Hello, Ever After (or, that time when rage writing happened)

That night when Tara was ranting about Love Lockdown in our Twitter chat and she and Mina birthed the idea of Hello, Ever AfterI didn’t think I’d be able to write anything. I haven’t finished anything in ages, just work articles here and there. Fiction has felt like pulling teeth in the past months, and not even the extra time I got back from my commute by being stuck at home made me write more. Blame it on the pandemic brain, maybe, because sometimes I would rather lie down and binge on Netflix or play games or scroll endlessly through social media until I fall asleep–who cares about productivity or creative pursuits when the world is in chaos, right?

But anger is a funny thing sometimes. That time we were talking about the web series, the National Telecommunications Commission had just issued a cease-and-desist order to ABS-CBN, the largest broadcast network in the country, and the first typhoon of the year hit the country a few days later. I was still reeling from that weekend of anger and frustration and fear that when Mina shared her script for Make Good Days, an idea hit me and I just started typing.

Like this, according to Gio:

But seriously, I kind of stopped working that day (don’t tell my boss haha) because it was a story I needed to write. Faith and Nico were easy picks because as development workers, I’m sure they’d also be working now to help communities during the pandemic. It made sense to set it right after the first typhoon of the year, and then Nico would obviously be neck-deep in working out school things. And obviously they’d both get frustrated because things are not ideal and how long could they hold on in saving the world when some people don’t seem to want it to be saved?

After a few hours of rage writing, it was done!

It felt so good to finish something. Never mind that the format was different and that Faith and Nico were the easiest ones to write about (and I still love Nico, haha it’s so hard to let go of him, okay?). I forgot how victorious it feels to finish something, as well as the vulnerability and fear that followed when you send it to someone so they could read it. And I know, I know–the only way to keep feeling this is to actually finish things, but that’s something else I need to unpack for another post.

More than feeling good about finishing something, writing this was cathartic. I remember being so angry at so many things that time: angry at the pandemic, at having to stay home and not do the things I could do, at how so many people are getting sick, at the incompetence and selfishness of people in power. I was angry at those who shut down the network, angry at how people were rejoicing at this and blindly believing their idols and angry at how helpless we all just seem to be right now. So actually writing it down, channelling all the frustrations and fear I felt that time helped to somehow clear my head, and gave me a sense of satisfaction that I had done something that hopefully mattered to someone.

Right after we shot the episode! With Tania Arpa (Hello Ever After director), Gio Gahol (Nico) and Jade Albert (Faith)

I called this episode No Giving Up because while I am angry at many things right now, I also don’t want to lose hope. The world may suck now but it’s not going to suck forever, so we can’t just quit fighting for what is right just because it seems hopeless.

Because I’m such a Catholic nerd, I have to put this in here: in the past two days, we celebrated the feast of St. Monica and St. Augustine, the mother and son saint tandem. St. Augustine is a Bishop and a Doctor of the Church who led a worldly, hedonistic life until his conversion and part of this is because St. Monica never tired of praying for her son. The homilies at the Manila Cathedral for the past days is all about patience and perseverance–about patiently praying and persevering for God to answer your prayers, and for trusting in hope that your prayers will be answered.

And that’s also the invitation for us now in this pandemic, in the middle of all the crappiness: to not give up. Because while sometimes what we’re doing–speaking out about injustice, talking to people to help them see what’s right, wearing a mask, staying at home, praying–seems so small that it’s pointless, it actually does make a difference. And maybe that small thing we’re doing is what’s going to turn everything around someday, right? What if what we are doing is the light that other people need so they could do the same and keep hoping, too? So we can’t just give up. 

*climbs off soapbox*

Anyway, the episode aired today! Coincidentally, this day last year was also the same day that the audio version of Keep the  Faith Chapter 1 was released, which was read by Jade Albert who played Faith today. What cool timing, yes? And Jade and Gio were awesome in this episode, but that’s not a surprise anymore. Gio is also on the book cover, so they really are  Faith and Nico, hihi.

You can watch the full episode below! And 7 other episodes for you to watch in the #romanceclass Youtube channel. Last episode of the first season (!!!) airs next week – make sure you subscribe to the #romanceclass Youtube to get notified when it’s out. 🙂

Hello, Ever After episode # 8: No Giving Up


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