We bid farewell to the kind of year that we thought this generation would never experience. Epidemics and pandemics are the stuff of the history books, or so we believed. I lived through several outbreaks myself, as a child, in my province — tuberculosis, malaria, cholera, dengue… Each time, the country was thrown into turmoil, because we were never prepared. No matter how much machismo we inject into the narrative of being a Filipino, in the end, we only grasp at the invisible straws of resiliency and pray to our gods for help. Help is almost never forthcoming.
This year started off alright — we published several titles, and I was able to get two books off my hard drive and into the press. Internetito and Field Trip are precious remnants of a bygone time. We now live in the new normal, and it is this societal malaise and government incompetence that is preventing us all from going back to the lives we knew before the virus took over our lives.
But we didn’t stop.
To hell with that.
I will probably die if I stopped moving. In July 2020 we launched Revolt Magazine and set to work on a most ambitious project — to establish a rolling archive and publication of new writings in the country. We built the site from the sweat off our brows, and from our own pockets. When Revolt Magazine was finally up and running, we turned to another project — a youth-led magazine. Vox Populi PH came into being. The group and the digital media arms are still evolving, and we are still largely in infancy, but we have clocked 15,000 reading minutes as of this writing, and we only began work on the central publication at the end of November.
We owe all this success to an amazing group of young writers and thinkers who don’t make excuses with their productivity. No pandemic or astrological sign gets in the way of their writing and expression. I know it’s considered hip to relegate responsibility to what year you were born, but the reality is it’s all on you — as a writer, creator and cultural worker. No imaginary astrological orientation should stop you — unless of course, it’s something that you routinely do for kicks.
I remain hopeful, and eager for what lies ahead. For me, writing has always been a form of combat. Writing can be more than just fanciful imagining or well-wishing. However, the decision to transform writing and the craft into something worth everyone’s time is an ongoing effort, one that one must commit to not just with one’s time, but one’s entire existence — heart, body and soul. If one would believe that an oppressive Judaic God can spin the world on its axis by his will, then perhaps we can believe that a sentient creature of flesh and bones can learn how to overcome primal instincts to become more than what nature intended this being to be, which was to be simply a bipedal primate who knows how to use tools.
2021 is merely a blimp in the larger scheme of things. The compression of time-space is occurring within the various landscapes of human creation and imagination. And more than just wishing for a better New Year, perhaps it’s time for all creators, cultural workers, artists and writers to start planning ahead. The enemies have been upon us for centuries, and they’re close to burning all the villages.
Are you guys ready?
We have a revolution to win, after all.
Happy new year to everyone!