Silver Lake, Los Angeles, Mid-January — I attend a creative writing workshop entitled “The Empty Notebook”. I sit down for the next two hours with 6 others. Introductions are made. One is a native of Florida, another is from New York and the rest are locals. “I’m from the Philippines and I am new here.”
Emily, our teacher, asks if we brought our notebooks.
Exercise 1: She reads to us a poem in a book from her Vassar College days, and then asks us to write down the first impressions after listening to the poem.
All I remember is a chilling cryptic poem about familial violence. The tough part comes — read out what you wrote.
I read the first two pages of my notebook — My mind is blank. I’m trying to focus on something I was, I’ve been passionate about. Leaving home seems to have robbed me of the rawness of emotions I used for nurturing something in me. I am sometimes lost in emptiness, living in a place that is so new, unfamiliar and so far away. I need to bring the fire back to keep me sane and grounded. Despite the emptiness, so much is in my head right now — it drowns me. Half of me is here, and half of me is in a place so impossible to be in. I can’t turn back. I’m trapped. I miss sunshine, I miss the exoticness of home, I miss the beach, I miss sand covering my feet, I miss the noise surrounding the walls of my humble abode.
Bump and Grind Trail, Palm Desert, early February — My only brother brings me to climb a rocky path. In the next one and a half hours, we catch up with each other’s lives. I reminisce the younger days, how much I missed being with older siblings, childhood dreams, rough times, as well as happy times.
Like a second wind, there is nothing more consoling and liberating than the point of view of a brother. Novelist and poet James Joyce once wrote, “Men are governed by lines of intellect – women: by curves of emotion.”
My brother taught me more manly stuff like riding a bike. He inspired my love of adventure and the great outdoors. He always brought home beautiful photos from nature destinations such as Sagada and Mindoro. Little did I know that the Fuji film cam he gave me would kickstart a deeper passion for photography. (He took the photo below with the phone he and his wife gifted me for Christmas.)
We finish the trek.
I hear it from him, “Failure is not an option.”
If only I had half the grit of a man.
© Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2016