Exposed and unedited

March 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

I just finished editing 540 pages of the most uninteresting drivel ever written by man. That was the eighteenth book I have edited since I took on this freelance work late September of the past year. I’ve received fiction books, self-help, and just plain nonsense. Some books, like the last, were monstrous in length; others are no longer than an anti-drug use pamphlet. A few of them require no more than minor tweaks: the proper placement of punctuation marks and a slight adjustment in verb tenses. Most of them actually involve the thankless task of ghost writing. While I am obviously someone who loves books, none of these are ones I would voluntarily pick up at a bookstore, let alone shell out some cash for. The only reason I’m writing about them is that while sending off the last one just now, I realized just how true to form I am at everything in my life.

I start off each book with much reluctance, knowing the only reason I’m going to open it is because I am paid to do so. I listlessly peck at every correction, every few seconds checking the number of pages I have completed and convince myself that the end of this torture is in sight. I mentally debate with the author every senseless point and ignorant mistake he has made (eg. What the hell? Whose rule says you have to put a comma there? WTF? Why is your character doing that?), until I get to the point of sheer apathy. And then, at the last few hours before deadline, I am suddenly seized with the drive to maniacally finish this book and ship it off and out of my life. I hunch in front of my laptop, my fingers seemingly permanently curved over the keys, my back complaining about the 4-hour marathon I’m doing.

But always, as soon as that send button is clicked, I feel at a loss. Something that has consumed my waking hours for the last five days or so is suddenly finished, and now I don’t know what to do with myself. I’ll be checking and rechecking my inbox, hoping against hope that a new book has been sent my way, realizing that only when I am doing something, even a task I absolutely dislike, does my life feel like it serves some purpose.


Opt-ical illusions

February 27, 2011 § 1 Comment

I don’t want to overthink it, but today I woke up to find out I had slept through the night for the first time in weeks. It was disorienting, I stared at the clock for a very long time; but there you have it, I slept a little before 11:00 PM and woke up just a little after 8:00 AM. When I decided to fly back home last week, I promised myself it was time to stop waiting on people to do their bit, and that I was going to get off my ass and make options for myself. Today seemed as good a day as any to start on this and so I did. It’s surprising how many doors suddenly open up for you once you make a decision. So now I have option C and D. Easy enough, you might say, so just pick one. Unfortunately, I have my heart still set on option A. And though the opening through that door gets slimmer and slimmer by the day, I will not stop longing to get through it until the day it finally and completely shuts me out. 

Flash Forward

January 11, 2011 § Leave a comment

I’ve started to watch this TV series called Flash Forward. In it, some weird event happens and all the people on earth lose two minutes and some odd seconds of time in which they see six months into their future. Throughout the series you then see people backtracking from their vision of the future to the present day; some to try to change what happens and others just to find out if what they saw would really happen. This got me thinking about my present situation. I know that my new life is waiting for me but I am anxious and impatient to get it started and have the old one really and unequivocally behind me. I find myself staring off into space most times, imagining what my life would be like six months from now, which is when I project all the pieces to be in their appropriate places. But really, what would I do if I knew exactly what was going to happen then? What if I find out something tragic is about to happen? What if I see that nothing much has changed then and I’d still be in deep shit? Will knowing really help me feel less anxious now? If anything, the past few months have shown me that there is a bigger plan for me out there and all that I have to do is sit tight, roll with the punches, and be confident that something good is coming my way. I know this. Even in my sleep, I know this. But sometimes, when you’re chin-deep in hot water, you do get the feeling that it would be nice to know exactly when you’ll be able to pull yourself out of it.

Be still my beating heart

July 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

I fell asleep at 11pm last night and woke up at 2:38am today in a cold sweat, my mind racing with self-doubt, paranoia and that good old standby: paralytic fear. I was very tempted to check if a friend of mine, known to sleep very late, was awake at that time but I stopped myself. I can’t give in to this. Not when I am so close to my first step to a new, improved me. And most of all, I have to stop looking for people to hold my hand and tell me everything’s going to be all right. Because it won’t be. Not unless I make it so myself. I’m trying to stay positive but I seem to get worse and worst news as the days go by. Right now I’m expecting to be struck by lightning. Yes, right in the middle of this godforsaken desert. Or the plane I’m leaving on would go down in flames. But with just my kind of luck, I’ll be the lone survivor struggling with guilt for being the only one, and most unworthy, to survive.

5am in the House of Zen

April 25, 2010 § Leave a comment

So I’m back in the Sand Globe. Technically, I was back on the 12th but after an entire day trying to get proper service and answers from service people over the phone and some 6 hours trying to get some sleep, I can say I am really back. Oh, all right. I was already anxious when I tried to go to bed. My past (and present) inability to handle financial matters is coming to bite me in the ass (which was what all the calls were all about). And in the Sand Globe, money matters are quite easy: you give away your money and don’t expect to receive any. What bothers me about this whole thing is that more and more lately, I’ve been defaulting to emo mode when something comes up. I’ve caught myself in self pitying moments, imagining things would be so much easier if I had someone to share my burdens with. I know for a fact that isn’t true. Having a partner could very well make things even worse, at least for me, since I’m just that kind of fool who will worry about the other person first. But still, in the middle of night, when some fear in my heart keeps me awake and tossing about in bed, I wonder if things would at least be more bearable (or at the very least, allow me some uninterrupted sleep) if someone would just hold me and say everything’s going to be fine – I’m going to be fine.


February 17, 2010 § 3 Comments

Every time I wake up in the middle of the night, sweating from hours of tossing and turning, I hear my mother’s voice in my head saying, “Keep still!” I’ve spent most of my conscious life finding ways to still my restlessness. But like Dexter’s craving for murder, my ennui is my dark passenger. Once the twins dissatisfaction and disappointment have come knocking, I know restless would be coming through the door soon. The Nuclear Reactor has been calling them for months, asking them to come over and hang out. I know the easiest way to avoid them is to just never come anywhere near the Nuclear Reactor but somehow, in my brain there is a practical cell trying its best to hold the demons back. It’s just a few more months, I know. But every day, as I sit at my desk, staring at the stack of papers that is my prison sentence, my mind wanders to better things, everything else I’d rather be doing and all the places I’d rather be than here, at this drafty desk with no temperature control and where all the Sand Globe’s dust seems to congregate. But like I said, this is my year of change, and the first thing I’m changing is the way I go about things. Practical considerations come first, like say, keeping a roof over my head. So there’s no avoiding the Nuclear Reactor. For now, I’ll just be pretending it’s the estranged husband I can’t bear to look at but have to be civil to if I’m expecting a good settlement after the divorce.

The stars are in alignment

February 10, 2010 § 1 Comment

Call me superstitious or just plain silly, but I believe in signs. After months of agonizing over something, I’ve finally come to a decision. I still experience shortness of breath and cold hands when I think about all that’s left to be done, but for some reason, this just feels right. And suddenly today things just happened in quick succession: my two lazy(ier) friends made updates on our dry run, another friend and I have finally ironed out how our new endeavor is getting off the ground and yet another, very thoughtful friend brought me the soup I’ve been craving for right out of the blue. There will be challenges ahead and it will be tough. But I believe most days will feel like this one – full of delightful surprises, promise and hope for better things to come.

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