Wednesday, April 02, 2003

By the time this is posted, Part Two of Ang Kagila-gilalas Na Pakikipagsapalaran Ni Zsazsa Zaturnnah would have begun undergoing the pre-press process. Before the 25th this month, it would land on the shelves of Comic Quest and Comics Central Headquarters. Yes, a second solo effort is nearing completion.

Last night, I began burning the relevant files on CDs and freeing memory from my aging hard drive. The computer has been serving me well these past three years. And as with One Night In Purgatory, I’m beginning to experience a kind of removal. It’s time for much-needed rest, catching-up, and diversion before I start the next project.

Also, it’s time to re-orient myself to devoting my energies to the full-time job at Pipeline Media. I will admit that my work there has been affected by this recent comics work, and I thank Dean and Marc for understanding how much finishing Zsazsa means to me.

So before I proceed to my next comics project, here’s my shortlist of things to do:

1) Finish reading Jeff Noon’s funky Automated Alice. I was amazed by this man’s linguistic wit after reading his short story anthology Pixel Juice. Some people might accuse him of having that Look-I-can-write-funkylicious-English syndrome, but I like it. When I’m done with the book, I’d like to continue the reading spree, maybe finish a book every coupl’a months. My biblio-source cousin Angela recently told me of Jostein Gaardner’s The Ringmaster’s Daughter, which she liked save for the ending, as well as Salman Rushdie’s latest book Fury. Lots to choose from.
2) Finish that second Hinirang short story. Writing fiction isn’t one of my better suits, but it’s a nice creative challenge. Hey, with all my writer-friends to guide me, what’ve I to lose? One Hinirang short story every two or three months sounds like a manageable ratio. Also, I have to edit Vinnie’s new Hinirang story.
3) Finally learn Dreamweaver and Flash. At Pipeline, I had to force myself to work with alien-territory Adobe InDesign even if CorelDRAW has always been my lay-out/vector software of choice. So why not stuff in a few more software proficiencies into my resumé?
4) Put together a website. ‘Nuff said.
5) Watch more movies.
6) Shop around for a big-time publisher to compile the Zsazsa Zaturnnah books into one volume for wider distribution. I hope someone bites.
7) Get lotsa sleep.
8) Work out again.

My new Hinirang story starts off this way. . .

ISA PANG AWIT
One More Song


by Carlo Vergara

On the ninth day, Dalumig woke.

It was quite lonely that early morning, as she half-expected familiar faces to be beside her when she opened her eyes, blinded briefly by the mornshine. She paid little attention to the odd scent of her skin and hair, or the gutless hollow within her – hunger, perhaps. Despite a noted sluggishness in the way she walked, her joints neither here nor there, she felt fine. Dalumig was awake after nine days, and she felt it appropriate to let those dear to her know about it.

The village was a few hours away by foot, a fact that did not bother her as the trip had been a customary ritual for as long as she could remember. As years rolled along the cycles of seasons, each trek to the hillock weighed heavier, the callouses on her feet reflecting the growing effort, the thin paths lining her still youngish face mirroring the march of time. It was only on her last trip nine days prior when she was granted the chance to ride the albolarya’s old, old carriage. It was a privilege given once, and once only.

Midway along the broken path that connected yesterdays and tomorrows, Dalumig saw the entrance to the albolarya’s hut bordered by stringy gourd vines and the hanging branches of an ancient tree. Though she did not in her forty years recall the hut being there, she knew to whom it belonged and why she needed to visit. The albolarya was the keeper of the village’s history, and everyone shared in it.

The hut kept a small interior which held a myriad collection of containers spun from clay, straw, or stone. Each container gave off scents familiar and strange, meeting and marrying with the blessings of sunlight needles piercing through the hut’s nipa walls. The scent of everything past, Dalumig thought, as she stepped further into the albolarya’s abode.

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