Monday, February 07, 2005

Today is the first Monday of the rest of my life

Spent a stupid Sunday indoors, vaguely depressed and apprehensive about the prospect of slowly sinking once again into a familiar freelance rut. As anyone who's ever been employed for over a year knows, it's really easy to get used to a regular salary, even if the job is shitty and the pay isn't great to begin with. It's also easy to get used to the pleasant camaraderie one has with officemates one likes, especially if one is fortunate enough to like almost all of one's officemates.

I know that as long as I don't slack off, being free from PULP will be even better for me in the long run -- it was a dead-end job, with little room for advancement and lots of opportunites for being annoyed on a daily basis -- but for most of yesterday, it was really hard to convince myself of that. One of the problems I had before was that I was always writing an article here and a review there for various publications, and not only was a huge chunk of my pitiful freelance earnings used up just commuting from one office to another to collect checks, I never felt that it was all adding up to anything. Whether consciously or not, I had gotten tired of scattering my efforts, not really focusing on one thing.

Of course, looking back at two years of working for PULP, I wonder what the hell that adds up to anyway. I had the strange notion that over time, I could help make it into the kind of magazine that I would have bought on a regular basis even if I didn't write for it. By that standard, I failed. When the editor-in-chief himself doesn't seem to care whether or not the writing in his magazine is any good, it's pretty hard to come up with a publication to be proud of. Of course, the Reviews section is always solid (hi, Kristine), and I'm pretty happy with most of the stuff I wrote over those two years, but overall, PULP is still... well, PULP.

So anyway, last night, I started digging through old Word files for inspiration. Found an e-mail I sent to a friend in August 2001. Was amused, mostly because of the job opportunity mentioned. I cut-and-paste it here in its entirety:

Dear Mei,

There are days when I sit in front of this PC for so long that I think the UV rays must be transfoming me into something, either a superhero for the 21st century or a giant rampaging lizard that will lay waste to the cityscape. I'm hoping it's the latter. I don't think I have the resolve or the moral compass to be a superhero.

Sorry I wasn't able to contact you earlier. Things got rather hectic during the second half of last week -- or at least as hectic as they get in my life, which, by your standards, would probably be equivalent to a vacation. On a beach. With little umbrella drinks.

Anyway! I have just been informed of a job opening in Makati, at the Filipinas Heritage Library. It's a full-time gig, with Mondays off (but Saturdays on), and the work has something to do with books, so I guess it'll be more palatable to me than advertising. On the other hand, the thought of regular, full-time work raises the hackles on my neck, and I don't even know what hackles are. Seriously, I've grown to love the freedom that comes with freelancing (not to mention hate the regular commuting that comes with a steady job).

The way I see it, either I apply for the job and maybe get it, in which case my free time gets drastically reduced but then my bank account starts to look less anorexic, or I don't apply, and try to find even more freelance writing jobs than I'm handling now. Or I could start work on that novel I've been thinking about, or any number of writing projects that have been bouncing around in my skull.

I know, I know. I have no real problems. Employment and a salary on the one hand, and freedom and some money on the other. Poor me. Still, since I just turned 27, I have (reluctantly) started thinking about the long-term stuff -- someday acquiring property, providing for a family maybe, that kind of thing. Learning how to drive and owning a car, for God's sake. Sometimes I really envy people like you and Nats -- people with definite careers, who have earned respect, responsibilities, promotions. Of course, it is nice to be able to wake up at noon on a weekday, but if I'm still doing that when I'm forty...

Well, enough of that. In other news, I was nominated for a National Book Award. Just found out last night. :) Things like that make me think I should just concentrate on the writing, but hell, it doesn't pay enough. Or at all, in some cases.

Anyway, hope you're okay. Do write back when you can --


So here it is four years later, and I've got that freelance freedom back. I can do anything I want, and after I fulfill my March writing obligations to PULP, I never have to write for it again, nor am I inclined to. Except that I just realized last Saturday, after watching the gig at 70s and interviewing Kiko Machine, that I'd still like to write about music somehow, and not just in this blog. I'll figure something out.

As Margie texted me yesterday, "You're going to put your energies into new, strange places and your brain will grow in weird and wonderful ways." Here's hoping.

PS. Oh, and by the way...
Which Colossal Death Robot Are You?
Brought to you by Rum and Monkey. Thanks to Lala G. for the link :)


Lala said...

Wow, no more Pulp? Well, I can relate to your predicament Mr. K. Sometimes when my freelancing work (or lack of it :/) gets me down I look up at the sky and ask why o why---and with this talent?!!...har har. Echhh. Malay mo, one day we'll both be stinking rich.

Robyn said...

[I'm also gigantor!]

I'm positive I don't know anyone else who writes like you do. ...and I don't know where to go with that but I love how you write. You obviously love it and that's great. I don't think the world is cruel enough for you to not find the "thing" (the Robyn dictionary is very slim) you want to do...or maybe there is no thing and you can do whatever you want. WOOO!

Gah, I dunno what I'm talking about, but I feel very fortunate to know you and to have read your writings. It's inspiring, not that any of it is rubbing off on me (wish it would!).

markmomukhamo said...

Best of luck with the freelance gig!

Luis K. said...

Thanks, you guys. :)

fran said...

dear lou, it must be scary not to have the security of a regular paycheck but i'm very very proud of you for quitting that job. your teeny tiny boss couldn't appreciate what he had and that's his loss. you'll find something better i'm sure. because you are *cue flashing lights and siga soundtrack* 3 TIME! 3 TIME! palanca awardee...


spidergrrl said...

Sabi sa yo padalhan mo na ako ng litrato ng ex-boss mo para puwede ko siyang tisurin pag nakasalubong ko siya e. :P

If you need to talk, you know who to call. Insomnia's my middle name. :D

Here's to the new life ahead of you, Luis. Cheers!

starshuffler said...

Tara, Luis, let's lynch our (former) employers! >:-D

(Eep, did I say that out loud?)

Hehehe... Anyway, I welcome you back to the world of freelance (ala bumhood haha) with open arms. :-)

Candice said...

Hi... I'm sure we've met on some occasions sometime in the past, thoughI do not remember in what capacity. What I do know is that I share the same sentiments you have about writing, and freelancing, and just wanting a way to balance the money part in the equation. I've been mentally kicking myself in the ass to finally get a real move on things, but it's turning out to be a mere pat on my lazy bum. I think I need a contraption to help me along. If you, however, figure out how to keep on writing about music, do let me know? And congratulations on your freedom. At the end of the day, it's still a great blank page to use and fill up. :)

sundial girl said...

Hey Mr. K, dunno if you remember me, but I found your blog through Charles and I hope you don't mind if I link it up to mine.

At any rate, I'm sorry to hear that you're leaving PULP. But then again, I've always wanted to work for you guys...akala ko maabutan ko kayo ni Peach. Sayang. Hindi ko na kayo makikita dun - wala na akong reason para bumisita dun. ^_^

Anyway, good luck with your old/new career as a freelancer (like us! join us...join the dark side...) and i hope to see you around.

joelle said...


mr katigbak? may i have the pleasure of buying you some celebratory coffee?

sincere love and affection come with.

the typesetter said...

I emphatize.

You might be interested in what this guy is saying about the state of music these days:

Luis K. said...

Fran! I didn't even know you had a blog! :) Thanks for the comments, everyone -- old friends and new friends and semi-strangers alike. :) Candice, I'm going to keep writing about music in this blog, and possibly in a column for a daily broadsheet (details pending). Of course I remember you, Gabby! You got this URL through Charles? Hi, Charles -- we were only officemates for a couple of days, but I wish you the best of luck. :)