Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Please don’t send in anything that will crush me. I won’t be able to deal with it. I would die. I took the jeepney to Ecoland and went straight to the newsroom, bringing with me facts for stories. But I have trouble dealing with the facts of life. It’s a hard feeling. You feel the rock in your stomach. You feel the world come to a standstill. You keep seeing the faces of your boys: two pairs of lovely expectant eyes; wondering, waiting, you had to dig deep inside your soul for the last ounce of courage to tell them, wait a little while, son, it’s coming. But you know quite well it’s not. Nothing is coming. Not even Christ. Lesson learned: Never take documentation works anymore. It sounds easy but it’s not. It will take away your momentum to write; and it’s hard, janitorial work. I did it the past month and I haven’t gotten over it. They made me do it over and over again, so I had to set aside other jobs, I ended up not writing my stories, and now I face the prospect of not getting paid. It never happened to me before—to be made to repeat and rewrite over and over again—I feel dumb and stupid. I should not—should not do it again. I’m still reeling from shock. I can’t shake it off my system. I found myself watching, listening toBob, over and over again, until I was numb and dumb. But I went home drunk with all of Dylan’s philosophy and all of Dylan’s music. Maybe, this is how they kill you. I got to be prepared.
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Friday, September 13, 2013
lesson from the Bagobo horseman: "Allow the horse freedom to make decisions. The beast is familiar with the trail and knows what to do better than you do. Keep the rein just to keep it from jumping off the cliff but reining it in most of the time will limit its freedom of movement, impeding its progress, hence, you should really give the beast some leeway to get to where you are going." I love horses. I should find more time to spend along with them.
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Well. The one doing the tally said our group is getting to be male and older. Except for one (me) who happened to earn a master’s in journalism (only because of a scholarship targeting poor, indigent journalists from the Third World), almost everyone had courses other than journalism: there was an accountant, a civil engineer, a business administration graduate, a marine biologist. Most dabbled with radio and the local newspapers; the oldest, 65, Tatay Charlie, covers the Cotabato, Maguindanao and Sultan Kudarat area: fair, shiny white hair brushed off to one side, fairly elongated, slightly aquiline nose, fairly well-groomed and looking good despite the years, fond of wearing black, body hugging cotton shirt; the youngest, 26, could be Karlos, whom I have to nickname the wild, wild horse because he works for numerous media outlets at the same time, he’s still out in Vietnam, lugging his camera, just as he did when he waited on the path of the killer typhoon Pablo in December. So, he wasn’t around when the editors from Makati came. He couldn't make it to this bureau meeting, someone said, sayang, the food is flooding all over the place. But if you talk about age, Frinston looked much younger because he, Frinston, is smaller; shorter than average and thin, too, which was more noticeable because of his skinhead; one Manila editor asked, what have we got here, are you still in the elementary school, boy? Frins mumbled something, rolled his eyes. Some more bits of demographics: 13 men against three women. I wonder why women could not last in this kind of job? Cecille and Ayan used to be active for a while but they went somewhere else, to a much more financially-rewarding NGO work because this work could not make ends meet, they wanted more to be able to raise their children, have a decent life, a home and a car, maybe, a vacation in Europe, once in a while. Perhaps, they feel they don’t have time for ego-tripping. Which made me really feel very, very guilty for staying because—look at my boys, how are they, trying to survive in the mediocrity of their elementary years on their own because I don’t have enough money to pay for the private school tuition. And yet, what a delight to be with the group. Singing the Beegees' How Can You Mend a Broken Heart, all eyes on the lyrics of someone’s iphone: Dennis, the fair-looking guy holding the microphone, has become stouter, lumbering the past years; Rich, who came all the way from Iligan, slightly-stretched upper lip exuding an air of contentment; and Frinston, dancing to the tune, trying to catch up with the rhythm; while Mr. X, watched from a distance, listening, eyeing them. He’s a quiet, sober type of fellow and a disciplinarian, at that. Health-conscious, never smoke nor drink, he delights in his muscled arms and the strength and leanness of his body. He doesn’t overeat, unlike most of us; me, especially when I’m angry. I wondered if X already survived all the threats for his life. He narrowly escaped Ampatuan, I remember with a shudder. I don’t want to think about it, don’t want to mention it; no, not anymore. C, the tall guy wearing a cap, walking to and fro and around the singing trio, just arrived from Qatar, where he worked to earn more money than what he was getting as a correspondent. “It would suit you here, Day, because we’re writing fiction, here, it’s your genre, Day, creative writing, because there’s no freedom of the press here, so, we have to be creative,” he wrote to me, once, while still in Qatar. I was surprised to see him. When I arrived, he was already taking lunch, mumbling about his Indian editors and their Arab financiers; the Arabs, who got money, knew no English, so they leave everything to the Indians, who knew almost nothing about newspapering, but still felt in control because of their close friendship with the Arabs. “I don’t want to work with the Indians, Day, they think we, Filipinos, are their slaves.” I did not tell him I got dandruff and boils all over my body for thinking so hard for stories that will bring in the next pay.