Now, and I muse for why and never find the reason,
I pace the earth, and drink the air, and feel the sun.
Be still, be still, my soul; it is but for a season:
Let us endure an hour and see injustice done.
Ay, look: high heaven and earth ail from the prime foundation;
All thoughts to rive the heart are here, and all are vain:
Horror and scorn and hate and fear and indignation –
Oh why did I awake? when shall I sleep again?
Yes, indeed, why did I awake?
Or, in my case, why do I keep coming back?
Hello! For now, my name is of no importance, but you may call me Pepe Alas, the same guy who maintains the hugely popular Spanish-language website ALAS FILIPINAS (OK, an exaggeration, hehe!). I hail from the confused and economically unstable (but lovely) isles of the Philippines. I just turned 30 years old this morning. And like what I always write during my birthdays when I was still keeping a paper journal, “It doesn’t feel like (this time) 30″. I’m already married with kids. I speak three languages, and I’m trying to learn another just for the heck of it. I work the night shift. The schedule sucks, but my job pays me big enough in order for me to avoid the diaspora that has been happening to Filipinos for years.
I have nothing much to offer to crazed readers of web logs. I’m just another voice, especially now that blogs are almost as countless as the sands in a forlorn beach and the sparkling stars on a desolate night. I’m trying to sound poetic here because, you see, I was a poet once. But the Muse has already forsaken me. My poetic well has dried up. Words fall like dead leaves (crisp and brown). The air around me is still. No longer do I feel the weightlessness and swiftness and mindlessness of the mind. Voices around me are but insignificant murmurs of the slaves of Routine.
“The birds no more sing…”
But I keep coming back. Does the parable of the talents scares me? Yes. And contrary to a sickening vogue nowadays among it’s-cool-to-be-a-writer-if-you-have-a-god-idea-to-crucify-everyday scribblers, I do have a God (I once hadn’t; well, there was Marx, but that was a looooooong long time ago), who I pray to for better days ahead. And I pray to Him to lift me up, to always keep me on my toes, and fight the good fight no matter how hopeless. And it seems that after every prayer, God makes me say to myself: stand up! Keep on coming back whenever you’re left behind! But I don’t know if I still could. And for how long.
And all this for what?
I am still looking for my own voice. For my own literary voice. But I couldn’t even determine how my own voice sounds. I feel like a senseless sheep in a dumb flock; I have yet to release myself from the rest.
Because I am a writer. I know I am. I can do a lot of other things, but this is the only real thing that I know I can do a lot better, if at all. This craft, I think I can master. The ideas inside my head, I can muster. Perhaps this is the only craft that I am heavily familiar with, that I’m comfortable with (I think), that I’m confident of creating my own niche in the world wide web of letters and stuff. For life is a many-speckled thing, and the written word it froths out rather forcefully from its victim’s (the writer, of course) artistic seizures gives it varied hues so as not to make itself look pale, pallid, livid, unlively. The world of letters is life’s laborious effort to define itself and to exist beyond itself. This printed reality, which can only be grasped through paper and eye intercourse, is an allusion, yes, but it conjures up this illusion so as to satiate its hunger for meaning, authority, and the longing to have a voice. Man’s life is full of questions, lame and mundane. Some may be ponderous, and most of it are left unanswered, and raising even more queries.
Perhaps no one but that sensible La Sallian Doctor of Arts in Language and Literature, Cirilo F. Bautista, could have described this feeling that I feel more aptly whenever I have the urge to write: creative writing is the loneliest art.
And with the following paragraph, I mercilessly paraphrase Bautista…
I labor in isolation, and I am not even sure that the poem or story or essay will turn out the way I intend it to be. I only have myself to rely on this “brutal” attempt to explicate the mysterious meanderings of my oh so cute soul and of my misled people (are they worth dying for? are they still worth dying for?). It is a painful and demanding commitment the avoidance of which will gratify me. But it cannot be avoided; consequently, I incline to the invention of devices that will postpone it, even if only momentarily. Such ritual evasions –eating fridge-cooled chocolates, taking a bottle of Cerveza Negra, fussing over pages of notes and using them to wipe away dawn snot from my quivering nose, cleaning my laptop (ah, thanks to my new company!), watching porn or Wowowee!, or making that needless last-minute text message– are ostensibly intended to oil the machinery of my dry imagination but in reality are merely diversionary tactics to try to justify the delay. For I am still a social animal, and writing frustrates my contact with my own.
Now, dear reader, I have to stop…
I stopped because it’s simply difficult to go on. It’s difficult, yes. And I’m afraid of becoming a victim of mediocrity, of voicelessness, lacking power.
Restless now. But neither rest nor restlessness will quench this burning and mysterious and pesky thirst.
As what I’ve learned from a Paolo Coelho book, a lack of serotonin leads to depression.
Why in the world do I need to have depression set in just for me to write? Is there really a connection, or an indispensable need for it? Writers live crazy lives. But, in the final analysis, who is really crazy? What is the meaning of madness?
What does it feel like to be a doorknob?
If madness is what I need to bid the Muse to embrace me once more, let it be.
Oh please forgive me Lord, if in some way I have offended thee. I have no such intentions.
And why is it that some wags call artists and writers “the scourge of God”?
Let not these scribbles define the irrepressible contents of my idiosyncracies. I have other missions and worthwhile advocacies and ambitions that still connect me with the rest of the unthinking throng. Yep, I am but a social animal. And helpless at that. I have to do THIS in order to do THAT.
Oh, I have so much to tell, but I’m not sure if there is enough water in my well. “My joy in a well.” Haha.
Why do I have to stay awake? If self-righteous, self-proclaimed scholars have defined life’s purpose, what about the existence of ethereal matter? What is the purpose of the universe? What is the purpose of mine (and I just wrote that I pray for better days – does that make me guilty of hypocrisy?). What is the purpose of men’s nipples?
Oh, why do I have to write again?
Let the pages bleed once more. This time, online. I am but a slave to fate, yearning even just for a wink from the ever elusive Muse. Am I such a victim of consequence. Luckily, I don’t believe I have to trouble myself with that, for I still cling to Faith.
But these phrases and questions have no meaning. Right now, at my own declaration, I have no meaning. Just a squeaking voice in the wildness, as arts pundits usually say.
All I have to offer is my mind and the stories welled up from experience and rhythmic runes during idle time. No matter how cumbersome. I have to do this. The ache is so excruciating in the heart and mind.
I ache, ache throughout the desert-dry day, and I couldn’t sleep soundly anymore. All frustration and hate sifts through me. And I inadvertently hurt my loved ones, and even myself in the process.
Why do I hunger? why do I thirst?
Why the need to suffer; and a mind to burst?
In the crossroads of hate and love,
Is a tangible Force from above.
And the questions of hunger and thirst
Shall all be answered beyond the hearse
But first, I suffer
The weight this life has to muster…
Now, I search for answers. Once more? Once more. With nothing but Faith, Pen, and a little kinda lovin’ goin’ on since the Ministry of Christ.
Oh, did I just mention pen? For this matter, it should be keyboard.