15 October 2010

What I've Learned 006: Inevitably, There's One Item You Forget.

Continuing an ongoing series of creative writing exercises inspired by Esquire's "What I've Learned" articles. This time, I used an interview with Jon Favreau. The first few words of each paragraph of the feature (in italics below) serve as prompts for my own answers.

Cabo in sepia
  • You don't want to upset the delicate balance of ketchup, mustard and relish when it comes to the perfect blend of basic hotdog condiments. The flavor should be equal parts tangy and sweet. Actually, throw some onions and a slice of jalapeno or two and I'm good. What am I talking about -- I don't even eat hotdogs anymore. But I was at Costco recently and walked by the "cafeteria" and suddenly I was salivating. Oh well.

  • I've always avoided direct confrontation, especially when I knew there'd be a good probability of hurt feelings or arguments. In retrospect I should've addressed the issues as they came up. Now for the most part I avoid bottling things up. Turns out that confrontation can be a healthy thing, provided all sides remain civil. My blood pressure thanks me.

  • I don't envy people who live on the beach. Of course, it'd be nice to be able to walk out right onto the sand whenever you want and cultivate a perpetual tan, but I've always held fond memories of beach-going as An Event. I kinda don't want to let those go.

  • This is just a memory, but the first time I ever heard the word "shit" was when we watched Ghostbusters in a giant air-conditioned mall theater in Manila. I was eight years old and distinctly remember looking around to see if anyone cared that I'd been exposed to such vulgarity. Of course, no one did.

  • You have to create at least a daily goal for yourself, even if you're not the type of person to view life in the longer term. I no longer enjoy glancing back at the end of a day and realize that I hadn't really done anything productive. Even when I'm on vacation.

  • I don't have to look at myself in the mirror to know that I need to do better. But it helps.

  • My grandfather had a green thumb. He could grow damn near anything in the small garden in my mom's childhood home. According to her, I've inherited his talent. At any rate, the thrive:wither ratio of my houseplants has been pretty good so she must be onto something.

  • I had a writing block this year. I dunno, I must be in some kind of creative rut. As a result I've been reading more. I love reading but I really need to pick up that pen again.

  • Kids don't want to be told what to do a hundred percent of the time, which is fine with me. I'll let them make their own mistakes through their own discoveries. One of my jobs as a father is obviously to be a consistent guide. I've gotten advice from the other parents in my family, but I know in the end I have to make the decisions that will ultimately matter.

  • You get a thousand things from the grocery store while you're there, but inevitably there's one item you forget. You usually remember that item when you've just stepped back into the house. Note to self: lists are your friends.

  • I don't get our current American political process. Maybe it's because I've immersed myself too deeply into the punditry that accompanies it, but it's become more a source of frustration than information. I'm anxious to see what next month's elections will bring. Good news, I hope.

  • Storytelling relies on timing as much as a good plot. When I construct verses with story lines, I have to keep in mind pacing as well as the action. Given the inherent constraints of storytelling in musical form, this has always been a fun challenge.

  • Why do people like Star Wars? I really have no idea but Slave Leia probably has something to do with it.

  • Sex onscreen? As long as it's not in slow motion or soft focus. Let's leave those effects in movies on pay channels from the Reagan era.

  • We didn't have a working water heater back in my childhood home in the Philippines. It never mattered that it was 95 degrees out -- how the hell did the water always seem ice cold? Needless to say I didn't linger in the shower.

  • As you age, birthdays don't necessarily become less fun, but it takes less and less for me to say "Hey, that was a nice celebration." Even if it's just a simple dinner at home.

  • I haven't mastered going to bed at a reasonable hour. You'd think I could do that by now. But no.

  • Living to a hundred? The more I think about it the less appealing it is, 'cause inside I feel like I should be in my early twenties. Pair that feeling with a geriatric body in five decades and there's bound to be some disconnect. Not saying I'm not looking forward to seeing what the world will be like though. That's gonna be cool as hell.

  • When it's my time I want a big freakin' party. All I ask is that my family plays some music that I love. That's gonna be funny, hearing Mobb Deep at a wake.

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