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Monday, November 20, 2006

It Was Not Vague (It Just Won't Be Talked About)

Roisin Murphy from Ramalama (Bang Bang) (written by Roisin Murphy and Matthew Herbert)
Can the body close the mind down?

It was an unusual day. There was something that wasn't allowed. There was a grin, a smile, a lie. Shades were used to hide the lying eyes. There was a convincing performance. There were things that walked right through. But it was okay. It was all okay. For the first time in my life, I was a Jedi and I was quite good with the Jedi mind-tricks.

Drink. Drink. Drink. Smoke and smoke and smoke. There was dancing and zipping. There was a pool. There were people jumping into a pool. There was something that was left behind. There was something that was brought along. There was a kiss somewhere where no one could see. It was a good kiss.

There was a lot of smiling. There was a lot of genuine smiling. There was a lot of posing. There was a lot of beckoning, but not with hands but eyes. There was a lot of ignoring happening too. But it was great.

It was an afternoon that became a night. It was filled with beauty and happiness. It was filled with loud music and dancing. There was drinking. It was a Sunday.

There was good company. There was excitement and energy. The feeling was electrifying. The feeling lasted until the next morning. It was far over and done with but it could still be felt.

They were looking. I know they were. And it felt fabulous.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Getting Back to Normal

Jonathan Swift
We have just enough religion to make us hate but not enough to make us love one another.

Sometimes it's hard to believe in something good when you're down in the dumps and trying to get back on your feet. These days, every moment I get to have a chance to get into the clear some large heavy object lands on my head and knocks me for a loop and I wake up a day later and finding that things have just gotten worse.

I'm such a severe and extreme person, it would be great if I could just learn to relax and not think so much. I just wished people just gave me time to get back on my feet and I can have a chance to go back to normal.

I'm tired and truth is, quite angry but I refuse to be. That's where great friendships come in. Yesterday, I was having a really bad day and I called up my bestfriend and he was having a really bad day as well and so off we went to have dinner and I had 2 and a half beers (got a little drunk) but after 15 minutes of mouthing off my angst I was fine and in good spirits. He, on the other hand, was getting through some stuff and I was just glad to be there to help, to listen, to offer my support and whatever good energy I could give.

What I would not be able to do without the help of my friends. This, the worst year of my life, would have forced me to do the unthinkable, if it were not for the precious life-saving good energy of my friends. I'd hate to say it but this time round, family wasn't the people I could run to. Some of them were the problem, and the ones who could help were far away or had bigger problems of their own.

There's a time in your life when you have to grow up and just be on your own. I was there, I failed and ran back home. I'm thinking of doing it again but I have got to be smarter about this because when I leave, I don't ever want to run back. I want to be on my own, strong, secured, assured. Everything is there, I can see it. I just have to fix up this messed up life I've got right now. It's all paper work really.

Fight Club doesn't sound like such a bad idea after all. Ha Ha Ha

Sorry if I haven't been writing here often. I've been finding my multiply blog much easier and more convenient to write on. You can still check up my mundane thoughts there. On the other hand, my concept blog modern everyday gods is taking slower than I thought. I think it is a good concept and I like what I've written so far but the concept itself has become the problem. I have to find a parrallel story or myth to base my writing on. But I'm not letting go of it. I like it. Modern Everyday Gods is my idea, had it since 2000. It will be the title of one of my novels. It's going to work.

I'm getting back to normal. It's going to be tough. But I've got great friends.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Michael Silverblatt on Books

as texted to me by my Dad
A stitch in time would have confused Einstein.

This is a super fantastic article I got from my Dad. He e-mailed it to me and I was reading it and I was floored. Of course I was floored, I want to be a writer. This stuff is important to me. When I finally discovered the joys of reading, I always felt a little out of place because a lot of the people I met were not readers. When people asked me what I did for a living, I would say I'm a writer and then they'd immediately say ah! So you read a lot?

Why did that necessarily have to follow? Back in the days, in my parent's time, I'm guessing, everybody would read. It was normal. It was a natural thing. Now people can say I don't like reading and it would be an okay thing to say.

It was one of the things that I enjoyed most about Australia. So many book shops everywhere and there were always people inside looking for something and buying something. People lying in the grass at the park, reading or holding a book, reading over a cup of coffee in some coffee shop. I don't find talking about the book I'm reading now very trendy here. There are only a handful of people I can really talk books about. Sad thing... Sad thing...

Here's the fantastic article. Enjoy!


Michael Silverblatt on books
by Michael Silverblatt

How did it start? First it was a friend saying, "I don't read as much as I used to."

This was someone who read Gravity's Rainbow as soon as it came out, but all these years later still hasn't opened Mason & Dixon. Maybe he owns David Foster Wallace's essays or subscribes to McSweeney's, but he simply doesn't have time to read everything now. Of course, he never read everything anyway. He just knew about everything new and smart and hot.

A few years later he says, "I just don't have time to read anymore."

Well, hell, who doesn't know him? The first horrible job, the first baby, the house that needs renovating, the hours spent googling on the computer. No time.

Then later still: "I don't read."

This in the same proud voice of someone who, when asked for a match, says a little too quickly, "I don't smoke." Or, holding a hand over the wineglass, says to the waiter, "I don't drink."

Then the nadir. Last month I had a conversation that boiled down to:

"What do you do?"

"I host a public radio show about books."

"I hate reading."

I felt like I'd been spat at or slapped. I fought the impulse to say, "Well, I hate you." But soon I met a whole brigade of reading haters. My niece hates reading, an art dealer I met hates reading, the publisher of a brand-new magazine hates reading. So, after crawling out of a puddle of tears, I began to wonder why people hate reading. Why do they say it so calmly? Why do they say it to me? Once they would have hid the truth and pretended to care.

I think the answer I came up with is interesting, and I want to tell it to you, and I want you to listen and to stop laughing at me. Sit down.

I think you have never been taught to read.

I know I shouldn't say this to you (you're very nice) but I know it to be true, or true in so many cases that the exceptions don't matter.

In 1962, poet-critic Randall Jarrell published his essay "The Schools of Yesteryear." In it, he examines the Appleton Readers, once the most popular school readers used in American public schools, and he found that in 1880, the fifth-grade reader contained works by Byron, Coleridge, Cervantes, Dickens, Emerson, Jefferson, Shakespeare , Shelley, Thoreau, Mark Twain and "simpler writers such as Scott, Burns, Longfellow, Cooper, Audubon, Poe, Benjamin Franklin and Washington Irving."

Fourth-graders were reading Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" and poems by Wordsworth. If you're thinking to yourself, "How could that be? I didn't encounter anything like this until college," well, that's exactly Jarrell's point.

A decision was made about how to teach reading that, by the 1950's, ensured Americans would not know their own (or any other) culture. We're all consequences of that decision.

Remember second grade? We opened our class readers and read something like:

See the dog run!

Go, dog. Go!

Go, go, go.

And in case you missed the point, this was accompanied by a bright picture of a dog . . . going. We were given more and more of this, readers and workbooks and special projects, and the sure thing is that these words were not written by a writer but by a committee, a committee of reading specialists whose assignment was to create a program to guarantee that everyone would be able to read by the fourth grade.

"Able to read" means, of course, able to recognize simple words, a skill of sorts but not to be confused with reading. We were taught to recognize words but not to enjoy reading, and we weren't given anything of value to read. So we learned not to read, but to respond to a reading technology.

What did the technology leave out? Only everything. The crucial thing it omitted is the rich and valuable experience of incomprehension, the most important element of reading. The art (as opposed to the technology) of reading requires that you develop a beautiful tolerance for incomprehension. The greatest books are the books that you come to understand more deeply with time, with age, with rereading.

I would bet you my entire library that after elementary school you never read the school reader again, except perhaps to laugh at it. Why would you reread "Go dog, go?"

It has nothing to tell you about dogs, or running, or going (whatever that is). It teaches you effective word recognition, but reading isn't done with just the eyes, or the eyes and the lips, it's done with the mind. "Go dog, go!" doesn't engage the mind, not even a child's mind. All it does is give the child the experience of achievement, instant and complete understanding - in other words, the usual American virtue of immediate gratification.

If the teacher read you a scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream in third grade, and then you struggled to read it out loud with the rest of the class in fourth grade, and you read the complete play in seventh grade-you would have the incredible experience of discovering that the mind comes to terms with its own incomprehension. The clearing of the fog of incomprehension is the yardstick of growth, every kind of growth: emotional, intellectual, moral, aesthetic, human growth.

By now it isn't just one generation of kids that wasn't taught to read, their parents weren't taught either.

"A new figure has conquered the social stage. This new species is the second-order illiterate," writes Hans Magnus Enzensberger, a brilliant German culture critic, in his essay "In Praise of Illiteracy."

"It contributes to the second-order illiterate's sense of well-being that he has no idea that he is a second-order illiterate. He considers himself well-informed; he can decipher instructions on appliances and tools; he can decode pictograms and checks. . . . The ideal medium for the second-order illiterate is television."

By now second-order illiteracy has become so common that we elect second-order illiterates to office. Our president is only the most obvious example. Other second-order illiterates seem to identify with and to be consoled by the second-order illiteracy of their leaders. They like direct statement (they learned from that school reader) and have low tolerance for complex argument-really for complexity of any kind.

I don't have a solution, but I'll make a deal with you. If you will compromise and admit that you don't hate reading, I promise never to recommend a book that will waste your time. Maybe, gradually, I can persuade you to do good: to help change the way reading is taught in this country. Maybe we can alter our future.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Starting Over

Life is drawing with an eraser.

I felt every day of September pass. It was a long month for me. Day after day, the gruelling struggle for survival rages on. There wasn't that much to do in September. Most of the time I was waiting for things to happen. Things that were scheduled that never pushed through. There's something rotten in Denmark and it is not the fish! I can't stand this, the sudden rush of work and then the static energy that suddenly takes over when I receive texts that there is no shoot tomorrow or there is no edit tomorrow.

It's inertia. An object at rest will remain at rest until a greater force can force it into motion. I like working and I like the long hours. I like trying to figure out when I can meet my friends during my busy schedule and finding the time and making it work out. The problem is I lose my momentum and when the momentum is lost, the desire is quickly gone. It's gotta maintain otherwise, I just lose my nerve.

And things are moving so slowly right now for the show that I've started thinking, really thinking about what other options I have. Why work in an industry where I am not wanted? They want me to write formula movies with song titles for the title of the movie. Yuck! Blech! I'd rather barf. They want me to write formula, uninteresting things for the sake of keeping the status quo. Nobody in the industry wants to do anything good or new. The public is demanding what they want to see and the industry doesn't deal with them, they play along. It's become all about the money and that is sad to me. That is really sad.

So I've started asking myself if this is really what I want to get into. After all, the people who did offer me projects to do something different, to write something new, have all faltered and fallen away. They couldn't get their act together or, if not, they couldn't bring up the finances to. Sad. Very sad.

So now I have to really think very carefully what I want to do with the rest of my life. Some serious questions arise and I really have to consider this properly.

And then, I go to Astrology Zone by Susan Miller to discover what is in store for me on October and lo and behold! This is what she says:
The new month will be just what you need: a calm, quiet environment that will
allow you to sort out life's recent changes and to make new plans.

My God! She just read my mind. But there's more! She says:
Eclipses in Pisces and Virgo will allow you to see yourself in a fresh light and
to shape your life in a new way. This would be necessary now, even if you liked your old life. If there is anything that is constant in the universe it is that everything changes.

Now that is frightening. Not that I am not accustommed to change. I'm always changing. But I know this won't do anything with my friendships. This isn't about my friendships or my lifestyle but my career. I'm not yet willing or ready to leave the country. Not when I just found a great group of people I really enjoy being with and that I've rediscovered 2 old friends and a new one that has come along and we are re-establishing ties that will not be so easily cut, not like before.

If I am to pursue this dream of making movies, it would most probably not be here. Not at the onset. I've got to go where my stories are wanted. My friend Daniel said that I shouldn't give up but just slow down. Pretty good advice, if I may say so. So I'm not abandoning the dream. I'm just going to take a slight detour to make everything right again. Give myself a better foundation to make it all happen.

This change I am welcoming. It will force me to be more flexible, to stretch myself and push myself to the very limits. I've wrestled with the fabulous and the bohemian and the daring and I didn't win but it doesn't mean I won't win. I will now wrestle with the mundane and the banal, the routine and the processes of everyday life and conquer it. And when I do, and I'm ready and stable and secure, the fight will begin again.

I'm thinking of it as training myself all over again. Starting from scratch to improve and add on more of what there is in me. The better to tackle the difficulties of my later fights, the one I've desperately been losing these past 2 years. There are more than 1 road to any destination. I'm pretty sure it doesn't say that we can only take the road we've chosen. We can stray from the path and find the other route and still get there. The journey is just as important as the arrival. And part of the journey is taking as many paths as it takes to get to the finish line. So I may have taken a longer route than others; what's important is I get there and I had fun and became a more well-rounded person in the process.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Bugs Bunny
I like DEAD END signs. I think they're kind. They at least have the decency to let you know you're going nowhere.

The computer's power source blew up. No particular reason. It was just old. But because of that, I've not been connected to the internet for weeks. Thank God our marketing manager hasn't been all there for the show because we haven't had a confirmed sponsor in a while so work has been a little lax. I kept myself busy doing other odd jobs for awhile. Anything to keep me afloat while I wait for this show to start.

Inertia sets in, you know? I can't stand this starting and then stopping and then waiting and then starting again. It's really killing my momentum and I need that to really throw myself into the work. Everytime I stop, I just stop and an object at rest will stay at rest until a greater force can get it moving again.

Human beings are just as susceptible to the laws of physics.

But I'm back on-line agian. Sorry for having signed off. We were experiencing technical difficulties. We now return you to your regular programming.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Brittle, Fragile

from The Fantasticks
Who can explain the harvesting of the grain, or why we must all die a bit before we live again?

I'm seeing the end of something here. Ooh the drama queen strikes again! But I've gone through so much this year and there's a new shift in mind and emotional state. There are so many things said about when life is suppose to begin -- some say right after you graduate from college, some say at 25, others at 30. I'm saying 27 but then, that's because I'm going through another life lesson and coming out someone different. Justify it! C'mon, Pisces, justify it! I'm coming around full circle and then finding myself in someone else's shoes and they're rather big and I'm scared to fill it out. Oh please, you want it! Who are you kidding? You want it!

I've been growing up. Everyone grows up. Some faster than others, others at a snail pace. I change so quickly, it scary. Sometimes I wonder if I can catch up. Suck it up! Take it like a man! Just when I wanted to indulge in all that life has to offer, I find myself slowing down, chillin' out and taking it a little more steady. Yeah, you can indulge on the laid-back and on first gear but when you say the word indulge you really are giving the idea of excess and extravagance. Throwing yourself and your whole being at the moment. I think I've been doing just that. But since I've really slowed down to 2nd gear (no longer at 5th), maybe, indulgence is no longer the theme of my life. That's it, get introspective. Cull it for all it's worth. Make it work!

Yeah, I'm seeing the end of something here. Sorry for this. But I have to find myself in a state of mind that allows for all these changes. A state of mind that doesn't actually get so confused when something big happens and things have to push since something is shoving. I'm too brittle, too fragile even at the moment of reformation. I come back new and whole again after these big events and yet, I'm still so susceptible to things changing me. I'm too much like water. Too much metaphors! Too much! Say what you really feel. Keep it real! I got to find that state in which I can change and still be me and not be so affected and bothered by what goes on around me and how it affects me.

I'm slowly putting it all together. You always are. You've never been whole enough long enough to have had a solid foundation for any kind of one being. You keep saying you are coalescing but a few months later you're all shattered and broken again. When is it going to end?

Maybe this is the last time.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Why I Don't Blog So Much Anymore

William Blake
Joys impregnate. Sorrows bring forth.

I don't post as often as I do and it's not because I have another blog at my multiply site. I have enough thoughts in the world to maintain 3 or 4 blogs at a time. I wish I could be paid to blog but then again, that's what you call a columnist; and I've been dying for one for the longest time but we don't always get what we want. So yeah, my unproductivity in terms of blogging has not been because I have a second one to maintain.

Far from the truth.

Work has been getting to me and it's been my life for a while. I'm still opinionated and could still yack away at other various stuff but my whole focus, right now, is getting the job done. We're at a precarious stage at the moment. Can't afford to lose my sights on the goal.

Also, I decided to try living more instead. Blogging takes about 20 minutes for me. Sitting in front of my computer with the blogger page open and then another window open either chatting with someone on-line or e-mailing or reading up on stuff in other sites, it is not an instantaneous thing. Blogging is something I do to help keep me from getting zoned out. As I'm typing this, I'm also reading some e-mails. Go figure.

But it is still 20 minutes or so of my life and so much can happen in 20 minutes. People experiences their greatest joys and deepest regrets in a matter of seconds. I could be out there doing something amazing instead of sitting in front of my computer and basking in the radiation that is supposedly coming out of the computer monitor.

Instead of blogging everyday, why not live more and then blog less. Just blog more substantial stuff and not every fluff that enters my head? There's so much more to do than record that which is happening in our lives. Let our memories of our time together be the record; that is enough. There is time enough later on to put it down into writing. Why not just enjoy the heat of the moment?

Or maybe I'm just in denial that I'm all about work again and that's the only thing on my mind as of the moment. Maybe I'm just in denial that things are becoming routinary again. But that's not true, either. Geez! I could tell you what happened to me in the weekend, but then, I'd probably get shot with what I would have to reveal. No, I'm not living a boring life. It's just a life I'd like to savour more, personally and intimately than to share it right away and turn it into some anecdote; another story in the life of...

Let's do some more living, that's what I say.