Surreal. Manolo had me at number 4 in his dream team for the Senate, well ahead of Michael Tan, Dean Jorge Bocobo, and Dr. Federico Macaranas of the AIM. Dream is the operative word. Manolo, hello? I don't even vote. (Yup, your caveat on winnability not factoring into your choices is well taken. But you can, as the song goes, dream, dream, dream when I want you. Hey, didn't I say that to you sometime ago?)
Thanks, Manolo. I did not know I inspired dreaming.
Let me get to where I want to go with this though.
Sometime during the holidays, a soldier friend of mine took a break from running after the Abu Sayyaf Group in the jungles of Jolo to call me up and thank me for my promise to send an autographed copy of my book Fly on the Wall to his ten-year-old daughter in Manila. I had heard from his wife that the young girl wanted the book for herself and did not like the fact that her dad left the book in the jungles when he came home for a brief furlough.
Her dad judged that he had good reason to keep the book in Jolo as it was enjoying much mileage from the soldiers in his camp. He tells me that the boys cart the book around to read between missions. Like it were the Bible, the boys read it one page at a time. Their verdict, according to my friend, is that each page stands alone.
I highly doubt that reading it one page at a time is a comment on the reading ability of our soldiers. It is a comment though on the soldiers' discipline. Like they do with all other resource, they also share and conserve their reading materials to make them last as long as possible.
Or maybe, they can only take what I write a page at a time! There is that possibility.
So aside from the package for Mistress Kaelyn, the ADDU post office saw a lot of my books going out to every direction on the run up before Christmas. Fathers, to my surprise, were getting it for their sons and wanted the quickest way to go about it. From the reaction I'm getting, it seems to be that this book is especially appealing to males in their early 20s. Huh? Go figure.
Even the US Library of Congress had gotten two copies, as did some universities in the US. I wonder what they want my book for. It's not a serious piece of writing. It's just a compilation of my articles that had already been on the web. Oh, well. A sale is a sale is a sale. They want it? They got it.
I came home late again last night. My thirteen-year-old daughter made me pay by making me cook spaghetti. She said she was hungry, but really, she just wanted to talk. I know she worries when I'm out late, so she kind of stretches Wee Willie Winkle time to shoot bull with me while I putter in the kitchen and watch her twirling pasta around and around. She makes me feed her because she says that is what mothers are for. It makes me feel most loved really. She wants me where she can see me until it's too late for me to be going out again.
Anyway, my Liane told me that a girl in school asked her today what "hubby" meant. This girl claimed that she got it in my book and that this was the first time she ever bumped into the word. Haha. That reminds me of Bob Barnes who, upon realizing that their newest man on GEM was my man, was moved to exclaim, "You are hubby!"
Now, Liane had held me up last week for copies of my book upon the wheedling of some of her friends. I'd have refused because I had already helped her get her Christmas gifts for them, but my Liane is as effective as a Palestine at bargaining. Like, she promised I won't have to spend on depilatories ever again because she was ever so willing to take a pair of tweezers and pluck out all the hair growing out of my – oops.
Okay, I concede. These ones are on me, I said.
"Yes! Mama, I love you!" she says. So what do you say to that? Tweezers?
Whatever the reason, I find it flattering that soldiers in the combat zone, a ten-year-old girl in Manila, young girls on the brink of adolescence here in Davao, and young men who appreciate it when their fathers buy them books for Christmas are reading Fly on the Wall. That is in addition to the young teachers starting out in the profession and the gay contingent that has to a person taken to respectfully calling me "Nanay". Quite a diverse audience, huh?
Be warned then. Volume 2 is coming out on the Ides of March. The first copy off the press flies to Jolo.
(Wayward and Fanciful is Gail Ilagan's column for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. Ilagan teaches Social Justice, Family Sociology, Theories of Socialization and Psychology at the Ateneo de Davao University where she is also the associate editor of Tambara. You may send comments to [email protected] "Send at the risk of a reply," she says.)