March 8-14 Edition
Jonathan Aquino's Smashwords Interview
This is my interview for my eBook publisher Smashwords.com.
It went live September 9, 2013
Q. What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
A. Writing is about creating something original. It's about sharing a part of yourself through characters that reflect your own, or about sharing the experiences you went through and the insights you've gained along the way.
I feel keenly the need to express my thoughts that I even have a journal. Writing a diary is like a mystical revelation: I achieve detachment, yet my senses are heightened so I live more fully in the Moment.
Q. Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
A. As a kid, I grew up reading Enid Blyton's The Five Find-Outers and Franklin W. Dixon's The Hardy Boys during grade school. But the first adult book I read was Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird so it's special to me.
Then, when I became a teenager, two other books also became part of my life. I was the same age and going through the same adolescent angst as Finny in John Knowle's A Separate Peace and Euripides in William Goldman's The Temple of Gold.
Q. What are your five favorite books, and why?
A. Wayne Dyer's Your Erroneous Zones changed my life and made me who I am now: one who values his own worth without the need for other people's approval.
Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingston Seagull gave me the freedom to be who I want by showing me that my true nature is more important than how others expect me to conform.
Carlos Castañeda's Journey To Ixtlan is the first to open my eyes about the infinite mysteries beyond the everyday world and made me see Death in an entirely different way.
Trevanian's Shibumi became my favorite novel because never have I identified to a literary character so viscerally as with the semi-telepathic protagonist Nicholai, except for the assassin part.
Shirley MacLaine's Out On A Limb set me off on my own spiritual journey. I came across a battered copy last year through serendipity. Then I found an out-print-copy of her Dancing In The Light too. I believe that "coincidences" happen because there is a Higher Power that guides us.
Q. Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
A. I grew up in the Philippines, in Antipolo, about 40 kms. east of Manila. But I have lived in so many different places since I started living alone when I was fourteen. It's my travels and adventures that shaped my character and brought out the artist in me, so to speak.
There was no "Eureka!" moment. I just came to accept as a matter of course that all I want to be in life is a writer.
Q. What do your fans mean to you?
A. Let me tell you a story. There's been a lot of times when I'd be in a bookstore but I don't have the budget to buy everything I want. I promised myself that when my books get published, they will be worth people's hard-earned money.
I'm a freelancer so I'm used to my manuscripts being rejected or ignored, so I am deeply grateful to folks who would take the time to check out my books. I don't think of them as "fans" because I find it condescending. I think of the eBook industry as a community so I'd rather think of them as "friends," and I hope they won't find that too presumptuous.
Dreaming Bill Clinton
January 1, 2014
I dreamed about Bill Clinton. We were in a large room. It's not the White House: more like Bruce Wayne's mansion.
I was sitting in a backless divan, wearing a tux.
Clinton was standing in front of me carrying a little boy.
It's just the three of us. Outside the closed door, a party was about to start. The boy's left shoe fell off; a light-colored sneaker-type scandal. I picked it up and put it on him.
I was walking down the upper middle class subdivision where I spent part of my puberty. I was on the way to the chapel. I had to go there everyday so I couldn't come to the family reunion with the two branches of my second cousins. Inside the chapel was a film-making workshop. A couple of guys were shooting an MTV.
"I could have done that better!" I remember specifically saying that.
I jumped. I was on a small hill. It was daylight.
On the clearing below, I saw a childhood friend, Jerry, calling out to me. He was in front of a large cabin.
I jumped. I'm inside an abandoned building. It seemed to have burned down a long time ago but it's still standing. In the middle of the floor was a large hole.
I looked down.
January 20, 2014
This is my text message to my friend and colleague, NJ
Bro, I got the footages. I'll return the cam later and treat you to lunch, thanks.
My film will go live on YouTube this week as soon as get the sound track and finish editing.
I just heard from Ysa that Lawrence's group has won third place but too bad I didn't get to film them. I congratulated him for being the champion in the Sinulog Kabataan last week but I didn't even know he was participating in the main event. Still, all the awards aside, he really is one of the most talented dancers I've seen and it's a great privilege to have witnessed him perform live.
I'm already in the office. It's my birthday and I've brought Fudgee Bars for everybody. I just had baked mac and veggies in the pantry with the third Terminator on StarMovies. I hope they show the second Thor.
I saw last week, among others, Analyze This, the third Dark Knight, the third Narnia and the fourth Twilight where Shine had rushed me just when the Cullens and the werewolves were about to have the final showdown against the vampire secret society Volturi.
The Dark Knight Rises
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn 2
I guess it's too early for Jack Ryan, Tai-Chi Man and Frankenstein. I'm not even sure if they're showing on the theaters already. Anyhow, I want to see them on the big screen.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Man of Tai Chi
Speaking of movies, I've been obsessed with Jumper yesterday.
It's my ideal set-up and one of my all-time favorites.
I was stuck right smack in the middle of the teeming crowd at the Santo Niño Basilica during Sinulog yesterday. All I wanted was to teleport.
It must be nice to just pop up somewhere else in the blink of an eye.
Being in that situation made me even feel more like David Becker, the most recent character I "played" in my one of my mental movie, where I had key scenes with Meryl Streep.
David is the hero of Dan Brown's Digital Fortress, which Judemensch lent me last Friday.
I finished it over the weekend and I'm going to return it later.
There was a scene where David got stuck in the crowd in Seville, Spain. They were all going to church, and he was pushed along like a boat on river by a giant wave.
The happiest difference was that the U.S. National Security Agency is not bugging me (pardon the pun) to steal the encryption algorithm pass-key for the world's only unbreakable code - and being pursued by a relentless Portuguese assassin.
Dan Brown's "Digital Fortress"
David Becker: Huggybear
Susan Fletcher: Meryl Streep
Trevor J. Strathmore: Liam Neeson
Midge Milken: Michelle Pfeiffer
Leland Fontaine: Denzel Washington
Greg Hale: Colin Farrel
Phil Chartrukian: Daniel Radcliffe
Hulohot: Antonio Banderas
Tokugen Numataka Ken Watanabe
Chad Brinkerhoff: John Cusack
Agent Smith: Sean Bean
Rocío Eva Granada: Salma Hayek
Pierre Cloucharde: Brian Dennehy
Megan: Anna Popplewell
Manuel: Edward James Olmos
Señor Roldan: Stuart Wilson
Seville Guardia Official: Jaime Fabregas
January 17, 2014
8:35 p.m, Friday
I got in touch with a close friend again. It's been over a year since we last saw each other when I left Manila. We promised to update each other more regularly.
This is my text message to him.
I'm doing fine, leading a very quiet life almost to the point of invisibility. I want it that way. I like my colleagues where I work. I go to the gym everyday after shift. I eat mostly fruits and vegetables.
Before shift and after gym, I get to watch cable on the pantry, with The Big Year this morning.
The Big Year
The movies I've seen for the past weeks that I really like are The Social Network, Across The Universe, The Green Hornet and the Filipino indie Lola with Anita Linda.
The Social Network
Across The Universe
The Green Hornet
During my rest-day weekends, I disappear from the world: I just stay at home, catch up some sleep and read. My recent articles have all been published. I just started Dan Brown's Digital Fortress. It was from a Mormon friend of mine who also lent me Brown's The Lost Symbol and The DaVinci Code. My next YouTube short film will be about the Sinulog this Sunday.
Step Up Sinulog 2014!
(A Short Film By Jonathan Aquino)
Then on Monday it's my birthday. I'll treat it like an ordinary day but it's still special.
I'm a special child.
"You are a child..."
"You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars,
you have a right to be here..."