Tag Archives: automatic writing

Prized possession

Prized possession [1]

Describe an item you were incredibly attached to as a child. What became of it?

When I was 7 or 8, my mother took me with her to visit a friend of hers, who happened to be the mom of one of my classmates. During the visit, an orange bike was in the garage. One of its training wheels was missing and there were several hints of previous nasty falls. My mom told me to check it out, but because I was shy and embarrassed that I wanted the bike so much, it took several encouraging words before I actually went up to it.

After getting a snack and listening to the adults talk, my mom stood up and asked me if I liked the bike. I said yes. With a mischievous smile she said we’re taking it home because she had already bought it for me.

I loved that bike. It was both a ticket to freedom and a fun means to get from point A to point B. It was summer when I first got it and you could just imagine what sort of shenanigans and nasty falls I had gotten into. I remember pedaling furiously toward an incline [2], only to miss it by a few inches, hit the gutter, and fly over the bike and into the sidewalk.

I used it for my first ‘job’ delivering newspapers around the neighborhood.[3] I used it to flee from chasing dogs, from ornery old people, and from other real and imagined monsters.[4]

I don’t remember exactly what became of the bike – though I do remember that time when I tried to climb a sand mound using it.[5] I remember tightening the chain by myself, fixing the brakes, and taking the tires to the vulcanizing shop with my dad, among other things. I loved it, but I’m pretty sure it suffered the fate that happens to most childhood stuff: I outgrew it and moved on to a bigger bike.

Anyway, last Saturday, I bought a bike. My first bike in 15 or so years. I love it, but it doesn’t quite have the same magic as that first scratched up, one-training-wheel-less, orange wonder. It has its own magic though, as (I’d like to believe) all bikes do.

Mars Kingdom Freestyle Folding Bike
This, but in blue.

Notes:
1. Writing prompt from The Daily Post.
2. I was fully intending to use it as a ramp, because, you know Excitebike.
3. This made me quite adept at riding a bike while steering with one hand and balancing a stack of newspapers on the other.
4. This, on the other hand, taught me how to ride really fast – and how to use slippers as emergency brakes.
5. IThis involved another flying incident, needless to say.

Sliced bread

Sliced bread [1]

Most of us have heard the saying, “That’s the best thing since sliced bread!” What do you think is actually the best thing since sliced bread?

There are tons of inventions that I thank the powers and minds that be for – indoor plumbing, the Internet, sandwiches, Wikipedia  [2], online banking/shopping/bills payment, the Automatic Transmission, and Mr. Muscle All-Around Cleaner, among other things. The best though? If I sit down and really think about it, the absolute best thing for me is Telecommuting. In my case, this is otherwise known as work-from-home, freelancing, working-in-my-rumpled-bed-clothes-and-my-hair-is-a-mess-contained-within-a-dirty-scrungie.

For reference, this is my home desk:

Foldable Den of Evil
Step into my office.

Back in 2009, I had just resigned from my office job and had taken the leap into the black hole that is freelancing. I thought I was prepared. With my back pay, I had bought a new desktop PC and had an Internet connection installed at home. A few months later, I realized that I was not prepared. Not prepared at all. I had made a terrible mistake in thinking that the work would come to me and not the other way around. I survived through the charity of friends, who pointed me toward paying gigs and other productive ventures. By 2010 though, I realized I was too fond of eating three times a day to ignore the unfortunate state of my finances. I went back to corpo. By 2011, I had had enough of it again. That time, however, I made sure I was prepared. /end flashback

So, telecommuting. I’ll walk you though my day. I wake up at around 2 PM-ish – 12, if I went to bed early because of day time errands. My commute involves walking to the kitchen, plugging in the router (it’s conveniently on the way), putting the electric kettle on, and fixing myself a cup of coffee – my own version of non-alcoholic jiggle juice courtesy of Kopiko.

I unfurl my desk, which I sometimes call my foldable Den of Evil, fire up my laptop, a big, black beast of a machine, and swirl my coffee while I check emails. I listen to music and sing at the top of my lungs when I’m alone and Remi’s at the office.

I start writing, really writing, at around midnight when the world around me is sound asleep. It’s lonely, yes. But that’s the price I pay for convenience, I guess. Writing, in itself, is a lonely sort of endeavor, the kind where it’s just you, a torch if you’re lucky, and a vast sea of trees that you somehow need to navigate in the dead of night. Still, I count myself lucky to have found something that I really like doing. You know, there’s a certain joy in liking what you do – or at least, liking what you do enough that you don’t want to kill yourself after work.

I find myself lucky too, that I found somebody who forgives my hours and my seemingly carefreelancer ways.

Notes:
1. Writing prompt from The Daily Post.
2. Do you remember homework BEFORE Wikipedia? I do. Dewey Decimal system and all.

Musical

Musical [1]

What role does music play in your life?

I am what most people would call an audiotard. In 2006, I was still listening to Air Supply, the Backstreet Boys, Avril Lavigne, and Bread. Yes. It was THAT bad.

When I was 8 or 9, Tito Rey, my father’s kumpare stayed with us for a couple of months. He brought with him two things, chess, which I played with such enthusiasm back then, and the Beatles, which I play with enthusiasm still. When he left, he presented me with the complete anthology in cassette tapes. I’m not sure what happened to those tapes, but I’m afraid they may have perished in the house fire that took everything in 2001.

Flashforward to 2007, and my friends had taken my musical re-education upon themselves. Rica introduced me to the emo bands, you know, Goth make-up, bleeding angst, and pants so tight I hoped they had no plans of procreating. Oh, and the hair! I caught a younger cousin sporting a haircut like that around the same time, and I accompanied him immediately to the barbershop. I also bought him acetone and supervised while he cut and de-colored his nails. “Sure you can play the music,” I had told him. “But find your own style.” My titas, his mother included, loudly hoped that I’d take him to a department store for new pants too, but I had to leave him with something, God bless him.

Rica also introduced me to Jason Mraz, and in 2008 he provided me with the perfect anti-lovesong to play in the background during one of the worst breakups ever.

I played and sung it until I was hoarse.

In 2010, Mabie introduced me to Sugarfree. In 2011, the band broke up. I had played their albums enough by then to feel like I was experiencing another bad breakup.

Around that time, I had been on a collision course, one that had taken me completely by surprise. It had been brewing for a while, sure, but the first time I realized that not only is a giant asteroid heading for my world, at a trajectory that can best be described as “straight at my ass”, but also that I wanted it to hit was when Mabie took Remi and me to watch a screening of the movie Once, with Glen Hansaard and Marketa Irglova.

The year before (2010, September), I had joined Mabie in a day of Misery, and Remi had to drive us home. Mabie fell asleep in the backseat, and Remi introduced me to The Cardigans. She promised to make me a mixtape to round out my re-education and 7 months later, she did give me one.

To answer your question though, let’s go back to 2005. I was on an ill-fated out of town trip with my Happy Friends. The van’s radio and air conditioning were shot, and we only brought 2 CDs – Nina Live! and MYMP – to a 5-hour trip to Batangas. After the upteenth replay of Piano in the Dark, I was wondering how soon I could die of heatstroke. We stopped at the only bank we could find, its ATM was stuck in the age before digital printing, and fanned ourselves while we took turns getting money. One Happy Friend was checking her phone and this song filled the air:

Suddenly, all was well in the world. We were in no danger of killing each other, we were okay. We were more than okay, we were singing, dancing, laughing at a stretch of highway in Batangas. All was well in the world. [2]

Notes:
1. Writing prompt from The Daily Post.
2. Other credits: Lei gave me JPop – and eventually Nihonggo. Mabie, the music pusher, tried pushing Urbandub, but I was still too torn over the Sugarfree to like them.

Dearly departed

Dearly departed [1]

Write your own eulogy.

Should we begin? Is this thing on? (Taps the mic, it squeals a high pitched answer and everybody winces.) Whoops. Sorry guys.

Ehem. Well, I’m not sure why Rio asked me to do this, she knew I’m as bad at public speaking as she was. Remember that one time when somebody thrust a microphone into her hands and asked her to thank a room full of people for coming to a launch? She said thank you about 30 times. She had blanched and was so visibly mortified – after she was saved from saying any more thank yous, she fled to the balcony and immediately lit one up. She could have been trying to smoke two on each hand at the rate she was pulling on that cig.

Sir, don’t look at me that way. If Rio was here she’d understand that I need this cigarette right now. She’s the type who understands – even when she doesn’t, she’ll try to or at least seem like she does. She’s the friend you call at 3 AM in the morning to ask for help in disposing a body. You can pick her up at her house, shovel already in hand; she’ll pry the truth off you while she digs. She was the kind who worries, not about the things you tell her, but the things you don’t.

She’d have blushed at that. The girl didn’t know how to take a compliment. She did, however, know how to take a punch.

You know, excuse me, I promised her I wouldn’t cry. That bitch. She’s a Buffalo wing you know. Crispy and spicy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside. She cries like a baby while watching movies, especially when Ellie died in Up. She had wanted to be somebody’s Ellie, and I like to think that she was.

She was as stubborn as a mule, had the personal hygiene of a college dude, and took stupid risks. She was rude and abrasive and mean and was always ready to fight for her friends.

So yeah. That’s that. Here’s to you, friend, lover, daughter. You’ll be missed you bitch.

Notes:
1. Writing prompt from The Daily Post.

1984

1984 [1]

You’re locked in a room with your greatest fear. Describe what’s in the room.

She hugged her knees closer. Stop rocking, she commanded. Focus, goddammit. Focus. Sweat beaded up on her upper lip and she ran the back of her clammy hand across it.

Clop. Clop. Clop.

She remembers running full tilt. Running until her lungs burned and her legs screamed. Running until she found her unit – swearing as she fumbled with her keys – and threw herself into the dark expanse behind it.

Clop. Clop. Clop.

The room seemed safe enough. It is home, though she honestly doubted that feeble door. Anything looked feeble compared to something that big. What was it? She had taken one look at the scales and the giant talons and she fled. She had heard terrified screaming behind her, but she neither looked back nor heard any since.

Clop. Clop. Clop.

She wasn’t sure how long it had been, but the dark had settled now. It might have been a few minutes, or a couple of hours. Her hands were numb when she locked it, and it took a few tries to get the chain on the track. She wished that the door had a bolt – or that she had a 2 by 4 with which to bar the door.

Clop. Clop. Clop.

Fucker, she thought. It’s still there. She had backed into the room, facing the door, afraid that it’d burst open at any moment. She jumped when something cold and hard touched her elbow. She let out the breath she’d been holding when she saw it was only the wall. She leaned into it and slid down to the floor. She half crawled and half dragged herself into a corner, convinced that at least nothing can get her from behind. The cold bit her back through her shirt.

Clop. Clop. Clop.

She let her eyes adjust to the dark. There was the L-shaped couch, the one on which she had fallen unconscious many instances before, beside the lamp, whose one arm was now bent in a weird angle pointing toward the floor like a wilted daffodil. Her low bookshelf sat opposite her, stuffed full with paperbacks. She caught the white spine of Everything’s Eventual. Oh God please help us was in a blood red scrawl, the embossed font gleaming in the moonlight that trickled though the window. She wedged herself tighter into the corner.

Clop. Clop. Clop.

That infernal sound, she thought. When she first moved in, she had hated how sound carried in the condo complex – across the hall and into her unit – and hated it more now because she couldn’t tell if it’s coming for her or moving away.

Clop. Clop. Clop.

Her legs started to cramp, as adrenaline ebbed slowly away. She was too terrified to move. She had reverted into her 8-year old self, convinced that if she curled herself small enough and closed her eyes, she’d turn invisible.

Clop. Clop. Clop.

She didn’t pray. People used that like a lifeline, a Phone-A-Friend. Her mind wandered. Will it be quick? Am I the aperitif or the main course? Will it hurt? If it grabs me by the hair and drags me across the room, I’m sure that would hurt. 

THUD.

She started so badly she almost sang in fear. Her hands leapt to her mouth. She felt sick.

CLOP. CLOP. CLOP.

Despite the fresh dose of adrenaline, she found herself quite rooted to the spot.

CRASH.

For a moment, there was sweet, blessed silence after the echoes died in the hallway. Her ragged breathing made her lightheaded. Her heart thundered in her chest, as if sensing that this may be the end.

CLOP.

It dawned on her–

CLOP.

a truth

CLOP.

she found hard to swallow

CLOP.

her mouth was suddenly bone dry

CLOP.

that she may never

CLOP.

ever

CLOP.

leave this room.

Notes:
1. Writing prompt from The Daily Post. This is actually the prompt for January 9, but I found it hard to pass up. It’s been months since I last tried to write fiction.
2. Disembodied foot note, because I didn’t want a [2] on a story, or at least, not on this one. The book cover in question can be found here (via Year of One Hundred Stories).