, those I chided for being too maarte in their requirements, not realizing that it's happening to me, too. Hay naku Bayli.
Well, I'm choosing. Now. I'm great with being here, in front of this view, too. But I'll be mixing up some views once in a while, too, just to shake off monotony that inevitably seeps in. Good enough deal, yeah? Yeah.
Okay, now that that's out of the way, it's high time to go back in there and write.
|Just don't rain on my parade, ayt?|
I don't wanna be S.A.D.-ish again.