The morning greeted me with a loud irritating whirr of the cellphone’s ringtone that my wife had set at five thirty in the morning. She goes to mass everyday in the seminary just in front of our house in the country.As was my wont I rose from the bed to go to the living room to pick up a book of short stories which I left by the edge of the molave dining table.
There are about half a dozen paperbacks about short stories. One, which almost finished reading is an anthology put together by Isagani Cruz. The rest were all from American and British writers. What I like about short stories is the convenience of being able to stop at any page and return to it sometime in the day. Also it suits well my short attention span and this enables me to read the whole story before my mind starts to do a mental walkabout.
My wife passes the table on the way out and planted a kiss on my forehead before picking up an umbrella that was leaning on the kitchen wall. It was drizzling outside and the cold entered the house as she exited through the kitchen door. I stood up and went to the cupboard to get my personal mug from the shelves. My wife’s mug was not on the shelf. She must have used it the night before and could have left it on the bed’s side table or maybe on the counter of the “lavabo” in the toilet. Then I went to the cabinet where all the beverages were stored. There were boxes of tea of all sorts; jasmine, earl grey, oolong, flavored ice tea, Vietnamese coffee in powdered instant form, dairy creamers and some ground coffee in doy packs. I was looking for the sugar free coffee sachets. I found the box resting on a plastic container filled with splenda. There were just two left. I made a mental note to get another box either in Manila or in the Seven Eleven convenience store at the rotunda which was just two minutes away by car.
I started to riffle through the pages of the Filipino short stories paperback and seeing that I have read most of the contents, moved on to the next which was the selected short stories of John O’Hara, the author of the popular novel/movie during our time entitled Butterfield Eight. I have never read any of his novels but his name was memorable because of the movie which starred Elizabeth Taylor. What I like about his short stories had nothing to do with goodness of his writing style nor the interesting plots. It had to do with the fact that his stories were really short…way short than the average short stories in the other books of either Filipino or other writers in English. I took fancy on one which was titled No Mistakes. I leafed through to find out how many pages the story occupied and seeing that it was just about four pages on one and a half spacing I proceeded to read. Done after a few minutes I moved on to the next story. I did not check on its length and after reading a page remembered to check the pages and finding out that it was at least ten pages long I lost interest and put a bookmark on the page and stacked it with the rest of the books on the table.
Another early morning habit that I have is to go to the computer which was at the bottom second floor of the house. I switched on the computer and waited for sometime before the computer engaged the menu icons. Irritated by the waiting I repeated in my mind the resolution to subscribe to broadband. As the icons appearance appeared one by one I searched for the dial up icon and clicked it. Almost immediately the dialing sound started and after a while the bubble announced the connection.
My home page is My Yahoo. From there I click on the mail page to check on the new e-mails that went in the night before. The next destination was the Philippine Enquirer web page. Going through the headlines and stopping to click whatever interests me I, then, go to the sports page. As a last stop, on to the lotto page whenever I had tickets.What occupied most of my time with the computer are the blog sites. I have three regular blog sites where I post my writings. Most of them would contain the same posts. The reason for this is to have as much reader exposure as possible. The principal blogspot that I have is named Halcyon. The two others are the Filipino Writer and the Penster Community. Halcyon has the more international breadth of the three. I would receive reactions and other responses from bloggers in other countries, mostly from the US.
In the blogs I check on interesting new posts, reactions to my writings and occasionally I respond to the comments offered by the readers. As a last act I would do the postings of new materials in my blogsites.What comes next is creating new items for posting. Recently I have started to write poems. This is something that I have never done before, my writings having been restricted to prose as in short stories, essays, and my autobiography which is forever a work in progress. I sometimes do a series on a given theme or platform. The examples of these are Quote NotesX20 and Aesop’s Foibles. Quote NotesX20 are 20 essays that start off with a quotation mostly from famous authors while Aesop’s Foibles are modern adaptations of Aesop’s Fables which amplifies the moral lesson or in most case twists the story in such a way a new moral is formed.
With the usual things done I would click into the free slot machine games. In the freeslots website there are more than a dozen different slot machine themes to choose from. I flit from one to another depending on the kind of luck I would have on particular games. I kept on telling myself to stop this silly waste of time but it is really a great diversion from the routine. I am afraid the slot machines are become a part of my daily routine and I should firmly resolve to get out of the habit.
I have some seeds of short stories which I hope to germinate. A list of possible stories which I categorized as Tales From the Workplace are stories culled from the actual experiences from my years as a corporate creature. I must be careful to disguise the characters and the situations lest they be recognized by the persons I picked up the slices of life from. Another bag of seed stories are taken from Maria Cristina St. of my youthful days. I have quite a collection of short ones which have been labeled as Maria Cristina Tales. Included in this group are sketches of families and their members, incidents, boyhood friends and rites of passage. Another bag of seed stories are those taken from my boyhood experiences in barrio Wawa were most of my summer vacations have been spent. Like Maria Cristina, Wawa is a treasure trove of interesting characters, fantasy trips in an estate wrapped in an aura of mystery. Other sources that I intend to tap would be the days in Loyola Heights where I spent my teenage years. Loyola would include days in school first jobs, special friends, crushes, courtship and activities that were organized by the youth club we had in Loyola.
Then, there are the essays which are occasionally written. Topics like disgust with the present state of affairs in government, politicians and society in general together with reflections, random thoughts are what I write about. There are some personal pieces which may never see public exposure.
These should keep me busy and out of mischief for a while.