“Just don’t forget to give more time to the things you love doing most,” the person whom I consider my best friend said on the day I started my advertising job in the BGC. And by “the things you love doing the most”, he was specifically referring to my writing.
A lot of things have happened since that September morning. Campaigns and advertorials were planned and implemented at the office; promotional and sales activations were done and dealt with. The person who told me to give more time to the things I love most released his album and is currently on tour. In between, there have been Monday night gigs in Makati; kitchen experiments that have run the gamut from homemade granola to choux pastry; and there have been scraps of stories drafted along with the poems that made their way into my first volume of published poetry.
A Jar of Starlight is something of an impulse project. Following all the rejection notices I received for my novel The Rebirth of Meras: Exodus, I kind of lost my faith in myself as a storyteller. While this cast something of a serious damper over all those story drafts I had in mind, it prompted me into doing something I’ve totally balked at for an extremely long time: poetry. I found myself scribbling and posting verses; some accompanied by pictures, seeing how I’d gotten into the habit of snapping photos whenever something caught my fancy. (Have camera, will write.)
One thing led to another: getting accounts for Booktango and Scribd; actually running off to the National Library to file for a copyright. There was the process of writing and rewriting; editing and proofreading; selecting which photographs were best suited to the work. Ask my family and they will tell you that I chose to spend Sunday afternoons at home wrestling with a manuscript instead of having fun. Ask my friends and they will tell you about how I would spend the time prior to a Monday night gig scribbling into one notebook or another with a bottle of Cerveza Negra close at hand. Otherwise, I would spend Saturdays alone – again with a notebook – and write between sips of a flat white, maybe a bite or two of a chocolate chip cookie.
I don’t quite remember what prompted me to compile my favourite poems into a book and I probably never will. Indeed, I’m still hankering to publish a full novel or even a cookbook. But I think there is always a reason behind the things that happen to us; we may not see those reasons at once, but they become clear with the passage of time – and fears are assuaged, confidence rises; one finds the strength within to keep moving forward.
I am thirty-nine today; a bit long in tooth and claw to be starting out, but it is, I hope, as good a beginning as any. And I hope, dear readers, you’ll stick around for more adventures – culinary and literary – as the years go by. As my best friend says, perhaps – yes – I am better off devoting more time to the things, to the work that I love.
A Jar of Starlight: A Glimpse into Visions and Verses, the preview to the full 70-poem compilation, is now online via Scribd. Note that this features ten poems from the collection and is currently free to download. The full version – an ebook – goes on sale online beginning next Thursday, 01st October 2015.
That said, do take a peek, dear readers. Bash on. 😉