Two Sides of A Coin

“In resurrecting the long undead, I open Pandora’s box. It is not without unease that I do so. I know the dangers, but I also know the possibilities. Live! Live and wreck havoc on the world once more and know that I let you loose to raise up those I love and damn myself.”

“If all your sanctuaries have been invaded where’s the last place you retreat to? In your mind..”

What if someone demanded access to even your most private thoughts? Where do you go?

Have you ever seen a wild stallion stabled and bridled?

There’s an invisible chain around my neck chafing more than ever. What hurts is not that I want to be free of it. What hurts is that I see no workaround and am being pushed until I can no longer endure it and scream bloody fucking enough. You don’t wanna hurt someone you love, but you don’t wanna give up yourself too – what do you do?

I don’t want to be subsumed and swallowed whole. I want a piece of myself to remain separate, sacred, untouchable, which only I can access.

I want coffee and cigarettes whilst typing away in front of my PC – but not literally. I want a locked room in the attic with an open window overlooking an open field. I want to go hermit for months on end just being locked up in my room and flying on wings not given to me. I want, most of all, a partner who understands that chatter can never be a substitute for deep, silent companionship.

If I held your hand, laid back, and just stared out into space – I am giving you much more of myself than I’ll ever give anybody else. It is not the words I speak which will reveal me but those which I don’t. There are moments when conversation is right, but until then, do not force it. Enjoy the moments by which we share a common bond of silence that only our souls can bridge together. It is there, tangible between the space of our locked hands, there in the space not occupied by our separate bodies, there, hanging in the air as the silence stretches into minutes, and the minutes into hours. And if you find that we’ve fallen asleep and a day has gone by with not a word between us being spoken, rejoice for you are then one step closer to unlocking my mind. All I need afterwards is a kiss and a squeeze on my hand and the words: what’s for breakfast? But not literally.

“And the roar between our almost touching hands has grown so loud that only interlocking them will silence it…”

Understand too, that this is not me. This is him. And now it’s me.

“This key I now hand over to you, over this body housing us both. Do with it what you will but remember this: what you inherit from me you will protect. For failing that, I will take back the key and bury you, I will not, but instead throw you out and cast over you the curse of the unreturnable.”

Now I’m hearing the call of the wild. It’s so strong I can almost taste the wind on my lips, rake the wind in my hair, and feel the tug of the boat.

*cue song*

It started out as a feeling
Which then grew into a hope
Which then turned into a quiet thought
Which then turned into a quiet word

And then that word grew louder and louder
‘Til it was a battle cry

I’ll come back
When you call me
No need to say goodbye

Now, we’re back to the beginning
It’s just a feeling and no one knows yet
But just because they can’t feel it too
Doesn’t mean that you have to forget

Let your memories grow stronger and stronger
‘Til they’re before your eyes

You’ll come back
When they call you

No need to say goodbye

He holds the key now, but it doesn’t mean he owns it. It’s truly a hopeless case trying to find out which one of us is dominant. Isn’t it just enough to know that there are seasons and there are reasons behind the madness?

Rest in peace. But not literally.

Parable of the Silent

I’ll just write. I just need to write – and the world will be forgotten.

You know how some people reach for a paper bag whenever they are hyperventilating? That’s how I used to be whenever I felt I’d explode from all the pent-up emotions inside me I never let out. Except instead of a paper bag, I reach for a pen and paper. And words seemed to flow effortlessly from heart to pen and pen to paper. There were no distractions then. I could zone out and no one would accuse me of anything. I could stare at the walls, look far away, dream of worlds and create stories, and no one would pop my bubble and tell me I’m being unfaithful.

These days, I can only zone out when I drive. One day, I was lost inside my mind following a thread of a story I was planning on writing when suddenly I got that glare that could pop bubbles like they were, you know, bubbles. Of course I lost the thread I was following. Well, we can kiss that story goodbye. It never meant anything anyway.

I saw this snail once when I was on the beach. The more I tried to get it out of it’s shell, the more it tried to hide inside. Then I let it down and watched it from afar and it went out of its shell and slithered away. And I said to myself, “wow, what an epiphany.”

I grew up being the more fortunate of the pack. As I watched them toil with their families, I knew then what I would value more in life when I had mine.

What can you give the man who doesn’t care much for material things? I’ll tell you what, a thought is more precious than a diamond ring. There was this one girl who said she planned to give him this gift she knew he wanted so much but couldn’t find it. And this man said, you’ve already given me the best gift of all out of all those who gave me one. And then there was this other woman who keeps apologizing she couldn’t give any gift because she didn’t have any money, and this man felt sad because she couldn’t see what was right there in front of her he always unwraps everyday whenever he wakes up.

There was this man who wasn’t very much passionate about certain holidays. He wished there was none at all so people could see this not as a duty but as an opportunity. He still treats each holiday like any other day, and spend each day like a holiday. Others had just one Christmas and Valentines every year. This man misses both just once a year.

A man was once told by his wife, “You never say I love you to me.” The man thought, “You never see how I show it.”

Do you know how much a million dollar is? Not enough to buy the life of one taken by God. But do you know how much that life taken by God is? It costs just one moment, one raindrop, one meeting, one joining of two hearts that came together and brought that life into the world.

For every fleeting moment you spend counting coin, you pay one moment you’ll never have back again. I knew a man who died poor but had his family around him when he died. And I knew a man who’s richer than some kings but died with only his lawyer holding his hand – trying to get his last signature.

I certainly do not know the value of money. I throw it around like it was just some piece of paper. My thoughts however, I guard carefully. As all the things I hold dear in my life. They are after all, more precious than paper.

In a job interview, I was asked once, “suppose we ask you to skip an important day or family activity so you can put in more time for work, would that be okay with you? We pay overtime of course.” I asked the interviewer if he does this too. He said, “yes. in fact it should’ve been my day off today but I had to come in as we are ramping up hiring, you know.” “Wow. You’re very dedicated to your job,” I said and the guy smiled. “I’m just sorry to say I can’t be as dedicated as you.”

A group of men was asked once to list their greatest accomplishment in life. Some said they became CEO of a famous company, others said they won medals and many awards, while a few mentioned they amassed riches or gained fame. When it came time for the last one to share his accomplishment, he stood up shyly and couldn’t speak for a minute. He spoke hesitantly. “I don’t have any such accomplishment in my life as some of these fine, distinguished gentlemen with me have.” “You must have done something, attained something, something you can be proud of.” said the facilitator of the group. “Well I, I’m not sure this counts. But yes, there is one thing I’m proud of in my life.” “Well, spill it man.” “My son,” said he in almost a whisper. “My son is all that I can ever be proud of in my life. I watched him take his first steps, smile his first smile, hear his first laugh, savor his first words…” And as he continued, his words grew firmer and he stood taller, his demeanor becoming brighter as he remembers each memory. “I raised my son. I’m proud of that.” “You mean you raised him to be a fine young man is what you meant, right mister?” “Oh, I don’t know about that. I raised him is all. He’s his own man and not my own making, and that’s what I’m proud about.”

There were two men who were tested by God. He told both he was going to take away one of their loved ones but that he was going to give them a choice whom to keep. The first one chose his wife over his daughter. He said that it was okay to lose his daughter so long as he had his wife. He and his wife can procreate anytime they want so long as they have each other. The other chose his son. He said that even if he chose his wife, they can never give birth again to the same son they would lose. To the man who chose his wife, he made the father of many. To the man who chose his son, he made the father of one. Both men lived long and the one who chose his wife outlived her too. When both men died and went to the afterlife, only one had his wife waiting for him.

There is another ending to this parable.

Two women were tested by God. It was the same test given to the two men before. Husband or child? The first one chose her husband and gave the same reasons the first man above did. With her husband alive, they can make as many kids as they like. The second woman chose her child. And gave the same reason as the second man did. Once they made their choices, God told them the toll he would exact for them to save whoever they chose to save. The first woman wept, and the second one had many grandchildren thereafter.

Still, there is another ending to this parable.

Four couples were brought in before God. The men were separated from their wives and posed the same question. When the men were done with choosing, the women were told the same question and made to choose as well. When all the choices were made and all their lives spent and lived and they all died and met in the afterlife, only one family stayed together.

Once there were four men who led different lives. One was a painter and loved to draw, the other one was an athlete and could run like the wind, the third was a musician and could sing such a lovely note, while the last one was a writer who loved nothing better than to be alone to write his stories. The queen of misfortune spied these four men one day and decided to make each of them either blind, deaf, mute, or crippled. Just to make things more interesting, the queen decided to let the four men choose which handicap they’d like to have. The painter, being a man of beauty did not want to be blind seeing as how he’ll never be able to see the world in color again. So he chose to be crippled, seeing as he can still see the world and paint its beauty in a wheelchair. The athlete naturally, did not want to be a cripple but was okay with being deaf. He can still compete and play his sport in a silent world. The musician did not want to lose his voice nor his hearing. Music is supposed to be sang and heard and he’d rather be blind than go without the two, so blind he chose to be. The writer ended up being mute. Being a man of silence and solitude, he found out he never lost much as the other three did. He was as silent as he was before the day lady misfortune laid her eyes on them.

A Tale of Two Tails

I would like to say this story began when I first saw you, busy as you were talking to your friends. For a moment I noticed your shine, but that too quickly passed as friends jostled me and I lost sight of you. It would not matter anyway. We were in the same class and I soon found out your name. The day ended and weeks passed. I would like to say that was when it started. But it did not. This story started years before when I a was child barely capable of retaining lasting memories.

I was always a loner in my preschool days. It was just the nerd in me preferring to be left alone. I always liked silence – and the vast emptiness of space it produced which I enjoyed filling with my imagination. That’s why an outstretched hand and an offer of friendship seemed out of place for me. She was that girl that stood beside me while we were scolded by the teacher and asked to stand on our chairs for something I cannot remember now.

I think it started that day. Yet I cannot be sure. Early childhood memories are always suspect. You cannot trust which are real, and which are just figments of an overactive imagination. A problem which was certainly exacerbated in my case.

You told me before how crazy and vastly different life would have been, if things did not happen as they did. Youth stole away everything from us. Yet it gave us that fleeting time, that one moment nobody can ever take away from us.

We were never friends even when it started. Always we started with the premise of love before friendship. I think it was the wrong way to cultivate everything from the beginning. I thought it was something we could fight through.

I was always unforgiving of myself, and you were always intimidated by me. Those things doomed us from the start.

We were polar opposites, and opposites attract. We could never bridge that gap, to complement each other instead of destroying each other.

I was one day late with my call, and you were one day too early leaving.

I can’t delay the inevitable, and I must keep pace with my destiny. The years I’ve been spending idling is over. I’ve forestalled as long as I have in the hope of making something out of nothing.

I’d like to say this story began with you. But I’d like to believe this story began before time even ran. And I’m picking up where I’ve left off. Right in the beginning, filling silence with imagination.

A Writer’s Needs

What does solitude mean? To intrude on one’s thinking or accuse one of imaginary infidelity simply because one was caught with a far-away look is simply, mental. To claim one knows one’s spouse so completely yet fail to grasp that being a writer, said spouse would often be in the habit of daydreaming or having that “far-away” look is just downright ridiculous.

Perhaps one fail to see that when writers have that far-away look, they are not thinking back on past loves or future mistresses, but rather they are “working.” For when the hell else would we have time to build our stories except in the spaces of our solitude? And when you intrude even on that, and ask that we surrender even that in exchange for your personal peace of mind, then what the hell did we even exchange vows of trust and love for? When you intrude on that and demand idle chatter instead of loving silence, what does that say of how deep your understanding of your spouse go? And when you break that reverie, who knows how many countless stories you have just sentenced into oblivion? Perhaps I have not been transparent enough that even the combined knowledge of all I have written failed to show you anything but that which you chose to see. By being uncomfortable with silence, aren’t you just revealing how much you truly don’t know about me?

Is there any writer who can work whilst having their spouse continuously look over their shoulder, studiously picking every word written and scrutinizing everything for their peace of mind? If I write a story about a guy contemplating infidelity, would that automatically mean that is what is in my heart? Should I just throw away that story and find something else to write that would be more suitable for your “peace of mind” even when that story would make a great story?

I need you to be there without conspicuously being there.

If you can hold my hand for a day and never have the need to speak a word…

If you can go on for months spending time with a shell of me while I travel in imagined worlds…

If you can endure my eccentricities and not take it personally…

If you can make me breakfast even when it’s 12 midnight…

or bring me coffee, instinctively knowing when I need it – understanding I need a break but not interruption…

we can go from here – and i can finally write.

Idealistic Love is Not Ideal

Women think romance is all that there is about love. Getting swept off their feet, finding their knight in shining armor, finding their one true love – a soulmate even. Candlelit dinners, moonlit walks on the beach, a slow, rhythmic dance to a trippy love song…

You ask any woman what her idea of perfect love is and nine times out of ten, they’ll be able to describe it perfectly to you, with matching lists and a number of requirements to boot. It’s crazy! To think that love can be encompassed and be limited to a number of requirements on a woman’s bucket list. And mind you, men do it too. In a much simpler, barbaric way. They just look for a girl version of themselves, who will both be a mother and a whore to them. Kind of simple, if the man is simple. But find a fucking, complicated man more complicated than a motherfucking labyrinth and you get a bucket list longer than a fucking novel rivaling Madeleine’s Artamene.

We’re all reduced to looking for perfect loves and perfect matches, when in reality, no one is perfect, and no one (human) loves perfectly. So why look for something that does not exist? We’re all made with deficiencies – flaws that make us deliciously human and vibrantly more alive. So why look for perfect love when we’re all imperfect beings loving imperfectly?

Love shouldn’t be reduced to a list. Or a process of do’s and don’ts. Love just simply is. Without you knowing it or making a list, it’ll creep up to you from deep down your gut up to your heart, into deep, deep inside your mind. That’s how you know you’re in love. When you can’t find a reason for why you’re in love, and you just say, “I don’t know why, I just am.”

Love isn’t a formula, or a recipe. So go into it blindly, and come out of it with your eyes wide open – to the world.

Wanking, Writing, and Provoking Thought

A film review is supposed to do the following job: critique a film, and give possible audiences a preview of a film’s quality in order to help them decide whether to see a film or not. It’s also sometimes written for two audiences: industry insiders and moviegoers. As such, the writing of a critique depends heavily on who the audience is, and what the purpose of the writer is. If its purpose is simply to rate a film and give moviegoers a preview, then the writer has the responsibility to be objective in his review of the technical aspect of the film, to be honest of his opinion of the film, and to write his review in a manner that his readers can easily understand. Depending on the publication a critic writes for, his review can be as highfalutin or as ghetto as the audience expects it to be.

A film review can also be written to spur discussion, or influence industry insiders in some way. Again, it’s just a matter of writing for a different audience.

One thing however I think film reviewers should never do is spoil the film for others. I consider it a cardinal sin for reviewers to post spoilers of a film. In some instances, if the reviewer really wants to post a spoiler, spoiler tags must precede the post, giving readers a chance to avoid being spoiled.

I find it idiotic when reviewers, instead of actually reviewing a film, summarizes it. Nothing can be more enraging than for me to find a film summary instead of a film review. It’s okay to write what the film is about in vague terms as long as you don’t reveal the entire plot to the reader.

I also find it funny when people attack critics for their reviews. All our lives would be better if we just realize that reviews are nothing more than just opinions. You can let yourself be bothered by it, or ignore it completely. After all, it’s just one man’s opinion. Will it lessen your enjoyment of the film if others disparage it? If others like or dislike a film, why should it bother you? Be firm in your own opinion and be happy in the fact that you at least have one. Nothing good can come out of trying to change the opinion of others.

I’ve always considered film critics to be wankers. They with their uppity noses and their snobby little circles, trashing films left and right because it makes them feel good about themselves. To me, it was intellectual masturbation pure and simple. And it was utter bullshit. Who cares whether a film elevated art as long it was entertaining?

To me, as a moviegoer, the whole point of watching a film is to be entertained. The film being thought-provoking is just a bonus. I do however, expect a film to have a story, a coherent and entertaining one. Failing to have that will have me ripping the film to shreds much worse than a dog ripping your balls out.

As a filmmaker however, I see no point in making a film that will not promote change for the good. (I come from the Surf Reyes school of thought of filmmaking being an agent of social change for the good).

To the critic however, praise becomes ever more rare as they become inundated with the same tired stuff everyday. When you’ve watched as many films as these sons of a bitches have, you begin to become more and more unpleasable in your views. Because you have seen so much, little surprises you. And because you have seen the best, nothing can impress you again except more of the best. Your job in effect, makes you lose touch of the pulse of the ordinary audience. To you it is a boring tripe, overdone to death, but to others, it’s a refreshing film, mindblowing and totally unique. The job then becomes a challenge. To view a film, not with the tired eyes of a critic, but with the eyes of a child hungry for a story.

I’ve always thought that a film review shouldn’t be as simple as labeling a film good or bad but should be more about presenting the film as a taste. Different people like different tastes and a film review should take that into account.

This is also one of the main reasons why I find it idiotic when people attack film critics for their reviews. If you don’t agree with their views, then find some other critic that matches yours. Then you’ll have a much more reliable source of review for movies you’re planning to watch, or not watch.

Money CAN buy happiness. You just need to be a smart buyer.

Buy a ticket not a plane.
Get a bike, not a fucking jaguar.
Get an education, not a diploma.
Buy a rest house, not a fucking mansion.
Buy experiences, not products.
Get a life, not life insurance.

Everyday of your life, you make choices. Money is not the end, it’s simply the means to an end. After a certain threshold, money stops being a source of happiness. Above the line of poverty, everyone is equal when it comes to securing happiness. Once our basic needs have been met, the truly happy are separated from the pathetically miserable by how wisely (or unwisely) they spend their money.

If you try to fill that void in your life with material things, chances are, you’ll fail miserably at being happy.

Choose memories over photos.
Choose trips over cruises.
Choose backyard barbecues over catered parties.
Choose a dress instead of an outfit.

Buy for others instead of yourself.

Life really isn’t all that hard to figure out. If you consider yourself belonging to the middle class, then you have in your hands the power to be happy. All you need to do is choose wisely.

We don’t need to be filthy rich. We just need to be a little less greedy.

We work to live, we don’t live to work. How much is enough for you?

For me, only as much as is needed to see my son smile and see him healthy.

Simple joys, simple toys.