Always In The Long Shadows Of Those That Came Before

Today… didn’t start as planned.  After going to bed later than usual (around 2 AM in fact), I was suddenly woken up from my sleep at around six by my sister unceremoniously putting her baby beside me while plunked herself in front of the desktop to use both the internet and the scanner.  Because my sister is a notorious Facebook hog, unlike myself.  She excused what she did through saying that, since our father’s sore eyes still hadn’t gone away, there was no one else to hold on to the baby.

While the intent was apparently for me to keep the baby busy, what really transpired was me fading in and out of consciousness, with the baby lying between myself and the pillow I was hugging.  It’s a good thing he didn’t make a fuss during the odd hour and a half my sister sat in front of the PC, but that’s likely due to a combination of bemusement at his situation and being able to have a full night’s sleep for a change.  That, and maybe he found my half-conscious face funny too.

When my sister finally finished, and took the baby downstairs with her for his usual bath, there was a short bit of activity on my own part, then I plunked myself once again on the bed, where I went back to sleep.  I didn’t wake up again until well after two-thirty in the afternoon.

Although it wasn’t as much as I’d have liked, I did get some reading done of the reference material I photocopied from the university library last week.  Specifically, it was one of the select entries from Writers and Their Milieu, which focused on interviews with some of the more notable Filipino writers (in English) of the twentieth century.  The entry I read through, by the way, was the transcript of the interview done with Francisco Arcellana.

I found it hard to read, but not due the difficulty of prose (far from it, Mr. Arcellana was very lucid… and talkative), but for the fact that, well, it just made me feel my own inadequacies as a writer.  Here was a guy who could really say that he knew everyone in the writing scene during his time, and not only that could plainly many of the people he worked with, was influenced by, and read of, even during his twilight years (when the interview was done).  

Who am I by comparison?  I can barely remember the names of the people I went to high school with, never mind the teachers who influenced me then.  I know none of the stories published by my peers at DLSU, and haven’t even gotten a single story published to my name.  

It’s… frustrating.

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