Influences (or Why I Write the Way I Do)

Natalie Goldberg (free-flowing writing)
Clarissa Pinkola Estes (wild woman writing)
Jane Hutchison (direct-to-the-point writing)
Ernest Hemingway (simple words writing)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

YAMAN


the relaxed, unfazed, tender look of an innocent. you can never miss those big round eyes. thanks anak for coming into my life. muntik na, i would have lost you to fear and cowardice. muntik na, i would have been coming home to nothing but work and more work. salamat for bringing me to parenthood, to making me a mom most of all which i did not even imagine or daydream to be. to just go home to a 1-sofa flat and sleep was just the vision i had for myself. deadlines were the highlights of my weeks. a gray world easy to maintain.
i read in the bible once that children are not ours to keep but rather, are just passed on to us to prepare for their own becoming. i think that's just half of it. children prepare us too. to become full persons through the paradox of losing ourselves, subjugating what we want to what is necessary, finding release by just depending.
i was a pregnant single and it was not easy, despite how strong i am believed to be. deep inside i wanted to cry out that i needed a man; someone to be man enough to be strong for me, to be the strong one this time. the time i needed him, the twin soul failed the test and instead looked the other way, opted for the easy cowardly way of rejecting his seed. this is the reason why i believe that he will never become a full person, he is stuck to being a 13-year old because he never bore the real sacrifice of self. he deserves pity, not anger.
looking at yaman, everynight in bed, her breathing close, i always thank God for giving me the body, the womb, and the spirit to bring forth such a miracle. at 2 days old, yaman recognized my voice instantly when i called her name at the nursery. her eyes opened as if searching and she held out her left hand. i bore witness to hope.
in the first 12 months of motherhood, i had trouble weaning off from a single life. in manila, i always found excuse in work, to stay out late and be home when yaman is asleep. i could never go to church just with her, there has to be an assistant, usually my mom. to put her to sleep, it would still be mom.
until i cured like with like. deliberately, i left yaman with my mom in naga after her 1st birthday to experience and recover again that sweet sweet life of being single. in those 2 weeks, i moped instead. in a house filled with winnie the pooh, smelling of vinagre aromatico, and brightened by the tender touch of baby pink, yellow, and blue colors. whatever i do, escape is not the way. i am a mother now, with and outside of yaman's presence. i bore witness to faith.
so yaman now is 2 years, 7 months, and 7 days old. she is my 'abalantung-bantung' and we share a unique exchange of 'agatash-tush' and 'babamsh'. i have barely done anything close to what my mom has accomplished for us her children, and even, to her grandchildren. but i am part of that long line and everyday, i bear witness to not only hope and faith, but also to joy, completeness, love; and to 'highs' i have trouble describing in words (an irony for one who makes a living out of writing).
but really anak, my abalantung, gratis for this renewal, and thank you for this love. now, we may be separate by 377km and in the future, my dreams may separate us physically. But we are in each other, and love will always, always be there.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

taxi tales 2


this is how bad traffic gets in manila --- one can afford to write while sandwiched by a provincial bus on the right and hems of taxis on the left. i am at EDSA Main and heading for a 930 meeting with the boss and 2 of my favorite consultants, really. before this, i changed blouses twice, said out loud that i don't want yumi or jungee to die prematurely; and had 3 meals at breakfast: cold champorado, pandesal dunked in white coffee; and corned beef with rice. when i got back at the house to change, yaman had awakened but still not at her element up to the tricycle stop.
the poorer my handwriting gets, the longer the lines stretch out of control, the better the riding is. we're moving better. while going past are 9 cars of the MRT, hauling people like sardines; the cubao station a melting pot of sweat and short tempers.
so the reality of manila traffic is this --- stopping and giving way are essential elements to survive. every taxi driver and taxi rider knows that. rushing and inching one's way in are tools one gets by through age. one gets grey hairs just beating traffic. standing still and letting others pass you by are the root of learning. that one is just a speck in that thread of traffic, one cannot brag but just accept and be humble about one's insignificance.
the aircon is wearing thin. this taxi has gone through lighter summers before climate change became a household word. it has earned its keep, my respect just by running. two kilometers more and i'll be at Prestige. a little perspiration here, more creases there but still intact. thankful to have survived the test of mondays and life's lessons at EDSA.