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Project: Coffee & Flowers Uncategorized

Coffee & Flowers: It Draws A Line

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The thing about loss and grief is that it draws a line: not just between the dead and those left living but also between the living and those around them. Lately, I’ve been thinking about my Dad’s death not just as the death of my father but as the death of my father: something that now belongs to my family and in part, on a more personal level, to me. Inevitably, I think, death brings up (or should bring up) in us ideas of how we would like to live before we are brought to that inevitable line, when we cross it a next time, first-hand.

I can’t help but think of different friendships that I’ve made throughout the years–whether people who I’d known for years or people I’d met in the past year or people I’d only solely interacted with through my stories–and how, when my Dad died, it was such a relief to see familiar faces or to hear people reach out even if they couldn’t be there physically. Maybe as a lover of and active participant (haha) in the making of fiction, I must say that empathy is something that I value. I don’t think I’d loved any of these people as much before as I did in that moment: to know that despite the discomfort of knowing they would never be me, never truly share my pain, they’d decided to subject themselves to being there anyway in whatever way, shape, or form that they could be.

Somehow, it felt like home. I am still resolute in the conclusion that reading prepares us for terrible situations: it highlights the things we may take from these terrible experiences, it helps us in the struggle to construct not just meaning, but meaningfulness.

[Side note: this talk by Andrew Solomon has helped. ]

However, likewise, I can’t help but think about people who could have been there but chose not to be. Everyday is a struggle not to lash out, not to be bitter, not to say where were you? I think of different friendships lost or destroyed in the process of growing up, think of people who I wish well, and who, despite the strain between us, had someone they loved died, I would have reached out to. I can’t help but feel stung by that active absence: maybe in another time, I would have been able to simply assume they had not known about it, that they had not heard because they hadn’t read the obituaries, but in this time of social media tributes and text blasts and 24/7 chatting, of profile-photo changing and Facebook-status eulogies, I know they know and know they had chosen to not just be apathetic but vicious (I don’t want to get into that). I wonder about that and am trying very hard to look underneath my anger and find a way to learn from it. I keep on trying to find a way to forgive people who aren’t sorry, or else forget the pain of it. Life is short, but everyone knows that.

Loss draws a line between those of us left living: conditionals, if-thens, and their converses. If _________ , and _________ does not _________, then __________. And today, as I write this, I find myself at once hopeful and terrified. It terrifies me that I am capable of true hatred: that I can’t find myself to empathize with some people who I once treated as some of my closest friends because the line has been drawn and these are not people I will forgive. These people are no longer the inhabitants of benign, empty shells of friendship: they are malignant and I can’t let them touch me because it will eat me up. But on the other hand, I am hopeful because it gives the loss of my Dad gravity: this is how much I love my father that I cannot forgive people who knew him not giving it importance. I am hopeful because underneath everything, even the absence of forgiveness, there is a kind of love.

Categories
Fiction

Sunning A Mattress @ the Southern Pacific Review // Fiction

This story is one that was very difficult for me to write. It was both a return to and a stepping out of something: in the recent past, I feel that I’ve dipped my toes (or perhaps fallen headlong) into the strange, the fairy tale-but-not-quite; I’ve tried more and more to challenge myself by writing based on certain guidelines or prompts (e.g. without mentioning a certain word, by using words as numbers, etc.)–in the further past, I wrote stories that were quite straightforward but also (I feel, now) autobiographical enough to be quite impersonal (there was no invention of anything–or not enough, anyhow). Whether near or far in the timeline of writing, I think I have written mostly about erotic desire: because I found it easy, because there was a lot of feeling and material to work from.

However, recently, I have had friendship on the mind and how it is just as complex as (if not more so than) erotic desire. It is just an explicable, can be just as painful once lost or strained. Why do we not talk of these aches more often? Maybe because it is harder to try and iterate something that is usually formed unconsciously and which doesn’t ask of us any acknowledgement before coming about. In a romantic relationship, there has to be an asking, some sort of formal (or at least clear) consent. With friendship, there just has to be the friendship.

So, then. Here is Sunning A Mattress, fresh on the Southern Pacific Review.

Categories
Events Project: Coffee & Flowers

On The Other Side // A Katipunan Adventure

This month (September) has dragged on for what feels like forever. I feel a little bit unnerved because I still have so many things to write, read, and review/film for my channel–this whole month has felt like something’s gotta give and yet nothing has so here I am. A couple of weeks ago, I went to Katipunan with the rest of Plural to attend/panel at a talk hosted by Kritika Kultura. The main speakers were Erika and Carlo (the founding members of the journal), but we went for the Q&A portion as well as the provision of moral support. Being Taft-grown and hardened by the ever-present threat of being run over, heading over to rival territory is always both disorienting and refreshing. All those trees, all that space, all the everything. We made a little trip to the press bookshop (yeah, so that no book buying ban has pretty much been done away with all together) and then headed on over to the Rizal Library for the talk proper.

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I was (very pleasantly) surprised at the turn out: everyone was super participative (not to say that my experience has been otherwise, but you never know with more academic settings), and I was super proud of how Erika and Carlo discussed all of the points re: Plural’s response to the lack of a go-to place for prose in Philippine letters. All-in-all, a great day.

After the talk, I hung out with some friends of mine who attended the talk (hey, Raine and Free) over at UP Town Center. I had Mad Mark’s and Rita’s for the first time. Hot damn, that stuff is delicious–although to be honest, I did find Rita’s to get a little bit overwhelming after a while. The day ended with us all giggly, and worn out, driving down EDSA watching the lights flicker by: not bad at all.

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Categories
Events

Plural @ The Kritika Kultura Reading Series

I’m very jazzed to be attending the Kritika Kultura reading series with the rest of the Plural editors this coming Tuesday, September 15. We’re going to be talking about prose, how we’re contributing to it, and what it means to find a place for experimentation in such a traditionally rigid landscape. We’re also going to be reading (haha, if it wasn’t obvious from the title) some of the work we’ve put out in our three issues to date! If you’re free, come drop by.

Categories
Events Workshops

Ages 13 & Up!

Earlier this month, I said that I would be teaching a Creative Writing class for a younger audience (ages 13-17). However, after giving it some thought and talking it over with MAGIS, we’ve decided to remove the cap on age: that is, I realized that what I would be teaching for an audience of 13 to 17 would be more or less something that I would also teach anyone willing, and in fact, wanting to write. I realized that while tastes may vary while one is growing up, good stories, poems, and essays, are good stories, poems, and essays no matter what age you are. Having said that, enrollment has been extended as the class is now open to everyone aged 13 and up!

For further inquiries: 850 3852/4852 loc. 220 // hello@magiscreative.net