Apparently, the only time my work merits notice is if it wins contests and makes the news somehow, somewhere. Then it's back into the bowels of obscurity until I can win another one: par for the course. But knowing this, I still can't help but feel a little... bitter.
Nobody really spends his writing time by primarily fine-tuning poetry for contests-- at least nobody should be. But you know exactly how much of yourself was immolated to satisfy the inner muse: every rejection, every sleepless hour, every misallocated second. It's only natural that you'd want an acknowledgment of that sacrifice; only natural that what little acknowledgment there is feels woefully inadequate.
Yes, I've been lucky. I have the freedom to rant and make an ass of myself on the world wide web. I've won a few local contests and made girls swoon (except the one I wanted!) and mothers weep. I've been noticed by a few literary giants-- there's what amounts to a footnote in an online catalogue of Philippine Contemporary Poetry-- and published in at least one book that is treated lightly in the 'States and read by absolutely nobody in the Philippines, barring relatives and friends. People who exploit me for my writing skills admit to my being "good" --which is why I keep getting exploited (I'm a sucker for real praise). I'd have to admit, there are few in this country who can say even that much of themselves, and they're heavily concentrated in even fewer places-- Manila, Makati, Bacolod, Cebu.
Where is my big payoff? When do I luck out? When do I stop being the artist surfing on a vector asymptotic to the axis of "success?"
One day, the inner sage tells me. I just hope I'm still around to properly enjoy it when it actually happens. In the meantime, you'll all forgive me if I don't hold my breath.
C'est la vie.