Why write?

I’ve often wondered about the different reasons why people blog. There are some people I know who blog because they want to send their thoughts out into the world, for everyone to read and comment on. Others just want somewhere to release overwhelming emotions to, regardless if people notice or not. As for me, I guess I’m somewhere in the middle. Most of the time I feel like I’m just talking to my Future Self reminding her that Past Self (or this case Present Self) had once had a whole other perspective, felt differently about a person, had a valid reason for a breakdown at some point.

Other times, I actually want people to read what I write. But not just any people. People who are just outside my circle but still within my world. Those who know me enough to trust what I write but to whom I am still a mystery as to not take anything I write too literally or personally. It’s difficult to write for people you are close to, because they often associate the written word to real experiences. And this is my current dilemma. I blog because I want to share my thoughts. But now that I’m trying to write fiction, I can’t actually share it to people and ask them, “Well, how much do I NOT suck?” They will always think what I write is about me and not about anyone else. Yes. I am the Sisyphus of fiction writing.

As fiction writing goes, I am as good at it as Lady Gaga is at being normal. Past attempts at fiction include short stories in both English and Tagalog that are really just glorified rants with dialogue in it. The only time I was published as a creative writer was back in college when the short story I wrote in freshman year (but which I submitted when I was a senior) won first place and was printed in our college literary folio. That was it. The saddest, most ridiculous part was that they spelled my name wrong. As if I can’t be more overlooked, they managed to spell my name incorrectly. It’s like when you meet a friend’s girlfriend for the first time and she tries to undermine you because she thinks you’re secretly going out with your friend and she has a ridiculously low self-esteem and she wants to trample all over you to feel better about herself—she goes, “Hi Roach!”, to which you respond, “Actually it’s ROCH,” and then she smiles at you like you’re absurd and talking gibberish and would you please shut the fuck up already? It’s like that. Winning and then spelling my name wrong. You think you’re liked but not really, you’re too unimportant to have your name remembered correctly.

Creative nonfiction has always been comfortable. It’s a slightly more exciting way of telling your own stories. It’s how I’ve always told stories. It’s how I’ve practiced writing all these years. But now I’m attempting to cross into unfamiliar territory. I know it seems that jumping from creative nonfiction to fiction isn’t a big leap, but for me it is. The difficult part is letting your characters grow and stand on their own, without people associating them to you. I have yet to learn that. In my head, they are already alive, they joke around, they laugh, they fall in love. The challenge is to let them stay that way in other people’s heads, too.

I’ve been blogging for many years, been writing about a lot of stuff, but I want to be a more than a good writer. E.L. James is considered to be a good writer, and she’s a best-selling author. But personally, I think she writes crap. I mean, if Ann Rice’s books were people and they took a dump, that dump would be the Fifty Shades trilogy.

What I want is to actually accomplish something. I want to finish more than a blog post or an essay. I want something that I will be proud of, regardless if people read it or not (of course I would rather they do than don’t, who am I kidding). It would also be awesome if what I write could connect to people in a different way that they connect with me. That’s what I want. That’s why right now, I’m trying something new yet again, even if it’s scary and might just be an impossible goal.

I write simply because I can’t imagine myself not writing and because I don’t think I will ever stop writing. Even if I give up on everything else, I can’t give up writing.

Flipped

So this is how it feels to fall out of love. It hurts as much as, if not more than, getting dumped. Basically, you are already aware that you suck balls for breaking someone’s heart; someone with whom you shared spit, slow-danced for the first time, and made the wonderful discovery that, indeed, Champorado tastes good with tuyo.

I have never been on the other side of this scenario. I’ve always been the smitten one; the more interested, the less interesting. I have been many a time wide-eyed with awe at different people who I found endlessly fascinating. I used to think that it was the most magical feeling, that moment when you realize you’re seemingly the only person who found him adorable and cluelessly amazing. I was that kind of girl. I was always just certain about how I felt about someone, and I was pretty sure that I wasn’t the type who would wake up one day and think, “Why are we together again?”

Until now, I’ve always wondered how others could do that. God knows I’ve always wanted to know the inside scoop from a heartbreaker, because I’ve been the heartbroken far too many times. Now I realize that it doesn’t just happen. It’s extremely terrifying to think that people could change their minds just like that. One day head over heels in love with you and the next day oblivious to your existence. I don’t know how it happened actually. Just that it felt like there was a demon slowly creeping into my thoughts, eventually manifesting through my words and finally consuming me through my actions. I fought it. I fought hard. But I was wrong to fight it alone, when I knew someone else was involved.

This is not an attempt at redemption whatsoever. I for one believe that it doesn’t exist in breakups. There is no silver lining when the person you love the most decides that he doesn’t want anything to do with you right now, much less the rest of your lives. It’s a crippling thought and only now am I finding out that it’s a double-edged sword.

Now that I’m about to break someone’s heart, what do I say? I am sure about how I feel and not feel anymore. But I am not sure how I got there. There was nothing wrong with him. There was nothing wrong with us. I think everything that’s wrong was with me.

I am sacrificing something that’s familiar and sure and convenient, while most people want to be where I am now. I am not breaking up with him because I’m unhappy. I am breaking up with him because I need something more than happiness. I want the excitement that uncertainty brings. I want to take risks without complicating someone else’s life. I need to feel complete on my own and not because I am with the most perfect human being on earth.

I am ending our relationship not because I fell in love with someone else. I don’t want to date other people. I want to spend more time alone. And alone doesn’t mean sulking in the corner of a coffee shop being emo and weird. Alone as in traveling to other countries alone and watching movies by myself. Alone as in being comfortable enough to dine out at restaurants and making reservations for one.

I am aware at how unfair everything is. He already thinks that this is it—this is the life he wanted for the both of us. We were going to get married and settle down and watch TV on Friday nights because we’ve agreed that we don’t always have to go out; and I would cook his favorite pasta and we would drink our coffee—decaf for him—in the den, with me writing my book and him fixing his drum set. I could see it all when I look him in the eyes. It’s what makes everything harder than it already is. It’s what breaks my heart. There is no way around it.

But I guess that’s why they call it breaking up. Because no matter how much you want everything to stay intact, it won’t. Hearts will be broken, tears will be shed, and lives will be ripped apart.

The task at hand

I am on hiatus from writing the essay that I should have finished writing three weeks ago. I have roughly 20 days to finish it. I want to believe that I have what it takes to finish the task. It’s kind of a big deal, but it’s because of that fact that I’m having cold feet in writing it. So much depends on it. It’s overwhelming how so much depends on written word; how I’m putting almost everything on the line by writing it. And people think writing is easy.

Travel Virgins: Jersey Boys, River Cruise, and the World’s Tallest Ferris Wheel

When I visit a place, I want to get to know it. I want to connect with it and know its story. So when a friend and I had a chance to go to Singapore (it was both our first out-of-the-country trips), we had a very specific itinerary.

We didn’t spend the day at Universal Studios. We didn’t go to Sentosa or the Night Safari. We didn’t stay long inside the malls or ate frequently at restaurants. Aside from watching Jersey Boys at the Sands Theater, we mostly stayed outside in the streets.

We visited the Singapore Art Museum. We went church-hopping. We went on a river cruise to tour the city. We ate duck, tried the local coffee, dined at street-side food stalls, roamed the local markets. We went up the Singapore Flyer to see the entire city’s majesty. We hardly asked anyone for directions. Instead, we relied on maps and our map-reading skills. We did get lost a few times, but it was still fun. Getting lost in a foreign country was a very important experience that we will treasure.

SAM

at the Singapore Art Museum (SAM)

clark quay2

Crossing the street, going from Clark Quay to the Asian Civilisations Museum

bibliotea SAM

Bibliotea Exhibit at SAM

one-dollar ice cream

One-dollar ice cream

char kway teow

Char Kway Teow we bought at Chinatown

jersey boys

I waited two months for this show!

gardens by the bay

Gardens by the Bay as seen from the Singapore Flyer

singapore flyer

Singapore Flyer. Yikes

clark quay

Early morning in Clark Quay. Almost completely deserted

financial district

Singapore’s financial district

conservatories

Shell-shaped conservatories of the Gardens

panorama

Panoramic view of Marina Bay. Seen here are Marina Bay Sands, ArtScience Museum and Singapore’s financial district.

panorama2

Panoramic view of Clark Quay

 

It was all very magnificent. So that’s how it feels like to visit another country. So cool. In three days, I’d already ticked off two things from my bucket list—watch a Broadway show abroad and conquer my fear of heights (Singapore Flyer is the tallest Ferris wheel in the world!).

I want to go to Thailand next and play with baby elephants. 🙂