But first, a few updates. The December issue of Force & Valor will be out again very soon, the first half of the book I'm working on now looks more like the first half of a book rather than the muddle of anecdotes and excerpts from interviews that it used to be, and I am almost done with my first collection of short stories -- which will be my third published non-commissioned book, and will also be my thesis, as I go on the last leg of my graduate studies as a Creative Writing major. And as for the more mundane things, I have completely changed the way I keep my archive of digital files -- counting almost 400 cds -- I have finished reading four books and am just about to start reading another one I borrowed from the man in my life, and have started to use my exercise machine again.
I am planning to start the new year without any writing backlogs, so the writing backlogs are what I have been attacking for the past couple of months. For a fictionist and a commissioned non-fictionist like me, daily life is always a battle between revising and fact-checking and transcribing and creating a new draft for a new chapter, add to that reading the required books and newspaper archives, as well as the non-required publications, in search for that last teeny tiny bit of detail that would confirm everything I had found out so far and make them all fall into place.
I have missed a few important things, though. I have missed the Free Press Literary Contest, the Palancas, and the Writer's Night. I have missed my high school reunion, a couple of get-togethers with my friends from the Shakespearean Tragedies class, and a few fun walking tours of Old Manila with Carlos Celdran. I missed reading Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum, as one needs a clear mind when reading this novel, and my mind has been far from clear lately. And I have missed a few other things, I suppose, but I have also accomplished quite a lot of tasks and met more than a few deadlines.
The people around me had been tremendously patient and supportive, and topping the list is my son, who has never, to my memory, complained that he doesn't see me anymore, and who, when I want to be with him, gladly grants me an appointment. My bosses, too, PCSupt Felizardo Serapio Jr, Commander of the Special Action Force, and PCSupt Silverio Alarcio Jr, twice a former Commander of the SAF, have been extremely understanding of my, ah, mood swings, and they never did mind when I called them up at the wee hours of the morning to tell them some of my doubts and fears regarding the project. My support group, my friends in the SAF and from the University of the Philippines, have been crucial to my survival of those dark days of writing and revising. The man in my life, the most patient and loving and strongest man I know (next to my father, of course), merits special mention, as I know I am not the easiest person to live with, yet he is still there beside me, constantly giving me encouragement and strength and unconditional love. Dominique James, the best photographer and art director in the country, has been such an angel for not abandoning me, and for helping me deal with the numerous magazine problems with style and humor and for, of course, making everything turn out simply fabulous. Thanks also to fellow bloggers who provided me with something to smile at during the odd hours of the night when I am up and bothered, and to my wonderful readers who keep visiting and commenting here.
This blog is turning a year old and I have a different story to tell. But I will still post my regular weekly entries, albeit late, and will remove -- or perhaps will just be revising and then re-posting -- this post when all other posts and links have been updated. So I invite you to scroll down, because I will keep posting for the missing dates not chronoligically but as I finish writing them, to cover the period between October 23 and December 31. Do keep reading. In the meantime, for me there will be coffee and leftover Christmas sweets, and the music of the Electric Light Orchestra while I do the marathon composing of all the blog entries I owe myself and my readers, as I keep trying to make sense of things in this random universe.