Today as I write this piece, I play "The Very Best of '70s and '80s," that Readers Digest collection of tunes people like me, in their middle age, could relate to.
The wife had ordered this collection a long time ago and the last time I went home, I saw it gathering dust in one shelf.
I told the wife I needed to while away the sad hours of late evenings and early mornings in the land of exile.
I told her I needed to maintain my sanity in order to face the challenges of each day in a land so damn faraway from it all, from the humdrum of Manila life, from the litany of woes Filipinos in the county and abroad face each day.
I asked her if I can bring her collection with me.
She said, go on, go get it.
And so I had it packed, made it certain that the collection went first in the luggage before anything else.
So today, as the rain pours and pours so mild and on and off, as the day gathers the gloom of the darkening sky in this end of spring and the beginning of summer, I let the collection talk to me in the silence of my soul, the silence that has kept me company for the three years that I have been away, the silence that I know for certain is speaking to me with a clarity of message and meaning.
I check the list: Raindrops keep falling on my head, Feelings, Don't cry for me, Argentina.
Ha, this petit-b mindset!
I look out the window.
I think of work and the possibilities of scratching out a life between now and the Fall term, when real work begins and real pay comes and accords me some kind of decency and self-respect.
This bankcruptcy in the mind and soul and heart is a bankcuptcy as well of many things: dreams, dreams, dreams.
But then again, I know that I have got only one ambition: to write that damn good and great novel about being Filipino in the time of struggle for what is meaningful, what is just, what is fair, what if freeing.
Seems simple but it is not.
Takes a lot of prayer, like some kind of a self-flagellation the way Silas does the "discipline." And more prayer.
For a clarity of mind.
For the better signs and symbols.
Alright now, writers are masochists, many of them.
They like sorrow.
They like sadness.
They like pain.
They like suffering.
And they write about them afterwards.
They get into this circle, a vicious one.
This is why many of them are really topak, nuts. But imaginative, and creatively so.
Ako, nagsasawa na. I tell myself this with finality as I look out the window: Stop it--and now.
I look at the fingers of the sun streaking through the blinds.
At this hour, I reach out to the fingers of the sun.
I allow our fingers to touch. And it is raining in these parts.
A. S. Agcaoili
Monday, May 22, 2006