This week is my homecoming week. A week of coming home to poetry and writing online. As Odysseus would tell you, coming home is not a linear plot. Unprocessed emotional baggage was dropped at my doorstep. Old wounds opened, sanitized, and hopefully closed for good.
Great week, all in all. And then this morning, I had my period.
Homecoming week and Dead Stars
Remember that first short story in English by Paz Marquez Benitez titled “Dead Stars”? It was about a guy who was engaged but wanted to meet his first love again, just to make sure there were no sparks left.
As you can assume from the title, of course those sparks have died, decomposed, and became fertilizer for Manic Pixie Dream Girl plots.
I realize now that that guy = total jerk. Which mature person getting ready to marry one person for the rest of his life would seek out an old flame just to make sure he isn’t making a mistake?
I am that jerk, figuratively. This week I tried to go back to my former spaces.
Back to Normal
I went back to my Alma Mater to see if I am still called to teach there. Because even if the culture there along with some people should stay in the 1900s, I feel a deep connection to teaching because of my parents.
My parents were teachers. I am who I am because they loved knowledge. They were devoted to sending their kids to school. I assumed that I could change the world the way my parents raised me to love learning. So I took Education majoring in Literature.
I realized that the academe is an old institution. An old institution that forgot they exist to think deeply about real problems in society and then propose solutions for them. Instead, like GoT’s maesters in Olde Town, they “problematize” the concept of problems, focusing on the methods and formalities and credentials.
When students leave the academe, they are slapped in the face: credentials mean nothing out here. Out here it’s hard work that guarantees no upward mobility. Being smart does not excuse you from hard (physical, emotional, psychological, intellectual) labor. Everybody works to live.
Pay your dues, and then we talk
I realized that in our culture, more established people in any field do not care at all to help and mentor young aspirants. They raise their noses at us and tell us we’re entitled when we ask for advice.
Last week I emailed a female writer whom I have followed since I was in high school, offering to send her a free copy of my book and asking her advice about writing for Filipinas. I didn’t even receive a no, thank you reply.
It made me feel bad that I reached out and offered a copy of my book that I can’t afford to give away to just anyone. I don’t feel entitled to a response, but if I were that person knowing that I encourage some young writer I’d write back no matter how short.
I realized that I can’t expect anybody to inspire me anymore. I’d have to do it myself.