Sunday, December 30, 2007

no one's to be blamed

Really, there’s no one. All mistakes, front acts, and deeds are carried out by me alone. One reel may not be enough to record my daily ventures on how to spend my time wisely for this year only. I could never argue that change is really one of the major things that happened. And for Year 2007, contemplating from this day and the rest of the eleven months back, this thing called change altered a lot of things into both something good and bad.

No one’s to be blamed that debates flared up here, private arguments burst there, aches sprouted up, confusion boiled down, vendettas thrown everywhere, schemes scattered, gossips ruled, new set of armor bought, alliances formed, congregations crumbled, and foes boomed in number. And no one’s to be blamed for these happenings are part and parcel of the world’s natural process of orderliness. It is ironic though that chaos and misunderstandings are significant to the development but take note; even the worm has to crawl from the grounds first before it changes into a butterfly and wanders the skies. And before I forget, there’s one more thing; one more change that without it I could have never endured this year: There’s no one one’s to be blamed that “friends” were found and acknowledged by me.

No one’s to be blamed. Forgive me for specially quoting that word but up to now no one yet has reached my set standards of being one. Oh please don’t misinterpret me. I am not doing this just for some people to be thankful for having known me, seen me, greeted me, or whatever they have done to me, what I just want to bring out from this principle is that I have to be careful. Careful on everything, that’s just it. But I tell you, there’s a handful that has gotten into my very core and understood the amphibian within me and I appreciate it. To those who are courageous enough to listen to my almost-daily bouts of self-inflicted depression, kind enough to laugh along with my well-rehearsed laughter, patient and are humble enough to at least say “hi” after sending a poetic suicide message almost every midnight, thank you. I love you. This line may be an understatement but, of course, you know who you are and you deserve it.

No one’s to be blamed. No one’s to be blamed. People must not pity others but instead they must pity themselves; no one else must be blamed for their outcome but only themselves.

No one’s to be blamed but me. Another year has passed so quickly I didn’t care much of my hairline that recedes in millimeters per week. For Year 2007, I will always remember you and no matter how complex you are, I always loved you. As for Year 2008, I welcome you and I’ll try my best to love you.


Tuesday, December 25, 2007


christmas, people...
...and happy birthday to my beloved
(keep on hopping!)


Monday, December 24, 2007

goodnights and sweet dreams

Maybe it’s the cold wind of the yuletide night. Maybe it’s the anticipating bugs of last season. Or maybe it’s the ecstatic neurons of the body turning all focal points of normal intuitive reasoning go berserk.

Actually, I do not know what I am referring about. The “it” is incomprehensible, ungraspable, beyond genius-level apperception. The enigma is as mystifying as to how the pyramids of Egypt were built. Yes, even though deep within the darkest recesses of my mentality I think I know what the reason is, yet I strongly anchor in my mindset that I do not exactly know the reason why I cannot sleep properly for the past few nights. To set it all straight, I do not want to know the basis of this disturbing psychology. I am playing dumb; playing dead, most probably. Call this the most mundane way of escapist strategy but I don’t mind. I do what I prefer to do.

Because acknowledging “it” means succumbing into the harshness of reality, I despise the idea of stating the core of this self-imposed trouble. Even in the midst of the clichéd cheery period of the year, I purposely veil upon me a huge sheet of despondency and abhorrence to anything good. And the more I alienate myself from positive goody-goody charges of the world, the more pressing they are in barging into my life, and this whole concept of rejecting and intercepting makes my sleeping point in each night diminish its time length.

I cannot sleep properly. I make for myself insomnia. And wait, even this blog entry is a product of this newfound disease.

It has been in my rule book that before I go to sleep, I relay messages to all people who care to receive, read, and throw it in their cerebral trashcan every night. But considering that I now have this “disease of wide eyes” during 12 midnight and so on, I still send those absurd and sometimes politically correct messages to avoid any new dark rumors about me. Basically, my recent goodnights are all fraud.

It is a good thing, though, that there some owls of whom I can talk to in those clumsily conjured nocturnal hours. And as if serendipity adds more humor to what I have been experiencing, the owl of whom I have now a regular chat in every dawn coincidentally had been on the same bout of restlessness, too. It is funny, really.

But the bad thing is the owl has something to do with the worm; the worm of insomnia that ails my life.

I am sorry, owl, it's mainly caused by the worm.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

six minute hits

Or maybe it was six hours. Or maybe days. Anyway, time was not much of a concern. It really didn't matter, as long as we were together, I was happy. And was a bit sad.

1st minute
The ghosts of forgotten memories seem to flood our minds and the only thing we could fight back is to jump all over the campus.

2nd minute
A night-time “walkathon” is always enjoyable when mouths are much stronger than the muscles in our legs. Hiking from one place to another is not that challenging enough.

3rd minute
Respect for the beauty of musical notes has been wiped out from the community's mentality. It is art, though, to hear the latest version of a song's broken harmony and lyricism.

4th minute
Revelations just keep on coming in. No one can stop it. The power of gossips and behind-the-back discussions is so potent that one would eventually fall on his knees due to the sudden comprehension of supposedly incomprehensible tall-tales.

5th minute
Someone is sick. Fortunately, there are people who tries to patch things up. And the results are good. Maybe even better. But, still, it is not enough. There is a kind of doubt whether what was previously done should not have been done in the first place. Now, everyone's getting sick.

6th minute
I am going back to Bohol later this afternoon. I must be happy, celebrating my mum's birthday on the 25th (yes, Christmas Day) and meeting some of my brothers ands sisters finally, but the thought of leaving momentarily the ghost town, which is Dumaguete right now, is like a heavy decision for me. I must leave some things for a while. I know; it should happen that way.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

death of a beloved

Great is the time of conception of things that would supposedly linger around your presence a little longer, but sad is the time too, in its bleakest point, once the realization of absence came upon you so abruptly you hardly even notice what went wrong.

The trouble with losing things, things that fall apart, and some things that tend to go away is that you are left in a solemn, depressing state of solitude. It is entirely melancholic wherein the previous day you were with him and everything was perfectly well and then on the following day, all energy and vibrancy of him are gone in a minute. Only you can feel this certain seclusion; external undertakings that seem to fill each hour of the day do not affect you the very least no matter how engaging they may be to other people. You may try moving on with the flow of events that may take place but the blot of loss is like an indelible mark that’s tinged upon your whole being eternally. The act of forgetting the whole grim affair is like a thousand miles away from human existence, or most probably, it is cleared off from everyone’s mind.

It was said on that one fateful day of revelation that there was a chance of bringing him alive but, unfortunately, I may not see within him the same way I’ve witnessed from him the very beginning so I dejected the idea and left. What use of having him with me like an automaton?

A renewal may be the perfect description. But I don’t need anything new. What I need are the now-lost memories of both wistful thoughts and calloused happiness. Basically, it is just so sad. That’s all. But I’ve learned it’s not all, really. The continuous swinging of the pendulum may help remedy this acerbic response of demise and hopefully this familiar denial will go away as soon as possible. Well, it is always like this in life—you just have to hope until hope only resembles a cigarette stick.

And yes, it is confirmed. Just last December 16, he was diagnosed as dead. Useless. All files lost. Bullfrog, a 512MB flash drive, was bought last October 2006 and abated, all of a sudden, in an internet café last December 15.


Saturday, December 15, 2007

a thought

“Cast me a sculpture of my image with your sober hands
and let all those who are in grief worship me
and if the results are ominous,
please, stone me to death.”
(December 15, 2007 / 1:55 am)

In this time of the year, everyone must be glad but it turns out that I have more things to deal with than being happy.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

should i go there?

Castro-Fundales, Orange and Lemons

There's a place where the moon is under the sea
There's a place where the sun's inside a cup of tea
There's a place you can go where no one else has been but me

There's a man on his throne who thinks the world's his own
He would live, he believes he would never be alone
He would dine, he would wine but no one else is there but him

Welcome to the garden my friend
This is where your broken heart's mend
Come into the garden my friend
Don't be scared to hold my hand
This is where your loneliness ends

There's a girl in the sky she's laughing as she cries
She is one with the world and she never wants to die
There's a song she would sing that no one understands but her

There's a child who's awake every night and every day
Not a care in the world not a problem what he says
There's a game he would play and he wanted all of you to stay

There's a thought in my head that never goes away
There's a time in my life that is better than today
There's place I would go where no one else has been but me

repeat chorus

This is where your loneliness ends

Moonlane gardens, moonlane gardens
How do we get there (how do we get there)
How do we get there
How do we get there (how do we get there)
How do we get there

he's the key

(and the key)

here with me

moonlane gardens
moonlane gardens
moonlane gardens

I just love this song. The song is never a direct suggestion of escapism; it is concretely a device of lighting up the smiles that are always hidden caused by anguish and exhaustion. Magic here, in itself, is real. The song has the sense of going away, leaving, and renouncing all pain and hatred, then plunging into a magical world of children playing, of kings, and of beautiful gardens. Basically, as what the song incessantly said, this is a place where our loneliness ends.

But how do we get there? Give me the key.
Where is this garden? Tell me…
for it is where my loneliness ends.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

a personal workshop of trimming things

Fred Jordan Mikhail T. Carnice
The Weekly Sillimanian
December 5, 2007
Trimming is not an easy act. It leaves no room for unstable personal convictions; it requires unyielding fortitude. But the result of lavish trimming can be wonderfully pleasing, though. Here, with my workshop of which I’ll keep mum on how it really works, are three things I think need some trimming.
1. Food
In the October 2007 issue of Reader’s Digest, there’s a short article which states that whenever a measuring tape loses its length once encircling it around the waist, a person has to be alarmed. And I am. Because the article says it’s a ground for a grand heart disease. According to the America Heart Association, everyone must “aim for a waist circumference less than 40 inches for men and 35 for women.” Choice clothing that has just been bought last summer hardly fit me and some of my pants find themselves objecting to be worn; as if I’m not their master. This is tragic for a student who is a disregarded microcosm of a no uniform institution. Nevertheless, I have to trim down my food intake.
Knowing that gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins, I have more reasons why I should stop excessive eating. Also, breaking the habit allows me not to spend too much. My stomach, curiously named “Ben” since grade school, is undeniably getting bigger.

Downfall: There’s no escaping the looming Christmas feast.

2. Weeds
Our university is unquestionably picturesque. But the sad thing is various weeds have marred its stunning look. And it's unfortunate to know that these living litters are responsible to the gradual deterioration of our campus’ reputation, and yet so little action is taken to extract them from our rich soil.

The weeds’ growth may be sluggish, but their ability to proliferate in record-breaking numbers is tremendously shocking. Though these needless things may look different from each other, all have the same, distinct, unifying feature: Pollen. Not that pollen is the only thing that makes people sneeze, but it is the kind that gives a mind-numbing, downcast feeling to the victim who gets a cloudy waft of it. Unfortunately, students are the most common victims of the weeds’ natural self-defence since they are the ones who usually step on them, devastating them with rubber-soled shoes or killer pointed heels. And in some rare cases, these university weeds spew out those powerful pollen particles randomly at students who they think need a bit of subtle punishment. These weeds are one of a kind. The victim, usually assaulted without prior notice, firsts acquires a slight nausea from the pollen that enters the nose. Actually, the brutal process doesn’t end there: upon treading the olfactory territory, the pollen further goes into the brain and gives the person’s mind a hazy feeling of fury, depression, and anxiety but basically this will eventually concretize into a deep sense of shame.

Quite a number of students have daringly tried pulling them out by the roots but the aftermath was so disconcerting and gross that publishing the event for public enlightenment would be impossible because of its disturbingly graphic nature. And there’s one more extraordinary occurrence: the weeds have discovered their means of cultivation, amazingly, inside a person. They have already infiltrated the heads of some big names in campus that it’s no longer novel seeing people around with a glowing, little ball of pollen sticking out from their heads. By the way, I don’t want these weeds trimmed. I want them wiped out from the face of this planet.

3. Letters
Verbosity is a cursed gift. One needs a firm command to justify a piece of written thought that seems to go on for a mile. For me, verbosity is a projection of beauty that must be admired by its inborn power of luring a reader to keep on going—that there’s a possibility to go further and benefit from the unanticipated reading exercise. To be regulated with alleged imperatives (e.g. limits and qualifications) is like halting the continuous flow of a river, the growth of a wild flower that aims to reach the skies, the soft breeze that keeps all living wonders dancing.

Given that cutting the habit is a requisite for me to successfully pass a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing, I submit to the whims of the public that I must write with regimented shortness.

For in the misunderstood craft of endlessly stitching different words together to form lengthy and so-called grandiose sentences, where antecedents are tagged ambiguous, where verbs and prepositions appear on the scene in both necessary and unnecessary fashion at every possible group of words—especially if the act of writing gets more self-gratifying up to the point that it paves the road for a newfound addiction—and where adjectives tend to lose their identities as specifying elements but instead turn into loud, decorative, grandiloquent pieces that only the likes of William Faulkner, Nick Joaquin, and Gabriel Garcìa Marquez seem to be proud of, the one and truly amazing reward (no matter how large the number of people who are opposed to the whole construction of verbose sentences, even though the shorter version having the same sense may still give the indistinguishable feeling of contentment upon having reached the final destination) is the sight of an unassuming presence of relief, like a lifeboat launched by a sinking ship, which takes the form of a tiny, innocent period.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


If the forces of nature continue
to swoon me with heresies and insults,
then I must retreat to my hole
and close the lid forever.”
-12 / 06 / 07 (12:05pm)

Quit. It is such a strong word. It is so strong that it demands the ultimate decision of merely fulfilling it. But no matter how strong it is, ironically it connotes the idea of weakness.

I always know that in order to develop an aptitude on something, you have to rub elbows with people who are wiser than you. But what if you are in a position that you’re supposed to be the wise man and the people around must learn something from you but, instead, end up as a carton cut-out representing an ideal picture? That will be a catastrophe. That’s my case; I am like a living hoax, a conman, a walking bouncing check. It is so sad to learn (or accept) that I always end up in situations wherein I eventually regret having stepped on a new territory.

Yes, I have become a bitter gourd once, then made me pathetically excusing for the clutter I have made, which then leads me trying very hard trimming some forsaken responsibility I have gotten into. And what better way to solve such absurd problems? Yield and leave immediately! I don’t blame the world by spinning so fast that I can hardly catch up, what I want to blame is that why in the first place I have been so ambitious.

Forgive me for being histrionic but seeing the reflection of myself on Boy’s magic mirror, I see my face wearing that practiced smile again. It is the most deceiving art I have learned and I thought I have mastered it. I am wrong, pala.

I have been working in a field that further stretches my efficiency of delegating tasks of which I am actually not worth it. Blech! I foresee that I would vomit upon rereading that line in the days to come but really, that’s what constantly nags me after that one unexpected night of exchanging vinegar-dipped words—a night wherein a slice of silence finally dragged two clashing people finalizing their almost-eternal hidden feud.

Speaking of vinegar let us metaphorically illustrate that I am currently in a bowl of salad; the place being the bowl and its people as the composition that makes up the salad. Fast forward, let’s again oversimplify things by saying that the bowl of salad last year was the best salad in the world—the combination of textured vegetables, bits of meat, flavorful spices, and the creamy sauce make up for the perfect dish. But in this year’s serving, there’s just too much pepper. And when there’s too much of that thing, the salad will obviously taste bad. It contradicts other elements of the salad leading to a chaotic, unpalatable mix of supposedly edible greens.

I am lost. In fact, we are all lost. It just coincides that there is a unifying element in each and every one of us that made us intact (or form) as a group.

Maybe I am just overreacting. Maybe this is another ordeal. But maybe this is not quitting after all. Probably what I need is just a different kind of dish.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

critiquing at lake balinsasayao

Last Saturday, December 1, was a good day for hitting the subtly secluded nature spots of Oriental Negros. Good, not perfect, because it was the intramural season when I was not able to watch the basketball championship games (hah! Engineering won!), and the day greeted me with dark clouds overhead signaling that the weather is not in the mood again.

Nevertheless, it was good because the almost-complete group of Litcritters Dumaguete, if not for Marianne who may be enjoying the time of her life with Japanese pals, decided to have our session at Lake Balinsasayao, in the town of Sibulan. What was more fun was that we were to critique the original outputs of our third challenge: “Out of your Comfort Zone Task.”

Described as a “maximalist” who’s like a cheap carbon copy of William Faulkner, I had to create a minimalist work in the vein of Socorro Villanueva. Whoo… I think I failed just by the title alone: Dramas and the Intercession of Something Dim.

Well, what mattered most on that day was the rare enjoyment we shared with each other, the trek from that steep hill, the feeding of hundred fishes by the side of the lake with chicken bones, and most of all, the lake that made us think that in some corner of this busy world, there’s peace.

Mich, Lyde, Pong, Odie, Rj, Dirg, and Sir really wanted to come back to that quiet place.

[more pictures here]


Tuesday, December 04, 2007

two books and a signature

With so much thanks to Sir Ian Rosales Casocot, I had my book Anansi Boys signed by the author. Yes, Neil Gaiman himself; the author of other fantastic works such as Stardust, American Gods, MirrorMask, and a lot more.

Since our moderator for Litcritters Dumaguete is once again shortlisted in the same competition where he won the grand prize last year, the 2nd Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards gave him a chance to meet the famous artist of genre literature last December 4. And his short story The Sugilanon of Epefania's Heartbreak won 1st runner up (along with Yvette Natalie Tan's The Bridge).

This makes him the only person to win a place in two consecutive years! Anyways, I felt the same joy upon receiving my autographed novel.

Also on the same date of the awarding ceremony, held at Fullybooked Store Bonifacio High Street Courtyard last November 25, the book Expeditions was also launched. This anthology features the winners of the 1st Philippine Graphic/Fiction Awards and, of which, my sister bought me a hardbound copy as a Christmas gift. Yipee!