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)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Somehow (Shirley Bassey)

You are what you are
It was, what it was
The world didn't end
The world never does

I wake up alive
From habit I guess
Yes, I can survive
One love more or less
And sometime,
somewhere, somehow

I laugh all my laughter
I've cried my tears now
I want my years now
My years

I've nowhere to go
That I have to be
There's no one I know
Who's waiting for me

There's so much inside
I still have to give
So much to be tried
A lifetime to live
And sometime,
somewhere, somehow

I'll have my tomorrow
Today won't stop me
No way to stop me
Not now

The world still holds me
I want what's due now
If not with you now
Then someone, sometime, somehow

Lyrics and Video courtesy of Youtube

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Not Now

the questions remain. and the answers will not come now, here, away from you. there is a time to face all these, with you in the flesh. i will wait for that. the time is just not now. not now.

Friday, September 28, 2012

All Will Be Well

life will turn out well. i'll finish this phd. publish a book. get a job. have the dream home with yaman in 5 years and we will travel at least once a year abroad. my daughter is already tired with SM and one day told me over skype, 'sana mommy, punta naman tayo ng italy, US, london' which almost floored me. so yes life will turn out well. worries are just worries. and they will get to sleep soon. for good.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Settling Nonetheless

sometimes, the best way to go about writing a serious sentence is the most obvious. write like you're saying it and see the words flow. already close to two hours struggling with the sentence on decentralization, decided to just highlight, cut and pasted it at the bottom for future use. then in a flash i typed without really looking at the screen. i was more attuned to the voice in my mind saying what i need to write. that sentence would take me through the last 2 hours of writing in the afternoon until 530pm. yes, it is a struggle this section, the last section, of the last chapter, of four chapters written since may 16. at the end of the day, wrote only 229 words. i have to settle with that. my sentences are moving downward. and my thoughts are flowing, painstakingly, but flowing nonetheless. i'll settle with this.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fly Away Forever

it's like letting go of a wild bird that you decided to feed, tame and train - to come back every time you're letting it go so it can spread its wings once in a while after being locked up in a cage.

now, i'm letting go of the wild bird forever.  not because it cannot be fed, tamed or trained. it's not the fault of wildness. it's the fault of a thinking that presupposes domestication for capture. the thinking is itself captive to illusions that there is triumph in returning. that one can repeat the endless cycles of trial and error.

now begins the process of un-thinking and hopefully, leading on to a life where expectations have no place, where solitude could also mean happy existence.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Health and My Brother

there is no day that i don't regret living a non-rice life. my journey with fruits, veggies and proteins continues to this day and how i thank the internet for being a treasure trove of recipes for one to discover different food combinations. now that my brother has just been diagnosed with high blood, i have none to impart but this lifestyle which has sustained me since 13 january 2011. i have kept the weight down and i'm happy. i hope my brother would be as successful in his own therapy.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weep and Write

i wept through a draft email which i will not send. but which captured my emotions today. emptiness, sadness, longing, and the frustration of being without control, of finally wresting with the sense of loss. these are the 'bad' days. and there must be ways to absorb them, to be able to still function, and retain focus of what must be accomplished for the day. so here i am at 10:13am, inscribing another technique for dealing with loss. write 'em and weep. weep and write through.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


to wish for normal is to wish for what? to wish for a day not thinking of you and us and how we used to be? is normal just the ordinariness of functioning? or is it drawing inspiration from the former wellspring that is? life will never be normal as usual. normal is not getting back to. it is arriving at a new acceptance of an existence that will no longer change. and i know i have arrived once i stop asking, what ever is normal?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My Research Dreams Before Bed

i live. i eat. i write. i die. now i wish to have a house all for my daughter and my family. i hope my phd becomes a book. i'm looking forward to my first academic publication. i long to research for the rest of my life. with plenty of research funds to spare. hopefully without getting tied with them. and to be able to do lucrative consulting at the side.

some days, i would wish i was just born to a dirty rich family so i would not wonder how to get by the next month given the current meager income. so i could do whatever research i want without fear of influence from any funder. but i wonder whether i should have the same superfluous dreams on research if i have been born rich. i probably would just be a lazy layabout today.

so there must be a reason why one is born poor. not having enough is a motivation. because it makes you hungry for more. hungry for any release out of a position of want. but one must stop somewhere with this greed. a ceiling must be respected beyond which principles could not be compromised. so that the world is there to take but let not the world get the better of you my vitti.

Friday, September 21, 2012

No Love of My Life

i have none. one to call 'the love of my life'. in some way, i wished my recent love story have just really ended a la 'nights in rodanthe'. then, i would have enough love in my heart to keep me going until the end of a life alone. just like my bestfriend angeline whose knowledge, appreciation, and love for vincent stays on and on until she too joins him in the after life. just like jack and rose dawson in the movie, 'titanic' - whose fateful love ended in physical death, not emotional death.

it was a mistake. this entry in Descansos, under 'Timelines' about a 'love of my life' who was 13 and came back to me in 2010. no love of one's life does that. that 'that'. to forget one's name in a relationship willingly. to make you suffer through the silence, the withholding of emotions, one's fake and rotten sense of decency. that is not what a 'love of one's life' does. so i am forfeiting the title. because there is no one. no one.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

My Family

i chose to walk home today. decided to not walk by the bins on the back of Education and Humanities, but instead, took the circle route going down the walkthrough leading to the Worship Centre, Murdoch Day Care and past the small gated reserve of gum trees, south of Murdoch Village.

my brother Jungee emailed me today. and while it was one asking for advice, and for which several were given, it was actually his email that helped me out of a rut. helped me gain perspective of cares and hurts that have been keeping me sleepless until midnight since last saturday, with silent tears flowing down the pillow on most nights.

there is no end to tears. but there are breakthroughs in understanding.  one has to move beyond grief and not let grief be one's prison. i may not have one true love in this life, but i have to love to devote to my family,  fuller love than romance can manifest out of me.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Struggle Past

struggling with the last section of the last part of the political economy analysis which amounted to about 4 chapters since writing on it last may 16.  arguing with myself on political opportunism as a founded or unreliable foundation of an argument. as it is with writing, one technique if not sure is to just leave the argument as is, go on with writing, move on that is until the evidence and analysis later on take shape to either refute or reshape the argument. don't worry vitti. you'll get past this. you'll deliver a complete chapter in time.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Full Time to Yaman

in the future, after finishing this phd, the decision of what job to take and where would depend to how yaman and 1 could finally be together, on a permanent and lasting basis. it's time to be full time in all aspects my abalantung!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Yaman's Assignment at Barely 7

Yaman refused to do her last assignment today. a poster about what to do when there is a natural disaster or fire. mommy pointed out to me just as soon we got online in skype. come to think of it, have i done something similar when i was 7? i remember at 7, i could hardly read, multiply, subtract using carrying method or could even spell 'stem'. my daughter could do this and she's barely 7. and in not doing a poster, the people at naga city, my mom and sister are pointing fingers at each other for whose fault it is that yaman did not do this poster?

perhaps because i'm here in perth and it's just so physically impossible for me to come over and do the cut-outs and the pasting of pictures for her poster. i could not admonish because it was already 7pm. just told her what if that's what she wants, she might be asked to do it anyway by her teacher tomorrow. or she would be asked for a reason why she did  not try one. half-grudgingly, yaman would listen as her time was taken up looking at translations of english phrases; mostly, 'good morning', 'good night', 'i love you' and 'i miss you' in chinese, japanese and spanish.

by 750pm, she stood up from the computer, went about looking for her pen and pad and decided to just draw her poster. mommy being mommy could only complain again - but your assignment is a poster!

for which, i retorted, ma, just let her draw the concept of her assignment. it's as good as a poster anyway, fresh from the mind of a child, fresh from the work of her creative hands, compared to glossy pictures that are merely representational. for the past 10 minutes, she has been drawing. here in front of me. drawings of people crying for help, pails of water, boxes taken out to signify moving and a fire truck since technically only fire men have the adequate capacity to put out fires. now if that's not a full concept of an assignment, then the world is asking just too much of a 6 year old.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


what is there to miss
it's all amiss, deliberately
what is there to expect
it's all words, no meaning
what is there to wait for
the time is over, forgettable

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Talking Chinese with Yaman

wo xiang ni. wan an. talking chinese to my daughter who might well be a diplomat someday. she's eager to learn spanish because of dora the explorer. and interested in chinese because of kai lan. who ever thought cartoons are bad for children?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Baking for Men

i can't contain my excitement. can't help thinking about it. just when the computer time read 345pm, i was up on my toes, rushing about, making sure the files have been copied, synced with the online box. i had to go, i had to be prepared, i had to --- bake! it's that kind of excitement when one wants to meet someone, especially a man. but men have no use for me now. they cannot be eaten to suit one's taste. so better engage in baking, than suffer the fickleness of men.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Blow Dry

the secret to beautiful long hair is blow drying.  the hair thas body as it drops by the shoulders relaxed yet with luscious body. it is still spring so i can still long hair. the cold prevents it from hanging limp as it does during summer. but the blow drying definitely adds character, reduces the occurrence of unruly flyaways.  i would just have to stay clear of it during the weekends to not subject the scalp and hair to too much heat.  but for now, the blow dry stays as i wear the mane with pride.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Someone Interesting

roxanne, my taiwanese housemate, is off to a conference by the end of september to tasmania.  because we almost share the same stories with our love lives, i made a wish out loud for her by saying, 'hope you meet someone interesting'. she took it quite literally to mean someone who's also on the same course as her, with similar research interests. had to explain that the wish extends farther than that.

it doesn't have to be, that once one has decided to live a celibate single life, one should stop meeting and getting interested with people, with men especially. there is a mystique in singlehood that grants the privilege of being open to anyone, but reserving that openness to a select few, who deserves more focused attention, who deserves time beyond work days, who warrants conversations beyond drinks of coffee, or even beer. we still need that someone to add a little spark, someone whom we will not wake up for but will make sleeping a little more assuring, someone who we need not make love to but will make sharing one's life fulfilling.  i think that's the word - fulfilling.  someone interesting who will fill one's life rather than empty it by depleting our energies with promises and frustrations. who will fill it with simple everyday assurances of time, conversation, friendship, and yes, sexual tension.

someone interesting, someone fulfilling. it's not a tall wish, roxanne.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Changing with Spring

it's spring so the wardrobe is changing. gone are the neck hugging turtle necks, the scarves and jackets that zip until one's throat. it's time to expose one's arms, neck and a decolletage occasionally.  perhaps it's time to get a trim to rid of flyaways but still retain the feminine allure of having medium-length hair. it's time for spring. it's time for a change.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Needing a Wife

i need a wife. to clean the house, wash my clothes and flags, cook my lunches and dinners, and change the sheets every two weeks. perhaps vacuuming will do as well. toady, i've been forced out of work by this tiredness. male PhDs have it better. go home to a wife, rest, get laid, and resume work the next day. all  because there's a wife. a wife to carry the world on one's behalf.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Back to Normal

two unusual days and nights of sleeping past 12 midnight and enduring the temptations of food would make me a dull and fat girl. just thankful going back to the old but healthy routine of sleeping early and eating in moderation. can't wait to sleep now!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Parking on Top of the Hill

it's stopping the writing at a breakthrough or a major point. one that needs developing the next day, but needs 'resting' for now, on the assumption that the writing beforehand has generated enough stimulation of one's brain cells to have inspired continuous writing and thus, the breakthrough, the major point. under unusual working days that began yesterday, it is enough consolation that one has organized the arguments by taking out superfluous and unfounded ones and just sticking to those simple but evidence-based. may the ride down the hill be manageable tomorrow.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Everyone and No One

in being single again, suddenly all men in one's surroundings become interesting, starker in view. there's the tattooed academic into the study of punk gangs, who seems to exude a lot of sex appeal. there's the gangly expert on governance who becomes catchy because of his quiet dignified confidence. then there's the IT guy, the one with the 'diamond-in-the-rough' persona who looks geeky but clean-shaven, a little elusive whose smile comes sparingly. somehow, the men become less normal than usual. but out of it all, one gets nothing but a nudge on one's sense of comfort, a wry smile is all one can afford because out of all men within the radius of touch and conversation, none can be allowed to get into the core of sanctuary. nothingness is the reality one gets resigned to, easily.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dinner with Bic-Bic and Roxanne

i like cooking. it helps me express how much i love the people i cook for. the orchestration of ingredients here and there, the preparation, the setting up, the waiting and then finally, it's there. the finished product. good enough to cook. good enough to share. good enough to share a feast with. i love by my cooking and it's a great feeling.

Roast pork for dinner with Bic-Bic and Roxanne. Bic Bic's in Perth for her graduation tomorrow. 

Choco souffle for dessert. Yummy!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Long Hair Ko

something about long hair is sexy. especially when the wind wafts strands over your eyes, you brush them aside and it comes back in a fresh tangle. it's a bit annoying but on a windy day like this, who cares about rigid pressed down hair anyway?

over autumn that started april and winter ending just this august, my hair has grown past my ears and slowly reaching the shoulders. i just comb it from root to tip after bathing, over my eyes, following this thing i read in MOD magazine while still in zamboanga (was about 8-9 years old then) that doing so prevents split ends.  then flipped back like the usual. no blow drying. it dries up on its own.

for the rest of day, it lives on its own with, flying away wildly at the back. since i'm not used to combing after living with short hair for ages, it is normal to have it brushed once in the morning, in settling down at my desk around 830, and after lunch, just after brushing my teeth.

if the hair gets in my way during writing, a clip or a band is the handy solution. once i wore one leftover band from nicole, while still at uni. then walked home with a knot on top of my head to keep the bangs off. roxanne couldn't believe i went home looking like that. it didn't bother me at all. at 41, doing a phd, and feeling ugly at any turn, there's no use getting self-conscious.

i find having long hair quite useful too in doing a phd. when i'm getting craxy over a concept, i just hold my hair in a mush, stare at the screen as if revitalizing my brain cells. one can say, ay inda! run one's fingers down that mane and feel a bit of satisfaction just doing so. in some ways, by keeping my ears warm, it helps me concentrate and if i'm too upset, i shut out from the world by literally wearing it down over my eyes.

so there's really something about long hair. sexy, wild, self-sustaining, uplifting, mystically crazy. don't know for how long, but i'm keeping it.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Lightworks and Descansos

blog is the shortened version for web log, or 'online journal' (from Online Etymology Dictionary). just had the urge to find out what 'blog' actually means after almost 5 years of having one, of starting a new one barely five days ago, and opening another one for Batch 87 (Colegio de Santa Isabel) today.

there is so much release and risk in writing Lightworks. to release the rawest deepest emotions. to hide the same emotions in cryptic sentences or even poems. and to risk for the world to know the most intimate, private person behind the black ink and white page. Lightworks is every-day blogging. the writing into the moment. the capturing of words in white space and holding it there, without judgment.  

in Descansos, i undertake the project of melding both private and public. the private in an experiment of looking at heartbreak as a public issue and raising the instrumental and cathartic nature of it to open discussion.  the public in the sense-making of politics and development, the two worlds where i continue to gain education, learning, and hopefully, maturity and discernment. i hope to focus more on naga city's politics as i explore the realm of micro-politics and make it more tangible. Descansos is not for everyday consumption. it is more serious, opinionated, could be random or organized, could be right and even risks being judged wrong.  

the blogs define my past as i deal with it, the present as i accept it (not without pain) and the future, as i prepare for it. Lightworks and Descansos are the spectrum of my life. a never-ending search for light from the darkness of the pit, from dark days, and from out of the struggles over one's own darkness. 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Come What May

this song from my teenage years, i finally got what it means.  before, i used to wonder about the confusion in the song. it promises to love, take care, shelter from the rain but then refuses to acknowledge firmly, what one brings in a relationship. come what may. medyo bitin. but walking along south street, last week, and humming the song, it struck me. so this is what it means. to bring oneself in a relationship is to be aware that one is indeed not perfect. human as we are, we bring our faults, prejudice, and weaknesses in the very act of loving. and yes, in a relationship, heartbreak is as given as age-old commitment to one's golden years. we step in relationships with arms wide open, the cracks in our hands, our beaten brows apparent, but nonetheless we move on. so that's why one says, come what may. whatever comes, let it come. we just have to love until we have to. and bid each other goodbye until we no longer can hold through. assurances of forever therefore are just rubbish. we don't the future. we don't really know how we will end up once we fall in love. we fall indeed is the only sure thing.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Fair Game

Mayor Robredo was in my dreams last night. the setting felt as if I was visiting him about something and he was in his usual self - the ordinary clothes, the ease, and the openness by which he made feel welcome. the dream helped bring comfort to my already weary disposition that given his death, my thesis and arguments would not be acceptable to the public. i would be tormented to my grave as the harsh biased critic of the 'people's champion'.

so it's fair game. the dream gave me this sense that if he would have been alive, he would take in every inch, sentence and paragraph of my arguments; would even fight for my right to say it; and would not stand in the way to assail or refute. i would have wanted you to comment on it Sir and find ways to move the program forward.  Thanks Mayor Jesse, even in my dreams, and even though you're already dead, sinimbag mo pa man din ako.