THERE are probably no two avocations more prone to clutter than writing and painting (if you’re by nature a disorderly person, which I am). I handwrite my drafts because my heart and hand connect more directly to the pen than to a machine. (Then I turn them over to some menial, more tekki than I, darn it, to encode and send.)
I easily handwrite four to 10 pages and then rewrite them. The drafts are later crumpled and scattered on the floor, or retrieved from the wastebasket when some forgotten phrase has been inadvertently discarded.
Maybe it’s because I’m so impatient, I like doing things all at the same time. I like writing, but when I’m stuck I paint instead and vice-versa. Or loll in bed searching the Classica channel for anything interesting and continue reading the novel at my bedside.
My bedroom is roomy but the table in it, which is long but narrow, is where all the action takes place. While a column waits to be finished, I’m shading the face I’m painting. So the watercolors or the soft pastels, the pencils or the colored pens, whichever are not in use, are banished to one of the benches among the throw pillows. Some old unfinished paintings which I have decided to review are also around.
Soon I am hungry. To save time, I decide to eat on the table I’m working on. The two grandchildren who live with me, for once, are home early. They want to eat on the same bedroom table, too! So I have to make room for them. Which means the sisig and the spinach rice lie amidst the palettes of squished water color and the glasses of colored water which, with heaven’s help, have never been yet mistaken for orange or grape juice. Lola is synonymous with clutter, and they are okay with that.
Even my close friends like to sneak into my bedroom and take a snack of tsokolate eh and pinipig amid the clutter. Maybe the ambience makes food taste better, hehe.
What is so special about orderliness that it is a crime to have an untidy room? A really neat room with everything in its place leaves no room for creativity. (Out of chaos came the world.) It is not true that your surroundings are a reflection of your mind, at least, not mine. I am extremely focused, most of the time satisfied with the result, plus whatever it is, is always finished on time. It is the clutter in its wake that bothers others.
If you want a clean, well-lighted place, go to my sala. It is always tidy, unless I happen to wander in with my paints. Or you can ask to visit my daughter-in-law’s house next door, where the floor is so clean you can eat off it. Being anti-bacteria is as natural to her as disarray is to me. I have a wide bed with a lovely coverlet that came from her, which in the morning is as unruffled as a hotel bed. But soon enough it is full of newspapers I am reading, parts of newspapers I have decided to reread or want to clip; the rest are on the floor.
Joy and chaos
Soon one (very tall and long) grandson dives beside me on the bed, and soon the other long grandson dives in, too. They both want my attention about different things at the same time. Both live with me, because my house is nearer their place of work. They provide me joy and also add to the chaos in my life.
This evening these two grandsons and their girl friend are playing board games in the sala. One game is “Seven Wonders of the World” and the other is “Love Letters.” Both games are very, very simple, Lola, they say. They explain the rules to me but I am still stuck in the Monopoly era. Also, I’m not a sport and will get mad if I lose so I do not join.
Instead I attack the potato chips that have been abandoned by them while they plunder my sugar-free pastry which they have judged “masarap naman pala,” heh!
The two grandsons are especially neat and meticulously clean about the board games they own. They require a second wipe of the dinner table and newly washed hands of all of us. And so the wheel turns. Everyone will be neat and orderly in the next generations. Then one day they will produce a disorderly throwback like me.
Nota bene: Dear Estelito “Titong” Mendoza: I’m sorry to have inadvertently listed you as deceased in my last column, “Roll Call.” I am happy to know you’re alive and well, thanks to info from Flerida Ruth Pineda, through my daughter-in-law, Atty. Bing Bing Fernando, whom I should have consulted.
Flerida also reports, in her physically and mentally active vegetarian condition, that it is Fred Marigomen who passed away last November. (I dare not state everybody’s former titles because I’m sure to make more mistakes.) Apologies again, Titong Mendoza
By cellphone I was informed that two old friends whose whereabouts I was wondering about, Rolly and his brother Loy (Louie?) de la Rama, have gone to the beyond.
P.S. Kung meron pa po akong nilibing na buhay paki e-mail na lang ako sa [email protected] I will accept any scourging I need to undergo. And the last thing I’ll ever write about again is the living and dead. Deadly subject.