During the last years that I lived in Manila, my preferred hideaway was a little cove along Manila Bay, far from the crowds and visited only by the local fishermen or fishing enthusiasts. It was the place I retreated to in order to catch my breath while being caught up in the emotional storms of the time. There as a huge rock that I would sit on and simply wait for the tapestry of colours that the sky would offer that evening. Sometimes it was just a sliver of red peeking through the clouds, but that would be enough. On other days it would be an entire story. Most of the time I was alone, desiring no human contact nor conversation of sorts, and if there were others, they also kept pretty much to themselves.
One particular group of young students always came out in the evening to fish for their dinner or catch crabs along the rocks. Some days they would go home with a bucket full, others just a plate. The evening I took this photograph the catch was good, but this young man stayed behind long after his housemates had gone home to cook the catch of the day. If he noticed me, he never showed it, nor cared, but the silhouette against the blue waters that evening was transcendental.
Patience and hard work still remain the magic formula, pandemic or not. Sometimes it is just a matter of shifting perspectives, re-evaluating the surroundings and all the baggage we have been carrying with us. Being a writer you learn to roll with the punches the industry dishes out, and rejection to queries to agents becomes second nature. Nevertheless, success is never measured by the number of books sold, but by the number of lives you touch with your words and during the time the reader turns the pages. To become rich is not the reason I became a writer, or continue to live in my suspense-filled world.
Vigilance, awareness, social transformation, upliftment, empowerment. These are my raison d’être as a writer. The rest is just decoration.