Friday, May 14, 2004

MAY 14, 2004 (FRIDAY)

I do believe I was in heaven earlier. The dinner was amazing.

My second poem, "Eurydice," was also very well received by the panel. While this time around, there were more critical statements regarding the craft - particularly in the juxtaposition of the mundane and the mythic - it provoked a spirited discussion among the panel and the fellows. Incredibly interesting, and extremely flattering. It was a nice mixture of praise and constructive criticism, which was enough to make the second week worthwhile. After the recent bout of depression - even from a distance, Peloy remains a constant source of strength - I think I'm getting better at this.

One more week to go. I'll miss this whole experience.

Earlier, while John Bengan and I were waiting for a tricycle across Villa Alzhun, he was already telling me what a long way we've come, from freshmen sitting on the steps of the EBL dormitory in the middle of the UP Mindanao bukid (er...campus) and talking beneath the stars about what we were going to do in the future. ^_^ I'd prefer not to get nostalgic at this point in the workshop - there are too many things to experience and to imbibe that it would be rather detrimental for me to suddenly sink into nostalgia. I want to sink into this trip, to smell and touch and see everything around me, and to remember with absolute clarity these three weeks.

Strangely enough, I find myself missing Dumaguete. True, there are no ginormous (gigantic + enourmous - a word courtesy of the goddess Ginny Mata) oysters and shrimps and the delicious fish that we've been gorging on for the past two nights, thanks to the kindness of the local government officials who were more than willing to welcome us into their homes. The sea won't be just outside the porch anymore, and our panel for this week were absolutely lovely - I've learned so much from Ma'am Marj, Ma'am Susan, and Sir Tony.

Ma'am Marj taught me how to spot the Southern Cross and the Big Dipper. Ma'am Susan made me see the value of dressing well in any situation. And Sir Tony plays a mean game of chikicha. ^_^ It would be interesting to see how the third week will turn out.

Tomorrow, we tour Bohol - the river, the Chocolate Hills, the Bee Farm. Despite warnings of an impending storm that will coincide with the SuperCat trip back to Dumaguete Sunday morning, we still risk it. Bohol, despite our nostalgia, is a beautiful place, and definitely a place that I will want to spend some more time in.

I can't believe that I'm going home in a week. It seems as though time has stopped for a while, and we can't even tell what day it is. The only realization that the hours have passed is the sinking of the sun across the horizon, illuminating the distant islands. The water seems to glitter like a thousand diamonds; sometimes the blue of the sky and the blue of the water blends into each other so smoothly one cannot tell where one stops and the other begins. In the evening, the electric lights imitate the stars - a thousand distant fires kindled by a god with no name.

I want to go back, to start remembering this place and this time, to start missing the people (yes, even She-Who-Will-Not-Be-Named, who gives the most banal comments on any piece). And yet I also want to stay here, curled up on the balcony chair, newly bathed, and with the cigarette smoke of Mommy Selina, Glenn, and John surrounding me like a comforting cloud. I want to listen to snatches of conversation, and watch American Idol with them, and take pictures (which we're all getting so used to that when one pulls out a camera, everyone immediately smiles).

I am at a crossroads of sorts - being torn by the desire to remain the same, and the desire to change.

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