Foreword: Getting To Know The Diaries


 

Dear (state your goblin name),

When I closed MY LIFE IN 50 DAYS early this year, I never really had the chance to say THANK YOU to YOU for following its 50 chapters from the day of its debut in November 2009.  Its starting point, if you remember, was my sister’s fanatical birthday party in Dubai which led to my grasp of my life being inert in terms of creative illustration.  Something that I have been used to being an aficionado of literature and writing.  For the past few years that I worked in training, I have somehow forgotten WHY I completely abandoned the written revelation and MY LIFE IN 50 DAYS, in all its artlessness (like getting lost in a labyrinth filled with hits and misses), brought me back to the same residence where I left off before I left the Philippines to work abroad:  freedom. 

We all know how freedom can be a gyratory longing to which each of us has its own adaptation.  You may call it being real, getting the hang of things, being loved for “who you are”, money, God, wearing clothes that are utterly grisly to most but extraordinary to you, being “different”, being indifferent, laughing at your own calamities, laughing at yourself, being single and perhaps, killing yourself through drug abuse and alcoholism to get by.  To each his own.  For me, the vertebrae of freedom lies in knowing yourself and being able to violate the law of existence by exploration.  Languidly, maybe, to stamp out the nuisance of aging and its limitations created by each of us as we grow older.  I have done so many times in my lifetime still wondering what to experience next.  Also, the advent of the real life, away from the sphere of passion, exhausts the mind – the body – the heart.  We all know how that can manifest into the death of sensations, moreover the splendour of delight that can be experienced by just looking out into the ocean and wondering where your life took you.  Or whether you are indeed Jesus Christ reborn.  Or Cleopatra.  Or whether or not your voyage towards yourself needed a roundabout route.  Or you needed to stop.  Or go again.

After that party, I told myself I needed to go back to my analytical pedigree and be as happy as I can be; voyaging and writing about it.  And as far-flung as I can get, I knew my freedom is located in the mechanism of words and sharing them to the world.  As the “eye” and probably, “the heart” of what it can propound.  Besides, we all know that it is not the destination; it never is, but the journey itself.

And so I decided to let “go”.

The rest was history.  After I have published the fourth chapter (I called it Day 4, writing everyday from the time Day 1 circulated at Facebook, YM and Twitter), a hoard of people began emailing me and left me comments at the site (http://jonverzosa@wordpress.com).  On its second month, MY LIFE IN 50 DAYS enjoyed a good readership, and by the time it was about to end, it already reached Google and the WordPress administration sent their accolade as it met its syndication by being read at least 150 times a day.  Worldwide.  It was fun.  It was, in fact, a rationale that, from where the entries were being written, by the balcony of my nicotine-stained little apartment in Dubai, it reached minions for the reason that still perplex me to this day. I was even telling friends, “How can these readers adapt to the sinister realm of my prose?  I was just writing for myself, not for anyone else” Well, you can answer that for me.  I don’t know most of you personally but somehow we have a connection going on, so again, to each his own.  Above and beyond, you may even know me more than I know myself.  So, go on and place your comments anytime.  I never delete them.

Writing MY LIFE IN 50 DAYS took me to places in Dubai that I have never been before.  Also it reunited me with the people that meant a lot to me like my mother, my best friend Norman, my sisters Kit and Noreen, all of which were immortalized in the foregoing chapters.  It also gave me the opportunity to interview the matchless typescripts of my friends Elvin, Catherine, Chiz and Pauline, and to write about their glowing lives and valiant sexualities.  Furthermore, I have learned to sculpt the possibility of bilocation going as far as Manila, Baler and Bangkok and blended the places in the occurrence of my daily life in hectic Dubai, inasmuch as I have blended my sieving of how and where love can possibly exist in my written life.  Surprisingly, a boyfriend came along.  As my sister Angeline remarked in glee, “The gift of the universe after 49 days of getting to know yourself . . . finally, love!”

And that’s where I stopped.

Almost a year later, THE PHILIPPINE DIARIES was born.  And IN A FEW HOURS, is its baptism. 

Personally, I have never been as allied so relentlessly by a book project as much as THE PHILIPPINES DIARIES did because the dark gods brought me my “other selves” below and above my wakeful hours.  These chapters were written, unlike the arbitrary MY LIFE IN 50 DAYS, in premeditation and curtain calls.  All words were propelled on paper as I chose to rather than slashing my wrists or taking Valium at every kick of despondency and confronting my mental bedlam through free write.  Also, I have done a lot of name dropping in this book, so, I am expecting persons, both family and friends, who will be plotting my death very soon. I would have chosen to obscure the characters in my stories but these characters are real people.  I guess that would appear too generic to assimilate in a by-line called CONFESSIONINGS OF JON VERZOSA.  Do not worry.  I have died many times over, in many ways possible. Through these deaths, I must say, I was able to prompt what is now written in the pages and by some means, I saw the bittersweet channel of the complete pre-writing foible with lucidity.  Prior to the writing, the altercation as such of THE PHILIPPINE DIARIES, I drank my beer, ran mindlessly, screamed my troubles in Tagaytay where I went to a retreat house for week to pass through a filter, spoke to the fairies of the Baler balete tree, spoke to people, saw daytime and night-time Manila and worked on my research al fresco with the air walloping upon my face, in Cavite, by the footsteps of the U.P. Diliman Main Library, the nipa huts of De La Salle University – Dasmarinas and spent quiet evenings in the Cavite house watching television, talking to my nephews Joaquin and Jed, talking enormity with my sister Angeline and husband Freddi.  And on to the mornings, from 8 AM to 5 PM, writing and brazening out with the “other selves” as we build the stories using my hand.  It was a not a gruelling process, in fact, it was cathartic.  It was like hating myself to a point of suicide and then postponing the kill to make love to myself, in all anger and love, way into the night.  On the contrary this is the principal uncertainty, how will this end?  I still have two hanging chapters on the works at this point and I have sketched three, yes, three oscillating endings.  I am still bemused in a sense and the expedition is not yet over. We’ll see how it goes.

This book contains my recollections of the Philippines after being away from her for many years. It is essentially a homecoming book.  It is divided into twenty (20) multi-coloured chapters, each chapter telling a story (and stories) of the places I have been to, the people (and sentiments) I have reunited with, the quandary of love and heartbreak, freedom, rants of my shaky bowels towards the Filipino in me, recapturing the beauty of the Philippines’ ambiguous parenthood to his prodigal son and conclusively, going back to the 90s, the “me” inside the journals that I found (or the old journals found me I am not sure), contaminated by time in the Zambales house, merged by the present spanning almost 17 years, as it unstitched right before my eyes.  Every Wednesdays and Saturdays accordingly, beginning today, a chapter will spring from its pages to my Facebook, YM and Twitter accounts.  Do drop in.

Join me as I travel back to the month of August this year down to August of 1991.  Join me as I take you down to my chase from July of this year to the cataclysm of my heart after All Soul’s Day.  Join me as I walked the jungles and shallow rivers of Leyte and inside the biggest Balete tree in Asia where I lighted candles for the fairies living in it.  Join me among the blinding lights of the Philippine Fashion Week, the hyperventilating family reunions and to the junkie fields of the androgynous 90s.  Let me bring you to my forbearers in Ilocos, Zumaraga and Leyte, my past and perhaps, my future.

 Let me take you to births and deaths. To near-deaths and regeneration.

Like you said once, “This is ‘my’ life too”

So here. 

Be who you want to be.

And welcome to the Philippines.

XOXOXOXO,

Jon Verzosa

December 14, 2010

Begin your journey with Chapter 1:  Paradise Reality  http://en.wordpress.com/tag/the-philippine-diaries/

Also Read:       https://jonverzosa.wordpress.com/2009/12/20/day-34-a-writers-liquid-sky/

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