Xeno Hemlock


Destiny is Made Known Silently

If I have to describe the last 365 days of my life, I'd call it BORING. 

Sure, I self-published Walden and Hyde (and Other Short Stories) last February, a milestone. Yes, I went to Hong Kong for the third time last October (but I want to go back to Disneyland for the 4th time). Finally, for the first time in my life I looked forward to my birthday. These three events would've been enough to not call my previous year boring. But at the end of the year, the sum of the parts still constituted to a boring whole. 

Let me breakdown my boring 2016 quick:

  1. After Walden and Hyde, I made lots of revisions to I Killed My Friends and It Thrilled Me.
  2. I spearheaded a social media campaign for the local branch of a political-economic union.
  3. I started my career in graphic designing.
  4. My blogging became less frequent towards the end of the year.
  5. I eventually sacrificed going to the gym during the last quarter. 

Work and "failures" were boring. Thus, my 2016 was boring.

This quote prodded all the feels when I first read it:

No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently.
— Agnes De Mille


Up to this day I still love this quote, enough to make it the title of this post.

Here's the truth of the matter. Underneath the calm water of boring lay a seabed of growth and greatness. Not all good things get posted on the Internet, you know. Now, dive with me:

  1. A draft of I Killed My Friends and It Thrilled Me made its way to my editor Stacy Jerger in California. She helped review and critique the story while it was still in an early stage. Most writers put a lot of their heart to their work. Letting someone expose the flaws of those works is akin to giving a stranger your heart to be ripped to pieces.
  2. A heavy responsibility got placed on my shoulders when I took the lead in the IC EUropa in U campaign. Taking on a project by the European Union of the Philippines put me in a lot of discomfort based on its size alone. After the campaign's success, I learned a great deal about working with other people. Plus, the size of the project taught me that I could handle things bigger than I thought.
  3. Suicide Quad fell into my lap adding a new dimension in my creative journey. My eye for art, long ignored, now has a greater avenue for execution and expression. Embracing that other form of art has, to my surprise, made better my writing. Creativity begets creativity.
  4. After my editor's guidance in strengthening my novel, I dove into the deep work. Time management didn't pose much of a threat. It was the energy management that did. Working on my novel's final draft drained my writing energy I found myself exhausted to blog. I had to make a choice: keep blogging despite the inevitable dip in quality or focus more on the novel. I chose the novel. If I didn't dedicate enough effort in writing the novel, I had no right to blog about it. 
  5. Getting nearer to the end of the final draft required more dedication and commitment from me. There's always a price to pay, some sacrifice along the way. My goal was to finish a novel and not to have a six-pack. 

I almost called 2016 my year of humility. As I immersed myself deeper into work, the craving for external validation died. It didn't matter what anyone thought of me, even if they deemed me anti-social. All that mattered was doing my work. Mission? Possible!

I also almost called 2016 my year of work. Writing, marketing, social media, graphic designing, and even software developing, all work!

In the end, I went for my first choice, the one that my heart picked in the first draft.

Like De Mille said above, we make the most important decisions of our lives in silence. No fanfare. No celebration. No spotlight. No announcer. No Instagram post.

We often romanticize events that led to somebody's success, forgetting it's always been about their choices. After all, it's more fun looking at the glitter of the reward. It's feels better attributing success to pain and tears. Moments of choosing are often boring. 

But it has always been about our choices. Small things compound then lead to greater endings.

2016: Choices.


I Killed My Friends and It Thrilled Me


Herbert Novelli lives an ordinary life. Breakfast. Work. Lunch. Work. Gym. Dinner. Sleep. Plus the occasional get together with his long-time friends who entered adulthood together with him in Cinnabar City.

An unannounced visit to his apartment one ordinary night brings his ex-girlfriend Gina Watson. After leaving him with a vague letter and a broken heart in their old home town Verona, Gina’s unexpected appearance is the last thing Herbert expects to happen.

Gina hands Herbert an invitation to her wedding with another man as a strange peace offering. Herbert accepts it, a show of his willingness to bury the hatchet.

But Death has a funny way of doing his job in the city. Sometimes he makes a grand fanfare of his arrival. Other times, he comes unannounced with a wedding invitation on hand.