On the Downsides of Hibernating


There are places that are dead spots for us—at least for those of us who regularly exercise some form of creativity, whether of the academic, literary, musical or visual variety. There are locations where it’s impossible to tune in to whatever frequency it is that facilitates the creative act. It’s often thought that the mark of a dedicated artist is that she can coerce the Muse at will. In my experience, dedication simply means having the courage to substitute earnestness for inspiration.

I say this because I’ve been in a dead spot for the last few days—the dead spot, in question, being my home, Cebu.

And I say this without rancor, regret or resentment, but simply as the corollary of another fact, which is that Cebu has been, and continues to be the one place in the world where I can literally hibernate. I’ve spoken about this somewhat in older posts, and I’ll say it again now: Cebu is my haven of irresponsibility, my sanctuary, the city I visit and revisit to rest, regenerate and recuperate. And what this has looked like, for the most part, and more so in recent years, is shutting myself up in my house, watching old (and not so old) movies, reading (or rereading) not so old books—and indulging in guilty pleasures (mostly Snicker bars and tortilla chips) in the process.

And what this has meant, in turn, is struggling with any kind of productive activity that I associate with my life away from Cebu—which, frankly speaking, is the majority of it. Commitments are fulfilled with enormous lethargy; errands with colossal difficulty. It’s almost impossible to remember what urgency feels like; impossible to understand why anything should even be urgent at all. Mornings shade off imperceptibly into afternoons which shade off imperceptibly into evenings which lighten up imperceptibly into mornings, and the most pressing (and only constant) thing in the horizon is the complex and momentous decision of what to eat.

And all this has certainly had an impact on my writing—what of it I’ve actually managed to produce. What it simply means, in turn, is that perhaps I should consider giving myself an occasional break from writing. Otherwise, it’s all a downhill earnestness from here.

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