For the Love of Short Stories

Here’s a cringe-worthy disclosure: I wrote a short story collection way back in high school. It was part of my senior year thesis, a requirement for graduation. Our school had its own publishing arm that prints anthologies and literary titles. To my knowledge, mine was the only one they never released.

The admin at that time held a strictly conservative view on art. They questioned many aspects of my collection. Why write in colloquial Filipino? Why center the theme on something so bleak like poverty and political unrest? My biggest influences then were the prose of Jun Cruz Reyes and Lualhati Bautista, and the poetry of Emman Lacaba.

The school decided that my language was too vulgar and the theme was too mature for my age. They had a point. But I was a typical teenager with a penchant for romanticizing identity and selfhood. Ultimately I felt defeated and, ah, misunderstood.

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First Draft Poetry

The following poems are all serious attempts at poetry. Unlike “I Missed Supper”, “You Alone”, and the shitbits that I post on Twitter, these drafts were written to hopefully create something that would resemble even just a skeleton of a semi-decent piece.

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Don’t Interrupt the Sorrow

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Once again, I have nothing.

And while most of my favorite bloggers would rather keep to themselves these annoying and now-repetitive admissions of failure, here I am nurturing the frustration and feeding it fat for everyone to read.

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Just Write

I’ve been telling myself to write more often. Just write. Even if it’s terrible, even if it’s incoherent, even if there’s nothing interesting to write about. I remind myself to write with an audience in mind. This way I will at least try to make my thoughts readable. Never mind the correctness; we all make mistakes anyway. Just write.

But when do I write? I work eight hours a week, five times a day, and my boss has been compelling me to explore the town more often. Sometimes I go out with people, sometimes I watch movies in my room, and sometimes I trek along the coulees to keep my lungs and heart healthy (feelingera lang). I’ve also been reading a lot. Many kinds, from Terry Eagleton to Filipino short fiction to one cheesy romance that reminds me of my own voice — which isn’t really a compliment, unfortunately.

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