Sensibilities

An attempt to make sense of things in a random universe, one Friday at a time.

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Leaving my footsteps for you to find and follow, my love.

23 August 2007

Cat vision

Things have been horribly hectic at work, because I have been finishing a draft for a twelve-chapter book on the history of the PNP-Special Action Force, and this has to be turned over to the Boss by the middle of October so the big boys can pore over the material prior to final polishing and publication.

It’s been such a whirlwind! On one hand I have the bibliography and the citations to render iron-clad, with the help of a very capable academic, on the other hand I have the transcriptions of the interviews with different levels of confidentiality, and so I have three different levels of transcribers to manage. And then I have the constant daily poring over various current ephemera regarding the subject, a task which seems frivolous and unimportant, yet I have found some amazing leads this way. On top of that, there is the writing. And if the writing is not good, all the rest is just not worth it.

So here I am, caught up in the frenzy of a book I have deemed close to finished. The subject itself will never find closure, but the book, for all intents and purposes, should have a reasonable enough scope. What to include? And more importantly, what to leave out? What to imply, and what to just state out loud and in no uncertain terms? What to give color to and what to render black-and-white? The story is formed, the world of the story has been and is being examined, but I, the writer, am being examined by the story as well. Where do I stand? What do I hold important? And, when all evidence fails, what does my own body tell me? What does my heart believe?

Decisions, decisions! When in quandary, I write a negotiation with myself. When in doubt, I write a re-orientation for myself. When confused, I write a lecture for myself. During the course of this book, I have written over a thousand pages worth of diary entries, just to ground myself, just to keep myself clear-headed enough for the constant barrage of details that do not always make sense. It’s like being constantly in the half-light, always at the point of either dawn or dusk, but never in the full explosion of the light of day. I admit that after a while, I have gotten used to it. Like a cat, who can see best in the dark, I have learned that sometimes, things are indeed clearer and make more sense in the dark. Put them out in broad daylight and they lose all color and depth and substance.


Until recently, I have been working on the writing of this book in “solo-flight” mode, as we say here in the Philippines. I might have other people working to help me, and the boys to support me, and the Boss and the big boys to guide me, but at the point of writing, of putting words to paper, there is only just me, writing, and in the process, being written myself. In writing, I have also been written. In thinking of this book, I have also been thought. Many years later, perhaps in an old library somewhere, some student will find me hidden deep under the words of this book, a slightly bewildered girl who lacks sleep, her legs tangled in with blankets and drafts, hair dishevelled and unwashed, a pimple growing on her chin. Yes, there will be me there in the book, deep among the words, years and years later, for anyone who would care to look. However, that is not as important as the story that has been written, in the darkness, in solitude.

A book is a book is a book. An entire world is inside of it; a constellation of events have brought life to it. It writes what it wants. It demands the kind of vision that it wants. It reshapes its writer accordingly, and renders her as blind or as clear-sighted as it wants. This book has given me cat's eyes, and now I can see things differently.

5 Comments:

Blogger Mark Xander said...

Verrry late indeed, haha! :) Love your writing.

8:20 PM  
Blogger Maryanne Moll said...

That was fast, Mark! Included your, ah, dialogue with the premenopausal women in my entry already.

8:33 PM  
Blogger Dean said...

amazing entry, maryanne! you've articulated something a lot of us go through during the process of creation but often do not ponder :)

9:18 AM  
Blogger ryan sandagon said...

First of all congratulations for winning the Palanca Award.

It's true how you see yourself as the book you're writing. Being an illustrator, I see myself in all the characters I draw.

Aside from my comment, may I also take this space as an opportunity to invite you as one of the contributors in a very idealistic blog I'm handling
http://www.thebeggarstories.blogspot.com
Hope you can visit and contribute. Thank you for your time.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Ashley said...

It's my first time to visit your site and I enjoyed reading your entries here. Will come back to read some more later, need to savor what I've just read. ^_^

Feels like a mirror that sheds light on a similar experience I've had when writing my reports and my current effort to start 'blogging'.

8:53 PM  

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