Courage and the Cowardly Adult

The operative word of the day:

Courage.

Why is this so hard to come by, the older one gets?

From small things (texting a person you like) to big ones (job hunting, talking to an irate boss) it all seems to take a herculean amount of willpower and cahones to do.

Was it any easier when we were younger?

It couldn’t be. A lot of things were deathly scary back then too.

I remember breaking out in sweat and testing the limits of my deodorant (already at peak capacity thanks to puberty) during those parent-teacher conferences in high school. My Math teacher would pull my parents to the side to discuss my failing grades, adopting a grim look only a Mafia lord could pull. Then, all three of them would turn to me in unison — the teacher shaking his head, my dad’s eyebrows knotted and crumpled up, my mother choking back tears (a wee bit of a drama queen, that one). The expression on their face told me I’ve disappointed them, as if I suddenly revealed a plan to  forego college and just take up competitive yo-yo as a profession.

I dreaded those conferences mainly because of what followed. But, that was ages ago, back when I was a kid. You’d think that as an adult, courage would come in spades. After all, we did survive all the things the universe has thrown at us for 20+ years: a Y2K bug, the 2012 doomsday prophecy,  Donald Trump, etc.

And yet, here I am, still afraid.

Afraid of a lot of things.

I’m afraid of booking plane tickets. I’m afraid of being judged for my writing, and of what the imagined audience would say.

I’m afraid of mixing up my tenses, of interchanging “your” and “you’re” and accidentally sending that to a grammar nazi friend and being forever thought of as ignoramus.

I’m NOT afraid of heights anymore, but i’m STILL afraid of red ants (long story involving a bath towel, a branch, and a line of red ants. Go figure it out, if you have an active imagination).

I’m afraid of dating in the 21st century. And from there, I’m afraid of taking a gamble and loving again.

Heck, I’m afraid of telling others what I’m afraid of — to be meta about it.

But what really terrifies me shitless, what keeps me up at night, is the thought of letting these fears paralyze me into inaction.

Because true courage isn’t lack of fear; it’s moving forward in spite of it.

Sometimes, it might get too tiring. We are too beat up by our responsibilities that we justify not facing our fears. We stop moving and accept defeat.

Wait long enough and this becomes the default state. And then you’ll realize you don’t feel scared anymore.

…in fact, you rarely feel anything at all.

That’s when the real nightmare begins.

So before that happens, shake yourself awake. Opt for the hard right, instead of doing the whatever easy option is left. It’s a mantra I need to tell myself often, considering there are still lots of things I run away from. I don’t want to one day look at the mirror, and see an all-familiar disappointed expression, one I thought I had left in high school.

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My Conversation with the Cosmos

cosmosIf the Universe is trying to tell you something, by all means, pay attention.

The Universe is a very busy, er, creation. It could be doing something Universe-related (like creating planets or making sure the plot of Interstellar holds up). Instead, it chose to talk to you. That’s like the President of the World coming to your house personally to organize your post-it notes (or as we call it in the Philippines, “sucking up to the voters”).

When the times comes and you feel as if the cosmos are sending you a signal, here are some things to remember:

1. You can’t afford being dense. The message comes in unexpected forms, delivered through various medium: it could sneak up in a casual conversation with a friend, who suddenly calls you out for not writing anything recent.

“Whatever happened to your public blog?” she would ask. “Why haven’t you produced anything new?” And you squirm uncomfortably and utter the same, rehearsed excuses — not to her but mostly to yourself, to justify your inaction.

Sure, that friend may have dropped a scathing truth bomb on you (and she might need to read up on “The Art of Transitioning Properly into a Touchy Subject”) but it is only because she sees the value of your work — even though you might have trouble seeing it yourself.

When you feel as if your friend is acting as the mouthpiece of the Universe, heed her words. Use it as a conduit of change.
Most importantly, hang on to that friend; she’s the real deal.

2. Sometimes, the Universe takes a creative approach. There are many instances when you feel as if a work of art is speaking to you.

Like during a movie, you feel as if the lines were written specifically for you….that’s because you are egotistic and probably a closet narcissist like me. But, it might also be the Universe telling you something important, and it just decided to do it with more pizzazz this time.

“Stop living comfortably for yourself, for your family,” says the mustachioed actor playing a General on-screen, during a Saturday viewing of the movie Heneral Luna. And before delivering the next line, he looks at the audience, summons his inner Shia Le Bouf and shouts: “SACRIFICE for the greater good!”

A little melodramatic? Probably. Is he wrong though? Definitely not.

Art is the best way to get a message across. It isn’t too hard sell, and we all interpret it differently, depending on how applicable it is to our situation. This makes it more likely to stick. Besides, the livid face of a mustachioed man 30-feet big is always an effective way to get someone’s attention.

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3. It’s up to you to form the big picture.Sometimes, all you get are bits and pieces. Put them together and you get a general idea of what the Cosmos are trying to tell you:

  • “You are starting to write too corporate — break that!”
  • “Your article came back. Pardon my editor’s harsh notes.”
  • [Writes something. Stops after a few lines. Gets distracted. Finishes 7 hours later — if at all]
  • (Boss reads something I wrote, then crosses out the whole page) “NO. This is wrong.”
  • “Call me when you are finished doing that copy.” (or “Damn, what’s taking you this long? That’s just a few lines!”)
  • [Tries to finish an article. Goes to one room to the next to unclog brain. Futile]

All from different sources. One underlying message: “Your writing sucks.”

No surprises there. I know my writing had become rusty (and not just rusty-rusty, but Mad Max level rustiness in a sandstorm). I do write regularly on my journal, as mentioned in my previous post, but.. it feels inadequate. Art needs to give back. You can’t keep creating something for your own consumption, in your own vacuum.

So yes, I hear you loud and clear, cosmos: I’m sorry if I was selfish with my writing for far too long. I think I’m ready to start sharing some of the stories here again. I swear I will work doubly hard to shake off the rust and get back to fighting form.

I get your message. You can stop sending me Snapchats now.

A message to Future Me

I chanced upon my old journals last night, as I was cleaning out my closet.

You could say that these were my “skeletons”, as they revealed a side of me I wasn’t proud of. Not only was Young Me an atrocious writer with horrible grammar, he also came off as a Walking Penis with a Brain.  Mind you, this was from 6 years ago, when I was still in college. Distractions of youth is partly to blame, but only by a little bit.

Some excerpts from my 2009 journal:
“_______ is hot. I wonder if I have a chance with her?” 

“Went to a party. Lots of hot girls there. Awesome time”

“(basically a caricature of someone, with lady parts exaggerated)”

Great journalling there from an aspiring writer. I couldn’t even string a couple of words together to form a creative thought. Young, College Me was a sex-obsessed douche, which is only marginally different from what I am now (sans the “young” part).

But Young Me DID get something right, and it was that he wrote often, even if it was just snippets. The same can’t be said about Current Me. The last blog entry I did was about a month ago. Granted, I write privately on the side for personal consumption. But I’ve yet to develop this into a habit, and that’s what worries me.

Back to the journal. I loved reminiscing about the past, trying to interpret what I meant back then with my more cryptic entries (just a guess: it’s probably connected to sex). For a brief moment, I was brought back to relive my most cherished memories:  to when I was in Grande Island, consoling a distraught friend by the poolside while our orgmates loudly partied in the distance. Or to the terror I felt facing the selection committee, being interviewed for the editor in chief position.

Reading those convinced me to get back to journalling regularly, to try to capture the stories i’ll have this year (the more fun ones I’ll share here and some i’ll take with me to the grave). I have a feeling that 2015 will be a time of transition and many change. And documenting all that will help me reflect on the year that was.

If nothing else, I’ll return to journalling so that Future Me will have something to read that will make him slap his forehead and realize what a dork I was. At least not a sex-obsessed one but dorky nonetheless.

Single Brown Male looking for BBB (Big Brown Bear)

There’s a coffee shop near my place where you can date stuffed animals.

That’s right. For the low, low price of one latte (which is approximately Php5,780.00, give or take), you can pick any stuffed toy as your table companion. You can have it sit in front of you or beside you, cuddle with it, make it hold your coffee — all kinds of…er, stuff.

I heard this was a common trend in Korean coffee shops, but I haven’t been to that many yet. Even though there are lots of Korean-owned Cafes around La Salle,I tend to stick to the familiar and comfortable. For me, that means a quaint little place in front of Rizal Memorial, wedged in between two tall condominiums. The shop’s original name was “Coffee Prince”, after the famous Koreanovela. But, due to copyright infringement (and the threat of so many show fans crowding the store just to say they’ve “been to the Coffee Prince #ohemgee”) the owners decided to change the name to “Coffee Place”, which is currently in the running for the Most Uninspired Shop Name Award.

But, I love it anyway. It’s a favorite haunt for when I want to write for leisure. So far, it hasn’t failed me yet (it’s where I’m writing this entry). The place has two floors, lots of tables and couches, and numerous circular light bulbs suspended from the ceiling. When reflected on one’s laptop screen, they resemble city lights blurred by the distance. Best of all, there are plenty of outlets located strategically in every corner — enough to sate your typical table hog/ wifi-leech.

In the future, I believe coffee shops will be rated according to their outlet count. Owners will post signs at the door, highlighting this as their main draw (“Come right in! Over 50 outlets for all your charging needs. Also available: Coffee”)


My date for tonight: a brown stuffed bear wearing a white knitted sweater.

It was either him, a Winnie the Pooh doll (with a shirt that says “Millennium Bear”), Stitch, a Cloud, or a Purple Elephant. I didn’t like that streaker Winnie, Stitch was too cute for my taste, the cloud was too dirty, and the elephant looked like it was on LSD. So, I ended up with the brown bear.

Something about him appealed to me. Like, this was a toy who was already tired of life and had no more f*cks to give.

I named him Jim Ross, not after the WWE commentator, but just because that name suited him. Jim, the alcoholic crane operator who just came from the construction yard, after an exhausting day of getting his ear chewed off by his asshole boss. Jim, who is having marital problems back at home, and who suspects that his wife is sleeping with his next door neighbor, Elmo.

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Just look at him, all tuckered out from being life’s punching bag. For some reason, the bear’s presence made it easier to write tonight, even though I myself was already drained from the long commute. It’s like the bear gets me, like he wants to communicate something to me:

Jim : The f*ck I care about what you’re writing. Just give me my draft beer already.

Only the first date and already a match made in heaven.

Just before 2015 wakes up…

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It’s been hours and I still haven’t the foggiest on what to write. Go figure — the first day of 2015 and already I have Writer’s Block.

I was supposed to write about mountain-climbing, but that got stalled and it didn’t seem appropriate for the New Year. Everyone’s writing about the “Year That Was”, even my favorite humor columnist did so. But as I mentioned in my recent post, “the year that was” is “a year I’d rather forget”.

So, after burning a hole through my monitor from prolonged staring, it was obvious that inspiration wouldn’t come pouring out of my fingertips anytime soon. I decided to go out for a walk.

This was after midnight. The firecrackers have long been spent, the people are sleeping off their food coma, or have passed out in a drunken stupor (good luck nursing a hang-over tomorrow, with the racket from left-over firecrackers). The city itself was slumbering, wrapped in a thin blanket of smoke.

Outside our apartment building, a group of friends have set up by the gate and were having a grand time, breaking the silence of the night with their boisterous conversation. The street was void of any living soul, save mine and a passing cat. I laughed when I remembered what my sister said earlier, about cats secretly lighting fireworks to scare dogs. The cat didn’t even bother avoiding me; it was in a hurry to get somewhere. It’s then that I wondered if animals also celebrated the New Year, holding feasts of their own with their families (Ithe sulfur must be affecting my brain at that point)

The nearby 7-11 was still open so I went in and bought a cold can of Nescafe Latte. It was heartbreaking to see a lone woman by the cashier, someone who’s forced to work on New Year’s Eve. I paid for my drink, flashed her an apologetic smile, and hurried out so she could close shop. Thankfully, a male employee entered as I left. That’s one less lonely soul tonight.

This was near Buendia, a traffic-ridden street any other day of the week,  Around this time, skaters would claim the sidewalk as their own, doing tricks perilously as buses zoomed past them (they’re always one Ollie away from a Final Destination-esque death) But on New Year’s eve, they were nowhere in sight. Buendia was deathly still — a perfect setting to pause for a bit, finish my drink by the neon sign of a gas station, and contemplate on the passing year.

I guess 2014 wasn’t all bad. Among the highlights:

  • Started a new job at a corporation, where the most fulfilling aspect is learning new corporate terms and using them in everyday conversation with friends, all snooty-like (“About our reunion, we should first cascade that plan to all parties concerned. For the meantime, I’m going to put a placeholder on the venue, so we could align our calendars at the soonest”) You can bet that my friends hated me after;
  • Regularly contributed stories to a sports magazine, where the editor even lauded my write-up. And it only took me 2 months after the deadline to pass the article. #progress;
  • Took up mountaineering as a hobby. Although “took up” might be the wrong word. You “take up” painting, knitting, or competitive beer pong, things that are less strenuous. A more apt wording: “decided to be a masochist and punish oneself by climbing a piece of rock for no discernible reason. Then repeating this several times”;
  • Went on my first Simbang Gabi. Or Christmas Novena, as it is known in other countries. I haven’t been to mass in a while (the last one was five years ago), so I didn’t know most of the lyrics to the hymns. These were actual lyrics with substance and meaning, which can’t be said about most of our pop-songs today (looking at you, Anaconda);
  • Got out of a toxic relationship. Self-explanatory.

I went back to the apartment upon finishing my drink, confident that I now have a topic for my blog. Inside, my father was snoring softly on the living room couch, while classical music played in the background. My sister and mother were in the other rooms, fast asleep. The only other sound was the gently clacking of keys as I started typing this entry.

Occasionally, I would glace around the room, breathing in the tranquility of the night. I smiled upon seeing my my dad’s tablet, which was playing a visualizer app to the sound of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star”. This was a 58-year-old man — an intimidating lawyer by day — and yet he still needed a lullaby to help him fall asleep.

And damned if it wasn’t the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen.

I guess this is what happiness looks like at 4:00 in the morning. To be the only one awake while your loved ones slumber peacefully next to you. A rare kind of bliss that comes with age.

It may not be much to some, especially to those who claimed they had a spectacular year (just go to FB and you’ll see a lot of these). But, this is how I choose to remember 2014. And I’m perfectly fine with that.

A Letter For The Single People Waiting To Be Loved

Going through something similar. My mantra as of late is to “be the perfect person for that perfect someone.”

” They will say hello, and it won’t feel like the first time. It will be the kind of hello that means “I’ve missed you, and I don’t even know you yet.”

Thought Catalog

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Dear You,

Single doesn’t mean less-than. Single is whole. You are everything, now, in this moment: fully formed, a force to be reckoned with, all you need to be – and will ever need to be – in one perfect soul. One is a round number, remember.

Also remember that you are enough.

You are complete.

You are loved.

They’re on their way. Your person. It might not be today, though – in fact, it’s probably not today, or even tomorrow – and that’s exactly how it should be. You’re not with the person of your life because you are the person of your life. They are extra. It will happen when it happens. But it will happen.

Don’t sit and wait. Don’t simply pass the time until they arrive. You are worth a thousand more dreams than that. Continue, with full speed ahead, to be wonderful, to be…

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Making sense of the last chapter

I wake up to the sight of many lifeless eyes, staring down at me.

Startled, I try to make sense of what I’m looking at, tracing a pair of eyeballs back to a purple giraffe face with its tongue hanging out. Just a stuffed toy, thank god.

They surround me on all sides. Next to my pillow, there’s a white, child-sized stuffed bear, its fur speckled with dust.

It’s then that I remember this isn’t my room, but a female cousin’s.

We’re at their place in Tondo, celebrating Christmas with the aunties from my mom’s side. It’s an annual tradition: every Dec. 25, we make the long drive to our grandma’s house, where she and her daughters proceed to stuff us with as much food as they can, readying us for hibernation.

While we sleep off our food coma, mom would catch up with her sisters, gossiping about work, politics, our devious housemaids, and her favorite topic: us, her children.

My ears would prick whenever I would hear my name mentioned. Most of it is embellished. Like I would go home late from overtime, and you won’t hear a peep out of her. But in front of her sisters, she would construct a story about how I was gallivanting with my girlfriend (“He’s always coming home late from his dates. I told him he should prioritize work, once in a while!”). One time, I came home wearing a new pair of pants, the first I bought in three years (my other pants were so old and crisp that they can stand by themselves when propped up). She nodded in approval and that was that.

Come Christmas, I am suddenly painted as a big-time spender who burns cash faster than I make it (“When will these kids learn that saving is it’s own reward?”).

Usually, I would politely enter the room and correct the story. But this time, I’m in no mood to do so. Instead, I retreated to a cousin’s room and proceeded to reflect on the year that was.

I read somewhere that if 2014 was a book, you have to make sure that the last chapter is worth reading.

I don’t know what genre my novel falls into, but the last few pages have been a bit bleak, coming from a recent break-up with a long-time girlfriend and experiencing a standstill in my career.

It’s like one of those stories where the protagonist fails in his mission and must suffer through the consequences, all the way to the end. The last twenty pages chronicles him just trying to rise from the shit-storm that resulted from his actions (incidentally, this is the kind of source material Peter Jackson needs to create a four-part trilogy. Just look at the last Hobbit movie).

Maybe I should have heeded that TV Feng Shui artist’s advice, when she said that 2014 would be a bad year for the Dragon. At least I could’ve prepared myself better. Maybe next year, I’ll be the right animal to attract cosmic luck.

2015 is almost here. And yet most of us are just starting to make sense of what just happened.

Tell me a story

Our legs buckled under the weight of the falling ceiling.

Desperately, we tried to push it back, but it kept getting heavier and heavier by the second. We crouched — arms outstretched — to support its weight and keep the whole thing from turning us into human pancakes.

Just when it looked like our fate was sealed, someone gave a signal. Instantly, the ceiling vanished — ONLY to be replaced by a wall with the same murderous intent. It was seemingly possessed by the garbage compactor from Star Wars. Another signal, and the wall turned into two mountains on both side, coming closer to give us the Worst Hug ever.

Finally, the instructor gave the last signal and all the things that tried to kill us vanished. Thdeathtrap of a room turned back into a plain conference hall.

We just survived our first IMPROV class. And from the smile plastered on everyone’s faces, it was the most fun we’ve had in a long time.

Storytelling, for business

The activity was part of a seminar titled “The Art of Storytelling’ as used in the business setting.

In my case, i was asked to attend by my boss, to up my presentation skills. Truthfully, it really did suck — I wasn’t the cocky, confident presentor I originally was, since everyone here intimidates me. My officemates are Lex Luthor-type geniuses, minus the balding and the obsession with muscular men clad in red-blue spandex.

The speaker was a guy named Voltaire, a theater actor who started as a “glorified car-wash” boy from Honda:

“I was so good at my job, I created a manual for proper carwashing techniques. It showed how to save water, how to wax the car properly, and so on. Finally, the manager said ‘give this guy a promotion.'”

“They gave me a tie and promoted me to Photocopier Boy. My first task? Mass producing my carwash manual.”

Eventually, he went on to become the most sought-after acting instructor in the country. He holds workshops for corporations, talent agencies and even religious organizations (because we’ve all had that boring pastor who made us want to switch religions, rather than endure another dull, hour-long sermon).

According to him, storytelling can be broken down into four parts: Normalcy, Incidence, Resolution, Insight.

If you apply this to your normal day, you’d have something like this:

Normalcy: Every 3pm, you go to the coffee machine and dial a cup of cappuccino.

Incidence: Disaster strikes when the machine explodes, coating you in radioactive coffee. Why it is radioactive is anyone’s guess.

Resolution: Through this freak accident, you now have the power to secrete coffee out of your pores. You have become “The Coffee Maker” — best friend of tired employees everywhere. But because of your gross powers, you can never ever find true love.

Insight: You wished you just went to Starbucks and saved yourself the trouble.

A good storyteller can persuade customers and make a sale. Or, he can get the client’s support in backing a project. He does this by showing two things: sincerity and vulnerability.

A good storyteller: sincere and vulnerable

Why these two traits in particular? Voltaire explained that people relate better to those who show vulnerability.

As a listener, you put your guard down and become more receptive towards a vulnerable person It’s because true vulnerability can only be achieved by revealing your innermost thoughts, embarrassing stories, or anything you wouldn’t normally reveal about yourself without first drinking beer.

It’s even better if what you reveal makes the other person laugh. That tiny chuckle basically means your foot is in the doorway, and there’s rapport. Don’t be surprised if you’re asked to be the best man of his wedding one day.

On sincerity, this appeals more to the ethics of storyteller.

A charming speaker can twirl the audience through his fingers, and most often, the temptation to manipulate them is too hard to resist. It’s no coincidence that most dictators elected into office are also some of the most compelling storytellers.

Mr. Storyteller Man

That part struck me the hardest, because I could relate it to my craft.

Sincerity and Vulnerability. The two things that’s currently missing in my writing.

Maybe I have become too concerned with the audience, too self-conscious for my own good that I have closed myself off to the world (thus losing my vulnerability). I often resort to shallow topics, or hold back when I vent, making any post I make feel insincere.

It scares me that writing has become a means to FEEL something, unlike back then, when I wrote because of a tidal wave of emotions. What’s even scarier is the thought that it’s an irreversible process.

The story of a writer’s life, right?

Let’s talk business

Today’s topic: “Fake it until you make it.”

There I was: first day at a new job and already a meeting. I barely had time to wet my feet, but I was brimming with confidence made possible by a sharp attire and over-gelled hair. Besides, I’ve led business meetings before — how hard could it be to just sit in one?

Turn out it’s impossibly hard, with all the corporate jargons peppered in the conversation.

I spent the last three years as a Health Journalist, so I’m familiar with medical terms. I know enough to bullshit my friends with a baseless diagnosis (“That’s a scary rash. It might be lupus”). But this business talk? This had my brain smoking. It’s like hearing someone suddenly break into “Simsimish”, or an alien language — and everyone in the room but you understands.

That was 2 months ago. Now, I get what people are saying 80% of the time. The 20% that leaves me dumbfounded, I just smile, nod and start responding to the natives in their local dialect, spewing the few corporate phrases I know until we come to an understanding (or they walk away, freaked out).

See? Say it with enough confidence, and you’re good to go.

Here are some of the most perplexing (at times, obnoxious) business jargons I’ve encountered:

My “Top 5 Most Perplexing Business Jargons”

5. “Cadence”

What you think it is: The march of a soldier  (Ex: “Private Santiago’s cadence was to the tune of Psy’s ‘Gentleman’, that’s why he is being transferred immediately.”)

What it actually means: A poetic term that simply means a repeat meeting.

4. “Loop in”

What you think it is: A term used in the competitive sport of Needle Threading (Ex: “Our contender only has one more thread to loop in before becoming the World Needling Champion.”)

What it actually means: Inviting someone to join a meeting, and informing him/her about the latest updates. Basically to CC a person.

3. “Cascade”

What you think it is: A color-matching game like Candy Crush (Ex: “I love playing Cascade. Matching same-colored tiles is not at all racist!”)

What it actually means: To disseminate information to other members of your department. Usually done by the boss towards her subordinates.

2. “From the Get-go”

What you think it is: Another band’s attempt to come across “quirky” by using this as their band name. (Ex: “From the Get-go’s song ‘How Can Colors be real if Eyes are Not’ tops the billboard charts for the 7th consecutive week.”)

What it actually means: From the start. Say this instead. It’s more economical and sounds less pretentious.

 

And the ABSOLUTE WORST term ever:

1. “Open the kimono”

What you think it means: Something a drunk, perverted boss says before sexually assaulting a waitress at a Japanese restaurant. (Ex: “Under any circumstance, do NOT use ‘Open the Kimono’ as a business jargon.”)

What it actually means: A big reveal. That’s it.

Seriously, you could have just said the better version and saved yourself the trouble of giving off a creepy, rape-y vibe. Thankfully, haven’t heard “Open the Kimono” being used in the office yet. Still, just imaging it makes me want to take a cold shower. Disturbingly inappropriate.

 

What business jargon do you most hate and why?

Writing amid static

http://eppsnet.com/

This is your brain without WordPress

Ever since I joined the “corporate arena” (an annoying term I got from an officemate), I haven’t been able to write things that aren’t, er… corporate-y.

It’s not for lack of trying. Every lunchbreak, I would go to a nearby fountain — orange journal tucked under my sweaty pits — and sit quietly for half an hour, trying to write. I’d like to think I do this solely to please my Muse and act like a writer dedicated to his craft. But mostly, it’s because the food around BGC is hella expensive and I’m a cheapskate

I’d try and make an essay, a poem, even a song lyric — anything to get that pen moving across the page. Sometimes, I would be successful in roping a few words, making a coherent paragraph that captures my thoughts. Other times, I would go back to the office, frustrated and hungry, the scent of failure mixing with a tinge of sweat and B.O.

Stephen King once said that waiting for inspiration to strike is for amateurs, and that real writers just power through and write. And though I agree with that sentiment (who am I to disagree with the King of Horror? I wouldn’t want him to sic his creations on me), it’s hard to power through when all you hear is “static”.

That’s how it feels lately, whenever I try to write for pleasure. The voice in my head  — the good one, not the one who tells me streaking in public is a great idea — is trapped behind a wall of static, unable to narrate anything. It’s like watching telenovela with bad reception, trying to piece a story together using fuzzy images, incomprehensible noise, and the passionate squawking of characters. Utter chaos.

I may be suffering from the writer’s equivalent of erectile dysfunction. Even the fountain seemed to agree during one of my lunch sessions: from a strong water cannon, it turned into a tiny sprout — a fitting metaphor for the lack of passion in my writing.

I need to try the two sure-fire methods of getting your mojo back: reading more and writing more. The last time I picked up a book (In Evil Hour by Gabriel Garcia Marquez), I found the whole thing tiring. I couldn’t even finish 20 pages in a week. I’ve also been neglecting my blog updates, since I’m transitioning at my new work.

I’ll update more often from now on, til I reach the point where static becomes clear and the voice is audible. Because to “power through” means to continue producing work until you become an unstoppable force, that not even something as concrete as Writer’s Block can stop you (think Juggernaut meets Mark Twain).

"Tis thee Juggernaut, bitch!"

“Tis thee Juggernaut, bitch!”