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Reading Activity # 01

The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata

By Gina Apostol

It was a bolt a thunder bolt. A rain of bricks, a lightning zap. A pummeling of

mountains, a heaving violent storm at sea a whiplash. A typhoon. An
earthquake. The end of the world. And I was in ruins. It struck me dumb. It
changed my life and the world was new when I was done. And when I raised
myself from bed two days later, I thought: Its only a novel. If I ever met him, what
would my life be? I lay back in bed. But what a novel! And I cursed him, the writer
what was his name for doing what I hadnt done, for putting my worlds into
words before I even had the sense to know what the world was. That was his
triumph hed laid out a trail, and all we had to do is follow his wake. Even then,
I already felt the bitter envy, the acid retch of a latecomer artist, the one who
will always be under the influence, by mere chronology always slightly suspect,
a borrower, never lender be. After him, all Filipinos are tardy ingrates. What is
the definition of art? Art is reproach to those who receive it. That was his curse
upon all of us. I was weak, as if drugged. I realized: I hadnt eaten in two days.
Then I got out of bed and boiled barako for me.

Later it was all the rage in the coffee shops, in the bazaars of Binondo. People
did not even hide it crowds of men, and not just students, not just boys, some
women even, with their violent fans gesticulating in public, throwing up their
hands, putting up fists in debate. Put your knuckle where your mouth is. We were
loud, obstreperous, and heedless. We were literary critics. We were
cantankerous: rude raving. And no matter which side you were, with the crown
or with the infidels, Spain or Spolarium, all of us, each one, seemed revitalized
by spleen, hatched by the woods of long, venomous silence. And yes, suddenly
the world opened up to me, after the novel, to which before I had been blind.
Still I rushed into other debates, for instance with Benigno and Agapito, who had
now moved into my rooms. Remembering Father Gaspars cryptic injunction
- throw it away to someone else, so that in this manner the book traveled
rapidly in those dark days of its printing, now so nostalgically glorious, though
then I had no clue that these were historic acts, the act of reading, or that the
book would be such a collectors item, or otherwise I would have wrapped it in
parchment and sealed it for the highest bidder, what the hell, I only knew holding
the book could very likely constitute a glorious crime in short, I lent it to