Other than writing subjects and ideas that possess me? I’d say, the experience of the theatre, which I attend a lot in L.A., and movies, which I watch a lot on the big screen and on DVD. I still enjoy sex, but it’s not really number one on my list. It never was. If at all, I enjoyed flirting more than the actual sex. But I’m married now, so the flirting is all just play. I like writing for an audience, so I’m also very visible online, especially on Facebook. I think the diva in me is still excited by the Facebook ‘likes.’ In this world drowning in misery and negativity, who can blame me if I seek and bask on constant affirmation? Some people need coffee, some people need compulsive sex, I just need people to like me, is that such a crime? But don’t get me wrong. I have a healthy understanding of myself. I will not die if people don’t like me, but if they do, it’s like having diamond earrings and a pearl necklace.
Why is being liked so important to you?
Uhmm, because I am not a hypocrite? Let’s see. I have my basic needs covered. I can afford food, shelter, and clothing. I have a job and family security. I have sex and intimacy. I have confidence and achievement. What else can a person want? I know that being liked is not a priority in others because they can hardly eat. For example, the petty thieves, well, they don’t need to be liked because their bigger need is to survive. The corrupt politicians, they are corrupt because they need financial and job security. I’m way above these people. In the hierarchy of needs, what motivates me is self-actualization. If I just like to be liked, I can pander to your needs and write only what you want to hear, or read. But I like to be liked, and adored, for my philosophy and achievements. I like to influence people positively. It’s not like I’m going to stop doing that just because three people do not agree with me.
Tell us more about your desire to “influence people positively.”
I think that it is naïve for most people to think that I’m only writing in the newspaper to aggrandize and promote myself. I mean, what’s the point? I’m not even living among you in the Philippines! Kikinyodalag! But, if you expand your thoughts beyond your sheer envy and jealousy of my media clout, then perhaps you will see that I am using my star power to effect society change. I write about my wretchedness so you can identify with me and get in touch with your fallen nature. I self-congratulatorily write about my successes so that you can join me celebrate not mine, but your possibilities. I write about my travails, even if I know that most readers are turned off by victimizations, because you need to see that there is hope. That change and transformation is possible. That self-reinvention and self-actualization is achievable. Do you think I enjoy harping on the injustices done to me when I am better off remembering only my triumphs? Angsudnyobahu! I’m doing it for you, idiots! So really, only the truly ungrateful get tired of liking me!
Have you any proofs that you have influenced people positively?
Now, that question provokes me to boast. I will not dignify that with a specific answer even if I am tempted to sing of my glorious and saintly deeds. But this much I will tell you: If I did not think that I helped people with my writing in the last fifteen years, I would have given up already. If I think that there was no need to help Hiligaynon literature and Ilonggo arts, I would not have bankrolled the creation of The Peter Solis Nery Foundation. If I did not think that people were unhappy, I wouldn’t have blogged about happiness. If I did not have faith in my positive influence on people, I would have silently enjoyed my life as an immigrant in the USA. So, why do I even care about your miserable lot in this part of the world? Because I receive notes and messages, letters and personal thanks for my unique role in preserving our Hiligaynon literature and Ilonggo art, the joy and inspiration that I bring to our youth, and the comfort and understanding that I extend to the rest. I bet you haven’t worked in a suicide hotline as I did. So, simhutinyoutotko!
What is The Peter Solis Nery Foundation?
It’s a promise delivered. It’s my way of giving back to the community. The official name of the foundation is The Peter Solis Nery Foundation for Hiligaynon Literature and the Arts, Inc. Its purpose is to promote, preserve and propagate Hiligaynon literature, and Filipino art and culture, through research, publications, productions, education and dissemination in such various forms and means as, but not limited to: workshops, lectures, symposia, theatre, dance, film, fashion, music, photography, animation, digital imaging, visual arts, performance, literary and cultural competitions, and online presence. It was founded on September 6, 2012 and was incorporated by the Philippine Securities and Exchange Commission on November 5, 2012.