It is like writing a happy piece for the first time--this writing about the Sugiyaman garden.
Family and friends have noticed how sad my writings are and they do not mince words when they say so.
The missus has said that she would not read through my work when she sense something sad and sorrowful in it. "I do not want to carry the weight of your words," she emailed me many times. When she sees something funny and light and comic, she even posts a comment or two, reacting, counteracting, criticizing, commenting.
A poetess of a friend has the same feeling about my works: "You write as if sadness is in your blood."
She has charged me like a bull in a fighting ring until one day, when she could not take it any longer, she wrote several poems and dedicated them to me. The poems were sadder than my own, succumbing to the same malady all serious writers become afflicted with.
Serious writing is sad, always sad.
The act is an act of redemption whose goal is always towards the coming-to-life- again of sensitivities, sensibilities, and common sense.
It is one of renewal, resurrection if you so wish.
Serious writing is akin to the paschal mystery and no less: passion, death, resurrection.
Serious writers go the same way, the way of this mystery: they succumb to pathos or they suffer--or if they don't suffer and become pathetic in reality, they invent suffering and pathos or inflict pain on themselves. Those who go through suffering and pathos in a real and 'normal' sense are the luckier ones if they know how to invest upon the suffering and pathos they go through, when they are able to evolve a certain self-reflexivity.
And then, of course, serious writers go through the tropes of death, day-in and day-out.
Finally, if they find the way out, if they have the discipline to get out of suffering and death, they come back to life, resurrect like the way the savior did in his act of redeeming mankind.
I think again of these figures of speech, like a powerful metaphor and metonymy to the informing creative power in serious writing, in living life with authenticity and seriousness.
So instead of wallowing in sadness today, I look at the Sugiyama garden.
It is the garden fronting the kitchen sink of a sister's house. This house is where I am finding refuge at the moment, while waiting for the school year to begin with its own circle of frenzied activities.
It helps that the sink is draped in mini curtains in hues and shades akin to summer colors, the lacy curtains opening wide to the back of the next house owned by a retired couple who have always been kind to me whenever I came over to visit. They always had the ready smile on their faces, the sincere greetings, the easy laughter, and the quick 'thank you' when you tell them how beautiful their garden is. Their countenance and disposition, to say the least, is like their garden: ever-giving.
I look at the garden in this early morning of Tuesday of deadlines and more deadlines to beat. I spot the morning mist in the surroundings, a result of the evening rain. The dewdrops glint on the blades of grass carpeting the garden and the dark green leaves of bonsais perched on garden tables speak of lives lost and then regained, like my own. There is a subtle sway on the crowns of trees, as if a dance is going on courtesy of the breeze from the mountains and from Pearl Harbor in the east, as if the dancers are creating a beautiful chaos on stage.
The summer birds have come in early, making music I have not heard in a long time. The chirping came from the dense foliage of a mango tree, from a lychees tree, from the bushes hedging the backyard garden. Why the couple chose to have their garden at the back instead of the front part of the house is clear to me now: so the birds can sing to their hearts' content each hour of the day, minus the noise of people and vehicle that pollute the streets and the air and break the contemplative silence of flowers and gardens and gardeners.
The various flowers in their riotous colors compete for attention: the hibiscus on one side, the bougainvillea on the other, the lily on the pond, the orchids hanging on the branches of the pruned trees.
I throw my sorrows away, towards the garden in its colorful garb.
I throw my sadness away, towards the flowers in their summer bloom.
Today, I promised myself, like this garden of happiness, I permit myself to go through the paschal mystery with all its mysteries of endless falls and springs. At the end of the day, I will claim my coming-to-life-again, my resurrection, my renewal, my self-redemption.
I think of happy thoughts and happy poems.
And so I write this piece.
A Solver Agcaoili
July 25, 2006