Promised Ones: The Story Behind the WIP

It all started with Arch Enemy.

Yes, I’m talking about the Swedish melodic death metal band, and my most favorite band (Alesana currently being next. As if it’s important. Anyway…). I do not necessarily hold the same religious and sociopolitical views with them, but I learn a lot about sociopolitical issues from Arch Enemy’s lyrics. This inspired me to write a short story based on a few songs of theirs–“Revolution Begins (I named the short story after this song),” “Yesterday is Dead and Gone,” “Under Black Flags We March,” “Nemesis,” and “War Eternal.”

I thought of following the short story up with another, but I ran out of ideas for the sequel. I put it to rest for a few months. Afterward, out of boredom, I just sat in front of my laptop and wrote whatever came to mind. The first scene I wrote was of the short story’s lead character and a minor character who was a photographer. The country they lived in was under martial law. Both were working for a progressive publishing company shut down by the government for “seditious literature.” They were in a street corner, stuck in the middle of a massive demonstration–students against the pro-government military forces. The photographer, trying to capture some scenes of the demonstration, was shot by one of the soldiers. The lead character snatches the photographer’s DSLR camera and with it runs away from the soldiers who pursue him in turn.

When I returned to it after about a month, I had a change of mind regarding who the main character would be. It cannot be the short story’s lead character. It has to be the photographer.

So I decided to eliminate all characters from the short story. In their respective places, I created a whole new set of characters, not really related to those in the short story except for one thing: the whole new story will also be quite sociopolitical/dystopian, with some dabs of romance.

I temporarily named the story Of Love and War Eternal, after Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Of Love and Other Demons + Arch Enemy’s War Eternal album and song of the same title. But I also thought of an alternate title: Promised Ones, after blessthefall’s song of the same title. Just recently, I thought Promised Ones would be a better title for the story, so I’m sticking with it.

Add to that the craziness pre-, during, and post-presidential elections in the Philippines; as well as the fears of the country to be put under martial law again, thanks to Duterte’s spunk and the Marcoses’ legacy(?)–and voila, I have another work-in-progress that I strongly want to complete, and whose premise’s potential I feel would be very high (if not life-risking). Because I rarely finish writing a complete novel/novella/novelette/some such thing.

Synopsis:

Seventy-five years after Martial Law was first declared in the country, what Filipinos thought to be the best president they ever had transforms into a heartless, scheming tyrant–and implements a more sinister version (as if the original wasn’t sinister enough) of Proclamation No. 1081, placing the country into a state of chaos like never before.
In the midst of mayhem is Spencer Rusca, a graphic artist and photographer for a progressive publishing company, armed with nothing but the company DSLR camera, quarter-life-crisis angst, rock music fandom, and the hope of meeting again the only woman he loves–Maharlika “Mika” Soliman, his colleague/bandmate and one of the Desaparecidos, or Those Who Disappeared. Will Spencer and his fellow Filipinos be able to survive and rebuild the country? Or are they condemned to repeating the darkest years of the Philippine history again and again?

 

So far, my initial draft has almost three chapters, and I’m researching and outlining for the rest of the novel. I hope to be done with the whole draft this year, and do some editing (self-editing, asking beta readers for evaluation, and hiring a friend for more editing). And for accountability reasons–meaning, so I’ll have reasons heavy enough for finishing this project–will keep you posted.

P.S. Peace out to all Marcos loyalists/apologists. This is a work of fiction… (and so goes the fiction disclaimer…) Nevertheless, I stand my ground, because abuse of power and its effects are NOT a work of fiction. #NeverForget #NeverAgain

Black hole

Gravity
is a star’s worst enemy.
It could grow so immense it could swallow itself.
In space, it becomes a dot
or a seemingly innocent spot
that devours everything drawing near.

Be my gravity.
Let this humble star shine Your glory,
so immense it swallows me till I’m one with Yourself.
In Your universe make me a star,
be its center and be my fire,
that I may lead to You everyone far and near.

March 20, 2016
Featured photo by twiluv19

Fulfillment comes from worshiping Him, not from having others worship you. Pleasure comes from using your creative gifts to glorify His name, not your own. Gratification is not from making the “Bestseller of the Week” but by grasping the fact that your creative gift is used for something that matters for eternity.

Darlene Zschech, Extravagant Worship

Holy Ground

when god created the world and everything in it, man and woman were naked and not ashamed.

in these four walls–
the world and everything in it–

naked and not ashamed–

we restore paradise. how could it be so wrong?

Q: how do you get back to the garden of eden from the land of nod?
A: you are dust, and to dust you shall return.

the land flowing with milk and honey–
we are dust, earth–
taste the forbidden fruit in every inch–

(breathe!)

tongues of flames–
in every kiss–

your spear has torn the veil–
oh god!–blood and water–

The adventures of Daniel and Friends retold, in no particular order

We are Fire. Seven times
we stoke your furnace flames.
We are Lions. This den
is our prey’s, not our grave.
We are Dreams, Dreamers, the
Interpretations sure.

Our Rock has stricken your
iron-clay feet, Statue
gold, silver, bronze, iron.
We fed the wind with your
powder carcass. We grow
a Mountain on your dais.

To the trumpets’ tune of
your golden image our
Hand will write the lyrics
on plaster, the Awful
Horror in your temple:
Mene. Tekel. Parsin.

Enjoy your seventy
weeks. We, Vessels of the
Sanctuary cast off
but not forgotten, will
soon serve Wrath, aftertaste
of your Bacchanalia.

We thrive on Vegetables
and Water. Birds and beasts
residing in your shade,
partaking in your fruit
shall flee at the angel’s
call: sever you to stump.

We are Apocalypse:
open windows, prayers, eyes
set on upon Zion.
The Fourth Man is with us.
Take heed! The message sealed—
we stand to the end—yours.

(Originally posted here.)

As the Pages Burn*

My story started when I took the pen.

It started when I declared,
From now on, I will be the author of my book.
The sight of blank pages excited me.
With this book I will write what I want to write.
My destiny.
My history.
I wrote on,
defined my characters,
my setting,
my plot and its twists and turns.
I was enjoying it…
but later on,
the story didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to.
Mistakes here,
erasures there,
something missing here,
something excess there…
I tried to make it better,
correct its flaws,
save it.
I worked so hard for this.
But paper is just as frail as human.
It can only occupy much words and endure much erasures.
Until there was no more room for corrections
and no more ideas to occupy the pages left blank.

And this is where my story ends.
Unfulfilled destiny,
repeated history of misery.

Or so it seems.
I look up and see whom I’ve taken the pen and the book from.
He has been watching me through it all,
waiting for me,
not forcing me at all
to return what I’ve taken
to whom they rightfully belong,
to surrender and admit
that I am merely a character
in a story outline He had planned long before the world came into being,
in a book only His hands and mind could perfectly author.
He leafs through the book,
word by word,
page by page.
I look down and wish I could shrink,
knowing He sees now how I’ve ruined His masterpiece.

I look up at His command and behold that thing on which He died–
the cross.
He wasn’t there any longer
(and never would He be again),
But on the place where the accusation against Him was nailed,
the pages of my book were nailed instead.
Blood poured from the hole through which the nail was perched
and wiped away every word and mark on each piece of paper
until each page was as blank as new.

He holds the book in front of me
and showed me each page
bleeding with the ink of my pride and rebellion.
I cover my face at the sight
as if beholding an unwanted child.
Look, He says,
and I obey.
He rips every page from the book,
tears them into pieces,
and the pieces burn
and turn into ashes
as they fall on the ground.

A new book lies open in front of me.
Beside it is a pen.
They wait for me.
I take them with a smile
and place them in the Hands that gave them to me.
This is Your story.
I am but a character
and You are the author Who holds my identity,
my life.
Hold my pen, Lord,
and write my book the way You want to.
And as the old pages burn,
I will rise with You from their ashes.

And this is where the story begins.


*Based on “As the Pages Burn” by Arch Enemy. I own this story, but not the song.

Yet another update.

I’m back–and this blog is back to its original layout 🙂

Since I was inspired by a friend to update, here’s what just happened. By God’s grace I was able to get through a school year despite some setbacks along the way. Though I have been terminated, God’s favor was still on me through my colleagues’ continued support and positive criticism (although I admit they hurt sometimes, but it’s fine, I’m honest!). But to be brutally honest all throughout, I admit I’ve had my worst mood swings and my spiritual life hadn’t been this… dry–no quiet time, less prayer time and less seriousness with God and my relationship with Him. I’m still in the same battle everyday, and sometimes I’m on the verge of giving up. But He just won’t give up on me just as His love won’t.

I hope I would be able to get back on my feet again, and I thank God because I know I won’t be alone in this.