Saturday, April 10, 2010

Taadaaa!!! Mirha

Last week and this week may probably be the most relaxing weeks I've had so far during this first quarter of the year. With last week being the annual Holy week celebration, we had no work starting Wednesday evening. We only came back the following Monday after Easter, and had only four days of work with the 9th of April being another national holiday. 
Before Holy Wednesday, I've been planning to catch up with my paintings, readings, and writings. Alas, the long weekend came and went and came again, and I have done NOTHING. No new painting. No new post. And I haven't been able to follow up on the proceedings of Miles and Sarah's love story in Nicholas Spark's A Bend in the Road. Worse, the lethargy has eaten up my interest in finishing Mirha, the beautiful. 
Although she already showed promise during the early stages of development, I started to feel uncomfortable upon finishing her very ornate headdress. I still am not abandoning my plans to finish the synopsis for the story though. It's just that I've gotten lazy. Anyways, I still owe it to Mirha to showcase her beauty even if I no longer plan to finish her and make her the arch nemesis of the lead character in my story. Like the others, I executed her using colored inks and liquid eraser. Here you can see pictures dating back to the preliminary stages until the present unfinished stage.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I Feel Sick

I'm not feeling good today. Mom and I have come home from my aunt's place because Pop would be away at his province for two weeks. And that's exactly the amount of time we would be spending here after which we would resume our lives back at my aunt's place. I could not tell if the terrible feeling is borne of my sore aching body. Last night had been a close call. I made it to work on the dot just as the bundy clock struck ten. The unexpected stroke of luck had elicited a relieved albeit insane laughter from me for a few secs, as I stood in front of the computer we're we log in for work attendance, reveling at my luck. But the relief was temporary. With only six minutes left before the end of the grace period, I dashed like lightning from the building entrance all the way to the 14th floor office room we occupy. If there were no available elevators open then, I doubt it that I could have been as lucky. But made it I did. 

If ever I arrived a minute later than 10, I would have had no other choice but to go home grumbling--company policy states that we are already absent should we arrive later(even just 1 minute) than the appointed grace period. And all because of one fucking minute. But the intermittent palpitations that started last night when I nearly collapsed from exhaustion upon arriving and persists until now makes me wonder if my decision to do that mad dash had really been advantageous for me. I am hypertensive and I fear that I already have a heart condition, too. The run could have cost me my life. No use making it on the dot if something worse than the palpitations and shortness of breath had occurred. 

Hopefully, tomorrow would find me feeling so much better. No palpitations. No drumming heartbeats. No exhaustion. Not even a trace of sore muscles or body pain. Maybe I just need to sleep. God I should lose weight. My aunt had come into my room this morning intending to pray over me, but she ended up lecturing instead that she had totally forgotten how she was supposed to help me feel well. Nevertheless, it can't be denied that everything she said was true down to the final sentence: You should be mindful of your health. 

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Oh, Weekends

My stay at my aunt's place for the past three weeks or maybe an entire month has reacquainted me with the basics of serene living surrounded by books and no internet. I thought it would drive me nuts. But it turned out to be a return to the once blissfully silent existence I had come to love. And as ironic as it seems, given my self-confessed addiction to facebook games, I realized I couldn't be happier.

I have found the heart to finally abandon all facebook games I play but one: Petville. Even if Bartinelli is just a virtual pet, I can't get myself to just leave her locked up behind bars forever(that's what happens to abandoned pets). Fashioning her after my real tomkitty Pao must explain why I am so attached to her. Or it could be that inexplicable mother instinct, which has fueled that secret yearning for my own child ever since, at work. either way, I have decided to just keep her. Even if she ends up being behind bars every week should I neglect to replace her virtual pet food(which I am apt to do given my busy schedule), at least I can say to myself that I still haven't abandoned her. During weekends, just like today, I would have her visit all her pal's homes and continue redecorating her cute and beautiful little home.

In all those weeks I've spent cooped up in the library(that's where me and my mom are now spending the weekdays actually) after coming home from work, I indulged myself by reading. I've already finished Lewis Carol's Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass(original versions courtesy of my uncle's and aunt's ancestral family library where I'm staying), Andrew Davidson's The Gargoyle, and John Harwood's The Seance.  right now, I'm poring over Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie.

Although I'm happy that I've rediscovered my love for books, I still can't help but regret that I still can't find time to paint and illustrate as I have been wanting to do. There just aren't enough hours in a day to allow me to do all the many wonderful activities so close to my heart. Yes, I enjoy my work, but it just takes up too much of my time that I'm left with barely enough to accommodate my love for reading, creative writing, and illustrating/painting.

Especially these days, my boss has been assigning too much coordinating task that each work day ends with my feeling overly stressed out and harried. Couple this with my usual writing tasks and my weekly commitments to my students before or after office hours, and I wouldn't be surprised to find out that I have already raked up enough heart disease credentials to warrant an impending heart attack any time soon.

I'm sorry if this blog had turned out to be a smorgasbord. I just hope that despite the dizzying variations of art works, poems, fictional works like my post Closing Time, and occasional ramblings about my ever-exciting life as a lonely , lovelorn, secretly depressed professional; you have been provided with a bit of valuable insight, information, or some entertainment perhaps into the workings of this quirky mind from the far east.

Oh, well...I have decided to create another blog site exclusively for my broken-hearted ramblings (As if I have more than enough time to manage all three blogsites as the one I have now lol!).Just in case you're interested, you may want to take a peek into my deplorable lamentations at Insensibilities of the Shattered Heart Chronicles. 

My only regret is that I may not be consistent in my blog posting, which is really nothing new considering how I am doing it now lol. anyways, so Lunatic Dancing would be exclusive to my poetry and artworks and ramblings about my intended story materials. No more would I post anything like love anecdotes hers as they would be intended for Insensibilities, which is an ironic title given the fact that everything there would delve on depressive love or love per se and the every day wisdom that comes from mundane relationship experiences whether hilarious or unusual. Later I might download the unfinished illustration of zulayka before I leave for my aunt's place with my mom. 

Friday, March 12, 2010

Closing Time

As my friends and I got to talking about birthday celebrations, a distinct memory from not so long ago suddenly hit. Although several years have already passed, some people and certain experiences you've had with them just won't go away. Try as I might, I could not bury it from my consciousness. And as the images came flooding back like a torrent of murky flashflood water gushing down, the mixed feelings of sadness, longing, and hilarity came pouring in as well.

It was approximately five or six years ago. A time when I could still pass off as medium in size given that the chest size of the clothes I buy were big enough to accomodate my buxomness. Back then, I used to hang out with my then best friend Beanie.

A guy of distinctive, if not unusual, character, Beanie was no looker--never has been and I guess, never would be. But he's got brains and a similar though differentiated artistic skill like mine. Although we had similar interests and shared a lot of traits in common, we still remained the distinguished individuals we were, differentiated from each other in every which way. Having been together since our mid-college days, we grew so close to the point that we became best buddies.

I didn't realize it then, and it took more than five years of togetherness until I found out that I had fallen for Beannie. However, though I had confirmed my feelings to myself, I was reluctant to divulge it for fear of severing our friendship. So I just left it alone and kept my mouth shut, watching the years slip by which brought us even closer to each other.

But waking up one day, it dawned to me that I could no longer hold my feelings back.

Though I tried to stay strong, my efforts to contain my romantic feelings for Beannie was so thinned out already. I saw no point in holding it in any longer. So, after much deliberation, I finally decided that it was high time I let him know.

Since my birthday was nearing, I planned to stage my revelation by asking Beannie out to dinner to celebrate the occasion with me. My paying for dinner was nothing new between us. As best buddies, each of us took turns in occasionally treating each other whenever we chose to. And doing it during our birthdays was nothing short of typical. He immediately accepted when I invited him. He didn't have the slightest idea that there was more to that particular birthday dinner than it ordinarily was.

A few days passed, my birthday finally came.

Dressed in a beautiful pink dress, I proceeded to meet Beannie at the expensive restaurant where I had made our reservations. Coming in early, I waited for nearly half an hour. When he arrived, his eyes beamed when they  fell upon me. He acknowledged my radiance, "Wow, you have never looked so beautiful." Flattered, I just bowed my head and smiled shyly, thinking, "This is gonna be the most beautiful night of my life."

The dinner proceeded as it should be: we placed our orders, waited a short while, and feasted merrily. As we gorged on expensive steaks and salads, we talked about our jobs and our art and reminisced about the good old college days. After finishing dinner, the waiter came and brought two flutes filled with sparkling red wine. There was no idle minute between us. We revelled in each other's company, laughing and chatting between sips as we indulged in a banter over matters mundane and ridiculous alike.

Although very nervous, I did my best to look naturally calm. I bided my time and waited until the red wine had sunk into my system. I knew how  badly I needed that kick so as to muster the courage to tell him about my long-kept secret. Actually, he did most of the talking that night. Though I tried my best to make it appear as if  there was nothing unusual or special about the occasion, aside from the fact that it was my birthday, I was always bothered by the thought of whether or not he had sensed my nervousness through my idiotic smiles and frequent nodding.

Another half hour later and a couple of flutes of wine each, both of us were already in high spirits. He was talking a little more loudly than usual while I was laughing heartily about anything that he said though I hardly understood the words that came out garbled and slurred from his already reddened mouth. A few minutes more passed. Taking advantage of my new found bravado, I had finally decided that it was the perfect time to execute the last part of my plan to complete that beautiful night.

Because neither of us were alcohol drinkers, two flutes of red wine were enough to make us both feel giddy and braver than we usually were. Grinning widely, I snuggled closer to him. As I had expected, he didn't do so much as to even flinch in his seat. He remained still while holding his empty flute in one hand, fixating his gaze upon me with that queer, intoxicated smile plastered on his shiny face.

I thought, "There could be no better time than this."

My heart felt like it would burst. I was giddy and happy and overflowing with love for him that if I had been more intoxicated, it would be unsurprising if I just jumped at him and planted a big, passionate kiss on his lips. Unfortunately, though I felt totally emboldened, there was still a wee bit of soberness and apprehension left in me to keep my actions in check.

I opened my mouth to speak. But before I could say a word, he raised his finger to my lips and said, "Can I tell you a secret?"

Something at the back of my head suddenly went off. It sounded like a million sirens wailing soundlessly like crazy. I was too surprised with the turn of events that all I could do was gawk at him in anticipation. My mind was floating in the air. I was too overwhelmed with what was going on. While the rest of the restaurant swam in my peripheral vision, I was toying with the fantasy that he had also felt the same way for me all along. 
And as I was about to open up, he had made the first move for me. I couldn't have had a more pleasant birthday gift. No wonder he had brought me none! To think that I had felt a bit frustrated when all he said was a grumpy-sounding, "Happy birthday!" It was the stuff romantic novels are made of, and it was happening to me right then and there.

Fighting hard to contain my excitement, I blinked away the tears of joy that almost slipped out. He averted his eyes and stared at his fumbling hands while he silently struggled to grasp the right words. It took him a few seconds before he turned his attention to me again. When he opened his mouth to talk, I noticed the tears streaming down the sides of his face. I held my breath.

"I...I...I'm gay." Then he turned away and started sobbing.

The blasted sirens that had been wailing out of excitement earlier were suddenly kicked down my throat and got caught in my breath. The air about us went suddenly still as if it had been sucked out of the restaurant. I tried to say something, but no words came. My heart ached. My head ached. Areas in my body were wracked with so much pain, yet I couldn't tell exactly which parts it had been or why they were hurting to begin with. Even if I had painkillers in my purse, I doubted that they would be any good at all. My shoulders slumped and felt so heavy that it hurt too much to even lift my hands off the table. I was glued to my position. Stupefied. Hurt. Lost. Unable to say anything, let alone think of what to do next.

When he turned to me again, his eyes were so red and puffy. Between sniffles, he managed to regain a bit of his composure before speaking in a quivering voice, "I know I should've told you about this a long time ago, but I wasn't so sure of myself. In fact, I don't want to be like this, and my parents would be extremely disappointed should they find out. I know how dispapointed and surprised you are right now. But I know that you understand. You're the only one to whom I could confide. You're the only one whom I could turn to. I know you understand me."

And I did. Damned, if I didn't.

His last words hung in the air, weighing it down with an unspoken agreement that required neither response nor acknowledgment. Through the pain, confusion, and surprise, I knew he demanded my understanding and confidence. And for the man I loved, there was nothing I wouldn't do.

Nothing, even if it killed me.

During the remainder of that beautiful night, as the minutes ticked away leaving off my birthday to proceed to the next day, we just sat in total silence at our dinner table. Neither of us could afford to look at each other. With his head bowed, there was no telling if he was still crying or just fidgeting with his hands like he always did whenever he felt uncomfortable emotionally. As for me, distraction was the only recourse to keep myself from losing my mind.

Blocking out everything else that had previously happened, I watched the waiters bus the tables while the lonely old lady, who accounted for one of the last three customers which included Beannie and I, was being escorted by a handsome, young waiter to the door. With only a few minutes left before midnight, the restaurant was already cleaning up for closing time.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mira as Promised

I know I failed to live up to my promise again. Nevertheless, due to lethargy and my mom's headache, our scheduled trip to my aunt's place where we would be staying for a week is postponed for tomorrow. Since I've decided to leave my laptop and just rent nearby PCstations, I wouldn't be able to upload new pics of my creations for Lunatica for the rest of the upcoming week. So here I am, blogging and posting the pics I have promised albeit several days later than intended. As they say, better late than never lol. 
Let's get started with these photographs of Mira, the reincarnated form of Ylen. As is my typical style, I used a variety of pens and inks with strategically placed streaks of liquid eraser. Working on a pure white paper with colored inks is something I haven't done before. Ylen was my first creation, and as expected, the colors came out more vibrant. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but the newness of using white paper  made me quite apprehensive at first.  
Logically, since using white papers and canvases is the usual norm for artists, I shouldn't be troubled. Wrong. Actually, even if it is more challenging to use colored papers, for there is no telling how their color would react with the ink pigments, working on white paper bothered me. Colored papers, though tricky to use, are more exciting to manipulate. I can't elucidate how I figure out that the specific colors I choose would be the right one to bring out the desired effect I have in mind. I just know that it would work out. Fortunately for me, my artistic sixth sense has never failed me so far. 
Halfway through working on Ylen, I finally found peace with working on white paper. Until I finished her and made the improvements later on(which is featured below with the progress and finished study of Mira) after I have posted the first set of photographs of her initial appearance, I was already at ease with working on white paper. But when I started doing Mira, rendering her in an effort to achieve a human coloring unlike the mystical Ylen, the apprehension and doubt returned. 
The final outcome of Mira was not half bad. But pressed by the ever-insistent voice that has always prompted me to make her come out no less than perfect, I worked on her too much for too long. The result: she is too mysterious, freaky even, and the quality of her appearance does not exactly fit the bill. I am currently working on Zulayka, her beautiful sister with a serpentine-like lower torso, and like what I did with Mira, I took pictures of my progress. I am thinking of using a real sketch pad or textured paper next time.
These are just studies after all despite their very finished appearances. By next month, I would start making the larger final illustrations on bigger-sized white and colored papers. This means I starting from square one, the first character which is Ylen, again. I would work on these illustrations side by side with the Lunatica synopsis and its plot outline. working on these studies in my journal is just an exercise to fire me up and get my creative juices working for me full force. Even if I had spent more than four hours doing each of these studies--following your artistic intuition alone as you work really means plodding as the whole image comes together bit by bit, I don't find it a waste of my time and effort. I'm going to keep these illustrations as part of my art portfolio. 

Here are the photographs of the improved Ylen. I made her eyes more luminous.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Just a Filler

I know I should have posted the developments of Mira including the final illustration, which took quite a while before it finally satisfied my standards and that indomitable creative sixth sense that tells whether my work is alright or not. I should be in bed in 30 minutes time, for I still have an appointment to keep with my doctor at around four this afternoon. Having absented myself for two consecutive days from work means presenting a medical certificate along with a completed sick leave form. And even if it was nothing more than the usual emotional conundrum inevitably resulting to a self-inflicted migraine attack, I still have to see a doctor and obtain a med cert to show my bosses later during the start of my shift. 
Honestly, I miss work and I miss writing. I have been plodding with the illustrations, working as my imagination and passion dictates, grasping abstract creative possibilities I knew existed, all the while thinking about how in the world  I'm going to work on becoming a duly recognized published author and illustrator. Let this haiku be the filler for today. Tomorrow I would post pictures of Mira from partially finished stages down to the final illustration while talking about the process involved in creating her. Also, I have a new blog post intended for articles on spirituality, creativity, life observations, and the likes. I have just finished posting an introduction and haven't gotten around to actually writing the posts yet. I had been planning to do this for some time now but lethargy and other typical life matters keep cropping up, demanding my immediate attention and/or submission. The posts I would create there are intended to help me and my readers achieve a kind of creative spiritual healing via reflections and exercises in broadening creative and emotional as well as intellectual perspectives. I would share the link to this post by tomorrow once I had posted the first topic. 
Again, I digressed(as usual). So let me not beat around the bush any longer, here is the haiku I have promised.


Looking at the sun
Shining brightly in your eyes
A promise of life

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Introducing Ylen

Here is Ylen rendered in colored inks(ballpens), felt pens, gel pens, and a bit of liquid eraser. I'm doing Mira now who is her Rivezi form. The shots, although clear, are badly positioned and the lighting did not give justice to the true beauty of Ylen. I'm planning to work on Mira now. But I'm getting sleepy. 
Setting Ylen and my story Lunatica aside, my boss talked to me this morning about my supposed promotion? I'm not really sure.From what we discussed, the management is thinking of tapping me to become my boss's assistant. A real privilege indeed, but it's the kind of job I have shied away from many years ago. I know I have what it takes to measure up to the position because after all, advertising and the coordinating that comes with it is what I used to do in my previous works many years back. But it burned me out. And that was when I realized that my real calling is to give concrete forms to my stories by writing and illustrating them. 
I no longer deny my ever-tumultuous emotions. As I got older, I became more sensitive. Thus, I took the bull by the horns by being upfront with what I want and what I am capable of. No pretentiousness, no balderdash. Even if I know that I would manage to step up to the plate and deliver the job well, I am worried about reaching burn out. Working with people, especially when you have to tap into their resources for a specific project, can be hell in itself. People are fickle. Not everyone is true to their word. Half of them are the detestable unprofessional nincompoops I don't want to deal with ever. 
This is not the first time he has told me of the head manager's intention to promote me by assigning me to another post. Actually, this is the third time within the two years I've spent working for our company. And the first two offers went pffftttt...I don't remember slackening, but the previous offers amounted to nothing--gone to oblivion, forgotten. So what are the chances that this one would push through? Let's just wait and see. 
After thanking my boss, I proceeded(although a bit hesitantly) to tell him that I would gladly oblige given two distinct conditions: I would still write and I would not be overtaxed by being burdened with too much work while everyone else is just farting around. I don't want to get burned out anymore. Also, I don't want to get sidetracked again. Writing and my passion for art remain my foremost focus. 
Enough digression, here is Ylen.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Introducing Ylen

I made good use of yesterday's absence from the office by sleeping, playing games, and working on Ylen. I presume that I would finish with her in two days time. Since I do not get to work on her straight(just like the others), I have already expected that it would take half a week before I finally complete her. 
Ylen is the main character in the story I have created which I entitled Lunatica. However, this title is still up for change. So for now, I consider it a mere working title. I have been contemplating on changing it to Elipsis, which is a Latin term for eclipse. 
Even as a child, I have always been fond of making stories. It was only now that I have realized that what I really want to do is get these stories out and illustrate them at the same time. I already have quite a number of good stories in mind. Uncannily, the whole plot for each just pops into my head during mundane occurrences in daily life. Personally, I vouch for my stories because my intuition strongly dictates that they are good. The creative force at work with me, prompting me to write poems and essays and paint, is the same one compelling these stories to just crop up from out of the blue. 
I had other good stories circling in my head before Lunatica hit me more than three years ago while working overtime as an illustrator. Honestly, I couldn't tell why the compulsion to actualize Lunatica this year is so strong to the point that it really nags me. I just hope I could muster enough determination and discipline to work on it until completion. It's not coming up with the ideas that poses a problem with me. Sustaining them until completion is the main trouble. In fact, the ideas just flow into my head like water. At times, the images come too fast that even before I could start working on one, another one or a couple more come rushing in. 
Lunatica is a fantasy drama. And Ylen here is the eldest daughter of the moon divinity Ylunei whose five daughters(Vexis, Yrina, Lirea, Aruni, and Ylen) form the stellar unuversalis constellations surrounding her. Each daughter represents a specific power although they share the common ability to permeate and control thoughts. Ylunei is the most powerful divinity alongside her twin Arove(who rules the day, with Ylunei ruling the night) in a world I call Rivezi. Her daughters form an essential part of her overall authority and divinity. Like her and Arove, they are immortal divinities whose role in the world of Rivezi figures greatly  in the lives and existence of the many different clans, as well as the balance of the entire ecosystem, thriving in this fantastically magical place. During times of a major distress(or an impending one) when the balance of their world is at stake, one of the daughters of Ylunei would be sent to their world by being born as one of the Rivezi inhabitants.  
In their archives of divinity, such births, indicated by a lunar eclipse, only happen once in three million or five million years when big changes, whether good or bad, have to take place. The birth of one of Ylunei's daughter could either be an indication of  a major catastrophe, costing the entire Rivezi itself, or an ultimate blessing, marking a drastic change in the future of Rivezi and the course of the lives of its inhabitants. And in this story, Ylen, the eldest daughter of the moon and the spearhead of the constellations, is born into the most vicious and most powerful  tribe in Rivezi, Ulna, as the second and youngest daughter of the second highest magistrate, Terionne.    
From the beginning, Terionne, whose role as second top authority and obeliskos(divine shaman) next to the terrible Ulna emperor Olvoz(his brother), was made aware of the impending birth of Ylen, who is to exist in the form of his youngest daughter. To save her and his wife(Menea) and eldest daughter( Zulayka), he keeps his wife's pregnancy a secret. Together with his right hand, Mondo, they hatch a plan to create a false accident leading to their entire family's supposed death, so they can escape surreptitiously into the crystal mountains and away from Ulna and his brother Olvoz. Perenially hungry for power and bad to the bone, Olvoz is known as the almighty evil emperor of Ulna and most powerful shaman in the entire Rivezi. Through the intervention of Ylunei, Terionne, whose powers are comparatively poor compared to his brother, received the oracle of  Ylen's birth  alone, without any interference from the permeating abilities of Olvoz. 
And so Terionee succeeds, and with his family, they fled into the mountains leaving everyone else in Ulna assuming that they have all perished. They lived there in peace until Menea gave birth to their youngest daughter(the Rivezines form of Ylen) whom she named Mira. However, with the help of the volcanic divinity Urco, Olvoz was finally able to penetrate through the protective bubble created and maintained by Terionne after nearly a year. He learns of the oracle and was enraged at what his brother did. Upon realizing that Ylen was already born, he was tempted by the lure of becoming more powerful, nearly as powerful as a divinity,  should he succeed in sacrificing Ylen to Urco and obtaining her divine powers in return. On his part, Urco would no longer come in second to the supreme twin divinities, Ylunei and Arove, and might even usurp them, thus becoming the most powerful divinity of them all. 
And the story stops here...For now that is. The main conflict in Lunatica is how Mira, youngest daughter of Terionne who was born blind but with uncanny powers to see through the soul of everything and anything, would come to realize and accept that she is Ylen, the highest of constellations, and fulfill her mission while battling the forces of evil in the form of Olvoz, Urco, and her sister, Zulayka. As to how Zulayka came to be on the opposite side, the story would unravel the tragic fate that lead to her being separated from her family and being transformed into the meanest and most powerful sorceress Rivezi has ever known.  
The plot stretches on, with many characters and scenes yet to be created and written. I am still enthralled with  making the illustrations for the characters. But I assure that by the end of this month the complete synopsis of the story would have been written down and copyrighted accordingly. I have no way of determining when I would get around to finishing this story, let alone start it. I always have to battle that perfectionist voice of self-doubt, questioning my ability to effectively put this tale into words. Nevertheless, with faith and determination, I am confident that I would overcome it and become the full-pledged writer and artist that I should be.
Here are photographs of the unfinished study of Ylen rendered again in various pen and ink materials and liquid eraser. 

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Haiku Story Train Started!

Hazy, hazy pictures. It's not foggy here in my makeshift studio, but the pictures all came out hazy! Oh, well, anyways, these are the first two pages of the haiku story train book I am working on. What I'm planning to do is to write a story  in a haiku format with each part accompanied by an illustration, making concrete the visual imagery embodied in my words. I would be a hypocrite to say that I am not fantasizing about releasing this book one day. I am. But since I know how hard it is to become a published book author, it is best to just focus on what I want to do and just worry about the whole publishing shebang when I'm done with my book. 
Looks familiar? See, this is a portrait of my Tweetie bear, whom I use to symbolize me(which explains why it is her face poking out of the bag in my profile pic). As usual, I used a variety of pens and liquid eraser on her. And yes, I worked on her during breaktimes at the office. It took me a total of two or three hours to get her done, meaning I spent two to three lunch breaks working on her. But the haiku introduction accompanying her turned out bad. Not the haiku itself, but rather the way I have written it down. So I would rewrite it but not by hand anymore. Or maybe, I'll just have to work on my calligraphy skills and do it all over again manually. Oh, well, the illustration is finished, and the cover illustration is partly done, too. But like the picture I took of Tweetie bear's portrait, it is blurry. Likewise, I used a variety of pens with liquid eraser.
Since I've just started, there is a chance that I may change them or not use them in the book at all, depending on how the circumstances would turn out after I am done. And the poem I am talking about, which I had intended to use for Tweetie's illustration, turned out differently from what I had originally planned since my moods have again shifted, thus my thoughts were diverted as well. 

My Insanity

I first started writing this poem right after  finishing my tasks at the office. I don't remember exactly what day that was, but I clearly recall not noticing my boss's presence as he stood behind me after I have just finished the first stanza. I couldn't tell him that I finish much earlier since years of experience has gifted me with speed along with precision when it comes to writing. Doing so could mean risking being given more tasks. Not that I think he would take advantage of us(because after all, he can't ask just anybody in the office to do the things we do and neophytes or those who are not as skilled would eat up the entire  eight hours), it is just that we have done what we ought to according tho their mandated duties and that settles it. 
Anyways, I think he had somehow gotten the idea that I was already done with my tasks and wasn't shirking my duties because I immediately sent him my daily production report after that. It has never been my habit to put off my duties until later and intersperse them with a little browsing or poetry writing here and there. First things always come first. And when I'm at the office, my writing responsibilities and other work-related tasks are my first and foremost concerns. 
I think that this is the only time I would be posting an actual picture of myself here in my blogs. I apologize for the poor quality of some of the shots(which turn out hazy at times or something else still far from perfect). All the pictures I take are courtesy of my trusty cellphone. I used to work as a professional photographer at a studio several years ago, but in truth, the only camera I could call my own was the one my father brought home when I was in secondary school. And needless to say, it has already run its course and gone to retirement more than a decade ago. This year, I am planning to save up for a fine digital camera. But until then, I would have to make do with my cellphone. 
Not all the shots are bad. Some, actually, come out quite beautiful(much to my surprise). And there are others that turn out to become strangely beautiful, even a bit haunting, in the sense that the imperfectness of the settings had somewhat given the picture a unique aura, a character that hits the spot in an uncanny yet precise way. This portrait of mine is one of them. 
The haziness of the whole picture and my smile exemplifies the soul I have imbibed in "My Insanity." To be honest, I have lots of pictures of myself. I found out not too long ago that taking my own pics while waiting for my students was an enjoyable way to kill time. This portrait was taken December of last year on a cool and foggy Saturday morning. Hence, it stands to reason why the pictures, this one included, all came out hazy, giving them that nostalgic and dreamy ambiance. And all these without any photoshop trick used(I have yet to learn how to use it actually.)!
One of these days, I would recreate this portrait by making a painting of it. Given my imagination and penchant for details, I would give a different twist to my face and bring out the insanity hidden beneath. Oh, well...But as to when I could get around to start working on it...It could be anytime, depending on my schedule and of course, my ever erratic moods. Enjoy "My Insanity."

My Insanity

Let me not rest my head now,
for I fear losing this dawn before me.
Hazy is the morning light,
reflecting beauty, my insanity.

This face I claim for my own
with eyes reflecting the sea so blue.
Remains to many, unknown,
whose eyes see past this soul I hold true.

And if they could only see,
I know not how it could be defined.
Deep madness in reality;
visible only to an open mind.

So I fight to stay awake,
lest I lose sight of who I truly am.
If sacrifice I must make,
I be here as much as I can.

And stay in this place where my heart is found
So please...Just please leave me be.
Walk away and dare not turn around;
Leave me alone in my reality...

Alone with my insanity.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Soooooo Tired

I've already finished a new illustration. After revising the poems I've written a couple of weeks back, I would take a picture of my new illustration. Then I would write a blog about it here along with the newly revised poem that would go well with it. But all that would not be done until much later after I have rejuvenated my pulped brain and recharged my physical and mental energy. 
Today was another one of those days when I was required to do a task that was nowhere near my job description: coordinate. And by coordinating, I once again had to wear that sickening sweet mask of conviviality necessitated in efficiently discussing business matters with various managers or their representatives or even their executive secretaries or phone answering machines/voicemails (which is actually the most pleasant to deal with of them all). 
Although all the discourses and inquiries were done on the phone, the stress and time it took to get the message clearly to each one of them was more or less the same as discussing it with them face to face. 
I have never been this exhausted even if I had lots of challenging topics to write about. Being genial and enterprising or should I say holding up a warm and tolerant front took up thrice the energy! Unbelievable (lol)! 
How hard it is to pretend you're accommodating and fine when you're on the verge of puking from all that pretense and just a breath away from throwing a full-blown fit! 
But sometimes, life offers no chance for compromise, let alone refusal. My boss needed my help. And I gave it. Not that I am boot-licking for want of a promotion. I just had to. 
The situation was more like being forced to help your friend finish his plateful of broccoli because you know he would get a nasty beating if he didn't. And even if you're not that close to him, it still doesn't feel right to just ignore him and let him get hurt. How's that for an analogy (lol)? 
Oh, well...Next week he has asked me to continue doing him the same favor in exchange for the usual tasks I do until we have gathered all the needed information. As to when that would be...Okay, time to hit the sack. I've got a poem to revise and an illustration to photograph later during the day. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Spending a Two-Day Vacation at Home

At exactly 9:30 in the evening tonight, I would be back at the daily grind after spending four days at home, doing practically nothing lucrative save for cooking a new dish(spicy rice cake) and finally watching Avatar with my mom. These four days is a combination of the two-day weekend vacation we have weekly which was extended due to the two-consecutive-day vacation leave I filed for the 25th and 26th(Monday and Tuesday) respectively. Again, I failed to live up to my promise that I would continue with the haiku train notebook I started a couple of weeks back. I already have three new poems to post here, but no new illustration suitable enough to further express the pain(for the nth time!) I have woven into the words I used for each. 
I bet that the people at the office are thinking that I have used this month's vacation leave to go job hunting. But I didn't. After our manager met up with us and clarified matters, all doubt I have surrounding our current position and the desire to look for a new job was dispelled from my thoughts. Like I said, this job is just another stepping stone. I am willing to give my all to it for two pragmatic reasons: It's what I am getting paid to do, and I need it to continuously hone my skills in writing. I would wait it out until the end of this year before deciding how I would push through with my ambitions next. 
Avatar is a masterpiece. From the story down to the cinematography, everything is just breathtakingly beautiful. It was well worth the 250 bucks I paid for it, even more I think. But as perfect as it is, there are some people out there who disses it. And among those I knew who were so blunt about it is the pope. Based on the article I read at Yahoo last December, he mentioned that the movie condones nature-worshiping, a typical religious practice among tribal groups, hence automatically making it just another sci-fi movie with fantastic special effects. 
I am a Roman Catholic, but I totally disagree with him. Obviously, the main reason why he found the movie to be as such is because the Catholics who came over to Asia were guilty of the same pretense. Brandishing noble purposes of educating and spreading Christianity to what they called savages, they used these as a license to conquer and colonize countries rich in natural resources, including my motherland. 
I appreciate the fact that their supposedly noble purposes had been crucial in transforming the course of our country's history. But it cannot be argued upon that these changes had also caused our country's patriotism and innate identity as a nation and as a people to be crushed beneath the smorgasbord culture brought about by varied influences, as a result of being colonized several times by diverse colonizers, each one with their own differing culture, religion,technology, and yes, that all too altruistic "noble intentions." 
But for all I know, all these may have been part of God's great plan. 
Anyways, past is past. There is no use digging up old wounds. Enough of the digressions for now. Going back to my job, (I really can't keep my mind off it, can I?) I think it best to stay put until I have enough confidence and experience to really launch my solo writing career. As of now, I am but a fledgling. My wings are not strong enough to keep me above ground for long. Nor does it allow me to cover great distances. 
Despite battling my usual lethargy and self-defeating fears, I keep my head up high. My struggle to extract these ideas and give them the form they need to become reality could take up my entire lifetime. That is perfectly fine with me. 
My passion lies in what I do and what I could do because they comprise my entirety. In all honesty, I hold the belief that my existence is all about sharing myself with the world through them. And I can't think of any other way to live, let alone exist and thrive, if I am bereft of them. So...I might as well get  a move on it.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Witching Hour

The last time I've held a brush was three or four months ago. I've been planning to resume my painting this weekend, and start working on the new journal notebook I got from CoffeeBean(after spending more than a thousand bucks for great coffee which is equivalent to 14 stamps needed for claiming the journal). I was planning to turn it into an illustrated haiku notebook filled with, of course, haikus--a kind of a haiku train where the first line of the following haiku begins with the last line of the previous. 
But alas! It's already early Monday morning and I've accomplished neither! I was even planning to relax at the mall yesterday by watching Avatar and Sherlock Holmes, yet I ended up staying at home, playing blasted pc games, and napping for hours on end. Well, aside from these non-productive activities, however, I was able to do something a bit productive--cook chili chicken for lunch?
I can't seem to snap out of this lethargic mood as easily as I want to.The year has just begun and I'm feeling a bit tied and tired already. I shouldn't. By the way, my big mouth was at it again. I have casually mentioned to our officer that I was blogging about the office, and she threw me that negatively alert expression, which I found both amusing and dreadful at the same time. 

Unlike our former colleague, who had really bad-mouthed our bosses to the point of wishing them dead and mentioned the name of the company, I am considerably more subtle, careful, and objective. I only ranted about the uncertainty that we're facing right now due to the current financial constraints. I also voiced out my stress over slackers--colleagues who cheat not only on the company but also on their fellow colleagues by shirking responsibilities whenever they could. I don't suffer sloths and fools gladly. Having people like these around really gets on my nerves at one time or another, depending on how much and for how long I could force myself  to pretend being blind to them.  Yet on top of it all, I never once made mention of a single person's name, let alone the name of our beloved(yeah, right) company from which we get our bread and butter. 
I'm not sure why I had to hint at it. Maybe I want her to know what's going through my head, in the hope that she might be able to do something to address the issue. After all, she's our immediate superior, isn't she? Now that I've started discussing office matters again, certain issues regarding my work performance and the task itself have surfaced once more. 
I've always been scrupulous in doing my job. My desire for literary excellence compels me to put my best foot forward in every single piece of writing I work on. Although there were times when I really feel like puking as soon as my fingers touch the keyboard, I managed to pull through nevertheless, submitting my work on time and without so much as the slightest complaint. I am well aware that there are other writers who are better and far more experienced than me; however, I never give up too easily. Nope. I still have to push further into the limits of my potential. And despite the occasional lethargy, my objectives remain intact. 
But I still can't get the nagging feeling that I am unappreciated. They keep saying that my works are too wordy in spite of my efforts to shorten it or make it more concise. From the way I see it, I've already improved. If long or loosely written sentences is what they imply by "wordy," then they are technically wrong. Wordy is a technical term in writing used for sentences whereby the meaning becomes redundant due to repeated words or additional phrases used implying the same meaning. These are squeezed into the same sentence or in a follow up in the same paragraph. When it comes to writing, drone writers are never permissible to begin with. If we're to write in the exact same style as one another, then how could we possibly produce the best works? The advantages of having a team of writers is the differing styles which allow them to present ideas from varying angles using virtually  the same set of given information. These angles allow more diversity and possibility, giving the creative edge and twist needed to meet variegated demands.
I don't want to discuss this anymore. I'm just going to continue practising and honing my ability. Bend, twist, and break if I must, I really don't give a shit so long as it's for the sake of excellence. Even if I've long resigned myself to the truth that the journey towards fulfilling my dream is a fucking hard one, I'm still not immune to the rejection and lethargy. And these I stumble upon from time to time(good Lord). 
Sometimes, I think that my positivism is just a farce. A foolish show of bravado in an attempt to mask the underlying depression and insanity beneath. But I don't see myself being given any other choice. A few years back, I've realized that there is no such thing as a middle ground in life. Neutrality is just as good as deciding against taking the righteous path.  Maybe is nil. There are actually only two viable choices: "yes" and "no." And each one corresponds accordingly to choosing between living(yes) or dying(no). 
And I have chosen to live because I have something to live for: to share myself with the world. 
If psychology had been popular in my culture, I would not be the least bit surprised if I'm diagnosed as manic depressive-- the uncontrollable high that drove me to paint and write poems or whatever unrelentingly during many a sleepless night, the burning desire to create without so much as a thought about time or appearances, and the vivid dreams whose details haunt me long after I have waken. All these eccentric tendencies, which I desperately tried to keep secret, made for quite a confusing yet interesting mix along with that insatiable desire to forge on and on and on--a mad energizer bunny running high on emotions. 
Ever since, I have defined that burning fire that drives me to do as I should, as a voice far more powerful than anything that it simply can't be dismissed no matter how hard I try. When it hits, it does so without a thought or care about anything and everything. Like a raging bull, it just charges, rams, and tramples on anything that gets in its way. It just possesses me. And when it does, I gladly let it, knowing and believing that it is the hand of God at work in me. 
Fortunately, the magnanimity of my God-given talents did not go unnoticed. Even if I have yet to be fully appreciated by the eternal stranger whose heart has always been beyond my reach, my old man, I've already been accoladed by other people, artists and non-artists alike. Yet  through it all, I am still dissatisfied. It wasn't too long ago, after having immersed myself in the corporate environment where supposedly sane, normal people thrive, that I realized how low this fire has been burning in me. 
However, these days, I don't think I'm doing enough to make it burn higher and more brightly as it used to. Have I achieved some kind of normalcy? I don't think so. But nevertheless my passion and drive is burning low. It would never die and is not on the verge of dying, but it's burning low. 
I know I can't go on like this lest I change my mind and decide to just get swallowed up by the void, the drone-like existence(need I say intellectually numbing?) prevailing in reality. Nope. Never. I still choose to live. And to do that, I must find a way to get that fire burning high again. 

Monday, January 11, 2010

Losing Respect...But

Just as I was getting comfortable, I felt the urge to leave again. The bubble of respect in which I have encased myself for quite some time now has burst. As the underlying secrets began to unfold before me one by one, I felt myself gradually losing every good expectation or attribute I had associated with.... At first I thought I had lined myself up with distinguished people--hard-working, talented individuals, worthy of being emulated for their passion and dedication in their work. I had toiled scrupulously so as not to lag behind them, thinking that they were deserving of esteem and admiration for their intellectual prowess, honesty, and credibility as... But what started as a tiny, excusable crack made by one slacker was followed by another, lengthening the crack, making it bigger and longer still that it wasn't long before it split  in every direction, forming a complicated web of hairline cracks that became more pronounced as the days wore on. Until the day finally came that the whole bubble was nothing more than a deplorable orb swathed in cracks, leaking throughout, trembling from the pressure of unanswered questions and bottled emotions that accumulated on top of the already thinned respect which had built it in the first place. Then as expected, it burst. Just like that.
Oh, well...But hard times demand for practicality. Emotions, no matter how overwhelming, would not pay the bills or feed my family. I must not be too hasty. I have already learned from experience the importance of balancing reality with my idealism. Emotional as I still am, I know better now than to let my heart override my reasoning. Pain has been an excellent teacher. After having been humbled and bent this way and that, I can say to myself that I have now mastered containing the destructive side of that creative fire which fuels me as an artist in both the visual and literary sense. Furthermore, I have learned to transform its destructiveness to something constructive and advantageous. Something very substantial and concrete that I can use to forward my ambitions. But...
For now, I am biding my time. Better to focus more intensely on sharpening my literary skills than entertain thoughts of working elsewhere...after having given my resignation that is. What do I care about slackers and cheaters? It isn't my duty to salvage their sorry asses. At their age, they should already know what consequences await them. I can be very selfish, too. However, I would use it because I love myself. And because I love myself, I would never want to see myself get swallowed up by my own frustrations and disappointments. So...
I would keep my silence and move on, as though I am still oblivious to what is going on around me. As though I didn't care. If they do not give a damn about their reputation that they wouldn't lift a finger to resuscitate themselves, why should I trouble myself? We can remain friends. After all, their attitudes towards their work is totally separate from how they truly are as friends or even just acquaintances for that matter. And...
Life goes on. I move on. They move on. We plod on as we stay in the imagined safety of our separate little worlds, apart from each other's idiosyncrasies and whatever. And now that this ranting is over, I continue with my journey for which I am fortunate to be required  to extract every ounce of potential and energy I've got. 

Monday, January 4, 2010

Emergency Self-Talk 1

There is no telling what would happen next at the office. After the sad farewell last night, as we have learned that some of our colleagues had been retrenched, I nervously anticipate the precarious developments that would take place in the coming days. I can't be too sure about my hunch. For all I know, it could be otherwise than what I had predicted. But the looming dread and uncertainty are no excuses for shirking my responsibilities. Busy as a bee...Busy as a strait-laced, obnoxious, obese bumblebee...
In confronting my boss before our Christmas vacation, he had not confirmed the dissolution of our division that we so feared. But...Can I really count on his words? Haven't they just removed the people whom they have informed will be trained for new positions?
So many fucking questions but not a single answer. Too many possibilities but not even a glimpse of what is to come. And through it all, I can't let the uncertainty overwhelm me. Never. Today is as good as any other day to keep one's composure and sensibility. 
The best antidote for this nagging anxiety and discomfort would be to immerse our heads completely in our tasks. Now is not the time to bum around. Given the delicate situation we are in, we should exert more effort and complete our work to the best of our abilities. But does this messed up head of mine really need such adjustments? Since when have I been a slacker, anyway? In using my good judgement, I think it best to just proceed with my work as I always have. Being a natural tight-ass, this is the best time to take full advantage of my severity and obsession with excellence. I just have to loosen up a bit when it comes to my personal standards. That is the only adjustment I have to make(lest I want to drive myself crazy that is). 
"Just relax and have confidence in myself."
"Relax and sail through the day as scrupulously as I have always done."
"Everything is going to be just fine." 

Keep me in your light
Out of the grasp of madness
Away from the fire

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Return to Reality in 2010

How fast time flies. I can't believe the five-day vacation is over. Tonight, I return to the same reality I have had for almost a couple of years now: the daily 8-hour grind. Wasn't it only yesterday that I was eagerly anticipating the coming holiday vacation? The anticipation seemed long, even torturous, as I dragged my weary butt to the office and forced my overtaxed mind to produce reasonable ideas worthy of being put down on paper or published online for that matter. I couldn't contain my excitement the minute I succeeded in finishing my usual tasks, which became several times more arduous than they are. When one's thoughts have already shifted to vacation mode, lethargy in anything and everything concerning work is expected. But now, I have no choice but to contend with the fact that we would not be having our long vacation for 2010 until April or late March(for drones like me a 2-3 day vacation is long enough). Funny, although I know that I still want to spend a little more time farting around at home, half of me is excited about going back to work tonight. Strange, isn't it? The five day vacation has somehow made me miss my immaculately clean workstation and my stuffed pets(which I used to adorn it) at the office. Also, I cannot deny that I miss resuming the routine tasks that have eaten up a good chunk of my time for almost two years now. Alright then. That settles my post for today. And since I have to wake up earlier than usual, so I can take the bus and save money on fares, I might as well call it a day and turn in. 

Meet Me

I remember having dreams of beating up a child, a little girl to be exact, at certain times during the not-so-distant past. As these dreams unfolded, my emotions would be extreme. Usually, I was filled with rage and sadness at the same time. Each slap and kick would be accompanied by my nerve-shattering shrieks of agony and anger. The girl's body reacted in accordance to my blows, but her countenance remained passive. She would not do so much as to even blink. All the while, she would just stare at me with those large expressionless eyes. At times the dream would be too graphic and brutal that the white dress she always wore would become stained with her own blood, as I spilled my rage at her, hitting and scratching, and tearing off chunks of her long shiny black hair. Yet through it all, she just took the beatings I gave her. Not once did she react, even when she was already pinned helplessly on the ground with me on top of her, pounding at her like a mad woman. Waking up mid-sleep after having these troubling dreams, my chest would heave from the intensity of the emotions that still haunted me long after I have been conscious. The anger and remorse that followed were too strong that there were times I could not keep myself from just crying after I had awaken. I was so sorry for what I did; I felt so guilty and sad for hurting the girl badly. I knew who the little girl was. I knew her very well...but what I didn't understand was why I would be so angry at her. For quite some time now, I don't recall having dreams of her. I want to think that the little girl must be happy now. However, despite my wishful thinking, I still can't get the nagging thought that up until now she still feels sad...

If you could see the girl living inside of me,
what would you say to her?
Would you nod your head in greeting?
Would you shake her hand and say, "How do you do?"
Or would you just turn your back on her
and walk away
As though you haven't seen her
As if you've never met
As if you haven't looked into those large, sad eyes
Pretending she never was there
That no such girl existed at all
And that no such girl could have lived in isolation
Deep inside of this woman you have known all your life
Whose smiling face perfectly contrasts
That of the eternally sad expression in those little girl's eyes
who has lived in total isolation for an insane thirty-three years
Unrecognized, neglected, and unloved
Imprisoned in loneliness as she counted imaginary stars
and told of many a great story that have yet to be penned
Collecting every tear drop she shed for the sight, sound, or thought 
of anything and everything that is beautiful
As she stayed in her forced isolation of shattering silence
All the while praying and hoping that you would come knocking one day
at the tiny door of that prison which held the secrets of her endless universe
And say, "Hello."

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Movie Watching Hiatus Ended

Just came home from watching a movie. When was the last time I've been to the movies? Two years ago? A year ago? Half a year ago? Ha ha my life has been so solitary and silent that I have nearly forgotten the joy of watching movies. Before I headed to the cinema, I spent four hours tutoring my students first. Then, I eagerly took a public cab to the mall and bought myself a movie ticket for the current local horror flick being shown this week. Being the 11th installment of a famous horror flick which started during my fifth year in elementary school, I didn't know exactly what to expect from this year's "Shake, Rattle, and Roll." In the previous years, most of the stories had turned out crass. But last year and this year had been quite entertaining. The one I have just watched had been the darkest so far compared to the other four installments that came before it. Oh, well, I'll just write a longer post tomorrow. I am so tired already. 

Friday, January 1, 2010

Taking Away the Sadness

"Can you take the sadness away?"
While watching "Where the Wild Things Are", this question raised by one of the monsters to their newly crowned child-king struck me. Although the theme of the movie is centered on helping children understand the nature of their passive-aggressive behavior due to their parents' divorce, this particular query is something that all of us can identify with, whether or not we have gone through the same dilemma. Parental issues are not the only  instances whereby we feel sad. When we look at it, there are many aspects about life that do make us feel sad. 
I, for one, have to deal with this seemingly deep abyss of sadness from time to time. As to what causes it, I know of only one answer: loneliness. 
Yes, I am lonely. I have friends and my family but I still feel lonely. Every day as I religiously attend to whatever chore is required in the various games I play at facebook, I couldn't deny that nagging loneliness suffusing my being with every click of the mouse. My profession as a writer and artist requires me to go on alone and use loneliness to extract every last drop of creative juice from my brain. And this is a daily exercise in confronting and using that loneliness. 
Loneliness could have been tolerable if not for the prevailing sadness. But ironically, it appears as if this sadness is such a vital component of my existence that without it I wouldn't be what I am today. I don't want to be lonely but I can't function the way I should if my situation was otherwise. 
So, can anyone take the sadness away?
Yes, but not permanently. Like a ferris wheel, life would never be without its ups and downs. We can't stay too long in one condition, for we risk getting too familiarized with it that in time we are likely to take it for granted. That's one of the downsides of being human. When we are exposed to one facet far too long, we become blind to its reality. Like they say, you can't have too much of a good thing. When we look at it, the same idea also holds true for its counterpart. Maintaining our equilibrium necessitates that we be exposed to both the good and bad.