At the end of my workday, I go to Philippine Star’s online edition and read up on the latest news about Manila. I often skim through the top stories, stop awhile in the Opinion section, visit the Entertainment nook and then go to the other sections if I have the time. To do the latter means I have a lot of time to kill and today was one of those days when I had the luxury of visiting the Travel section (which I normally don’t). My usual last stop is the Arts and Culture section, and only after Tuesdays when Tito Butch Dalisay’s column (the preceding link will take you to his blog), PENMAN, would’ve seen print. I scoured the sidebar on the right where I found Joy Virata’s article, ONE WEEK OF SOLITUDE where she wrote:
Every year I try to do something different, or to live out, for just a little while, an impossible dream. Many years ago I used to enroll in dance classes in New York in the summer so that I could walk down Broadway pretending I was a Broadway actress. x x x I’ve taken a five-day train ride alone across the United States for no reason except that it would be something different to do. I’ve gone to Ireland with the bit of Irish blood I possess providing the excuse to link with a past I created from old photographs.
This year, between visits to a son, a daughter, a sister and a couple of nieces, I decided to take a week off all by myself and make like a writer. I rationalized that the reason I couldn’t get the great Filipino novel (or even a short story) off the ground was that I needed to be in some beautiful, secluded place, free from distractions, so that I could discover my creative genius. x x x
I think you should read the rest of the article to enjoy Ms. Virata’s writing to the fullest. But I am not writing about her here to regale you about her as a writer but rather, I wanted to reflect on what she wrote about. Reading about her adventure in Colorado made me sit back and think about what I would want to do if I had a week all to myself. Of course I do that half-heartedly because even before I can make up my mind about what I would want to do, I start thinking of Angel and how that would mean being away from him. I cannot even be away from Alan for a number of days without feeling his absence and having it affect my day. (I still cannot sleep soundly when he is not in the room with me.) But the fact that I cannot, in reality, doesn’t mean I cannot “go away” even if in thought only.
So I’ve gotten to thinking what, rather than where, my one week of solitude will be.
I see myself in some small town — enjoying the local life, just lazily enjoying and exploring. Would it be here in the United States?France? or perhaps even some barrio in the Philippines? The thought of just lazing away and relaxing, is enough to recharge me. I think of sitting at the local cafe and just watching people go by. Of exploring quaint little shops that embody the local character. Of talking with the people and getting to know life as they live it. Taking tons of pictures for my scrapbook. Watching the sunset over the horizon, be it on a mountain range, or out on the seashore. Writing letters and poems if the inspiration eventually finds me again.
One week.. just me, myself and I.