The Turning 30 Post
August 30, 2011 4 Comments
I haven’t written in the blog awhile. Got depressed for a month (will talk a bit more about that later in the post), spent the majority of a month offline but on the PS3, and in the last month I’ve been trying to regain my footing in life while establishing my footing in two new jobs (at the UP Press and teaching in the UPOU). It’s an exciting, scary time for me. I had envisioned something entirely different for myself when I was a kid, but from where I stand now, things are looking alright, and I think it’s time for me to take stock of things, and also to thank people, thank lots and lots of people, who have helped me. I always feel how important the people in my life have been, but for reasons of social ineptitude, awkwardness, inability to express myself emotionally to people, and well, the risk of looking corny, I usually fail to express it. But I’ll be using this entry to show my gratitude, and to take stock of things. And I’ll probably forget some people and have to revise this over and over. Here we go.I got depressed because, due to a number of factors, I left a job that I generally enjoyed, which was being Business Manager of the UST Publishing House. I loved a lot of it, because it was my first experience working in a traditional publisher, and I learned a lot from Director and my former professor Cristina Pantoja Hidalgo. It was a tough job, but it was also very exciting because it felt like we were building something from the ground up, and I was a major player. Things didn’t work out though, and I left.
My leaving and spending the good part of a month in my room and generally not inclined to be creative, and probably thinking too much about what a bummer it was and wondering if I would ever be able to hold down a long-term job (the longest I’ve ever worked for one employer was two years at Miriam College High School, but in the first quarter of my second year I was already resigning). Still, I was able to pull out of that funk and all that negative thinking largely because of finally getting back into the groove of working and being productive. And a lot of help from Kash, who really put up with a lot of downer moments and helped me feel better about things.
And so, almost thirty and where are we? To be honest, I am working in fields that I really enjoy, surrounded by people who are great, and generally doing awesome things. I probably have no right to feel freaked out about turning thirty because despite all of the stuff I’ve been through, I’ve turned up on the good end of things generally.
Professionally, I believe I’ve found my niche in the publishing world. The late, great Tony Hidalgo gave me my first big break in publishing. The consistent encouragement of friend, collaborator, and co-founder of The Youth and Beauty Brigade Adam David helped me to explore new ground in independent publishing. I have to acknowledge Adam, really, for having been there at the crucial points in my writing career, to encourage me, provide guidance, and really get me reading new and different things, pushing the boundaries of what I considered literature.
After working on the Kobayashi Maru of Love with Adam, I entered the traditional publishing system thanks to Ma’am Jing Hidalgo in UST Publishing House. Again, an extremely exciting six months of learning about what goes on the the making of books, as well as a study in the business processes and distributions systems of major publishers. While at UST I got my first real experiences in digital publishing, thanks to Flipside Digital.
Thanks to Anthony de Luna and everyone else at Flipside Digital who brought And the Geek Shall Inherit the Earth and Geek Tragedies in digital formats. From those experiences I learned a load about digital publishing, and I believe that it’s one of those fields that I will specialize in, write papers about, and study in the coming years. I had had The Kobayashi Maru of Love digitally published, but, uh, that hasn’t turned out so well (actually at most parts of the process, it turned out really crap! but out of niceness I will not mention my digital publisher with that book, needless to say they don’t get a turning-30 thank you).
And jumping from USTPH, I was taken in warmly by UP Press. First, UP Press published my short story collection Geek Tragedies (and thank to Ma’am Jing, Sir Butch Dalisay ,and Sir Jimmy Abad for encouraging me to submit it to UP). Since I started writing, it was a dream to have a UP Press book. And now here it was.
Next, UP Press gave me a job. Thanks to new director Neil Garcia, for seeing the value of my work and recognizing that I could make a real contribution to UP Press. I’m still settling into my roles there, but I do hope that I can do my part to push the Press into the future. In my first month I’ve set it up so that we will be releasing the first set (of many!) of e-books from the UP Press, making us I believe the first Filipino university press with ebooks on amazon.
This year I finished my MA. Have to thank Ma’am Jing for supporting that, and letting me work on my MA as I worked with USTPH. Thanks to my adviser Chingbee Cruz who shepherded the haphazard manuscripts I gave in into something that could pass as a thesis. My critic Ruth Pison also had a big influence on the work, providing a lot of inputs. Reader Emil Flores made crucial demands, which were really what I was hoping for, his geek cred being key to finding how to better the work. And at the defense Dean’s Rep May Datuin made her own beneficial inputs.
And in finishing my MA I have to thank all of the teachers that I’ve ever had the privilege of studying with. You all had such a profound influence on my thinking, my writing, and my life. Thank you so much.
I have to thank the UP Open University, particularly Kat Esteves, for allowing me to teach with them. I look forward to handling more subjects, but at the moment I’m designing the module for Multimedia and Popular Culture, taking on Special Projects (equivalent of thesis) advises, and I should be coming up with my syllabus for a special topics course next sem. And how awesome is it that I will be teaching Video Game Studies?
This year had a number of homecomings. I went back to Dumaguete for Ian Casocot’s launch. The other week I was in Baguio for a talk. And later in September I’m flying back to LA.
Dumaguete was home for three glorious weeks in 2003. The Writer’s Workshop and all the thing we did in and around it are always memorable and I look back on it all so fondly. I believe I forged some lifelong friendships there, and consider my co-fellows brothers and sister, tight as blood.
Baguio was where I had workshops at two crucial times. In 2005 and again in 2009 I was on the verge of quitting writing, and just when I was about to, I’d get accepted to the workshop and get energized again. And often I look to batchmates of the 2009 workshop as inspirations. So many great people there, and I learned so much from them.
And the LA homecoming. I haven’t been back since I moved to the Philippines in 2006, and I suffer from a mixture of fear, anxiety, excitement, and hope. I was playing LA Noire and I realized I didn’t know my hometown that well (there were so many landmarks and streets that I wished I could see). I hope that as I visit there I will get to know the place I grew up in better. This comes around my trip to San Francisco for the FilBookFest, where I hope to represent UP Press, promote Filipino titles, and generate interest in Filipino books (of course promoting my own as well).
I think of the friends I have made over the years, friends who’ve stuck with me, always been there for me. And I only hope that I can be remembered so fondly. Poldo, Pao, what’s up? Yo, Zak! KDM! The friends who I down beers with in Ilyong’s. Sarge and Mookie! Daryll and Weng and Rubs and Easy! My co-hosts on the radio show, Ginny, Mon, Kat Mac, Kris! My co-teachers from MC who I’m still cool with! UP DECL batchmates and still sometime lunch buddies! My twitter-reader-monthly-dinner group! All my friends who I fail to mention here, you know who you are, and you know that I’m sending out fist-bumps to all of you.
There’s my sister Cres, who I have been taking care of for most her life. And she’s one of the best teenagers I know (not that I know a lot of teenagers, but you know what I mean) as she’s turning out to be a really level-headed young woman. My mom who sends her love from across the seas and supports my various endeavors. And my bro, who is the coolest dude ever (how cool? he just sent me a CSI vest this week!).
And of course there’s Kash, who I thank for all the love, the inspiration, and who I of course had to save for last. She’s always supportive of me and I can’t help but want to be a better person and keep improving for her sake. Thank you, love, for being with me this year, and for so many more years to come.
I realize now that this entry sounds like I’m accepting an Oscar or something, Hey, pagbigyan niyo na ako. I’m turning thirty. I just want to thank everybody, because I feel that I can’t thank people enough. For being there, for being friends, for encouraging me. For making these thirty years really awesome. Thank you all.