Elsewhere, Nowhere

I have been, to put it lightly, in limbo.

Much of what happened and happening still is a series of failures and disappointments. My familiarity with losing and failure is very much like a friendship, and sometimes  friendship gets some cracks now and again.

True, I have been writing and illustrating my own graphic novels, I call them komiks novels, as homage to those little bits of literature that kept my imagination since I was a child. But the point is, personally, I am at my lowest where no one, not even my closest friends can get me to stand up.

And it seems during these times of abandonment and being discarded as used up and dried out, is where the whole creativity gets a shot of adrenalin. Something kept me down though, an ending that I saw coming but had no idea how it will unfold. Sure enough it was painful, with all the talking and communication we had, the goodbye got lost in technological snafu, and I fervently wished we could have ended it face to face and talking as friends, not some cloak and dagger, dungeons and dragons misdirection. Call it desperation-inspiration, label it defense mechanism, all I know is I can suffer as long as I can endure, I don’t really harbor grudges to weigh me down. I just feel empty sometimes when I look back about the coulda, woulda, shoulda stuff, you know how it is.

 

reklamador-15x20-pen-ink-brush-web

Now I’m doing this, on my own, living as frugal and bohemian in ways no one will understand. I have gone without food for days, a bit of alcohol with friends and that only proves I am made of sturdier stuff. I am living with less and yes, it resulted in me doing more, a paradox, but a welcome one.

Gave up the whole job hunting spree and just write and draw. This is how it’s going to be. No more spending hard-earned money just to get to an interview just to get the feeling of being an outsider. Well, I have always been an outsider. And I’ll use it to my own advantage.

Unconventional. Uncouth and unfashionable. I’d rather swim against the flow than getting lost in the waves.

The Prodigal Son Returns

The day started with me walking up Buendia Avenue on a nippy Saturday morning, on my way to a rendezvous point where Arniel, an old friend whom I haven’t seen for about a decade, give or take a few, is going to give me a ride down memory lane.

The blasted dude didn’t age one bit! Still the tidy, neat guy he was when we were getting shitfaced drunk back in the day (well I was always shitfaced drunk back then, he was seldom inebriated, methinks). He arrived and we gassed up, he did some work stuff for a couple of minutes and we were off.

We went to see the boys back home, home being Paete, Laguna, where we grew up.

The Bulldogs Club, as we’re famous, or infamous for, depends on who you’re talking to, was a bunch of guys growing up in Paete, painting souvenir bulldog pen heads, and everything started from there. We had a basketball team that became one of the team to beat at our local basketball tournaments (yes we have a pennant!) which came slow and hard, as we were wet behind the ears and was only in it for the heck of it. Our early team names, as Ka Emer reminded me, was Loafers, then became Youngsters, back then already giving the opposing team a hard time, and the official Bulldogs Team that won a championship, if I recall correctly. Basketball games at smalltowns are really an event worth cleaning and brushing your flipflops clean and be seen among the fans shouting bloody murder when a referee failed to call a foul.

Good times!

It’s not just being a basketball team, I can hardly dribble, but the rest of the guys were good at it. We also dabbled in music. Everyone in our crew can sing, but it was me who did most of the vocal duties when we decided to learn our chops seriously. Ambo on guitar, Tavern on drums, Me on bass and vocals, and most anyone who would jam with us, with the few song list we can play decently. Most of the time we were playing, we were also drinking, as most boys in our age then are wont to do. There was also that part of long forgotten memories, when, before we started palying in a band, we would pool up our money buy some pasta, set-up a place with a few strobes and colorful lights, taking turns at the tape player and turntable and viola! The party is on! To make sure all the invited girls can eat what measly food and drinks we had to offer, we made sure everyone has taken their share before eating ourselves, maybe even waiting for some leftovers.

Bulldogs Club Collage

Photos: Nelia De Luna, Arniel cajumban, Mahalia dalay, Rey Cajipe

Music has always been a part of the Bulldogs Club. And yesterday, I sang my heart out, because I haven’t anything to contribute financially, I just added some entertainment with my singing, even though it’s really hard to say the words when I’ve got less teeth now as I did back then. Still, yesterday was when I feel I could fuck up a song and the guys wouldn’t mind. But I think I did pretty well, considering I had to follow a more visceral singer in the person of Ramil. Continue reading

Dichotomy

Noun: dichotomy [dI’ko-tu-mee or di’ko-tu-mee]

  1. Being twofold; a classification into two opposed parts or subclasses
  2. Branching repeatedly into two

Recently I got an invitation to attend a gathering of old high school friends. I was downhearted and forlorn, thinking how could I, at my current state of unemployment and almost nonexistent financial sources, bring myself to this take that bus ride and savor the camaraderie and joy of peole who I have come to love as I grow up.

It was very difficult for me.

Here I am,  getting all social with my Twitter and Facebook, and continually posting on my WordPress and Google+, and it has come to my attention that, for all  the reality of poverty, I seem to give off a seemingly well-off character trolling the interwebs constantly. Mainly because I choose to speak in English, with my writing and my so-called social presence online. The music I listen to, the videos I am often fond of posting on my timelines, gives off some sort of content and comfort one sees with the millions of people trying to look larger than life with their selfies and OOTD’s and foodie post. Though I am not prone to doing all these, sadly, I see the analogs.

Whenever I post a finished inked drawing, likes and exclamations of appreciation, to other people look like I have made it. Which is far, really far from the truth. For several months now, I have survived from dole outs and charity from friends. My family is better off within the warmth of the countryside and the people supporting them. I was abandoned by other people, too, though I couldn’t blame them for doing so. Sometimes, in the deep of the night when I feel I deserve something better, my thoughts turn to negative, with anger and rage at the people whom I fairly given my talent and skill and loyalty, only to be treated like rag, too dirty and worn to be of any use. They could be right you, know, in their twisted version of altruism.They have their reasons. But sometimes it rasps like P1330221sandpaper in my soul. But to dwell on it would be courting disaster so I am moving along.

I didn’t care to weigh myself, but I seem to be just a few pounds short of 80. I know I used to be a heavy 120++ and my clothes seem to hang like laundry on hangers.

I got a rousing compliment about my newfound drawing skills with pen,ink and brush.

My  rented room is just a few notches from being too unwholesome and downright  trashy, probably the best description is the setting for “Scorpio Nights”, but without the sex, just the weathered, broken down dwelling.

And the cat smells.

But online, some find it humorous that I comment on my cat housemates as if, it’s a regular thing, and not at all annoying.

So this invitation, try as I might, may not push through, and did not actually, because I have not the the means to do so. I declined without getting into the full details of my absence. If I tell people I only eat two meals a day, they would laugh and dismiss it as just one of my witty quips.

Which is true. The two meals a day, I mean. Most of the time, the only food I get in my system is accompanied by brandy  provided by my Mayor Street Preacher friends here in Makati, one of the few saving graces handed to me: a brother’s unflinching love, a best friend’s undying loyalty, a couple of friends who have gone out of their way to give me something more than what I asked. But there is one other saving grace that wants no part of me whatsoever and just up and went. I suffer in silence. I have never been ungrateful, but some peole tend to be impatient with the returns, given my circumstances. To hear them talk would sound like they don’t care. But they do.

People may talk of not caring what others think, but they do care about what peole think.

But things are looking up.

My gig with Mike is now on for 8 more weeks, with a new show requiring comics/drawing as the show intro in the offing, my komiks portrait seem to be gathering enough interest for people to actually ask about it, hopefully more want theirs too, and my own stories are getting fuller everyday – drawing and adding new aspects of the story by writing a bit more each day – has made me more determined to see this through. Very much like an MMA fighter who is losing with every round, but resolved to finish the whole bout.

For respect.

Now, a new invitation, this time from a bunch of hooligans I went out with, got mugged with, got stoned-faced drunk with in my youth and early adul life is calling. Do I make myself available?

Damn well, I will.

Solitude is something I have learned to live with since my childhood. But sometimes being with friends does wonders to my being. I could get some hard facts slapped in my face, the guys would probably berate me for being too scarce these years, and I may get a lot of flak from stories I haven’t told, but dammit, I miss mingling with real people, not some online community.

So come the 23rd of July, I will be taking the trip back to my hometown…

And I will enjoy myself.