Influences (or Why I Write the Way I Do)

Natalie Goldberg (free-flowing writing)
Clarissa Pinkola Estes (wild woman writing)
Jane Hutchison (direct-to-the-point writing)
Ernest Hemingway (simple words writing)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Ilusyon

parang nagbabadya umiiyak ang langit
traffic masikip magitgit
wari'y sumisigaw
vitti, don't work today

halos maluwa mata ko
seeing you
...and her
same old beginning
nakikinita ko na ending
ismid ang greeting ko sayo

count me out lad
di nako padadala
while your eyes seek understanding
i seek release, pwede ba?

di bale'ng mag-close
ang pwerta
di naman yan ang habol ko
pakikipagsapalaran
di din ang hanap
pangmatagalan
for the long haul
my heart seeks fulfilling

so itigil na kabaliwan
hanggang hi hello na lang tayo

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Fort Vitti

My dream for naga is to build a library cum coffee shop which would also hold my office upstairs. I'll call the library 'vitti's collections' to hold my wide array of books now just gathering dust. This is where i'll put yaman's and ira's books as well for children to enjoy it too. The concept is free for all for the library, and the coffee shop, yumi's, to be income generating. Here i plan to hold poetry readings, book readings for kids, and writing practices. I imagine the place made of wood, with ceiling fans and creaking stairs, the smell of coffee in the air. I would like children and teenagers to read here especially street children. I imagine it more with the satisfaction of seeing the place full in the afternoon with the young and in the morning by elderly people reading newspapers after hearing mass. The imagination of one who yearns to retire and die blissfully in naga. A dream to save and learn for. Pag iisipan ng mabuti. Paghahandaan. See you there in the future.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Love Larger than Life

when she died, he never played the violin again. in more than 30 years, the music of his soul died along with hers. such is the story of lolo geminiano and lola anatalia, my mom's parents. how much could we not recover from a loss of a loved one?

i am a veteran of failed relationships but i have not gone to that point yet, of giving up. but i pledge not to be wrong again. i pledge not to be fooled by soft words and fake chivalry. i pledge to know why i am loved and not accept that love has no reason at all. it's really quite grand to know that you've really met the man. just don't get fooled. one mistake i repeat over and over again is treating every man i love as the one. i've had many opportunities to leave but can't because of hanging on a foolish dream. you will know the tell tale signs. just listen to your heart.

for single women out there. be wary too. i have this theory that women are bound to have one fatal love. one that spells the death of dreams, the death of soul. don't fall into his trap too easily. know when it is time to go away. enforce your limits. mark your territory. even if it takes you to be crazy. magwala ka.

so some of us are destined to know the one. the one who will snuff our lives along with theirs. but in a noble kind of way. like lolo geminiano. the love of lola anatalia supercedes and exceeds his love of music. perhaps the violin is just an instrument. she is his music.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Threads

i could not write any further than the information available. i am just trying to stay on because every day, i try to stay on target. now, i am left with only a few paragraphs to write, not more than five but it seems endless. endless. i just hope i could say tireless. after writing for two weeks straight, even on sundays, my battery's nearly empty. adele advised that i stop, even for 1 day. but even 1 day, i think i could not afford to lose. i am looking forward to the coming weekend, when i could rule my time once more and just let it past without me lamenting. so ok one more stand. one more night i'll take. one more night away from tucking yaman in. may i survive beautifully.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Rise Above It

when i was in high school i suffered from extreme lack of confidence. i looked confident but inside, i was rotting. i had problems with my father because at that time, he had a lot of frustrations with work and as with younger members of the family, he vented his frustrations on me. there was never a week that my father did not shout at me or rather, call my name without shouting. i was called all things 'ta..a', 'b..a', 'low i.q.' and the worst of all, 's....d'. i'm not saying this for anyone to hate my dad. i've made peace with him even while he was still alive.

it happened a few days before graduation. in a quarrel with sister yumi, i shouted to every one who can hear how i insignificant i feel in being the eldest and the most hated by my father. i shouted it loud and clear for my mom to hear. she was my only hope. one night after, my dad went up to my bed. he thought i was sleeping. from my back, he wrapped my arms around me and muttered 'sorry'. i was indeed sleeping but i was awakened by his voice. even now, everytime i remember this tender moment, i am close to tears. he knew and i knew. i love him too much to not forgive.

with this experience, i understood how humans could be held vulnerable by their own ambitions and their pride. i understood then why mentoring is so important. why 'building-up' is an essential ingredient to living. i understood that my father was never appreciated as an intelligent child while he was growing. he had no mentors to learn kindness from. his role model was the head of 'revlon' who practiced leadership with a stick and tormented his staff to the point that one of his secretaries, even while she had resigned, suffered from nightmares every day and woke up screaming every morning in her waking life outside of revlon. with this experience, i knew the most basic thing; that i could never get anything good from people by shouting and coercing. that kindness still paves the way to the Light. yaman has gotten my share of anger but for what i've been through with my dad, i get restrained. i know yaman has to be strong. but not this way. i could never make her go through the same experience.

that's why i'm sorry because when i was a CAT officer in highschool, i imbibed the same tendencies as my dad. i would kick on rifle butts and send them flailing through the air, a taunting smile at my face as i look down at my cadets. some of my classmates i have hurt with this behavior. i am surprised and quite ashamed that until now, some of my batchmates still hated me for what i have done. i have hurt them so much.

we all have our tormentors and we must be very careful. because the threat is not only on our self-esteem but on our sense of self as well. see how i've matched evil with my own version of evil. on enduring it, my tendency then was to normalize the situation and apply this to people within my control. this is my own experience with 'violence' that was not at all physical. it was mental, psychological but equally hurtful. equally hurting.

i still cry everytime i recall my highschool days with my dad. i think everyone of us has this dark place in our hearts that though healed is still sensitive. one memory of it and we go back to its shell and live out the pain. sometimes it just comes in an instant. for me, it's triggered everytime i see children cry. i was in highschool and still felt like a little child. all alone in the world of books which were my only comfort. all alone as i wrestle with the thought am i really this low as perceived by my dad?

the answer and the release will come much later, in UP. that's why as UP is the bastion of academic freedom, so it is a testament to my own personal freedom. as the Oblation stretched out its arms to the world, so did I surrender and recovered the right to be me.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

What do I like about Me?

Let me count as far as i can go...

1. Being resilient through the storms
2. Laughing as loud as ever
3. Surviving my dad's temper and consciously avoiding my tendencies, as much as i can, every day
4. Having had the chance to study and live by myself in UPLB where i was able to reclaim who i am
5. Discovering and asserting my real worth not from the eyes of my dad or anyone else's
6. Allowing myself to be a mother and realizing how much of God's blessing I would have missed if not
7. Having a strong well-knit family, with kinks at the side, but filled with love for one another nonetheless
8. Having more than one bestfriend
9. Using my hardheadedness and stubbornness to fuel my ambitions
10. Having been blessed by mentors whose lives taught me to value money but to not let it rule me
11. Ruling my weight now and losing it without starving
12. My job which lets me research, read and write in my own direction
13. Knowing my God and my conscience clearly
14. Not having inhaled any cigarette ever
15. Knowing that I don't need to stop on anyone's toes to go further
16. Survived being left by a lover at the time i was carrying his child
17. Simple and content with costless ways of enjoying myself
18. Know feng shui, numerology and tarot reading
19. Having known Mr. Dionisio Nora, numerologist extraordinaire
20. I never let 'What people say' define my limits
21. I can live without a cellphone, a TV, or even a ref
22. Ako ay 'barako' and could endure any condition there is
23. Having all-natural and a good set of teeth at 38
24. Proud of my age and would not lie about it
25. I can write a hundred more reasons why I like me

This is my take on Facebook's 25 Random Things About Me. Why can't we write about how much we like ourselves? We may not be able to pat ourselves in the back but we can make ourselves happy by patting our hearts and our spirits with gratitude everyday. Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and discovered that you are actually the one inside the body that's holding you in? Try it, it's so fascinating. Hope you find this affirmation exercise fascinating too.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Kalembang

See what your smile can do?
Natunaw ang puso ko
Ilang linggong dinadaanan lang
Ngayon,
Goodbye wave iniwan mo

It’s funny nakakahiya
Surprising but it’s true
Ang gurang na puso’y
Kinikilig
Parang teen-ager
Nagba-blush pa kamo
Hay kurot sa puso’t
Ulo mauntog na sana
At wag nang umasa

Ewan
Sa susunod kaya
Tanungin mo na
Ang aking pangalan?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Stop!

10 table correctiöns and 10 figure adjustments. From 9am-5pm, discussing numbers and checking, rechecking data. By 5pm, my back was groaning. Oh God, i'm reaching my limit just now at the homestretch. 9pm forgotten, a call at last at 5pm. I have to break so i won't.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Irony in a Suit

i'm just counting days before i leave this grand workplace. it is, really. but in ways i see differently. finding yourself in a gene pool of best minds (daw) can be a bit overwhelming although the honeymoon, for me, was over in my first afternoon here. it's like any other office with its politics and its culture and its practice. i am in a unique gene pool but the pool is mixed and some of us here survive by just posturing to be well, unique than others. it is a workplace where it is threatening to be good at what you do. to be a fast writer and a fast thinker at that. deadlines are like teacher's deadlines where everyone aspires to beat you to the stick; and where the work that's best for you gets frowned at. not because it's bad but because, it's too good. it can't possibly be yours too. hahatakin ka pababa. this place is the proverbial can of crabs grabbing the one on the top down to the pile. only, we are not just one nationality here but a melting pot. so it's not fair to say na ang ugaling talangka ay ugaling pilipino. ugali ito ng buong mundo. what was that line again in 'terminator 2'? we all have the capacity to destroy ourselves.

what makes this place grand is it puts you face to face with your ugly threatening side. so will you mentor? will you support? will you hold each other up instead? interestingly, there appears to be no mentoring system here. interestingly, people who i speak with here had previous 'mentors' but they have gone their separate ways and their 'mentors' have gone on to higher positions but not in their field of work. interestingly, there appears to be no clear direct path to directorship that fits in with one's specialization. someone i know had his mentor in evaluation leave for a post as director in would you believe? IT?! so this is how bad competition gets. it is insidious and along the line, eats out drive, passion, and the earnestness to inspire. the faces i see here are not happy faces.

i will leave knowing the difference and the knowledge that someday i will make a choice. to eat or be eaten. to be part of the system or stand a part from it at a cost. or i could opt to reach my hand out but at a distance. to enter its halls in the day with my heart shut and leave at night to breathe the air of my dreams. perhaps this is the reason why 'development' does not prosper as advocated by this institution. because inside there is none. because the tendency is to forget that 'development' is a building-up and not a pulling-down.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Subok

nangungusap sa tingin
sino, ano, paano't kailan
sa pag-iwas talo
naghahanap ng tiempo
sa pagkukunwari dinadaan
tanong ng puso
sana may kabuluhan ang dahilan
sana di sayang ang panahon
at may panahon pa
sana di sayang ang pangarap
at pangarap matupad na
sana di sayang ang paghintay
at paghintay matapos na
sana di lang pag-ibig
kundi pagmamahal na

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Cynic's Advice

2008 has been quite a testy year, with a little of its quirks carried over still this 2009. i am a believer of feng shui, numerology and the tarot. yet, the lessons i learned over these 2 years tends to defy explanation from them. as if, the world - real, hard, and undoubtedly material, pushed its weight upon me. parang dinaganan ako as if to signify that it exists. while my mind meditates so should my feet ground itself to this brown beaten earth. the painful lessons i gathered could be of use to you, someday.

1. do not just trust. i am sucker for trust. but it seems, i get sucked right out by not being discerning. not discerning the backtabbing husband of a student; the hypocrisy of a tarot guru; the insincerity of a millionaire client; the manipulation of an ex-boss. one should always, always be careful. totoo pala yun, mas nakakatakot ang tao kaysa sa multo. walk with care.

2. the best form of money is one you can count with your hands and liquid. which goes only to mean that only 20% max of your funds should be kept in insurance and investments. the rest in deposits or stored in between the sheets.

3. the best value in friendship is trust, not humor. the friend i laughed much with is now my ex-friend, many years wasted. i learned the hard way that in the corrupt world of consulting, the bestfriend you're having buffet with today can be the traitor stabbing you in the back tomorrow.

4. protect your back always when working in consulting. it is good to be a team player but look out for your own. and that covers outputs, resources, pondo, diskarte. have your own. huwag aasa sa iba even those who swear na di ka nila pababayaan. live the world as if no one cares so you'll take better care of your self.

5. it pays to have a business other than regular or contractual employment. employers cannot be trusted 100%. for them, you are only as good as your last submittal. your last paycheck. so don't trust them with your future. work as if it is just one of your worlds that can be left, anytime.

6. it is time to leave consulting once your values are already being threatened or you're getting sucked slowly by the 'system' (see #3). control it while you still can. leave it as soon as you can.

7. you'll get what you do not deserve, but persevere still. no eye for an eye. sometimes it just pays to just walk away and scan new horizons. the lick 'em and join 'em is tantamount to suicide of the soul.

8. do not stop developing yourself and don't lose focus. do not be afraid of ambition but take very good care of your dreams.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Paris's BFF

there is one for singing sensations and hidden talents in the runway, in cooking. recently, star world is featuring a new one for dogs. but one for bestfriends?!!! Oh God, i think reality shows have gone over the top. just today, in cable, i saw Paris's search for her BFF. reminds me how kris aquino, while she was still struggling for attention, struggled to be gretchen barretto's bestfriend (singing 'little star' to her in eat bulaga sometime in the 1990s). i believe that soulmates could click in an instant. but bestfriends, no. bestfriends cannot even be bought. one does not aspire best-friendship because of the possible perks that could go with it. to even talk about perks, about getting something back from your bestfriend is, OBSCENE. so now i have proof that Paris Hilton is one of the loneliest and most unfortunate little rich girls in the world. how i pity this woman and how crass the network that supports this reality show.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Beauty and the Beast: An Allegory

Beauty and the beast. Seeing past the monster. Taking time to love. For what wasn't to be there, finally. The ugly and the incomplete in perfect love. Shadows and wolves prevailed over. Love arising from knowing and just believing. In the end, love salvages life back. Gone past the enchantment. In the end, after all, love is a dance.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bleeding and Release

to write is to bleed according to hemingway. To hemingway this a toll but to valenzuela it could be a good thing. I bled my heart out yesterday in a letter. I didn't get to send the letter, but the release was a release. I literally used my language, vitti-style - diretso, masakit. I cried while writing the email and in every tear, the blood of my writing gushed. It was at 9am. Saving the email in draft, i took a deep breath. A long deep one then gathered my papers. I may not have wholly released my anger but i felt different. Better. Freed from thoughts and voices once stored deep deep down. Now expressed in capitals and exclamation points. Looking at it in print, i felt distanced from the angry me. I got somewhere. I really got somewhere.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Ang Donut Dito (at Chakoy Noon)

where i work, coffee service is available in the morning and in the afternoon. today, louie (our thoughtful and courteous server) has a special delight. well, for me it was special. it was one donut, wrapped in crispy plastic. ordinary as it looks, it's yummy because of the buttery smell of the bun and the sweetness of sugar rained over both sides. but for me, what is special about it is the memory of one childhood treat in naga now no more tasted nor heard. it reminds me of 'chakoy'. a similar tasting bun but longer. street hawkers, usually women and young boys, carry them in big baskets over their heads, screaming 'TSA-KOOOOOOOYYYYYYYYYY!'. i was in high school i think, the late 80s, when i last heard that cry. so just imagine louie's face when i suddenly blurted out, 'hmmm, chakoy!', with my first bite of one ordinary donut. he must be thinking, these people here are nuts...especially this one.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Baa Baa Black Sheep

baa baa black sheep
have you any woes?
yes sir, yes sir
my heart's full

one for ex-master
and one for ex-friend
one for a woman
who thinks she's a saint

baa baa black sheep
what are you to do?
blog write blog write
until i bleed in full

one for the future
and one to regain
peace that begins
from deep within

not for me to judge
not me to do
because reckoning
shall unfold
as it ever should

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

In Three Minutes

white clovers turn purple
goosebumps in the rain
mockingbirds whistle
flowers feel pain

the sword samurais raise
over banks fields surge
sunshines empower
amethyst goes undimmed

Monday, April 13, 2009

I Can't Make You Love Me

For the first time, in what, 4 years? I'm finally watching American Idol. as in, with earnest interest. My personal favorites are Adam Lambert and Allison Iraheta, the latter more because she's an underdog. I always go for the underdogs like at the time when I rooted more for Rafa than Federer in their first few meetings more than 5 years ago.

Just last week, Allison sang this heart-rending version of 'I Can't Make You Love Me', Bonnie Raitt's original. Am sharing the lyrics and the link you can find in You Tube (actually, i don't know how to post the link). I hope you'll like the way Allison sang it from the heart (similarly broken?). This would be one of MY songs, at a time when I've reconciled with the truth about 'love' and moi.


Turn down the lights, turn down the bed
Turn down these voices inside my head
Lay down with me, tell me no lies
Just hold me close, don't patronize - don't patronize me

Cause I can't make you love me if you don't
You can't make your heart feel something it won't
Here in the dark, in these lonely hours
I will lay down my heart and I'll feel the power
But you won't, no you won't
Cause I can't make you love me, if you don't

I'll close my eyes, then I won't see
The love you don't feel when you're holding me
Morning will come and I'll do what's right
Just give me till then to give up this fight
And I will give up this fight
And I will give up this fight

Cause I can't make you love me if you don't
You can't make your heart feel something it won't
Here in the dark, in these final hours
I will lay down my heart and I'll feel the power
But you won't, no you won't
Cause I can't make you love me, if you don't

(Lyrics courtesy of www.lyricsfreak.com and the link from You Tube. Sans ownership declared.)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Psyching Myself for Monday

i will face monday with tired eyes
my mind forced to focus
like nemo tracking a clear path
amid thoughts blocked by jellies
i must struggle through monday
and punch the keys with resolve
to write with enough might
and will to say what i must
i just hope
i'm judging right through monday
this confidence matched
by knowledge correct and sensible
lest i lose my head
and lose my head
at the chopping block
come one monday

i have a paper due this coming friday. a paper built out of nowhere and on everything. to judge and later be judged. hay, i hope i survive this, beautifully.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Disjuncts

'are you sher?' i asked yaman pointing out the many toys, knick knacks and art materials from the latest toy kingdom catalog. What she wants i cannot afford - the princess gown, laptop, life sized giraffe, pink scooter etc. When i was her age, my only toy was a doll whose left eye is forever closed and a wooden rocking horse. Yun lang. Ibang iba na talaga ngayon. Yaman is going to school at 3, an age when i could barely distinguish big and small. She would be conversational in english by 7. A feat achieved by moi only at 27. She likes poring over a world map which i got to enjoy only at 14. I hope i'm not burdening yaman too much.

Friday, April 10, 2009

My Citibank Story - Part 2

so by the afternoon of march 23, i went out to sm mega to have the documents faxed. i should have known by the hassle it took to fax these (the lady at fax n' parcel tried out 3 numbers, with a minimum of 2 tries each for more than 30min) that there would be a problem sooner or later. by march 26, a lady officer from CAMU called to verify my employment and advised that they would get back to me within 7 days. i was kind of expecting it when i opened my account online. gosh, my request was declined. it was the reasons they gave which turned me off and the way the officer spoke to me last april 8 was insulting. i was told that the increase given at the beginning of the year was part of a 'promotional increase' and that since by july, i would be living on scholarship money, CAMU decided that i do not have the capacity to pay for the next 3 years. oh is that it? after a deep breath, i retorted, well, for your information, i lived on scholarship money from 1998-2000, in the same university in australia, but i was a regular payor, a good payor of all credit card debts while staying down under. it was then i realized that indeed, i was a loyal creditworthy payor as much i used to be a maxed out credit card user. i didn't miss any monthly payment even back then when i can only afford the minimum. even back then when i had, other than citibank, four credit cards from RCBC, diners, metrobank and stanchart. i never missed a beat in paying. all of these cards. citibank never incurred a cost following up on my account any payment overdue. in 10 years, i have never asked citibank for a limit increase. after 10 years, citibank was only card i retained. and this is what i get.

that citibank adage on building relationships with their clients is hollow, ampao. what citibank and i have, i realized, was not a relationship but just a transaction. one defined by debits and credits. sometimes, it's really hard to just be ordinary. to have not been born with a silver spoon to help you earn privilege at no expense. striving to be self-made entails turn-downs that could still hurt, that could make one unexpectedly cry because we are pricked at our core vulnerability - our helplessness in being part of a system that measures our performance, our credibility, our worth by our bank accounts and our credit card statements.

i say this mindful that there are those in my midst the jobless, the bankrupt, the debt-wracked, the swindled, even the eternal moneyless who can only beg to survive. i understand their realities as much as i am made to face mine. with my citibank story, i hope to drive the point that we cannot exist apart from the system that envelops us, defines what we cannot have, what we cannot be, what credit limit we cannot deserve. in the end, we have to wrest against the urge to cheat, the urge to just squander the card and renege from all obligations. i suddenly want to be bad. really bad. i want to go into a shopping spree with this card and disappear from manila for good. only to get back at them. even if in this small way, i could be material too to the downfall of citibank, once and for all. for them to suffer too, for them to suffer the experience of being measured, in numbers.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

i will resume tomorrow. Currently running on 2 bars as the home dsl is down since yesterday. Brain cells are working ön something else and will stay up till morning. 6 hours of sleep i'll have till friday fasting comes.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

My Citibank Story - Part 1

I cried today. Citibank refused my request for a credit limit increase. The only request i made since being their customer way back in 1997. I need the increase to make sure that there are enough funds to cover accommodation payments made in advance in Murdoch Uni. Lately, my savings are just enough to cover household expenses for the next 3 mo once my work contract ends may 15. Having trouble collecting my PF for work done in 2007 (tyaga ko no?), committed large insurance payments in prulife while my ex-employer overtaxed me last year and is refusing to pay up. I was hoping for citibank to help me, just this once. Tutal an increase they gave me early this year. I refused thinking i don't need it. So when i called them up by march to have the increase, it was their turn to say no. When i asked why, they said that i've reached the maximum allowable under my reported annual income. Further prodding, i learned that this income was way too old, öne based on my 1997 itr. So what was the early-yr increase all about? The phone officer can't give a straight answer. So ok, i agreed to fax my work and scholarship contract.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Yaman Asrijanty the Artist

Yaman is endowed with so much talent that at her age, she has no inkling of. So am playing Stagemom again here by sharing with you (with great pride ehem) the first works of Yaman Asrijanty, the Artist. As I know none in my or her father's line into art, then Yaman seems to be blazing the trail.


Yaman made this at 1 year 9 mos. Nakita sya ni mommy trying to post this at the ref door. she wasn't talking yet but see? she already had the notion of having made something beautiful and being proud of it.


Yaman's 'Open Heart' painted with her cute little fingers (2 years old). You can see the veins throbbing 'no?


I call this 'Yaman's Summer' painted just last March at 3 years 5mo. This lifts my spirit every time I see it. My screen saver at the grand workplace.


"Shipwrecked" or just my imagination at work (3 years, 6 mos). she was into "Sundo" the movie while making this so come to think of it, parang sundo nga since ships ferry people to and fro. having goosebumps recalling 'Charon' of Greek mythology ferrying dead people over the river Styx. See the figure on the boat? Ngek, 'Sundo' nga!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Desiderata

i've long wanted to share this to you dear readers. i first came across Desiderata during my OCS days in third year. pity that mentoring was not part of our 'military training' in OCS so despite its beauty, the poem recited in front of the menacing faces of our upperclass superiors made me feel dull, degraded. it was like praying the rosary in hell as only the spirit can keep you up. perhaps that's the real purpose of Desiderata during those harrowing times. but i missed it because of the hate inside. i appreciate it more now for its forthrightness and for always reminding us that defeat, disappointment and betrayal are not excuses for one to not desire love and life. of all places in my house, i hang this in the toilet; right there on the door facing the toilet seat. unlike some people, i cannot read a book during my morning rituals. but i can read a poem. by the time i finish reading, i'm also done with the ritual. every day, in that position, i get to read it. and while i fail once in a while to live it out, in practice, still i am reminded every day not to forget.

DESIDERATA
by Max Ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others,
even to the dull and ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons;
they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be
greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career
however humble;
it is a real possession in the
changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs,
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you
to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals,
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself.
Especially do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love,
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment,
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit
to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore, be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham,
drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

My Love of Books

my first book as i recall would be 'World's Best Fairy Tales' bought for me by Daddy from the States in 1976 (i think?). the book had me fixated on happily ever after although my favorite story in this selection was the unique tale of 'the 3 hairs of the ogre'. if i'd be lost in one place, it would be at the alexandria library. the most tragic event for me during the bosnia wars was the shelling of the sarajevo library. if i would go anywhere to spend the whole day in manila, it would be in a bookstore like fully booked at the power plant. if there's one place in manila tucked neatly in my mind as one i'd be before i leave for australia, it would be f. sionil jose's in ermita. my dream is to do writing practice with natalie goldberg. my most beloved is clarissa pinkola estes's 'running with the wolves' and gabriel garcia marquez's 'one hundred years of solitude'. if there's going to be a tolkien scholarship to delve into the rings methodology, i'll work to get qualified.

i'm not a bookworm. in my house in guijo, there are a lot of books stored in drawers and stacked up in shelves, and i haven't read 30% of them. i buy great titles at sale prices in UP diliman and have photocopies of nietzsche's on the genealogy of morality, c. wright mill's sociological imagination, durkheim's suicide, and many others gathering dust. kafka's books are longing to be caressed by my fingers, even van gulik's. backlogs include readings on the urban poor. i read by mood as now i'm hooked with LOTR, ever since reading Children of Hurin 2 months ago. sometimes, i don't get to finish the books --- like shirley maclaine's out on a limb whose love story with olof palme just resonates of what i had with old man when our souls were still in sync. the others are neil gaiman's book of dreams and merlinda bobis's banana heart summer, which i have misplaced somewhere here in my stacks, shelves, and...bags. yaman kinda picked up my habit of putting things in places and later forgetting about them.

from fairy tables, i've gone to sweet dreams, mills and boon, barbara cartland, erich segal then to sidney sheldon, ludlum, clive cussler (would you believe?) jeffrey deaver. i realized i could not stand eric van lustbader. i'm left wanting reading patricia cornwell and even, john grisham. stephenie meyer i like for her honesty and humor but lately i'm having 'twilight fatigue' especially after getting weary with edward's perfection in eclipse. i'm not reading any meyer book for the next 6 months. many titles and many books are now swarming my mind. i remember the characters but not the titles so i could not give them their due. but honestly, i'm a die-hard fan of pugad baboy --- i have all 1-20 titles, even those bits and pieces released on the side to show pol medina's transitions in drawings and how he is now mentoring budding artists and cartoonists.

the only classic writer that gets to me is gabriel garcia marquez. i could say that i've read all his books, although i don't have them all. the shipwrecked sailor i stumbled upon at the murdoch lib in perth while his biographical account of kidnapping in latin america was too expensive that time for a hardbound book, i had to make do with borrowing one. GGM looks exactly like he writes. a full face, bearded, playful eyes, a bulbous nose and a smile looking like it will boom out laughing the next minute. he's like santa claus. his farewell letter was emailed to me last year (he has cancer) and is in itself, deserving to be framed and published.

starting 2000, i started not buying mainstream books. i'd enter a bookstore and just walk through the shelves and buy whatever lights up or draws my attention. in this way, i've come across achebe (deep), ishiguro (too british to have a japanese name), takayama (disappointing) and bohjalian (interesting but the detective does not take off). right now, i have to restrain myself from buying books at nbs or fully booked or power books, just because of my backlog. because in the back of my mind, i could buy these titles cheaply at the bookstores in AS of UP diliman. and i'm going there this may. it is in UP where i discovered robert van gulik and how much i missed not getting acquainted or not getting serious with the classics in high school. just as i discovered classical music only after pregnancy, perhaps it's not too late for me to read great expectations. i have this book in one drawer somewhere in this house...

i used to imagine myself as the character in my books, but of course the romantic type. maeve fletcher is one of my yahoo aliases would you believe? now, i don't care much as i let the characters live out their uniqueness in my mind. in LOTR though, i could be casted as eowen ha ha.

the first book i gave yaman she ate --- the ABC of colors. the reason why she had this gap in her front teeth. she'll munch the sides and the reams until what is left now are frayed individual pages. what got me blogging about books is seeing her today, lugging her big book to ate ira and tita yumi, to be read a story. i was like that too when i was little. any visitor that comes over has to read me a book. i remember lolo leon stumbling to sleep reading me a book about a lion in bulacan when i was 7 years old.

i don't believe that books need to be covered with plastic --- with our problems with plastic - keeping a book in its original cover will do. i also don't believe that one should not write on its pages. i have this ex-officemate in schema who resents too much any folding or any pencil writing on her reference material. that girl is a hypocrite! reading books is supposed to be an interactive experience. it is within one's right to agree, oppose, question, highlight, riddle the page with exclamation points in green, pink, blue or whatever color. woe is a book published but not read. woe for a book read only with one's eyes.

this is my book experience. i hope you can write about yours too. don't be afraid to express who you are with the books you read or don't read. books are testaments of our complexities, of our limitless imaginations, and also of eternal values that do not need time to exist or persevere. hope you enjoy as much the experience and companionship of having one in your hands, in your pc, or your cell. mine are still waiting to be read, waiting to slap me silly if they can.

Transition

during the sadasana (cool down) last thursday, while filling my mind with thoughts of Shadow Man to relax, my mind somehow hit something, up there. i went into this void state, clutching at nothing. like my mind was separate from me. i stopped breathing for about 15 seconds. as if i wanted to stay there. peace in the physical state. back to normality, i was smiling inside. i have been doing yoga, same as fasting, for the physical heck of it. perhaps it's a sign. it's time. time to live the practice.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Friday the 6th

Today's the 6th friday, second to the last. I can smell chicharon bulaklak in the air. Ang chicken inasal mas juicy'ng tingnan. The red in jollibee is even redder, the double burger inviting. How delectable to the imagination ang tilapia ginisa sa kangkong o petsay. But i made a commitment Above, so it stands. All that food, i can eat anytime from saturday to thurs, a good 6 days from only 1 day every friday. I suffer little from what my God endured - a meal of lashes, a drink of vinegar, a buffet of flogging while carrying a heavy cross, and crufixion for dessert. My first Lent, my first in a lifetime. A still very physical experience. The spiritual still eluding me. Down the valley I am, at the bottom of the climb. But stay with me Lord, help me through the climb, help me break through and wrest away, leave away. To stop struggling and just, just let go.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Regression

finding the strength to be me
bare feet walks over glass
but lullabyes are broken
solace found in shadows
roots not as deep
the soul meek
wanting peace
but afraid

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Conditioning Soul in Writing

it all starts with a letter or a word. where i work, a majority of us are encountering the writer's block. after poring over 22 50+-page assessments in just 7 days, who would not be? too much information the brain cannot hold unless some processing happens, visually.

so i used this technique of preparing a matrix, classified into 3: social impacts, resettlement and ethnic minority (EM) issues, for each assessment read. then i'll proceed in the coming days with preparing tables from information in the matrices then a mock outline and mock framework. first though, i'll firm up the matrix information by making sure my parameters are complete and that critical info, for instance, noted in one project is also assessed in the others (e.g., was a separate assessment of socio-cultural impacts made in all reports? was EM reporting uniform in all projects with critical EM issues?). so tomorrow will be cleaning-up day, which reminds me i had to open the CDs on archived data on 2 critical projects. then, God willing perhaps, i can have a hand on the tables by friday or saturday at the latest (!). over the weekend, i'll toy mentally with my framework. perhaps i'll take up cesil's suggestion of bringing pencil and paper with me to the bed. just there beside me on the floor. hmmmmm. cesil said that when the mind is at ease, new thoughts and new ways of looking at things emerge. hmmmmmm, i think that's not too bad. natalie would nod in approval.

so yes, i am conditioning myself; for more tedious and nerve-wracking writing days ahead. i am finally being worked the way i deserve so i welcome the challenge with open arms; although with a certain weariness from a brain swamped with too much technical and vital information. OK, time to muster soul writing, even in technical writing. time to let love, passion, and inspiration flow.