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, February 28, 2013

The Colors of Now

i shall have to take in, this view from my left. of students passing to and fro, a girl in fuschia cardigan with wild blonde hair. a year ago, a black guy in canvas shirt and a chinese guy with a loose white t-shirt were kissing here, down the steps to the transportable. it's summer and girls sporting butt-revealing shorts take themselves to school. or boys with the trademark freo jerseys. in six months time, i will leave all these. pack the stacks of journals with pink and lavender markings. erase with finality the brown, blue and red scribbles of my framework, the connections of interests and structures, my whole argument in a white wall. tear the numerous papers posted on the walls with blu-tak - the map of kaantabay sites in luminous green, the abstract on development effectiveness to help my focus, the phd creed written may last year, the table of key questions so i won't get lost and the original chapter outline organizing my thesis in just six chapters. yaman's drawings pinned on the cork board to remind people that here in this desk lies a scholar with a mother's heart. i will leave all these in six months, with only my memory to return, and a hard bound thesis as testament to a life of looking, probing, and longing.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Past Resisting

gone through the stage of writing resistance. although tomorrow promises to be a short abbreviated day for writing, that i've gone past the 'tiredness' is one barrier away to finishing the last final chapter. after much denial, i have one last major chapter left, not just a section. but i will finish in time. i am so darned bent on finishing.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Going Back to Lit

had to go back to the literature. it's like going back to the campsite because one had forgotten to bring the knife and lamp. i endure this process, because it would help me, a great deal, in the end.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Forgetting the Biblio

updating the biblio only now, to see how the reading has not only progressed but branched out into specific concentrated directions: the critique of community participation and local governance in housing. don't panic vitti. you are doing alright. just keep steady. you will write more tomorrow.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Future in Numbers

how will i start? when in my mind, i could only think of home. of booking my flight, wither to manila or bangkok (depending if bic-bic is still with the UN). going home to no job, but that doesn't matter. it's crazy how a 100,000-word manuscript could either break or make the rest of your life? and how the road to one's lifetime will just take 4 months now to negotiate. it's so surreal. i am left to contend with the future in numbers. and here i am, on a sunday, watching Kavanagh QC, an episode about a war crimes trial. the future is just there. but how far away it is, far far away.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

In Sight

it's the case of complaining that one has no shoes till meets someone who has no feet. for weeks now, i've been complaining of declining eyesight, especially my left eye which at age 21, still had 25 vision. now it has deteriorated at the level of the right eye, which has then degraded even further. computer work, reading small-print journals, and playing on the tab endlessly under dim lighting might have been the culprits. i see things unevenly at the computer, and now even with simple reading in the afternoons.

until this afternoon. roxanne knocked on my door, nearly helpless and asking for a favour --- could i please help find her eyeglasses inside her room. going inside, i saw it immediately. her green-rimmed glasses lying on top of an equally green coaster. by how much then could roxanne not see, without her glasses? how could i complain when my housemate could not even distinguish items of the same color?

so in five months, i will just endure. then get myself a new pair and have new lens fitted for old frames. i can still see. i can still distinguish. i will manage.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Friday Fasting (2nd)

perhaps it has to do with the mental preparation. in fasting. how could Janty do it for a whole eight  hours of not having anything, even a drop of water? how did Gandhi do it, on a hunger strike for days for a cause? how did Jesus do it, 40 days in a desert. good that i resisted the craving, yes, craving for almonds around 3pm. from 730am, just had a sourdough wrap with tuna and veggies. from 12pm to 4pm, just apples and by 530pm steamed salmon, with carrots and mushrooms tossed in butter. once again next friday, for the entire Lenten season. not comparable with Janty, Gandhi or Jesus Christ. but an effort nonetheless.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

World Peace

i wish for world peace
for Yaman to enjoy endless blue skies
to live long for my grandchildren
this PhD to make sense finishing
and the remaining years worth living
i truly wish for world peace

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

In Summary

after 54 pages of data analysis, here we come to the harrowing point. the summarization. the quoting of theory to talk back again with the data. what can i achieve tomorrow in two hours? or by 230pm, after attending two special lunches, not necessarily for the special day. in summary...what more can i say?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

At Mine's End

on the last leg of the community tenure section. to wrest with individualization and lot occupancy as distinct conditions from repayment. in these times, only holding on to sheer will. what is left to mine for with my mind? i can only rely on these hands, these fingers to keep the rhythm going.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Over the Block

a slow start after an emotional weekend. but could one do with a initial block, initial sentences that do not make sense, sentences unsupported by the data. rewrite and recoup is the way to go. if one is blocked by a thought, discard the thought and jump over the block by starting with simple thoughts and allowing the data to 'speak'. so there, i've just ended with a thought on 'top of the hill'. i have enough fuel to write another tomorrow.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Yaman is Home

saturday routines just had to be done. the laundry, coffee, internet surfing, reading Gay's critique of Fox, listening to 80s music. but there's no other place that this mind and heart is settling in but the hospital bed where my Yaman lies. for a mother who is so far away, prayers are the wings for which i could be close to her, lay out great gratitude to my mom, my brother and sister for their sacrifices, yet again. the goal to finish could not even be more clearer. while there is still much to do, and clarity still has to be claimed by more writing, sighing, and enduring, with what is happening in Naga, there is no other way to go but out of here, out of this place, and to the only home, Yaman.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fasting Starts and Bumps

tried eating apples the morning and thought i could last the day. but by 11am, the fasting just couldn't last this long. with the thinking, and transfixed engagement with the computer, it cannot be so. so by lunch, the fasting with apples has ended. to still be with the intent and the tradition of Lent to still sacrifice, a lunch of fish and vegetables would do. and another fish dish later for supper.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Crying and Not

i wish you could cry less in public, and endure the hurt inside. but as a young girl, you are entitled to cry your heart out as that needle went into your arm to get a sample of blood. perhaps it's in the different way we had our childhood. as the eldest, i endured having the least, giving in, and just justifying within, why, why can't i have more of this, and that? so i learned to endure and keep the hurt inside. no needles could make me cry. yours as an only child is a much more comfortable one. your share is yours and while not everything is free and could be given at will, to just be given without the need to compare what the others are getting puts you in a more stable position. to endure hurt is perhaps not part of your psyche. to be open with it, is.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Pre-Valentine's Vindication

for all the men i've loved before, thank you. we had good times. 
but thank you more, as without all of you, i'm having better times.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Get Well Anak

hard to be a far-away mom when your daughter's out there sick. Get well soon my Abalantung. let's hope and pray the pain your neck is nothing significant and that you'll get better in time to play and enjoy school. I love you my Anak...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Grant Me Sleep

ironed to get so tired before sleeping today. lest sleep again be as elusive tonight as last night. the mind could not settle between dozing and dreaming. amid the sound of cars and the dark moonless night, begging for sleep to prepare me for the week. may this be not a sign of stress, as i chose to enjoy the weekend away from it. may it not be part of ageing, as lately, i've discovered failing eyesight, the almost perfect vision of the left eye but a vestige of yesterday. as i go past mid-age, the years are indeed catching up. i don't want to fail health-wise yet. i'm taking care of my body as i should. so please Lord let me sleep. grant me sleep, please.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Choir Guy

it could happen anywhere. hitting you like lightning, on a hot sunday morning, at mass, in the presence of the Holy Altar here in st. patrick's. there just steps leading to the altar, this man, who has gone unnoticed before with his flowing choir robes...

now catching my attention suddenly, almost with a jolt, as he stood there, singing, holding the music book, in dapper black pants and an ironed white polo long sleeves, perfectly fitting his frame. throughout the mass, from Kyrie Eleison to the Alleluia and the Lamb of God, i could see nothing but him.

with clothes like that, he was exposed. his square firm shoulders, his hairy chest, the abs running down his waist, and his muscular long legs. i could see all this in the presence of the Faith, as if a tug-of-war raged over and over my guardian angel and devil. and i yield to the latter, eyes transfixed on the tall choir guy with the aloof yet quiet disposition.

one deep sigh. and as he marched beside me singing the closing song, this would not be the last of the pining.

i still would thank the Lord for such exhilaration. for the onrush of pheromones that since friday.

how i thank the Lord for making men like these. for making Italian men. for making men with strong angelic voices. for making men covetable. for making polo sleeves revealing the heat of this man.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Chinese New Year

on the eve of chinese new year, changed the ribbon of three chinese coins, with hopes and prayers for a fresh new year, ironically, under a Snake year. here's to more focus, balance and discipline for the next 12 months.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Man Need

not eating papayas lately is the cause. my pheromones have been acting up, since seeing Brad Pettitt in person yesterday. (sigh) can only be appreciated from afar. a serving enough only as the need arises.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Managing My Isolation

i've braced myself for this. in attending my first academic conference in Perth, alone and not under the shadows of the  Asia Research Centre (a conference attended in December 11 was ARC-sponsored), the possibility of being left out in the crowd is a strong possibility. 

having no contacts with the sponsoring organization (except for a few notable professors that jumped ship in the late 2000s), i've expected that handshakes, introductions, and the usual 'what's your research about?', 'what framework are you using?' would not prosper beyond that - ceremonials.  it didn't help attending with a shaved head - which made me look like a misplaced nun, punk, criminal, or gay icon (references made by ARC colleagues, jokingly of course). 

so it did come of use - bringing one's org transcripts to read and while away the time after conference breaks. and to just hold one's head up high, in picking a chair in a conference room, a space in a long dining table with a host of other attendees talking to each other endlessly. over lunch, i got to talk to a guy named david (we just sort of picked the space fronting each other); and after, a fellow filipina-waitress named ate melina who's been living here in perth for 26 years now. 

perhaps in gatherings like this, one should really not waste the energy and concentration to listen to the lectures, and exercise one's vocal cords by asking questions. because outside the formal lecture environment, it is a lonely isolated space. where feels race and color as the very defining aspects of one's difference from the other. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Writing in Anguish

unless amnesia strikes again...

writing could be release but there comes a time, when it becomes a pain as well. now i understand why to stay put at one's desk is not only a chore but a scourge as well. the discipline to write could break every bone of resistance, and it extinguishes, at times, the joy in your heart. i keep on telling myself - just write on, solidly, and seriously. get past the shadows. the gray areas that shut out clear thinking. engage the light, however dim it might be. there is an end to all this. an end where writing itself will see you through.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mystery of the Flies

i am not wasting away, but why are there still flies in my room. five flies killed in the afternoon. all found by my window where the screen has no hole that could be entered into. there is no spoiled food or matter inside the room. the mystery deepens. from where are they coming from? and why my room? and why so many?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Flies in the Room

four flies in my room. just tonight. 3 are dead already, while one is still basking on the lamplight just above me. where did these creatures come from? in a room and house fully screened? ah, this old house has a lot of tricks and they're beginning to show...

Friday, February 1, 2013

Single and Powerful

being single could be a position of great power. whether a woman separates from her partner, loses one because of death or by unfortunate chance to another woman (or not), there comes a time, after the dust has settled, that being alone to face the horizon is not defeat after all. angeline would soon realize this. that the will to act out one's decision without the need to consult anyone, without having to consider what another might think as ridiculous or unattainable, is a thorn removed from one's side. suddenly, the constraints to moving forward - being accidentally pregnant again or contemplating on another baby again, vanish away like just some fog in the early morning. independence could take a lot of risks, but so is being tied in the cage of togetherness. it is not to say that relationships are deadening. but some relationships are. and only a few women are lucky to escape such rut.