Paul’s creepy obsession with Bach’s ‘Kyrie eleison’

In my story ‘God at last,’ from the ‘Weirdica’ collection, C.Q. Daq is hounded by his unquenchable passion for the ‘Kyrie eleison’ from Bach’s B minor mass, BWV 232. The way he handles such an ordeal has great implications on the future of music and civilization.

There is no other piece I could have written about with such hyperbole and exaggeration without sounding insincere. Music has played such a big role in my life, and a few years ago, at age 32, I had figured Mozart was the pinnacle of art (Symphonies 38, 39, and operas ‘The magic flute’ and ‘Don Giovanni’). Little did I know that the ‘Kyrie’ – which I had heard many times but never really listened to, except maybe in the form it took in Symphony X’s ‘Smoke and mirrors’ – would be such a significant part of my life the closer I reached to Mozart’s dying age.

Eight months ago, I began learning the bass line from the ‘Kyrie,’ and it soon became the most rewarding experience I had learning any music. And then this October, I began tinkering with the main theme on guitar, after having been thrilled seeing Andras Schiff playing it on the piano. I wasn’t really thinking of learning the entire thing. If I was, I probably wouldn’t have gone so far with it. In hindsight, it helped to not know if it was even possible.

By a week later, I had a general idea of how to play the entire thing, made so much easier by my prior knowledge of the bass line. Another two weeks and I felt confident enough to put on YouTube a very nervous rendition.

My justification for putting online an imperfect take that lacks soul and conviction is that I don’t consider myself a guitarist who does classical anyway. My priority was providing the world with the first guitar transcription of such an essential piece. Someday, when its fits me like an old glove, I’ll upload a better, more worthy version.

I’m also featuring it on Spotify. Because it’s on audio, I was able to retouch it a good deal, using 18 minutes worth of takes for the 10-minute piece.

It feels like one of my biggest accomplishments.

‘God at last,’ my story in homage to the ‘Kyrie eleison,’ can be found in ‘Be kind to puns: 23 tales of Weirdica.’

Don’t use Facebook ads unless you know what you’re doing

I sure don’t.

Since publishing my books a couple Excited facebook girlof months ago, I’ve been racking my brains to find an appreciative readership. Thanks to error after irrevocable error, I’ve been learning what not to do in the future. One of these things is throwing money at Facebook.

I should have known better. Years ago, I’d spent on Facebook ads in order to draw people to my music site, but all I was left with was a bunch of Likes of photos I’d uploaded. Almost zero redirects or listens/views.

In 2016, I figured Facebook algorithms or whatever you call them had improved, and that it was easier to reach an intended demographic. But alas, as much as I tried to narrow down the people who would see the posts I paid to promote, the effort was for naught.

If you’re reading this as a follower of the Paul’s Purpose Facebook page, you’re probably one of those bozos who Likes practically everything that passes your News Feed, and the friends you’ve made are quite annoyed with the habit. Probably.

Now if you did enjoy the stories (“What stories? He writes stories?”) or my music even, then you’re one of very few individuals, and I thank you. As much of a cash drain my ad campaigns have been so far, I’m glad to have found a couple of people interested in my crap, and who could probably find it a little funny that I’m going off on people who Liked my Facebook page for whatever reason.

The Philippines as a story setting

Stephen King has Maine. Dean Koontz has California. Writers tend to favor locations and cultures they’re familiar with, even if they mask this by invented names. For me, I have the Philippines. My stories are usually set in the Manila region, which makes it easy to visualize the goings-on of my plots, and I hope this makes the events clearer to the reader.

The Philippines is a strange mix of East and West, in terms of language, values, diets, and many other things. Most Filipinos have a grasp of English, which may explain why so many Filipinos are capable of working abroad in whatever capacity.

I can imagine that for foreigners, there is a uniqueness to the Philippine experience, both positive and negative. To me, it’s simply home. I have many frustrations about the way people think, and this often makes me feel like an alien. But then, I have a lot in common that I take for granted, most especially the language. I still wouldn’t know how to translate the word ‘naman’ in a way that justifies its meaning in Filipinos’ minds. When talking to people from elsewhere, I have to hold my tongue in order not to add ‘naman’ at the end of every other sentence.

And the curses. ‘Fuck’ and ‘shit’ just don’t compare.

While it’s not my intention to do so, I do hope that readers from other countries do appreciate the local flavor I inject into my stories.

My story ‘God and Milia’ is a good example of my use of Filipino expressions. The four-parter is found in Dumbest President Ever: 23 tales of Politica (Amazon link).