Sunday, November 12, 2006

What I think about on a slow Sunday evening...

Photo from

I turned 30 this week, folks. And I gotta say it's not so bad at all. Vince told me that 33 is the crisis age ("Jesus saved the world at 33... What have I done?!") so I have 3 more happy years left, I guess! Although from how my life has turned out, I'd dare say that life is just getting better.

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When I was 10, I realized I wanted nothing more than to be a writer. Mama and papa weren't so happy with that but while they always made it clear they disapproved of my career choice, they nevertheless encouraged me to pursue it. So 20 years later, it's sweet to see my parents proud and happy that I've fulfilled a dream that may not have been theirs, but they accepted it anyway.

My gratitude to mama and papa is profound and endless.

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When I was 13, I decided I must be an editor-in-chief of a magazine by 35. Well, I was 29 when it happened. Though I'm not complaining (who would?!?), I confess I'm kinda at a loss right now on what to do next.

I want to be published. I've always wanted to write a book and be published. That will be the day... to see my work in black and white, bound and displayed on a bookstore shelf, and I can open the pages and sniff them, and realize in ecstasy that the words are mine.

* * * * * * *

I'm not very good at fiction, although my Creative Writing professors and fellows at the UP National Writers Workshop may disagree (I hope!). Philippine writing greats Jing Hidalgo, Jimmy Abad and Butch Dalisay seem to have liked my fiction (I was likened to Raymond Carver but when I read him I felt we weren't similar at all!). Other esteemed local writers like Charlson Ong, however, sneered at my attempts.

I don't really mind because fiction isn't my forte; I'm more comfortable with essays. My professors Marra Lanot and Neil Garcia will maybe agree that I write non-fiction well. Even the formidable journalist Jo-Ann Maglipon told me I write well.

I've always been a competent essay writer. I'm very confident about that. What I'm not very confident about is getting a book out there. It's insane really. To hell with modesty but whenever I open a newspaper or a magazine here, all I read is terrible writing. Terrible! Some celebrated columnists in our major newspapers can't even get their prepositions right (Truth to tell, I like reading Tessa's column and Tim's... that's about it). At the very least you expect your newspapers and magazines to hire people who have their grammar down pat. But I know that these days, it's celebrity that matters, not competence.

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Aside from getting moody about the state of Philippine literature, I also am aghast at the state of local television. I have to watch local TV because I'm in the celebrity business, and it pains me. I am literally wincing. Watching local shows is like putting a gun to your head and blowing your brains out. Man, what a waste of life. The sadder and scarier thing about this all is majority of the 85 million Filipinos lap it up.

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Now this is what people should be watching...

Battlestar Galactica is the best television show I've watched in ages. Nothing else comes close. Absolutely nothing.

This sci-fi show is the best example of magnificent writing, dynamic special effects, emphatic human drama, and excellent acting.

I hope people will start watching stuff like BSG rather than the inane monstrosities out there.

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So I go back to my dilemma: What's left to do now that I've achieved my ambition at 30?

I don't know... Life is wonderful as it is. I'm in shock sometimes on how things have turned out so well. I used to think that happiness was for other people. Now I know better.

I like 30. It's a very good age to be.


  1. hi! belated happy birthday! it's me, mitz. I'm so happy for you... I hope I can also achieve my ambition by the time I reach 30 (I'm 26). It seldom happens :-) Btw, if ever you publish a book (essay or the one you mentioned in your previous post) I'll be the first to buy it! :-) Trust me I also wanted to become a writer.. coz I love to whine and would love to put it in writing but.. unfortunately.. I became an engineer! Hehehe. God Bless!

  2. frances, i am pretty sure you will write more and more great stuff in the future. i am certain of it because i was already blown away when i read your fiction years ago. now you're an ed-in-chief of a cool mag!!! hehehe. and i am not just saying that because i work for you. i remember our days over at you-know-where and my god, the only saving grace then was meeting you and rebecca. write on!

  3. Dear Mitz! Are you married yet?! Thanks for promising to buy my nonexistent book. You're too kind!

  4. Faye! Yes, Casa Kim was the dumps but meeting you and Webecca (remember how Sir Rocky couldn't pronounce "R"?) truly was one of the highlights of my life! Wonder where that woman is... Shyet, you won a Palanca, Rebecca won a Palanca... So much pressure on me!!!


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