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.

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Watching A Man Die

[I wrote this about 20 years ago. Felt like it was time to publish and get on with life]

dilemma
I’m watching a man die

Everyday, I see this man die each time he wakes
up. Each sunrise should bring everyone of us joy
and hope. Instead, for him, it’s a struggle to
keep calm and check himself from losing grip on
reality. The thought is apalling. To think it’s
all because of this four letter word that keeps
the world going round, or so they say.

He bleeds.

He bleeds each time he sees her. It’s tearing
him apart inside. Sandpaper on his soul. It’s the
knowledge that he can never, ever hold her as
close as he wants her to be. It’s the truth that
he faces everyday that stabs him deep each time,
like a rusty blade, inching deeper, twisting as it
sinks deep. She is free, blooming and living life.
He cries. Tears rolling down, drops hot as
steaming water on burned flesh. Oh what pains must
one man endure to keep his love for this woman he
alone knows, will not be his. Not now. Not ever.

But the sadddest thing is, despite all that
hurt, all that pain. He loves her. Truly. Deeply.
He will do anything and everything in his flimsy
power to give her what she wants.Whatever makes
her happy. Even the man she chose to love, he will
love like a brother. He’s that twisted, scorched,
and stupid.

Amidst all that,he smiles. That what puzzles
me the most. He smiles, remembering all those
times he spent with her. Those memories he grabs
with whiteknuckle desperation. Those sweet
memories he intends to keep for the rest of his
life. And he knows it’s not right. It was a
mistake for others to see. It’s was not meant to
be. Even the age gap is enormous. And the set up
too complicated. He knows this love will bring
pain. And he has accepted it. And the separation
was the most painful thing he has felt so far.
Still this stupid fool smiles.

You’re a fool, I said. Poor fool.

Still, this man I have grown fond of,
smiles. Forget the pain, he said. It’s the
remembering that counts. He never forgets to
whisper “I Love You” whenever the opportunity
presents itself. Each smile she throws at him, a
miracle for his wounded pride. And it’s eating
him up. Tearing him to pieces. Crumbling his will
to live.

But he must continue living. For his children
that brings him unimaginable joy. And he must
live. For his wife.His wife who stuck through
thick and thin. She, whose bones are slowly withering and
wasting down her body.Who promised to love him and their
child. The poor soul who waits, and weeps for him.
The one who loves him like life itself.

How he managed to live two lives, is
something I will never understand.

Poor, dumb fool of a man.

He chooses to live in dilemma.

How long can you live like this? Always
yearning for that other love, the one who will
never comeback, the one who hurts you the most,
the one who hurts you still? Or will you choose to
turn around and look at the eyes of those three
souls who waits, who keeps you in their heart, no
matter what?

And he dies everytime.

I’m watching a man die.

Learning To Fly

At best it was a horrid day.

Not because of bad things that happened, no there wasn’t. But I am quite sure elsewhere, worse things did. The day was gloomy from the dark clouds and the threat of heavy rainfall was evident. But that was just it, just a threat. All day long it was sweaty and hot. The perspiration that dried at the base of my neck has become gritty salt when I noticed.

But I was in a good mood. Rarely do I get sad or weary.

There is still that novelty of learning new things. And I am learning a lot. When I woke up from a very long night of studying favorite authors’ works, my own inking progress and even more research, my process has turned to seeing and reading and listening.

I’ve had a signed copy of Vic Poblete’s Marco Piolo and amidst the vast stories and novels the man has published, mostly vague recollections of stories read from my youth, this particular komiks is the one that has taught me more than an interview with a person might turn out. I have met Vic Poblete and the man is what he is – feisty, intelligent, quick to wit and what we call the personification of the word masculine – and yet, if you’ll get the chance to shoot the bull with the man, he’s a simple and as real as any father or uncle can be. Which I wouldn’t mind considfering I grew up without a father. And Marco Piolo is so precise in it’s words and pacing that all I need to do was read and look and read again, catching how the man put descriptions and dialog. The man’s mastery of the vernacular is enviable. After reading F Sionil Jose’s The Feet of Juan Bacnang, which is another author I admire, and his prose is very much a sort of transcendental reading, but Poblete’s wit and grasp of the NOW is plain to see, you can feel the abruptness of events happening in the story. There is another author I need to study, another friend, but with her work I need to get my feminine mojo on, because I am, admittedly, not really into love stories. But Ms. Rose Tan has been writing for two decades now, and her vernacular prowess has grown into staggering proportions that she only needs to quip a part of her writing on social media and her fans are swooning! I may have to read Arik, but not right now. I’ll do it after I let her read my manuscript, after all, the best critic will be a friend who tells you what stinks.

Oh, you may have guessed by now that I am writing. Mostly fiction of the sci-fi and fantasy orientations. And have applied what I have done with my previous work, approach it as a newbie, learn as much as possible about it, and do it. If roadblocks appear, do research and solve the damned thing that is getting in my way. And reading up on it is teaches me more than attending writing classes and seminars. Those books I have read and lost long ago, Perez, Bautista, Bombeck among the few, and those I still have with me are actually teachers for my story telling.

I’ve been listening to an audiobook by Stephen King, On Writing, and the writer who has given me Pennywise and Roland and the Tommyknockers is teaching me more than just taking me to places in New England and of people I will never meet but totally exist in that hemisphere. He’s talking about what I’m learning from Poblete and Tan, from the booksale find of three Ruth rendell Wexford novels I am reading in between drawing and writing, from the est of my measly collection of thriftshop hardbounds and paperbacks. Oh, I would still like to write like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, or HP Lovecraft, but these authors I have with me now – King, Poblete, Tan – they are what’s closer to me, in different ways possible.

Soon as I prepped for the days drawing, setting up my media player with my headphones and the day’s selection of music, probably Heavy Metal or Jazz, depends on how noisy it is outside my door, I dive deep into learning. Even with my drawing I have seen my own progression. There is a difference between wanting to and doing it – the confidence of doing it is the key. And I have become confident in what I am doing.

Maybe because I have grown.

Or maybe I have accumulated all sorts of experiences and it is time for me to tell stories, to describe each experience within the walls of my fantasy. All the love, the hurt, the exhilirations and frustrations, misgivings, apprehensions, disappointments, immorality and honesty, exaltations and confusion. I’ve even made it a point to illustrate what I believe happened rather than what was taught me in since childhood.

It’s what good about writing and creating, I can shut the worl out and be with myself and the stories. Even with the constant braying of the twin kids below my room, or the incessant cha-cha music from the other side of the street, I could be with my own, in a world where I am learning as I move along.

But when the couple next door happens to make love, all bets are off. The house moves like a jellyfish and that is the only distraction I cannot possibly ignore, so I stop, giving them enough time to finish and I start again.

And by the time I have my fill of learning, writing, drawing, it’ll be past 3am, which is what I will be doing affer I have written down this affirmation of sorts.

Heavens, please make it rain, it’ll make the night cooler and much more lucrative for creativity . . .